John Wall, co-host of Marketing Over Coffee with Christopher S. Penn and partner at Trust Insights, joined this episode of Chats with Chip to talk about podcasting, marketing technology, and more.

As a longtime podcaster, John also co-hosts Stack & Flow with Sean Zinsmeister where he looks at the technology stacks used by a wide range of marketing professionals.

Automated Transcript

The following is an automated transcript. Apparently, the AI thinks that Chip and John have the same voice, so it does not distinguish between speakers. Please verify any quotes by listening to the audio recording.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the chats with chip podcast. My guest today is john wall. He’s a partner at trust insights. Welcome, john. I chip. Good to be talking to you. It is always great to talk with you, john. And it’s been a while since we’ve done a podcast together. So I’m excited to have you back. You are a fellow podcaster. So, you know, we’ll try not to get too into the weeds of podcasting. But, you know, I think it would be interesting to talk about some of your experiences of podcasters since you’ve had the wildly successful marketing over coffee podcast with Chris Penn for gosh, how many years is that now we’re in like, the 11th year. So yeah, I just say over 10, that makes me sound a little younger. Not sure. Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, at our age, we have to do whatever we can to pretend that we’re, we are younger

and and of course, you’ve got the stack and flow podcast, which I personally find very interesting, but I’m a little bit on the geeky marketing side. And that’s how long’s that one been going for now.

Stack and flow is about around two years and so yeah that’s with my co host Sean’s and some nicer i mean he’s really the driving force behind that you know this is that’s always been his baby I just kind of keep the train running and get it all together but yeah and it’s funny to that that’s definitely the geek audience I mean there’s really about 1000 hardcore listeners to that but they are just like all so into tech I mean we even as somebody in the space some of our guests I’m like man you’re crazy like you’re insane like nobody should string together 150 web based marketing and sales solutions like that’s just insane but they make it work and yeah so it’s a if you want to get the to the nuts and bolts we deliver it big time there so so for those who are not familiar maybe just explain stack and flow a little bit to folks out you know it’s obviously it looks at the the marketing stack overall but sort of explain a little bit more about that that concept because I think it’s it is interesting and and you know obviously there are at least 999 other people who agree with me so that are entered yet well there’s

Just the transformation in marketing and sales over the last decade has just been amazing. In fact, one of our guests was talking about how it’s like the modern battleship, you know, at World War Two, you would need a crew of hundreds to make this battleship work. And yet today, there’s literally about seven guys that you know, can make a battleship go if if it came down to that, I mean, they don’t do that. But it is so automated, that everything can happen. And so yeah, the idea you know, basically stack is your tech stack, all the things that you have like together because there’s just so many stories about you know, amazing things that people have done by stringing together you know HubSpot to their email solution, or even going up as far as having a Oracle customer database, you know, and having these CDs, customer data networks and all that kind of stuff. There’s just an endless source of stories and tech vendors and disasters and it gives us plenty of stuff to talk about what I think you know, for for folks who are, you know, just coming into the space so, those folks who perhaps have a little bit less gray hair or more hair than then

You and I do you know that it can be confusing the number of solutions that are out there. And, and, and there’s use or the way that you can string them together because you know there’s there’s almost an unlimited number of combinations and permutations of solutions available. Yeah. And that.

And that’s funny that this is something that has been kind of a stump speech for me for a long time. The fact that the tools are all great, but you reach a point where a human can’t even understand the meta of it, you know it everybody gets that, you know, if you have 50,000 people on your email list, no one person can know what’s going on with even a tiny fraction of those. But you can even get to a point where you have so many software tools and so many so much automated stuff running that no one person can understand what’s happening with the machine. And so trying to get around that and keeping yourself out of trouble and you see this with so many organizations now you know, everybody’s talking about one to one marketing and all this stuff and yet, here we are, you know, I’ll get an email from

Funny after having purchased something and I’ll still get emails for the next you know two months about why I should buy this thing it’s like well you know you know I’m on your customer list you know but that whole idea of you know having a do not mail list over in the second email solution you know nobody gets that deep into the software to make that actually happened and so that’s that’s why we need that show well i think the you know the the complexity you know does lend itself to problem showing up down the road you know I I’ve been involved with the setting up and maintaining you know various marketing automation platforms and email solutions and all that over the years including for my own businesses and it is not uncommon for me to go looking at some point say holy cow I didn’t realize that was still firing and and like case I probably should be paying more attention to the language of that particular you know drip email or autoresponder or what have you because you just you frankly, sometimes forget there are things out there particularly as we’re all you know, trying

To create more of the, to abuse, the term long tail content, you know, that maybe we put up on our site, you know, four or five years ago, there’s still some sort of a campaign associated with it. But, you know, we haven’t thought about it, but someone’s still found through search. And so maybe they’re getting some out of date messaging. So, you know, the, the,

I think people look to the technology and say, Wow, this is great, all it can do all these things, but they don’t properly estimate the amount of human interaction that it takes to build it and then maintain it over time. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Know that. That’s a huge part of it. I mean, there’s

so much so that it really in the show, we’ve come to a point where, you know, we talked about stack within its flow so it’s where’s the data flowing where’s it going? But pretty much for every show we’re also having a pruning section you know, there’s talk about Okay, you know, the leads been in the system for a year what happens now, and every year you do have to go back and create a fresh customer in the system and put yourself on the mailing list and walk through their shoes because

Yeah, you’ll be like, you know, three weeks in, suddenly you’ll get some email to some case study with a partner who, you know, now you have litigation going with or some, you know, insane thing or the customer blew up or the product doesn’t work anymore. And you don’t realize that, that stuff’s still running in the background. Right. And it’s, you know, so easy to get fascinated by the, the latest shiny object, throw it into the mix and and not think about Okay, you know, that that that pruning exercise, you know, how do you how do you think about how to be efficient with all of it, and I you know, we’ve just gone through this for a lot of companies with GDPR that sort of forced a lot of people to take a look at at pruning of their operations their lists their data cleaning it up and I know a lot of organizations have you know, seen their their lists dramatically dwindle after going through that process. But it’s probably for the best because, you know, now they have a higher quality core at least assuming they they did their GDPR compliance,

intelligent fashion. You know, I’ve seen some organizations that did it where they were probably

Really overly aggressive in decimating their their contact lists. And then there, you know, obviously have been others where I’m sure they’re not presently in compliance with GDPR, and they just don’t care. So, but those who did it correctly, I think of probably ended up with the, with higher value in their existing data. Yeah. And, you know, and there’s another interesting concept to it, you know, everyone, when we have these new things come in, there’s always things that happened then down the line that we were never expecting. And, you know, it’s, that’s one of our big problems as we kind of always look at the future thing within the current lens. And, you know, as we go forward, things completely change. The classic example. That one is always the Yellow Pages for the internet. You know, when the internet started, there are people that did seven additions of their Yellow Pages for the internet. But then suddenly, it was like, Oh, no, wait, Google’s the way we do that, you know, we don’t need the book. We get beyond that. And so to bring it back with GDPR, one thing that I’ve seen that’s really kind of blown my mind is that because now you have so much data that has no personally identifiable information and

You can actually trade that data around and use that data for other things. So we’ve seen cases where, you know, people are combining their data with their partners, you know, non competitors, but able to build these huge giant data sets and do all kinds of analysis now, because of GDPR, because everybody’s following the same rules. And they all know that they’re not going to get in any trouble by having anything in that data that would make it a problem to share. So now it’s easy to do more sharing, because yeah, and the short answer that too is just like you said, it’s because the quality is gone up across the board because they’re just not taking every

drunk that stumbles over the threshold

right and now since you guys since you and Chris no longer actually produce marketing over coffee in a coffee shop, right at least I don’t think you do as far as I can. As far as I can tell from listening I don’t I don’t hear the the background of the the typical Dunkin Donuts anymore. So I assume you don’t get to spend as much quality time with you know, the recovering drunks who may be

Dunkin Donuts having their morning coffee to take it over to do that. Yeah it is that is so funny and this is like a classic marketing thing and that you know the boilerplate up on the website just has the copy that’s been there for 10 years of Hey, we record in the morning at a coffee shop and we did for the first you know, six or seven years we were I mean there were times where we’re at 5am at dunkin donuts. Yeah, and there was all kinds of foolishness going on. I mean, you know, they have those alarms when the the pot of coffee a stale those would be going off for 10 minutes straight. You know, nobody even we It was a huge running joke in that, you know,

going there for seven years. We were never regulars like this to have rolled over so often that even though we were always there, nobody ever got to know her name or, you know, have any regular interaction. So they just sat there and said, Who are these crazy people with microphones and headsets?

Exactly. Who are these guys have the microphones and there was one lady at one point who was kind of there for like two years and was there mostly Wednesdays and she was kind of like, Oh, those guys are back here.

minute it was we were never getting any free coffee or anything but yeah Zen caster and which is what we’re using your onboard with to just makes it so easy to do this remote that in fact it just sounds better but yeah there have been times where I thought of maybe I should go back to the Dunkin Donuts and get a background track of some coffee noise and just I’m just going to suggest that because it was it was I always liked that it sort of made it feel I know unique and actually was that caster it’s so easy to lay down a backup tracker I’m sure that the the did you do post production as well so probably better to put it in there safe or at least than than relying on it there but yeah, that could be interesting to have that well and then it gives you a huge safety net and to you really don’t have to be as militant on the editing and the recording being clean you know because you just kind of have all this clutter in the background anyway so that hides a multitude of sins oh absolutely absolutely i was i was just recording a podcast with I think it was with Ginny Dietrich recently and

Had Skype go off and I just couldn’t shut it off it was on my secondary computer and you know I don’t know how many folks who have encountered problems with Skype lately but it is it is a pain in my took us on a regular basis you know alerts don’t come in your rings on one computer you can’t stop it even when you’ve answered on another all that kind of stuff so yeah thanks Microsoft for the update you’ve been giving us

then by the way I love Microsoft generally i’m not i’m not a Microsoft basher but but boy Skype is has had some issues anyway but back on track so I’m sure our listeners you know don’t care about that level of

weirdness so let’s talk about marketing over coffee for a minute then you know it’s it’s been around a long time it’s you know just probably I think fair to say you know the the preeminent marketing podcast out there and you know, I think it’s a must listen but you know, what, have you learned about podcasting from that I mean, how has the you know, because you’re running it essentially as a business at this point. It’s, you know, once I think from being sort of a hobby to now you know, something that’s

Actually a revenue generator. You know, how have you seen podcasting and particularly podcasting as a business evolved over the last 11 years?

Yeah, the big thing is just that it’s what, you know, Tom Webster and other people promises that the mass market has shown up, you know, finally, this, you know, 10 years ago, it was folks like us, there were just, you know,

guys that love to play with audio and mess around with tech. And we didn’t care that it was kind of tough to get to podcasts. And we love to do it. And so, yeah, the crazy thing is, I’m not doing much different than I was doing, say, eight years ago, you know, it took a couple years to kind of find the groove and get things where they needed to be. But yeah, I’m not doing that much different. But now suddenly, there’s, you know, thousands of people listening and there’s vendors that realize the

that it’s unique content and it targets a real specific audience. You know, it’s, you know, if you’re going to go advertise somewhere else, you’re going to get tons of people that don’t care and have nothing to do with what you want to do. And you know,

marketing over coffee is the classic example of being tech and markets.

You know, it’s the intersection of those two points. So if you want people that are, you know, buying advertising, buying marketing, SAS tools, this is the place to talk to people. Yeah,

I guess if you if you’ve got the crystal repent, you can’t get too far away from Tech.

He is I think he is the trickiest marketer that I know and I know a lot of marketers might consider myself one of them. But boy does he get in the weeds. Well, that’s, you know, he’s a computer science major. I mean, he’s always said that he’s an IT person that got pulled into marketing and I balance them off as the marketing guy. They got pulled into it. But yeah, it doesn’t go any deeper than him. I mean, the stuff we’re doing with trust insights, he’s doing predictive data analysis and text mining and machine learning. It’s, you know, yeah. It doesn’t get geekier than that, yeah. So what let’s, let’s talk for a minute about trust insights. You know, what, what is trust insights?

How did you become involved with it? Where’s it going? You know, what can you tell us about that? Yeah,

sure. So trust insights.

was founded by Christopher pen and Katie Roberto, my partners,

they were actually at shift insights for a number of years doing PR. And they realized that, you know,

data analysis, being able to actually track things you know, tech was taking over the entire market space there and so the whole idea behind brain

still we have just gone through a rebranding as trust insights. And so I still slip up once in a while and throw the old name in there. But we light up dark dark data is the big idea you know, every organization has this junk drawer of data that they wish they could get to they bought all these tools all this data is being collected and you know, it’s just not being acted upon. And so the big three parts of lighting up that dark data our predictive analytics where we can look at data and then make suggestions about what’s going to happen going forward you know you can plan your advertising dollars you can get your content calendar straight to match what the markets actually looking for a second we can do text mining and that’s you get over into machine learning there.

Just kind of figuring out what really happens. The best example of that. One is, you know, actually knowing what things that your prospects do that indicate that they will buy every company, you know, they may have these personas setup that they believe are the way their customers are bucket. But when you actually go in and dig into the data, you’ll find where these things line up. And you’ll see that, oh, if people look at these two resources, and do this within a week, you know, they’re definitely going to be a customer and you can line that stuff up. And then the third and final chunk is just always when people are looking at those first two things and want to do those first two things, they find out that they have all kinds of gaps in their data and their analytics and they need help cleaning it up. And that’s a specialty of ours too. I you know, it seems to me that that so many business folks, but marketers in particular talk about, you know, the importance of data and being data driven and leveraging data but, you know, my, my feeling is that most are not taking advantage of it even to probably 10% of

of what’s possible or or I shouldn’t even say possible but

What what they should be doing? You know, what,

what’s your

assessment, you know, between the work with trust insights and with the podcast and I’m you spend a ton of time looking at this space, you know, what is your sense of marketers generally when it comes to data? Yeah, that’s I don’t know. I mean, we haven’t done a formal study of it. But it does feel just like the, you know, the regular power curve, you know, you have some of these companies, you know, the Walmart’s and Amazons of the world that have more data than any organization has ever seen in the history of the planet. And they’re doing all kinds of weird and crazy stuff. But for the majority of businesses out there, yeah, they’ve set up these systems, they’re collecting the data. And unfortunately, the way and this is it gets to be a bigger thing. Looking at the way business has shifted all the way back since the 80s with so much employee turnover, and companies only working on a quarterly basis. So many companies just never get around to setting things up the right way. And, you know,

they may get somebody who comes in and cleans things up and gets things

Working. But after two or three years of doing it, that person usually has now has something so cool on their resume that they’re able to jump someplace else and make a lot more money. And so,

you know, the kid gets orphaned at the, at the doorstep there. And the next person comes in and tries to clean it up. But again, now, they don’t even know what’s being fired, or, you know, what’s happening. And so it’s, it’s on and on.

So yeah, it’s definitely not being taken advantage of. And I think we are just leaving kind of getting beyond this boom of everybody buying all the tools, you know, I mean, for the past 15 years, it’s just been, oh, my God, what do I buy? How do we set this up? And now it’s starting to transition more into, okay, we bought all this stuff and we set it all up, is it making money for us? And as of answering the questions we needed to answer what do we do with all this stuff, now that we’ve got it and so I think that’s some of where the markets now and I say that and yet, it seems like every year, Scott Brinker comes out with his martech chart, and there’s another 5000 marketing vendors on there, right and it keeps growing and growing and growing. But I do think that

whole, you know, okay. The the boards are going to be asking about, okay, we’re paying all this money, what are we really getting for? I think that is happening more and more often now, too. Yeah. I mean, I think there’s there’s certainly been a lot of, I guess I would call it short termism both in, in thinking and acting and there needs to be sort of a longer view taken. And as you say, with so many vendors out there, you know, you really need to think about how to take advantage of that data. And a lot of that is having to talk to each other properly, right? You know, there are there are all sorts of hacks that that folks are using today to make the data between different vendors talk to each other. And certainly, you know, there are certain, you know, ecosystems like Salesforce that allow you to exchange data more efficiently. But, you know, it still seems to me like there are lots of data silos just within marketing, let alone saying, okay, you know,

because the real holy grail is how do you then tie that into, you know, real business data underlying business data, but that often then brings you into the battle with other silos within the organization.

Which that’s a that’s a whole nother beast. Yeah, and that’s,

that’s the amazing part of this is that there’s all these battles going on on every front I think, you know,

sales kind of ran things for so long and marketing came in and with using email to kind of set up the inbound leads and get the pipeline going, they stole a lot of territory back from sales. But now you’re reaching that point. It’s just like you mentioned where people are saying, Okay, now we seem to have that down. Now, let’s, why don’t we try and get a whole, you know, customer data network built of all the data, you know, not just the sales data, let’s get post sales to as far as how much support are they getting and what products do they have and let’s throw the product database on there too. So now we can see how they’re using the products you know how often they break what are the most requested features and that’s suddenly getting back over towards classic it and into support and so yeah, and then

you know, unfortunately the result of all that is because now there’s so much bureaucratic red tape wrapped up and all that there’s still room for new solutions to come in that just answered

those problems where you can buy it, rather than having to build it and fight on it on your own. So, yeah, the, the innovation is not going to stop yet. there’s still room for, you know, people to go, right? And, and marketers are, surprise, surprise, good at marketing. So, you know,

they are, you know, so when you’ve got, you know, marketers within a company, they tend to market themselves pretty well. And then you’ve got marketing product and service providers, and they market themselves. Well, and it seems like the whole marketing space, reinvents itself periodically. So, everything’s, you know, new and shiny and, you know, we, we get to see, you know, it’s, you know, it’s all about, you know,

inbound marketing, it’s all about the long tail. It’s all about content marketing, it’s all about, you know, and, and so,

that I think, causes a lot of change, but it’s also allowed marketing to consolidate, I think, a lot more power in the relationship with between, you know,

that sort of general space of marketing, sales and communication. So that’s created an interesting dynamic itself. Yeah, no, that’s I had to upgrade my coffee machine. I mean, now it’s got artificial

Intelligence and it’s gluten free. I mean, I needed to have that. Well, you know it’s a gluten free coffee really is

actually to be honest with you. I’m not smart enough to know whether I can’t imagine any coffee is gluten and I’m sure that there must be some out there that does because I was I was always surprised to find out that a lot of whiteness and vegan I’m like, how can why not be vegan? That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to me. But that’s it’s just comforting to hear. It’s not that’s

exactly what apologies to all of our vegan friends and listeners.

But in any case, so, you know, as you take a look at this space and you’re being you’re being pitched by everybody under the sun, I’m sure for the podcast and you’ve seen a lot through that and through trusted insights you know, what do you see as the emerging trends you know what are if I’m a marker communicator today, what are the things that I should be thinking about for the next you know, couple of years

yeah, there’s a large

movement, again, towards just getting all this data together. And at the core that you see customer experience coming up over and over again, people are kind of finally getting back to that you can’t just be cranking out all kinds of content and just throw your product out there and hope that everything’s going to work, you know, the better organizations now are taking the time to look at every touch point with the customer. And make sure that, you know, the message makes sense. And that, you know,

the at the top end, you actually have a path for them where, you know, they’re going to go over the next couple years, and you’re going to know how much they’re worth worth, you know what they’re going to spend and where you need to put more elbow grease to make it smoother for them. And you can make it more profitable for yourself also by staying step ahead of them. So, you know,

again, we’re at this point where it’s not just now about collecting the data, but being able to do more with it and, you know, kind of keep ahead and provide more service. And then I think the other thing is we’re definitely ripe for continued rounds of consolidation and, you know, the economy can’t stay

This hot forever to. So I think companies need to be doing as much as they can to build their war chest and be ready in case there’s a downturn

a lot of this just kind of solid business management skills which, you know,

again common sense not being that common these days

but yeah and the other friends too and i think that

you know it’s just going to be the folks that can execute on what they’ve got in front of them will always have a bright future and anybody else that’s just kind of riding along and not doing what they can do to serve and improve things you know, if you’re just showing up to do your job you’re going to be in trouble right right. But of course to to really maximize profits to you need to make sure that you you frame it is cx not customer experience, because by saying cx you you clearly are way smarter than everybody else, you know that it is an industry full of buzzwords and all that kind of stuff. And having come out of the world of public policy and politics in DC where everything is an acronym. You know, I’m sort of us

To that, but, you know, for the most part, at least, you know you in DC they, they use acronyms that are actually spelled out correctly as opposed to

should be seeing folks. See,

but no, no, that doesn’t make a drop vowels. You know, it does well, I think my favorite in DC was there was a hazardous waste program. And whoever wrote the authorizing legislation had the good sense to call it the leaking underground storage tank program,

which for those of you keeping track at home, that is the lust program because when you’re talking about hazardous waste, it is so much fun to just be able to say, Well, you know, we need to provide funding for lust this year.

So I guess you know, DC has still has the the upper hand and in silly acronyms and such. So it you know, one of the things that you touched on and I want to hit it just before we run out of time here is is the whole notion of consolidation and we’ve seen

I think you know increasing amount of that in the marketing solutions space overall. You know, most recently Adobe acquiring Marquette. Oh, right. You know,

we’ve got a number of things going on. And if you’re a buyer of the services, you know, how, how concerned Do you think buyers should be about the potential for consolidation and those sorts of things? Do you think that should play any role as they think about their their choices? Or do you think you just pick the best that’s out there and assume that it will be around in some form, you know, two or three years down the road as you’re continuing to evolve your program?

Yeah, I think for smaller orgs, once you see a consolidation happen usually run away. I mean, you know, because now the fact is, there’s going to be half as many people working on the features. Now, you know, you know that the folks that have cashed out are going to run away within a year or two and go either become you know, yak Shavers or

start their own thing. And plus, you know, they’ve invested millions and making that merger come down that money’s got to come from somewhere. So odds are, the price is going to stay the same or go up as the feature improvement rate goes down. So yeah, any smaller org, if it’s your first time buying something, you know, you definitely want to just start looking at newer vendors or folks that are on the way up because somebody that’s gone through a consolidation, you definitely don’t want to be the first new customer and that the folks that do consolidation, the big ones for them are always the bigger companies that are already on board. Like if you’re already on Adobe, and you’ve already got Marquette. Oh and now you see that they’ve merged that could be great for you you know that you may suddenly see all those integrations that you would complaining about now might start showing up or even if that doesn’t happen they are they are not I mean I had Salesforce and part not and you know we still have not seen the integration

stuff years the end but I’m still waiting

for them but they will have a mark migration paths for you. It’s

You know, they may at least

give you a better price deal to get you that shut off of one and go to the, the one that they like. So at least there’s a plan for you. There’s a vision. Whereas some integrations, you know,

you’ve done with duct tape and chicken wire, and, you know, they will never improve, the vendors are never going to become buddies.

But, you know, once they get to be large companies, it’s more kind of the, you’re not looking at doing cool stuff. You’re just worried about not getting fired, because something tanks especially, you know, once somebody is acquired by Oracle, you’re not worrying about downtime, you know, that they, they will make things work and they get it done. And that’s what the big companies do. But yeah, if you’re a smaller org, ask around. Yeah, and that’s again, that’s like classic stack and flow of we’re always talking about what vendors doing something a little bit new and cool. And, yeah, you might have to, it might take a little bit more elbow grease, but because they’re new, they’re going to be hungry for your business. They’ll definitely give you a better price. And yeah, there’s an insider tip to if you’re going with somebody that’s on the way up, always do your negotiation and then as you

Get down to the finer points. Throw in the fact that you’re willing to be a reference on a case study and maybe speak at trade shows, you can always use that to get a few more bucks out of a

young and hungry vendor. That is great advice. Now for folks who are perhaps looking for some more great advice from john wall where can they find you online?

Yeah, best stop is marketing over coffee were there every week lot like your format to conversational and keep it under 30 minutes. And we’ve got the other cool part is over the years, we’ve got enough credit that we’ve been able to pull in folks like Seth Godin and Simon cynics Mitch Joel David Martin Scott and there’s a greatest hits tab you can go check out that over at marketing over coffee calm Fantastic. Well, again, my guest today has been drawn wall a partner with trust insights. Thanks for joining us.