Adam Avramescu  00:08

Welcome to see lab the customer education lab where we explore how to build customer education programs, experiment with new approaches, and exterminate the myths and bad advice that plague our industry like demons floating around our skulls. I’m Adam Avramescu (“Adam ever rescue” was the transcription.  Awesome!).

Dave Derington  00:26

And I am. I am Dave Derington When you say that I just have to do a sidebar I’ve been I’ve been playing vampire survivors. So that that that is such an evocative thing to you got to play this game. It’s just nuts … $3!

Adam Avramescu  00:43

All right, I didn’t know I didn’t know I was gonna be like striking a chord today. I was thinking of like Dementors maybe I don’t know.

Dave Derington  00:53

Oh, go into that. All right. Let’s get to it. Let’s get down to business. We do take my sidebars. today. We’ve got a mini episode. We haven’t done one of these in a really long time and voice is breaking. Wow. That’s how excited

Adam Avramescu  01:04

mini Episode Episode A mini episode. Yeah.

Dave Derington  01:09

We’re gonna revisit a hot topic. And it’s just become even hotter, since we first covered it. Way back. Oh, yeah. In the in the olden times before in the world was different in 2019. Right. What was that? Yeah. So again,

Adam Avramescu  01:25

that that episode was called sharing with others. And that episode was all about how customer education plays with other training teams at your company. And I think we went on a bit of a digression in that episode as well about like, sharing your content through SCORM connectors and things like that. But the primary purpose of that episode was to talk about how we share our content and our practices and our resources with l&d teams, and sales enablement, teams, and revenue enablement teams. So I think I think we want to revisit that. But let’s expand our scope to some other teams where customer education frequently collaborates a lot, especially because I think in the three years since we first recorded that episode, I can’t believe it’s been three years, lots of change, we’ve gone through a global pandemic, the role of customer education at a company has changed. And I think we’re, we’re getting increased attention and opportunities to collaborate with, with teams like marketing and product.

Dave Derington  02:26

I love it. Yeah, let’s, we’ve got enough time here. I think we were gonna kind of timebox it a little bit. But I know we’re gonna blow this out. Like we usually do, you know, 10 minutes talking about each and Adam, I just want to say that I really like we were talking, like independently on Slack. And the, the spirit of this is, hey, yeah, we’re a few years in the future. Now, we’ve seen and done a lot more. And you and I both live in the trenches, like we, we do this job every day, we talk to a lot of people. And I have this really good feeling about let’s open up the space. And, and I’m going to shout out to people on social about this. So want you to come back and reflect on this and tell them tell us what you think like, especially product and enablement teams and stuff. So let’s get into this.

Adam Avramescu  03:16

Yeah, for sure. I mean, Dave, just just going off of that point, but I think we’d love to talk to more enablement folks, more marketing folks, more product folks on the show. So if you’re listening, and you are one of those people, and you have some perspective on how you work with customer education, drop us a line. Come on the show, hopefully, we want to talk to you. And maybe we’ll even offer you a cream cheese brownie, because today is National Cream Cheese brownie day.

Dave Derington  03:45

You know, I just told you I haven’t eaten today yet.

Adam Avramescu  03:48

Yeah, well, I only looked up one International Day of so man. That’s the one you’re getting. Sorry. I looked that up before you told me you were hungry. Okay, Dave, why did we want to revisit this topic? Since 2019? All right. Well,

Dave Derington  04:01

because it hasn’t gone away. I think you both you and I and others will both agree. customer education teams are becoming a more not less cross functional. And we both have things to talk about that. About that point.

Adam Avramescu  04:18

Yeah, absolutely. I think as customer education expands its scope. As it starts to report into more places, it just becomes more cross functional. And you also start to see some of that. Do you remember the episode that you did with Ted Blosser from work ramp?

Dave Derington  04:32

That was of all the episodes yet? That was one of my favorites, particularly because Ted was so fun in that and had so many good, insightful things. I do remember that? Well,

Adam Avramescu  04:41

I agree. It’s one of my favorite episodes as well. And in that Ted, who’s the CEO of work, Graham, he talks about the consolidation and deconsolidation of customer education and internal enablement functions. And granted, he has a good reason to be talking about that because that’s kind of what we’re, we’re cramped does, but we’re seeing it we’re seeing it in the where people are making these types of decisions about where they want to consolidate and where they want to consolidate these practices. And we talked to execs all the time now who are debating this sort of org structure? You know?

Dave Derington  05:13

Yeah. And oh, gosh, we’re gonna get into a good conversation about that. The next thing is, there’s this question of where, where should customer education live, it comes up all the time. And you know, we have this one Slack channel we participate in, which doesn’t have a persistent memory, of course, that’s why it keeps coming up, because we can’t pin it. And in the, the experience is different. Some will say customer success, um, you know, say customer experience, some will say marketing, some will say product. And I’ve, like, literally been in most of those teams. And it’s weird. But if we don’t live with those teams, we need to know how to collaborate, big. And I’m not going to go for those that were just in showing.

Adam Avramescu  05:52

Yeah, I think I think between you and me, we’ve we’ve reported into almost all of those teams. And certainly we have close friends working in each of those teams. But yeah, that’s That’s exactly it. Like I would say, still the most common one is to live in customer success or customer experience, depending on how your organization slices or dices that, like 80. And if you’re there, you got to know how to collaborate with marketing and product.

Dave Derington  06:12

Yeah. Oh, cool. Whoa, there’s one more point?

Adam Avramescu  06:18

Yeah, I mean, I think like, with with each of these, like, we can talk about marketing, we can talk about product we can talk about in a moment. And let’s let’s talk about this in terms of like handshakes and lines in the sand, right? Or how do we want to put this drawing lines and shaking hands? Yeah, where where do we really work closely with these teams? And where do we where do we kind of handshake to figure out where to collaborate? And then where do we draw boundaries? Or where do we draw some lines to avoid not because we don’t want to work with them, but because we want to avoid duplicated efforts or messiness. And so I think often, it’s actually good to like, draw strong boundaries with these teams to say, hey, you know what, we’ve got this, you’ve got this, we’re each going to do what we do best.

Dave Derington  07:03

You know what, I want to put one more thing in there. And as you’ll give me, credit or hate for, I’ll say, I’m gonna frame this up.

Adam Avramescu  07:11

I love when you say free, nice. That’s like, one of your signature phrases. And if you stopped saying it, I’d be disappointed,

Dave Derington  07:18

we still have to do that crossover episode where we play each other, we’re going to do that I’m going to commit,

Adam Avramescu  07:23

no spoilers, no spoilers.

Dave Derington  07:26

So the thing that I’m framing up here is that this episode in particular, is if you’re a leader, and particularly an executive, in, I’m having a really good fortune, now my new role to be able to talk to people way earlier in their development journey for education, so enablement, you know, documented, all these things are coming up to me, and I’m in a position to be like, we give you the right suggestions. But where this is coming from is place, place a personal experience. For you who is an executive or a leader above the line, we want you to think about what we’re going to say here, because the decisions you make are really important about education. Education is everywhere. It’s fluidly throughout your entire organization. I kind of think this is an organizational design development meeting, where we’re talking about how your organization is going to evolve over the last the next five, maybe 10 years. And how we fit into that is important. And for if you’re below the line, and this is not meant to be in a negative context, it’s you’re a doer, you’re making this stuff happen. You’re nicey you’re a manager leading a team. This is important to you too, because I’ve had you’ve had this personal experience of how heart wrenching it can be when you see you go, Oh my gosh, somebody completely spent a year doing something that we already did.

Adam Avramescu  08:45

Mm hmm. So let’s get it Yeah, it Yeah, it’s it’s a it’s a waste of time and effort ultimately. Yeah. Okay, yeah, let’s let’s get into it. So let’s talk about marketing first. It’s, I don’t know I don’t know why no rhyme or reason. I just like talking about marketing. I love marketing.

Dave Derington  09:01

I talk with I love marketing talks yesterday so I think I hype them up more and they’re like, are you you want to be on our marketing team like well, I want to collaborate with you.

Adam Avramescu  09:11

But we we have we have friends who are on customer education teams that report into marketing and in fact some of the big iconic customer education teams that you think about their have their roots in marketing, like if you want to think about something like you know, like HubSpot Academy, or even like Salesforce trailhead, I think originally came out of Dev Rel but has lived in their marketing team for a long time. There’s there’s a lot of there’s a lot of marketing DNA in customer education program. So like, why why do you think Dave that customer education teams sometimes live in marketing because that might help us unlock how to best collaborate with marketing.

Dave Derington  09:52

Well, if if we’re going to talk about let’s talk about our goals, right not marketing goals. We’re really trying to educate the market like we are right? Like what like, well, they are too. All right. Well, can I leave with a counterpoint to that statement?

Adam Avramescu  10:13

Sure. I think this is really important for yet preempt your point with the CounterPoint. Well, I

Dave Derington  10:17

know I was thinking about this last night when you were developing the script. And I’m like, I really love this. This is really important. My counterpoint is this. You may say, and let’s just let this be contentious for fun. You say, Dave, I think the goal of marketing is to educate the market about the category or industry, not just the product, okay. And you cited an example Optimizely, teaching about experimentation, or even, you know, equally cool HubSpot, teaching about Inbound Marketing, because that program was phenomenal. And you might say, the goal is to do educate prospects, I think these are our goals. Because what when I go out, and I want to let you riff on this, but I went out to the American Marketing Association’s website, and I did some research around and I’m gonna say, like, admittedly, I didn’t do that thorough of a thing. But I’ve been around the block enough that I would say, the tech the textbook description of what marketing is, it’s an act as the activity, the set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society. writ large. Okay. I elaborated. Now, what? Okay, I’m going to stop and I still have some more counter points, because and then I want to like talk about the positives. But that’s what marketing evokes this sense of me is it’s it’s communications, its height and putting it bad. It’s, I want to be get you excited about this thing. But is it my job as a marketer to educate you?

Adam Avramescu  12:00

Here’s how I would respond to your counter, but I feel like we haven’t even made the original claim. Like I think the original claim here is that like the way the way I would put it, but I don’t think this is quite what you’re responding to. The way that I would put it is like, there’s the reason why marketing teams sometimes create customer education functions or own customer education, is because one of marketing’s goals is to educate the market about the category or the industry, as well as to educate them about the product. So like, if you are in an emerging market, like Optimizely was with a B testing and experimentation or HubSpot was with inbound marketing. Or even if you’re a disrupter, were you are taking a you know, an old industry like like checker was with background checks, and you’re disrupting it, you have to re educate people on what modern practices are, you have to set the standard. This is why a lot of people want to get into certifications and trying to have these like either industry standard certifications, or educating the market about what modern best practices are like this, to me, is a it’s often a shared goal between marketing and customer education. And I think both functions really care about it. Because it’s at its it’s not the primary goal of marketing, nor is it often the primary goal of customer education. But it’s a big component for both. So the way customer education looks at it is, hey, we have different categories of education at different points in the customer lifecycle. So we’ve got our stuff for new joiners, we’ve got our stuff for more mature users and champions, we’ve got our stuff for admins, we’ve got our stuff for prospects, right that that might be one way that a customer education team looks at this. And then marketing. They’ve got like a million different functions, right? You’ve got demand gen, you’ve got product marketing, you’ve got content marketing, you’ve got right, like the whole thing. Yeah. And one of the things one of marketing’s goals is probably to expand the addressable market for the company. And the way you do that, is by getting more people and it’s expanding your Tam. And the way you do that is you be you make more people aware of the the problem space, and you make more people aware and ultimately interested in your product as the solution to this. So I think that’s why customer education often lives within marketing or sometimes those within marketing. Because when you have it set up that way, essentially like the main thing the customer education doing is really helping grow that market by growing the number of addressable users with those skills mindsets. Yeah, do you agree with that? Or do you are like holy? No, I want to kind of point

Dave Derington  14:56

out here, here’s the point, the point I’m trying to make out of the counterpoint and the reason I wanted to draw some line of contention here is I’m trying to elevate what we do from an educational point of view. So you may disagree with this, but I need to be genuine and authentic about what I what I believe and what I’m hypothesizing. So Dave, repress your thoughts repressed the no, yeah. Okay. People ask that all the time. Okay?

Adam Avramescu  15:20

Don’t, don’t hold back. Let’s hear it. Let’s hear it.

Dave Derington  15:23

So I really think again, customer education is it may be eventually evolved into a much larger broader function maybe that you’re talking about a clo, but we’re we’re, we’re we’re working in, in companies in their organizational journey, is we kind of started in early and everything’s fluid, and it’s chaos, it’s wild west. And then we grow and things formulate, and you have people and functions and roles that come in to fulfill certain duties. And and then then that progresses towards you diligence, which progresses towards commonly IPO. So, you know, my view of customer education has become one of its, it’s an ever changing dynamic function, or practice that helps a company bridge the gap of not, you know, this knowledge deficit, and gets customers, internal and external. And that’s why I say customer is kind of a loose term to me, to have them embrace, adopt, and grow with you. Because the way the products are working in this new SAS world, is they kind of take over your life. Like, I worked at Outreach, and I’m like, now I’m trying to look at everything through the lens of outreach. I worked at Gainsight. I’m like, wow, I can do all these things. You’re extending abilities. So going back to marketing, I feel like we’re in parity. We if you say we belong there, yeah, I think we can and we can do. But the point is, I remember having a really great conversation with an executive about this. And we were talking about, hey, I want this certification going back to your certification thing. I’m like, Well, why do you want that certification? Is it just cool? Is it you know? And they’re like, Well, hey, this is a market differentiator. Yeah. 100%. But what is that? I mean, what is all the stuff around it that we can say you’ve got this certification. So this is about what you were saying, we’re creating education around in industry a category skills. Like I remember Gainsight, when we did the we started to talk about certification there. Because what we wanted to say is like, hey, nobody knows how to be a customer success manager better, you know, well, we’re defining that we’re working to define that. And what does it mean to be a customer success manager, here’s all the traits and things, there’s a job task analysis, you start working through it. That happened on a marketing first, because they really said we want to explore this category wouldn’t own it. Cool. But I think what you’re going to find is that unless we’re partnering, unless we’re really partnering, like, okay, you can do a case study, you can do whatever and throw that out in the world. We’ve got the the education and the background and experience to say, okay, Adam, you’re the marketing person, you got these really glorious kick ass ideas. My job is to refine those into an outcome, that is educationally sound. And it will deliver on that because you like a product marketing manager and go do whatever. But, and this has to be truly fair. We have that experience. And we want to partner and share that experience. And we don’t want to see another a bifurcation of these are a complication of skills and stuff when you have when you’re developing a program that’s just kind of half baked. It’s in great spirits and great intention that where we can partner together. That’s what I’m saying. That makes sense. Yeah,

Adam Avramescu  18:38

I don’t think we disagree. Dave, like I think we’re kind of saying the same thing. Different angles, because the question here is like, if, if marketing cares about this so passionately that they essentially sponsor or building a customer education team, and then they hire people who can actually produce like real solid educational materials around these types of things, and they’re using their academy or their customer education properties as a growth channel or as a channel to cultivate and nurture leads because they truly believe that that helping cells to quote, service rocket Yeah.

Dave Derington  19:19

Shout out to Bill

Adam Avramescu  19:20

Dan Dennis, then it’s on them to hire. Is that a bill specific quote? Or is that Rob?

Dave Derington  19:26

Well, apparently, that’s the start of the podcast helping sells radio.

Adam Avramescu  19:30

That is that is Yeah, it doesn’t come anywhere. Well, we won’t. So much, it’s fun. Yeah. Anyway, I’m already regretting calling this a mini episode. I know, I know. We’re not gonna we’re gonna we’re going full blown. We’re, we’re pivoting. Okay. It’s on the marketing team. At that point. I think it’s incumbent on them to hire a customer education leader and a customer education team with the right skill set to actually produce that and then they’re going Go work cross functionally with customer success, and product and all the other teams that customer education needs to work with. But like, basically what they’re what they’re saying, like if marketing is sponsoring it is like the primary thing that customer education is doing at that company is educating the market creating higher quality leads, yeah, ultimately, probably developing. Like you’re also developing maturity in your customer base, because you can’t really do customer education without doing that just the home that you’re doing that in as marketing, I think the danger is when maybe marketing is doing content marketing, or creating ebooks or micro sites or things like this. And they, they sort of say it’s education, but it’s not really following any sort of like instructional design best practices, or it’s not really like people aren’t actually walking away from it having learned anything, it’s it’s like, I don’t want to like I don’t want to say it’s just like a puff piece or whatever. Like there’s like really high quality ebooks and content marketing that just aren’t instructional design. Right? Yeah, that’s 100%. So that’s, that’s where I think the risk is,

Dave Derington  21:11

yeah, and I think but that’s, that’s a point of power that we we can develop between us because the experience and the expertise that a marketing team can deliver, and I’ve seen so many great marketing teams, there’s a line. And that’s what I think what you’re talking about, there’s a risky area, when you’re getting, like the subject matter might be too technical, right? Or, you know, is a point a point when, when you really are in that element, where you just as a marketing professional, and I’ve even had this as an education professional, if I don’t know my subject material well enough. And that’s not on me, you know, I can go research it, maybe you don’t have enough time, whatever you need to know when you’re out of your element. And I don’t mean to say this to be mean. But I say to like it, okay, give you a clear example, I saw one case where our marketing team was pushing, like a really cool use case. And went down this, it was really complex. The outcome of that was we had a webinar, which got people hyped. Everybody was stoked, it was like this whole new workflow. And at the end, and then what happened is it actually landed in my lap. Because there was no way to replicate it at all by the customer. So we marketed something that couldn’t be delivered upon, or and then that I spent weeks trying to figure out how to emulate it, and I was a mouse, but that that’s a real risk, because now you’re sharing something and putting it out in the world that can’t be done, or easily.

Adam Avramescu  22:40

Yeah, I mean, I think that’s, that’s part of the key when working with marketing teams is like they know very well what messaging and positioning that we want to deliver to the market. We as customer education probably know the product really well, we probably have good relationships with smears around the company, and we know instructional design, and we know how to make things instructionally effective. Well, we can work together to to marry those two things. So I think Dave, like, this might be a good opportunity for us to go into like, what what are our thoughts on how to partner well, with marketing, like what our top tips were,

Dave Derington  23:23

we can get on a soapbox too much. But so you brought up an idea in the scripting, when you’re talking about this, like sketching things out about conferences. And this is a place I have a lot of interesting. I have my own opinions I want I’m really interested to hear how they land on you. But I think we’re okay here. Here’s the scenario happened more than several times to me, Hey, we’re doing this conference. And it’s huge. And we wanted to training. We want to do education edit. And oh my gosh, you know, I always get so excited in the first time I was really excited. I’m like, Heck yeah, let’s go. And we go and we’d go to the conference, and we do some stuff. And many times it was a, it was a is terrible experience for me. And sometimes with the customers and was terrible. Wasn’t for the reasons that you would have expected. Because the idea is brilliant. I can bring we have everybody there. Right? We have everybody at this conference. And we will and much of the conferences that we do are these. Okay, who’s on stage right now they’re going to teach you about this. It’s education’s fluidly going throughout every conference, that’s what is real that’s underlying it. Its marketing, its sales. And it’s education, but we don’t really call it that. We don’t call that out. I think not well, and that but when you go through education, it’s like, Hey, we’re gonna do a one on one class product. 101. Everybody go, Okay, what if you put that on the same day as the event started? Okay. Guess what happens? Well, you’ve got people coming in and out because they wanted to go to the keynote. And then and now it’s Swiss cheese in your event. So then there’s all these other things you can do. The point that I’m trying to make is that it’s a wonderful idea done well. But

Adam Avramescu  25:17

yeah, I mean, like, just just because just because there’s like risk doesn’t mean it’s not a reason to do something if there’s Yeah, the potential for for high value to be generated out of it. And I think one thing about user conferences, or even road shows or things about that is, is you’ve got people in a place, you’ve got their attention. Yep, yep, they’ve often already blocked outside of their work and their day to day commitments to come spend some time with you. They’re in a little bit more of a learning and curiosity mindset. And we know that when people are curious, they are more likely to retain. So I think there’s a lot of good materials to work with. But logistically, to your point, Dave, you’ve got to be coordinating this well, in advance. Yeah, you can’t create the impression that you can just like whip this stuff together in five minutes, it should be mostly your existing courseware. And perhaps if you’re going to develop something new, that’s going to be delivered at the conference, you have to plan all the way back for it to be developed and to be a meaningful experience. Because otherwise your your customers are going to show up and liquidate teaching them that that’s the conversation you have to have with anyone about any course that you’re building, right, every stakeholder thinks that it takes like two minutes to record.


Right? Oh, no, you know that one?

Adam Avramescu  26:40

Yeah, we’re always we’re always gonna run into that. But it’s like, there are some, there are some ways you can consult your events, team, your marketing team around this, like perhaps doing things in a dedicated training day before the event is better than doing them during the event. Yes, sir. Perhaps making sure that the events team treats this like a main pillar of the event and is handling food and beverages and registration and all of that well in advance, making sure that if this is going to be a paid offering, separate from the conference itself, that that’s in the registration page, making sure that you have enough time to develop your learning objectives to be posted on the site, making sure that you got to have time to actually develop and practice the course right? Like you can, you can influence this by telling them, hey, you know what we’re in, we believe in this, here’s what we need to make it happen. And then making sure that your leadership also understands the level of effort that’s going to go into it because often it is an outsize investment to go do something at a conference if you don’t already have this like engine of live courses. Yeah, I

Dave Derington  27:47

agree. And one other thing, here’s a rule, a bold rule I’d like to I’d like to advocate for, which is, then this for me, if you choose to adopt it, that’s the you know, anybody listening that’s on you, I have a rule of thumb where I don’t like to really teach anything and event that I can already do virtually, or On Demand, or in IoT, you know, instructor led sessions better?

Adam Avramescu  28:11

Yeah, absolutely. Like make us use the format that you’ve been given to its advantage.

Dave Derington  28:16

Yeah. And usually what I what I like is saying, I would rather partner with a subject matter expert, and help to say, Okay, we’re going to do these individual new topics that nobody’s heard about, but then kind of treat the event, that time of the event as something where I’m developing new content, as your product evolves, and we’re coming up with great ideas, I’ve already got the education. And if I don’t have the education, I can actually use that as kind of like beta testing, because it kind of everybody there. And I and we can say, hey, this is we’re just developing, we’re just launching this new program, we want your feedback, hands free, or something or $99. A cheap. So the point is, don’t take away from your existing program that you already have. And it’s functioning. People can do that offline, do something new or different. That adds additional value.

Adam Avramescu  29:04

Yep, absolutely. I think there’s a lot of value in taking advantage of the format. When you’re bringing people together when they’re able to share their experiences in this live setting. How can you incorporate more social learning into the event possible? A couple of examples that we’ve done in the past that I think have been pretty successful are at Optimizely. We used our Opticon conference to pilot an experimentation professional course. Sort of like a non product oriented, how do we actually define all of the key competencies that go into being a successful experimentation professional. So let’s let’s pull in all of these disciplines that you need to be more effective at doing your job and we Optimizely have a point of view on this. We’re not really going to go into the product in this we’re actually going to leverage people’s experience to really talk about what’s made them successful. And we’re going to bring in some of these disciplines like, here’s what you need to know about copywriting. Here’s what you need to know about limited what you need to know about statistics, here’s what you need to know about prioritization and roadmapping, so on and so forth. And another example that I think was was pretty effective was, even though it was a massive effort was we used a conference to debut our Slack admin certification live course. So we didn’t really have a prep course for this before. And we knew we needed to create one. And so we actually used the live event as the way to start piloting what this course would be. And it was like super interactive, and there were all these like, laminated cutouts, and there were activities and like, definitely took advantage of having a live space where people could be grouped together. And ultimately, I think that was a really good way to start proving out how do we teach this skill set of being a Slack admin that like, hadn’t really been codified prior to that?

Dave Derington  31:02

I think it’s wonderful. You know, I think we’re gonna run a time. So why don’t we Why don’t we lightning around some of the other bullets we have for marketing, and then proceed, we think,

Adam Avramescu  31:11

I think we should make this a mini series, a mini series of mini, I guess I’m putting money in quotes here episodes,

Dave Derington  31:19

too. So can So let’s,

Adam Avramescu  31:21

let’s wrap it, let’s wrap up marketing, okay. In a fairly effective amount of time, and then our next episode, can be on product.

Dave Derington  31:30

I love it. And you know what, this is us working and working live and just kind of fluidly doing episodes, and we’ve got probably three now. So let’s do it. Alright, well, then we’re gonna

Adam Avramescu  31:41

love it. Love that hashtag content. Okay, but let’s still try to make this a mini and wrap up in time. So okay, let’s let’s, let’s talk about some of these other ones, I think we’ve kind of drained this one already. So I’ll say it quickly. The more you as a customer education team can focus around creating education around the industry, and job skills that go beyond your product. That’s something that’s going to help you partner really effectively with marketing, as long as marketing as bought into the idea that this is something that your team can do. You want to get marketing’s input on how they see the market and the positioning and all of that, but like, typically, they’re not going to have a super strong point of view on like, what the actual job competencies are for people working in your field, or what the actual skills they need to learn are. There’ll be stakeholders in that, but you as the customer education team can really take the reins a lot of the time on actually defining like, what is this industry education going to look like? And how do we teach it?

Dave Derington  32:39

I, I have so much to say on this, I’m glad we’ve expanded our scope. Because I think that like you’re starting in this product marketing perspective rise up, that’s what you’re talking about here. You know, the education around the category, the messaging position,

Adam Avramescu  32:53

it’s like, it’s it’s demand gen two, though, right?

Dave Derington  32:55

Yeah, that’s true. Like, okay, okay, let’s, let’s, let’s kind of, let’s bring both of that. And so I can tell you in a couple of cases, where we’re now we’re doing like this category type education, where I’ve had this almost like, Hey, we’ve got to teach people about the role. And yeah, what’s really what was really fun to me, I had the luxury of, of hiring somebody that I think, one of my favorite people, and she has, you know, an MD, that lots of really great canonical education, but also has been in our field too. So one of the purple squirrels I’ve met. And she came into this, this thinking about really like, well, this job task analysis or objectives, and you know, taking a more rigorous approach and saying, Well, what is it you’re trying to do? And I haven’t, I have seen very few people do this so well, and became quickly became the best friends of our product and product marketing team. Because she was able to abstract all these ideas, these concepts that were pivotal in defining actually the role and how a person would be successful in that. Those learning outcomes. Yeah,

Adam Avramescu  34:06

and often that’s going to go hand in hand with what marketing is trying to accomplish, right, like marketing wants to show the art of the possible with your product.

Dave Derington  34:15

Yes. But I think that I feel like that, that gets commonly in this, this might be damning or hard to hard to process if you’re in this, this place. And I’ve seen plenty of product marketing managers who are like, they’re just like, I lost, and they’re not gonna say that out loud. But it’s like, I, I can get to a point but now I’m 90 to help. And that’s This is a natural partnership, I think, where it’s what we can do, what I love to do is say like, I’m gonna break stuff down, I’m gonna workshop this I’m gonna go through all of the things about what this product can do or what this piece of the product can do, and kind of like pull out like, Okay, what do I need to be learning here in this first part? What’s the main theme? What’s what’s the problem trying to And here in this next stage, okay, well, this seems really complicated to me, can we extract this and talk about it, and your inner like taking somebody on an educational journey of how an adult learner would actually process the stuff from a marketing perspective that you’re, you’re putting at them. And that is really, it’s like a validating experience, it’s actually pretty joyous when when you go through it, and everybody’s like, ah,

Adam Avramescu  35:26

like making a video, there’s no, it’s like, it’s a really good when it’s at its best. There’s this convergence between marketing, knowing what the positioning of the product is, what we’re trying to achieve in the market, how we want to talk about the product, and ultimately, like, what the differentiators are. And education, knowing how to actually like, what the actual job skills are, or what the actual product skills are, what people’s blockers are to achieving them, because we’ve done training on it enough times to know, and how to actually teach this in a way that’s effective, that’s us helping each other solve problems. And that expands far beyond the product, right? If you really are going into education around the industry, or the category or job skills, then what you’re doing is you are helping the the company become a thought leader in its category, because you’re showing that you know, the space, and you’re helping differentiate the product in the market. So like at Optimizely, for instance, we always talked about opt averse as a competitive differentiator for Optimizely. In the space. It wasn’t just the education site, it was it was a marketing tool.

Dave Derington  36:43

That is and oh my god, yeah.

Adam Avramescu  36:45

And I think like that, like that resonates right, because that’s marketing doing what marketing does best customer education doing what customer education does best. And the two are not at odds. That’s that’s actually just figuring out how to converge around the same goal. And I think that was like my original point that that, you know, we kind of kind of gotten that point counterpoint about earlier.

Dave Derington  37:05

Yeah, well, I want to take it a little bit further, I want to talk to man, Jen. And this is interesting to me, and so many fundamental levels, that I’m not going to say I know anything about it, other than you and I, you and I have had a personal experience with cielab. Like growing up a voice, where, you know, we’re trying to bring other voices that are meaningful, and we’re having these kinds of discussions, but with experts in certain fields. The thing that like demand gems about is getting that attention generating leads. And like all the stuff that we’re talking about right now is like, okay, working with product marketing, to get content that we can use to develop that demand. And, um, this is really complicated. And now we’re getting into, but then like, where demand gen fits into that is this measurement layer. Now we’re getting to the data stack. And that’s where customer education actually has this expertise as well, because we are passionate. And this is just drives us we think like marketers in their SPECT in regard that we want to prove our ROI. And it’s second, second order, right? Because we’re a lagging indicator, most of the times I would say where you’ll do something and then you’re going to see it show up in retention or helping combat churn, but you really have to do you know, decompose the signal from the noise? It’s hard. What I want to bring up here in dimension is that I have this concept that I’m calling the double funnel, the education, double marketing, education, double funnel, which is okay, going back to the category or education we’ve got, you’re talking about up to up diverse, sorry, if I’m getting it wrong.

Adam Avramescu  38:44

Yeah, afterwards.

Dave Derington  38:46

So marketing is to help generate the excitement and interest. Education is to explain, like and really show how to, like, how can I do this? And education is broader than just your tactical? Like, I don’t mean to sound negative, like, it’s not just enablement. Natomas. I’m gonna get you here education is the entire substrate layer, broad, saying how does this all fit together? Over like, what’s the big picture? Right? And how do I do it? And that’s like, an organizational wide thing. And it’s very hard. And we’re all part of that. So the point I’m trying to make here is that when I say double funnel, I’m seeing people like VCs, like, oh, gosh, you know, companies that manage portfolios of companies that they acquire, starting to come and ask questions about education. And I’ve seen enterprise come

Adam Avramescu  39:34

Yeah, we talked to Eugene Lee for a moment. Spencer was on the show last year to Gene

Dave Derington  39:38

Hey, if you’re out there listening to this, that was really great. Why that’s important is because now I should have a seat at the table with the board. And I’ve had board Board of Directors people come and talk to me about can you tell me about your program? How does this help us from an organizational perspective? Like this is so refreshing to hear this education tie in and people thinking about not just well, how are we gonna market it? How he gonna teach? And I call it a double?

Adam Avramescu  40:02

Yeah. So I mean, go ahead.

Dave Derington  40:06

I was just saying I would call it a double funnel because I feel like we actually an education can be out even before the marketing team, because people are finding us and saying, What can I actually learn? And don’t give me the BS? Show me something. How to do this one. Yeah,

Adam Avramescu  40:21

this is this is the whole this is the whole idea behind helping sells, right. Like if I can actually like teach you something about the space or about the product, I’m going to earn your trust. Exactly. And that’s more credible. And a lot of ways to actual end users or maybe to skeptical buyers than traditional marketing is and marketing teams understand this savvy marketing teams understand this. And that’s actually why I think we’ve started to pivot from the idea of marketing as a funnel to marketing as a flywheel. Oh, yeah. And I think HubSpot were the ones really championing this this model, but I’ve heard it more and more accepted among modern marketers, that instead of it being this, like, traditional ad, awareness, interest decision, what’s the other A? I don’t know that. You know, that, that that funnel? I’m telling them proving you right now that I don’t know the marketing, decision and action long show. Yeah. But now, so it’s a flywheel, right. So the idea is like, now it’s about this constant circle of attracting, engaging and delighting and the more you do one, the more you do the next, the more you do the next. Through this kind of like evolving persona, where you go from like strangers, to prospects, to customers, to promoters. So these strangers, you attract strangers, you engage them, you delight them, they become prospects, you attract them, you engage them, you delight them, they become customers, you attract them, you engage them to delight them, they become promoters. And then once you’re like delighting your promoters, then their customers for life. So this is like marketing, becoming more holistic, this is marketing, thinking about themselves beyond just pre sales and promoters. And in a way, it sounds a lot like the mission of customer success and a lot like the mission of customer education. So double funnel, for sure, we attract a lot of credibility, we give people a great concrete entry point into what our products can do and what the space is about. But we also play right into that funnel. We do. And it’s right into that flywheel.

Dave Derington  42:21

Yeah, but then that’s the call out going back to the frame up, I said the beginning, if you’re a leader in a company, and you haven’t really thought about building some kind of an educational competency. This is this is why this entire podcast is why you might be doing yourself a disservice. Because we’re here to help. We’re here to help the build that framework and the tools actually that will help the rest of your organization with the knowledge gap.

Adam Avramescu  42:51

Yes, okay. Can we make a few straight points here before we, before we sign off to it? Okay, you talked about demand gen earlier. And one of the ways that marketing looks at demand, Gen is marketing attribution. And typically, you will have a marketing attribution tool, it’s going to be something like Marketo, engage, or appsflyer, or something like that, get your education properties into that model. So your marketing team can see to the point you just made Dave, who is actually touching your education content first. And in some cases, like at Optimizely, we looked at this, and we looked at our multi touch attribution model. And we looked at first touch attribution. And in some cases, like the education site was outperforming the corporate site in terms of where people were hitting us first, or where people were hitting us the most before expanding. Yeah, so this is this is valuable information from a marketing perspective. So work with your marketing team, to get your education sites into that model. And furthermore, this is why I think you should make your education more public than private, because you’re going to have better tracking for that. And you’ll be able to show the value that it’s having beyond who went through the login gates to get to the content, especially stuff like help centers.

Dave Derington  44:08

Agreed. That’s a really good point, like ungated. And especially earlier on, because gating is just going to slow everybody down.

Adam Avramescu  44:15

Yeah, I think Another point worth making just here in our final minutes is, it’s worth like marketing is no monolith. And especially if you think of marketing being more holistic in that flywheel. There’s so many roles within marketing, and they each had different goals, right? You’ve got product marketers, you’ve got demand. Gen, you’ve got events, you’ve got customer marketing, you’ve got content marketing. And so with each of those teams, specifically, you really want to think about how you can best align with their goals. really find out what they care about. And where you might have potential overlap, right. So like product marketing is always going to be our best friends, in the sense that they’re always thinking about positioning and messaging competitive analysis. They’re driving feature rollouts in customer education becomes a critical part of that rollout. And they can give us valuable information about what we’re trying to do with the the actual product rollout. demand gen, we just talked about, like, How does customer education support leads in the double funnel events, we just talked about quite a bit with like conferences and things like that. We didn’t really talk about customer marketing that much, but I think about them as like the, they’re like the education team of marketing, just in the same way that like, education is often the marketing team of customer success, or, you know, however, you want to use that analogy. So like, that’s usually a good one to think about how you can use your content to drive nurture campaigns and mature and get them to adopt, right? It’s because customer marketing is dealing with the customer base. So that’s a really good one. You can do webinars, nurture campaigns. And then content marketing, I think is the last one in content marketing can be your best friends, or like the biggest source of duplication. So they’re really think about like, what’s their content strategy? What’s your content strategy? And how do you draw effective boundaries? Like, yeah, what what will go in ebooks versus articles? What, what makes something like a microsite, or like a product tips page or something like this versus a tutorial on your education site? Who owns the actual property? Versus who makes the content?

Dave Derington  46:28

Yeah, that’s where I also made a point of there’s a potential risk and some of that material generating that if you can explain a cool use case, but you don’t actually give the, you know, the stuff underneath it that makes allows a customer to truly understand and implement. It’s risky, because then you’re going to put yourself in a in a weird bind, you’ve got to be able to say, Okay, well, I need a little bit more. And maybe I need to have the education team to actually draw up a nice video that explains this thoroughly, and can build some collateral.

Adam Avramescu  47:00

Yeah, and, Dave, you’ve, you’ve talked about this before, and I think we’ll talk about it more when we talk about working with enablement, like, this is a good reason to have some sort of like customer education advisory board in your company. Or, you know, you’ve suggested like, the learnings are idea where you make decisions about like, what channels you’re going to use for what and try to like, kind of draw up as many formal or informal contracts as as possible, just so everyone knows how to work in harmony and not just, you know, kind of have this ambiguity. But what are we working on? And how does it overlap the other team?

Dave Derington  47:33

Yeah, I’m really into that idea, either the board or a czar of some sorts, because if you’re not aligning, you’re, you’re going to get way, you’re going to have duplication of efforts in a way that you don’t really want your hire a lot of people, you’re going to get garbage in a lot of cases, or worse, you’re just wasting money.

Adam Avramescu  47:54

Exactly. So our next episode will be about working with product teams. But can I can I just give one like super straight random thought before we log off? Yeah. When I think about marketing, one big thing that I think marketing does is they tell value stories, and they talk about case studies. And then similarly, when we think about instructional design, and when we think about like the cognitive science behind the customer education, one thing we know is that worked examples are often a good way to enforce retention. So this is like my like, nutty idea that I haven’t really done anything with yet. But I challenge someone who’s listening to like, try to figure this out. Is there a way to align the case studies the marketing produces with the worked examples that you provide in your courses?

Dave Derington  48:41

Ooh. That’s a cool idea. I like that.

Adam Avramescu  48:48

That’s my thinker. So with that, if you want to learn more, we have a podcast website at customer dot education, where you can find show notes and other material on Twitter, I am at every rescue,

Dave Derington  48:59

and I am at Dave Derington. Actually, I’m starting to use Twitter again. So you can have mentioned me there. Special thanks to Alan Kota for our theme music. And if this helps you out, you can help us out again by subscribing on Apple podcast, overcast, whatever the all the podcasters leave us a positive review. That’s really what we’re looking for. If you like this

Adam Avramescu  49:19


Dave Derington  49:23

Oh my gosh. Anyway, help us out. We’ll help you out. We’re gonna keep doing this for as long as we can. Thanks for joining us. Get out there educate experiments. Find your people. Thanks, everybody.

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