Customer-Led Growth Through Podcasting with Forget The Funnel's Claire Suellentrop

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This is a podcast episode titled, Customer-Led Growth Through Podcasting with Forget The Funnel's Claire Suellentrop. The summary for this episode is: <p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Claire Suellentrop</a> is a Co-Founder and COO of Forget The Funnel, a product marketing and growth consulting firm, and joins the show today to dive into the customer-led growth framework.</p><p><br></p><p>In this thought-provoking episode, Lindsay and Claire share customer-led growth strategies, uncovering the secrets to success in today's marketing landscape. Discover the power of customer-centric content and its impact on podcasts, and explore how to leverage customer research and build meaningful connections with your audience. Tune in for practical tips and inspiring insights as we navigate the future of marketing strategies. Prepare to transform your approach, adapt to challenges, and embrace customer-driven success.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Listen in for:</strong></p><p>👯 02:27&nbsp;-&nbsp;05:55 The power of human connection in Forget the Funnels journey</p><p>📣 06:11&nbsp;-&nbsp;11:02 How listening to their audience sparked a successful workshop series</p><p>🔥18:17&nbsp;-&nbsp;22:20 The resilience of customer-led growth</p><p>🫡 23:24&nbsp;-&nbsp;26:01 Empowering Marketers: How to get started with the customer-led growth framework</p><p>🔮 29:51&nbsp;-&nbsp;31:51 Customer-Centric Content: Paving the way for the future of marketing strategies</p>
👯 The power of human connection in Forget The Funnel's journey
03:28 MIN
📣 How listening to their audience sparked a successful workshop series
04:50 MIN
🔥The resilience of customer-led growth
04:03 MIN
🫡 Empowering Marketers: How to get started with the customer-led growth framework
02:36 MIN
🔮 Customer-Centric Content: Paving the way for the future of marketing strategies
01:59 MIN

Lindsay Tjepkema: Welcome to The Casted Podcast. It's the destination for the most innovative and forward- thinking marketers in B2B, like you. Each week I host conversations with brilliant marketing leaders on the tactics and tricks that they're harnessing to reach their revenue goals, rev their thought leadership engines, amplify their marketing voice in the marketplace and ultimately drive real business results. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and co- founder of Casted, and this is The Casted Podcast.

Claire Suellentrop: My name is Claire Suellentrop. I am a product marketing and growth advisor is technically what I do day-to-day. And then I'm the co- founder of Forget the Funnel, which is a boutique consultancy that serves primarily B2B SaaS and other recurring revenue businesses. So we just released a book of the same name. We were going to give it some clever other names, but our feedback from our folks was like, " No, just name it Forget the Funnel." So the book and the business have the same name, and it is a manual on how to implement the framework that we take our clients through.

Lindsay Tjepkema: That's fantastic. And I like keeping it simple too, I think that when you have to name anything, there's this urge to get creative.

Claire Suellentrop: Creative. Yeah.

Lindsay Tjepkema: But sometimes just being straightforward is the best way to go. And there's nothing beats the brand recognition of consistency and repetition, right?

Claire Suellentrop: Yeah. And it's so funny getting right into marketing and customer insight and things like that. When we were working on possible titles, Gia and I came up with some other clever ones that... One of my favorites was Getting Customers as a double entendre. So we did a poll on Twitter and we sent a survey out to folks on our email list and we were like, " Here's three titles we're thinking about." And it was like clever one, clever one, Forget the Funnel. And in both places everyone was like, " Just name it Forget the Funnel. You're trying too hard."

Lindsay Tjepkema: That is hilarious. Yeah. That's-

Claire Suellentrop: We were like, " The people have spoken."

Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, that's a perfect segue because you didn't assume you knew. You didn't ask other people what they would do if it was their show. You went and you asked your audience. You asked your customer. So tell me more about that because that's this whole customer- led framework. This whole customer- led mindset is the thing, right? So give me a little bit of context on what that means to you, and let's talk about how we got into it.

Claire Suellentrop: Yeah. So the way that Gia and I first started working together years ago was we had both just left our final roles as marketing leaders at two different SaaS companies.

Lindsay Tjepkema: At small little companies that I'm sure no one would have heard of. But at the time we're small, right? So tell us what the companies were.

Claire Suellentrop: Okay. So Gia was at... Again, you're right, they were very small at the time, comparatively. So she was at a start- up called Unbounce, which is now a full suite of marketing tech. And I was at Calendly, which also is pretty well- known by now but at the time was a little start- up. We were boots on the ground on the early days of those two companies. We didn't know each other during that time and we each had our own journeys of career growth there. They were both doing very well. It was so funny. I had decided that I wanted to transition into freelancing or consulting. I didn't know how to describe that. And she, Gia, having also just left at the same time, was seeing a lot of founders and CEOs come to her and be like, " We need someone who's kind of weathered that storm from SaaS start- up to scale up because I've got a head of marketing, but they're a little bit more junior and they need some coaching." And she was getting a lot of demand for that. And so she put feelers out, Women in Tech Networking Group, that she was looking to build relationships with other consultants. So I reached out, and what we learned on a call together was that, A, our marketing philosophies are very similar, that marketing touches a lot more of the customer experience than just that top of the funnel stage, so to speak. We also both identified with this struggle that marketing teams or marketing directors within SaaS companies often face, which is you're under a ton of pressure to hit particular targets, especially when the company's funded. They are usually very ambitious, and you're just throwing everything you can think of at the wall. And you're like, " What? I don't know how to move the needle in a meaningful sustainable way. I'm trying to experiment after experiment. What am I doing wrong? Why am I not able to consistently hit my targets?" What I had learned in my own in- house experience was that customer research is the shortcut to finding all of those answers, but it's often overlooked because it doesn't sound like a shortcut. It sounds like a homework project. That was the birth of Forget the Funnel as a concept. And when we started, we were actually just a workshop series. I mean, we were a podcast before we knew to call ourselves a podcast, I guess, where we talk about our experience getting out of the weeds and getting out of that chaos mode and leveraging customer research to fuel your strategy and make better decisions and prioritize the right projects based on where your customers actually spend time and show up.

Lindsay Tjepkema: That's the way to do it. I mean, we talk a lot, I talk a lot, about the importance of human connection, and I think it's also important just to wave the flag a little bit of how you and Gia came together. I mean, it was a network, and it was just saying like, " Hey, let's align on these things," and, " Oh wow, look at how much we have in common here and what our shared vision is." And look at what that's turned into, especially with a shared prioritization of the importance of the customer voice, and I think that that's worth calling out. That's a big one.

Claire Suellentrop: Thanks. Human connection and staying connected to who we serve has been just a part of our ethos since that time. So when we were considering even starting that video workshop series-

Lindsay Tjepkema: And when was this? Just because a lot has changed over the last five years. So I think it's what era of the last five years was this in?

Claire Suellentrop: That's a really good question because, yes, a lot has changed. So we decided to do a test run and see whether it was worth launching this workshop series in the summer of 2017. So I guess exactly six years ago now. The reason that we wanted to partner in the first place was in terms of doing our own marketing individually as consultants, Gia was like, " I am a very slow writer. I am a perfectionist. It's very hard for me to just create and get content out there." And I was like, " I'm great at that. So why don't we do something together that will drive leads toward both of our businesses? It will be more fun than doing it alone. And I am better at getting out of the way and getting stuff shipped." That was the internal goal for launching this thing, and the external goal was to resonate with founders and heads of marketing at these companies. We wrote this Medium article. It was called something like The Problem with SaaS Marketing or There's a Problem with SaaS Marketing. And what it was about was that feeling that operators often face, that feeling of stress that, " These targets are on me and I don't know what I'm doing, but I also don't want to look like I don't know what I'm doing. But I'm drowning here." Our goal with the Medium article was to say, " Hey, we're going to launch a series of live weekly workshops where we talk about this problem and help practitioners figure out how to overcome it. If you are interested, sign up, and we will email you when our video series is going to go live." And we were like, " Okay. If we get 100 people to sign up, then we'll do it. If not 100 people sign up, then it's not worth the effort."

Lindsay Tjepkema: Again, you were listening to your audience. You were listening to the customer.

Claire Suellentrop: Exactly, yeah. Yeah. Listening to the customer, not wanting to do work that was not going to resonate. And it had legs. I mean, within a couple of hours of launching the article... Of course, we had a promotion strategy. We had tapped other friends in SaaS to be like, " Hey, share this on Twitter." Yeah, it wasn't magic, but we had 400 signups by the first day. And we were like, " Okay." And I mean, Lindsay, the responses that were coming in from these operators, going back to that emotional connection piece, they were so real. There was one that was like, " I've been in marketing for a while. This is my first job in SaaS. I feel like I'm under so much pressure. I was genuinely considering whether I should quit my job, but then I read your article and I realized it's not me. I'm not alone. So I can't wait for your series. I'm going to see if I can stick this out." They were so raw. That was the beginning of what is now a consulting business.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Oh my gosh. There's just so much there, because I think especially in B2B, my whole career has been in B2B as well, we can tend to feel disconnected from the human. And I've had the luxury of working in some really hip and cool verticals and industries. I've also worked in some very not, and, " This is boring. How do I make anything fun out of this?" Yes.

Claire Suellentrop: Very boring. Yes.

Lindsay Tjepkema: I'm not going to call any of them out because I don't want to call any of them boring, but for real boring. And so I think that we can feel really disconnected. But, at the end of the day, I mean, businesses are made up of humans, business is human. We all want human connection, and it's humans at one brand speaking to humans at another brand, and how do you make those connections? And the best way to do that in any situation is to listen and to say, " Hey, if I do this thing, is that going to be of value to you?" and see where you can provide that, that you can really lean into that human need and say, " Is this a thing that would be helpful?" And when you can tap into something that, regardless of what... I mean, you're talking about marketing, things that are really afflicting marketers, and so, yeah, that's your job. But if you can tap into something that really is affecting someone and say, " Hey, if I did this, would this make a difference?" I think even one of the many outcomes of that is being able to see the impact that you can make as a B2B marketer, like, " Cool, if I do this thing, it's not just going to be like, are people going to click?" It gets so dehumanized, like clicks and leads and traffic. And if you can say, " Hey, if I do this thing I already know, people have told me that it would be really important to them," that matters and that's pretty cool.

Claire Suellentrop: I also very much enjoy the world of B2B. It makes more sense to me than the consumer space. And we've worked with consumer brands. We've worked with a lot of what we have termed prosumer brands, so an invoicing tool for micro, micro businesses. And so, yeah, it's a business tool, but they're making the decision on a personal level. Across all of those, even in the most enterprise boring B2B space, people are experiencing problems in their day- to- day, and the goal is to understand what those problems are, how they describe them and, yeah, provide value. It sounds very, I don't know, cheesy. It sounds very kumbaya, but that's what works.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Some of the best things do. I mean, I don't know. It is. I'm with you. It sounds that way, but it's so important. It's like soft skills. It's like they could not be more important. Okay. So this, again, timeline, I think, of this is really interesting, at least to me. So this is 2017. Tell me a little bit about the run- up to... I don't know. Let's just pick the year 2020 for no reason whatsoever. What did those years look like as far as your work with Gia and putting this all together, and you have this workshop that's also kind of a podcast? And when did the book come into play? Tell me about those next couple of years, and then I want to, for no reason whatsoever, ask about what happened in 2020 and beyond.

Claire Suellentrop: Gia had had a book in her head from the day we first connected. Originally, her mental model of it was going to be very much about customer experience mapping. When she was in that final in- house role, she was in San Francisco for a conference and ended up visiting the Airbnb offices because she had a friend who was on the product team. She saw the early, early iteration of what has now been very widely shared, which is that... They called it, I think, Project Snow White, where they created this visual documentary of an Airbnb customer stage by stage wanting to go on a trip, searching for ways to book somewhere to stay, finding Airbnb. They had mapped the customer experience from the customer's perspective, not from the business's lens, all the way through to them having a wonderful trip and eventually even listing out their own room in their home as an Airbnb space. And the product team was using... Again, it wasn't near as polished at the time that she saw it. The product team was using this to make decisions. They were using this to plan features, fix bugs. They had taken the customer experience and operationalized themselves around it. And she was like, " This is amazing. We have to do this." Because before that, they'd been using consider, evaluate, buy and pirate metrics, which there's nothing wrong with pirate metrics, but they don't go far enough because they don't take your customer's experience into account. They're like a generic starting point. She and the head of product, head of customer success, they locked themselves in a room when they got back to Vancouver. They made one of these maps for their ideal customer. Thankfully, they were early enough in the business that she had the opportunity with these founding team members to scale everything around that customer experience, and it was just super successful. And so she had wanted to write a book about the power of that process and how aligning your team around the customer just makes everything way easier and keeps you focused on who you're serving. And then when we met, I brought with me a wealth of experience in gathering customer insight, so uncovering what that actual journey was. So when we met, we were like, " I have the insights gathering piece of this puzzle. You have the applying the insights piece of this puzzle." And those years, 2018,'19,'20, looking back, those were the years we were trying to figure out how to systematize our knowledge and turn it into something that we could repeat. It honestly wasn't until, I would say, midway through 2020 that we really started to get there.'18, '19 were a lot of flying around, figuring out who our ideal client was, like where could we provide value? What businesses were too small? What businesses were too big? We were continuing to run Forget the Funnel as a workshop series. When it started, it was just the two of us as talking heads, but we expanded and we would bring guests on. Sometimes we would do a live Q& A with our attendees. Sometimes we would do a tear down of a SaaS resource. So we would have people submit their homepages for review or their pricing page or email nurtures. And then it was in 2020 that a couple of things happened. Right as the pandemic hit, we were working with a company that served restaurant groups. Great. To the point you touched on earlier, it was a pretty heavy lift type of product, pretty enterprisey. It was like, we are your operating system for your front of house and your back of house. We are a long sales cycle type of product and we are heavy implementation, and now all these restaurants are shut down and no one is looking for that software. Everyone's trying to just survive. So we had to try a new approach. We didn't have customers to learn from because none of their ideal customers were buying. And we were like, " Okay, let's adapt here, and instead of learning from customers, let's do some research on what problems businesses are facing and what solutions they are looking for." And a niche we saw in the market was businesses that had previously been offline having to rapidly figure out, "Now, how do I go online? How do I get online ordering set up? How do I switch from being fully analog to digital?" And so we ended up working with the product team to basically reposition one particular feature, which was online menus and an online ordering system as this freemium product. We were able to gather... I can't remember the exact number. It's in the book. But at least around 1, 000 restaurants were like, " Great. I just need that to survive for now." And then later we got into the latter half of the year in 2021, those customers or freemium users, some of them did end up becoming full- on customers of the larger platform. It was 2020 and that project where originally we were going to implement our framework from end to end for the first time, then we had to adapt it. Let's see, yeah, 2020 was really the year that we started to put the pieces of customer- led growth, which is what we call our framework, it's when we started to put those pieces in place and be like, " Okay. It always starts with the research, and it's interviews or surveys. And then it's always the parsing and defining the top themes we're seeing. And then it's always taking those themes and building out that customer experience map. And then it's always working with the company to identify what KPIs actually mean customers are getting value." Though it was around, I believe, late 2020 or early 2021, my timeline might be a little bit off, but that we were chatting with someone I greatly admire, Bob Moesta, who is one of the pioneers of the Jobs To Be Done framework. He's written a lot of books. And we were asking him, " Hey Bob, we're considering writing a book about this process. We're really overwhelmed by that thought. It sounds really hard. How did you decide to write your books? And how did you make them act them actually happen?" He's the person who really pushed us to get the thing out into the world. He was like, " This book needs to exist because so many academic marketing books are just that. They're very theoretical. And the two of you clearly want to create more of a user manual. So you need to write this." So that gave us the impetus to get into book writing mode, which we have then been in for... what is that? ... two and a half years. It's been a very long journey.

Lindsay Tjepkema: You're there. You're there. And I like it.

Claire Suellentrop: We're there now. Yeah.

Lindsay Tjepkema: So here we are in 2023. 2017 to today, what I would be willing to bet you have found is that even through a pandemic and downturn or whatever macroeconomic thing it technically is that we're experiencing right now and everything else in between that we've all experienced as humans over the last few years, I would be willing to bet that you have found that customer- led growth is pretty true to itself. You talk to your customers and as you have to make adaptations, as you have to pivot or stay, just hold the line, that is pretty foundational. Would you agree? And tell me more about that looking back over the last few years.

Claire Suellentrop: Yes, I would agree. And something you just said sparked a realization. One of the major benefits of leveraging this process of learning from your customer and making decisions based on that is that when the pandemic happened, and we're seeing a more slow burn version of the same thing right now, the makeup of many products, customer bases changed overnight. In some ways that was incredible, and businesses were just drowning with demand. So the Miros of the world and the Looms of the world, all of those remote tools or remote work supporting tools, they all exploded. And then for others, they had positioning that previously might have worked, but suddenly they were being looked at on a line item sheet as a vitamin and not really a painkiller. And so for those folks, actually in both cases, but more urgently so for the folks who were losing customers, there was this very, very urgent need to figure out, " Okay, of the people who are staying with us, what's causing them to stay? What's the value we are providing them? And how do we better amplify that value across our marketing and our messaging and the positioning on our website? Plus, if we are getting any trickle of customers through the front door, who are they, and how do we go find more of those people? Because clearly they are different from the people who are firing us and reducing their budget." So there was a major need to gather that insight around that time in order to make the right calls about, to your point, " Do we reposition, or do we just lock things down and try to weather the storm?" It played a really important role in the decisions that the teams we worked with made at that time. Though it can apply in those situations, it's really, this is so broad that it's going to sound stupid coming out of my mouth, but anytime you're feeling stuck and you're like, " Shit. What do we do now?" it's a helpful way to get past that moment. So some other common reasons people might take on this type of work, a really good one actually ties back to the pandemic and beyond is a global HR platform we worked with. Basically, if I have a business entity in the US and I find this amazing hire, but they're based in Spain, and they don't want to be a contractor, they want a salary and benefits and they want to be a salaried part of the team, they want to be on payroll, I have to set up an entity in Spain, which who knows how to do that? And so this platform basically has an employer of record or an entity in all these different countries. And so if you go through them, then the process of managing all of that compliance and HR critical but confusing stuff gets simplified. So this particular company had been doing this work for a long time, and then COVID hits and there's all these copycat products spinning up because suddenly everybody needs to employ people remotely, and people are moving back to their home country or moving to just all over the place. So they came to us because they were like, " We're getting our lunch eaten." So it's like, " We had all this market share, and now there's that competitor and that competitor and that competitor and that competitor, and we all kind of sound the same. So how do we stand out in this really crowded market?" That's a very, very common problem that going to your customers to learn from can help solve.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. No, that's a really good point. I think especially now, brands, certainly those that I talk to and people that I know, are facing the same kind of thing. Things are just moving so fast. I mean, AI is just everywhere, and everybody needs AI. And the competition, especially in B2B SaaS, is just bonkers. It's just, it's-

Claire Suellentrop: It's so saturated.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, it's saturated and it's moving fast and it's changing and nothing is as it was and it's noisy. And so I think it's really important to slow down, take a breath, remember who it's for, why you're doing it, and then talk to those people. I'm glad that we've gotten to a lot of the backstory and the context because your book and everything that you're doing talks about how you do it, right?

Claire Suellentrop: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay Tjepkema: So take that as a next step. Get into everything that you and Gia are doing and read it and listen to it and watch it. But in summary, to tee that up, how do you want the marketers that are listening here to start to think about this customer- led growth mindset? And what can they do to get started, if you will?

Claire Suellentrop: Yeah. The thing that I wish had existed when I was feeling those same challenges, trying to grow a SaaS brand and being like, " What the fuck am I doing?" and I'm being a little bit silly there, but... So for Calendly, it's funny, I don't usually talk about my Calendly days because they were so long ago now. And like you said, that the landscape is just so different, but this is relevant to that problem that marketers face. When I was in- house, we did not have the typical acquisition problems that a lot of early stage brands have. We had tons of free users coming through the front door. Without realizing it was called product marketing or activation, I ended up having to learn how to understand the pain points that our customers were having and help them better get to the areas of the product during their trial experience that drove that value. Tons of customer interviews, customer surveys, all that good stuff. The light bulb moment for me was in grasping for some kind of framework to inform how I was going about my day- to- day, I stumbled across the Jobs To Be Done theory. At the time, Intercom was writing a whole bunch about it, and they were like a major content powerhouse in those twenty- teens, as you remember.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Oh, yeah. Sure, sure. Oh, yes.

Claire Suellentrop: So I found this framework, and I was like, " Oh my God. I have something I can follow now. I don't have to feel like I'm just making this up as I go." And so the customer- led growth framework is the continuation of that. So Jobs To Be Done gave me a place to start. But what we've created with this thing is not just the gathering of the insight but also the tools to help you figure out, " Okay. How do I communicate the findings across my team? And how do I get people to care? And how do we act on these things?" It's meant to help you do that work in a more structured way day- to- day, an antidote to that everything is chaos feeling.

Lindsay Tjepkema: And honestly, I think right now, like right now, I think a lot of marketers are feeling that. I really do.

Claire Suellentrop: Yes. Especially with there being a general hum of job insecurity. Folks are under a lot of pressure, and this is a way to release some of that pressure, have something to hold on to to guide what you're doing in your day- to- day.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Something to focus on. And like you said, something to follow, a framework to hold on to, to act as a touchstone, to act as a map when it does seem like everything is chaos, nothing is safe, nothing is as it was.

Claire Suellentrop: Everything in the business is changing. The team size is changing.

Lindsay Tjepkema: And again, I mean, this is my call, but I think that your framework of customer- led growth, it is true regardless because no matter AI, no matter the tech, no matter what's happening in the economy, no matter if there's a pandemic, no matter what's happening, if you listen to your customers, sure, you may not be able to do what they say... If they're like, " You do X. Give me Y." Okay, well-

Claire Suellentrop: "We want a flying car." Okay.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Right. Can't do that, but at least you know. At least you know, right? And then you can do with it what you will. At least you can talk about flying cars. You can talk about why maybe you don't actually want flying cars. You can go to the product team and say, " Everybody says they want flying cars." Whatever it is, at least you know as opposed to, we started this conversation as you were providing context, this, " Let's try this. Let's try this. Oh, those people over there are doing TikTok. Let's do that. And those people over there are making a flying car. Let's do that." It takes a lot of the guesswork out of it. I'm a big proponent of letting marketers be marketers. Let marketers be the facilitators. Let marketers be the conduit, not the expert, not the inventor, not the person who's going to solve all the problems for the company. They should be the conduit.

Claire Suellentrop: That viewpoint, I think, is really, really great. You hit on something that is super common for marketers to face, which is we all are like this. Everyone assumes that they understand marketing because we are all marketed too. The experience of being a director of marketing and having your boss say, " Hey, this other company in the portfolio is doing this, so we should do that." I know Gia did this in her last in- house role. I did this myself. You try to recycle things that worked at your last company because you're like, " It worked over there. I can do it again." Where those fall short and then why we realize, " Oh, this is where you have to start every time," is it's not necessarily the case that what's working over there or what worked for you at that other place... The context that your current customers are in could be totally different. What they're hiring your product for and how they buy, those other channels, those other tactics might be completely irrelevant. Should we be on TikTok? I don't know. Do our customers make purchasing decisions on TikTok?

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Are they even there? Yeah. Well, I think also sitting in the CEO role and hearing from a lot of other company leaders that aren't in marketing, especially now you mentioned job insecurity, marketing budgets, marketing teams are just under so much pressure and they're under fire, one way to prove the value or prove the worth or the importance of what you're gearing for is to say, " This isn't me. I don't think we should be on TikTok. Our customers say that we should be on TikTok." If you go and you say, " This is not me looking at what my friend is doing over here at this other company or reading a blog post about the latest thing," that's all data too, but if you go to your CEO or your boss or whoever that may be and say, " Here's what our customers are saying. Here's what they literally said they want us to do," even if it's make a flying car, you can say, " This is the data. What are we going to do about it?" And then you're not so alone. You're not on an island, expected to figure it out on your own.

Claire Suellentrop: Yeah. Whether it's the CEO who's looking for that level of confidence in their team's decision- making, or whether you're the person trying to pitch like, " Here's the plan. Here's what we should do," you have so much more solid ground to start from.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. Well, and before I let you go, since this is a podcast that is largely about podcasting and we do a lot of-

Claire Suellentrop: Yes. Meta.

Lindsay Tjepkema: ...talking to, going directly to the audience and hearing from people directly, give me your two cents on where you feel, broadly speaking, audio and video content that goes straight to the source, where do you see that playing now and into the future in customer- led growth and just marketing strategies as a whole?

Claire Suellentrop: Super, super good question. I'm seeing a common sentiment across both the podcasting landscape and also the newsletter landscape, which is they are both exploding right now. I'm wondering what is leaning to that? Maybe it's the fact that paid advertising platforms are just becoming so saturated and people are like, " Facebook ads aren't doing it anymore. We've got to go somewhere else." They're both swelling in terms of how much noise is out there. There's more newsletters than ever before. There's more podcasts than ever before. Where there will be winners and losers is who, in terms of podcast producers, are keeping their ear to the ground and following the problems and the pain points that their audience faces and is actively catering or tailoring their content strategy to those problems and providing solutions on their podcast to those problems? Not to say there's not a case to be made for just entertainment podcasts, but, I mean, it's honestly very similar to positioning a product. If you're a source of value and critical information, then there's a lot more urgency for someone to download and listen and stick around. If you are just pop culture commentary, that might be fun, but is it providing value? Is it something that's going to motivate someone to build a habit around listening? I don't know. This is podcast about podcast, customer research to inform podcasts. I do feel like we're in a meta space.

Lindsay Tjepkema: That's my life. It's just, yeah, it's all very meta. I agree. Obviously, I'm very biased, and having conversations with the people who-

Claire Suellentrop: Fair.

Lindsay Tjepkema: ...know the most about what you're talking about is a great place to be. And that's what people want to hear, too. We should ask our customers and make sure.

Claire Suellentrop: What's especially wonderful about the podcast format is, number one, again, there is that element of it naturally keeps you close to your own audience base, and the audio and the visual format are the best at facilitating that feeling of human connection.

Lindsay Tjepkema: A hundred percent. And that's actually scientific, that's a scientific fact. That's scientifically proven that it does, it hits different. It does create a different level of trust and connection. It is. Okay. So where can people find you? Where can people look for the book? What do you want people to know?

Claire Suellentrop: So right now, the book is on Amazon. I am on a personal quest to get it on other providers as well, bookshop. org and so on, one step at a time. So if you even just Google Forget the Funnel, it will pop right up. If you want to actually follow along and engage and start a relationship, forgetthefunnel. com is where all of our stuff lives. We have a ton of free content from all the workshops we've produced over the years. Now that the book is out, we can go back to marketing, which I'm super stoked about. And we do plan to start a newsletter pretty soon. If that is of interest, go to the site, go to our resource library and just sign up for any of our free content. I'm lazy on LinkedIn, so we can connect there. I just can't promise that I'm super active.

Lindsay Tjepkema: That is fair right now. Okay. Well, thank you so much, Claire, for being on the show. This was super fun.

Claire Suellentrop: Agree.

Lindsay Tjepkema: I love what you're doing and thanks for sharing it here. Thanks for sharing all the context of it.

Claire Suellentrop: This was awesome, Lindsay. Thank you so much for having me.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Hey, that's our show. Thanks for joining in. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, and you can find me on Twitter @ CastedLindsay and on LinkedIn. You know the drill. If you like this show, you'll like our other episodes, too. So consider subscribing, sharing with others, and maybe even leaving a review on your podcast platform of choice. And if you're ready to harness the power of podcasting for your brand strategy, make sure that you click the link in our show notes to subscribe to the Casted newsletter and to all of our shows. You can also go to casted. us for the latest content from our team of experts to yours. Until next time.


Claire Suellentrop is a Co-Founder and COO of Forget The Funnel, a product marketing and growth consulting firm, and joins the show today to dive into the customer-led growth framework.

In this thought-provoking episode, Lindsay and Claire share customer-led growth strategies, uncovering the secrets to success in today's marketing landscape. Discover the power of customer-centric content and its impact on podcasts, and explore how to leverage customer research and build meaningful connections with your audience. Please tune in for practical tips and inspiring insights as we navigate the future of marketing strategies. Prepare to transform your approach, adapt to challenges, and embrace customer-driven success.

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