Marketing Together #27: Activating the Hidden Evangelists Within Your Company With Jess Cook

How do you activate your team to enhance your marketing efforts? Jess Cook, Head of Content at LASSO, has cracked the code.

She joined Logan Lyles on the Marketing Together Podcast to talk about how to get your employees to become evangelists for your company.

Jess and Logan dive into the importance of getting to know team members within the organization and developing a friendly and approachable relationship with colleagues. They share tactics for involving colleagues in different types of content, showcasing the value of their contributions, and identifying hidden evangelists who can enhance marketing efforts.

Listen on your favorite app: Apple | Spotify | Google | Pocketcasts | RSS


  • Hidden internal evangelists are waiting to be activated. 0:05
  • Employee advocacy and customer advocacy. 1:42
  • How to identify and identify hidden marketing talent. 3:43
  • Pitching the value to employees. 7:29
  • Navigating the next steps after getting commitments. 10:43
  • How do you identify potential buyers? 13:42
  • How to get content out to your audience? 17:03
  • How to build trust through marketing. 22:01
  • Collaborate with potential evangelists. 27:41


Logan Lyles 0:05
There are hidden evangelists just waiting to be activated in your near bound marketing motion. The bad news, you may not be working with them at all right now, the good news is that there are some simple things you can do to activate them and make all of your marketing efforts better. As we talk in today's episode with Jess cook Head of Content at lasso, she shares a subset of the employees within your company that are a treasure trove of information, and critical evangelists in a near bound marketing approach. If you know how to find them, and activate them, we're talking about employees who were former customers, or at least formally held the same jobs as your target buyer persona. If these folks at any point have sat in the same seat your buyers sit in today, they are near bound evangelists just waiting to be activated, they can help your content resonate, they can contribute to content that lands with more trust, and they can give you insights about your audience that your content strategy may be sorely lacking. In today's conversation, we talked about how to identify these team members, how to get them involved in your content, marketing, and specific tactics to get them involved in different types of content per the individual. Jess even shares how tapping her team members at lasso that fit this mold actually helped them create a product launch video that was infinitely better than it would have been otherwise. Alright, let's hear from jazz about how we can go further faster. As we're marketing together with these internal evangelists, people

Speaker 2 1:42
within your company who either wasn't Once a customer of yours, or if they were at your company would be a buyer or a user of your product. So at last, so that is anyone that has kind of live event production experience, crewing or scheduling experience, event warehouse experience, anyone that has a background in live events and producing them and putting them together and planning them. They are a hugely important resource for us and someone who I am regularly going to to get insights and information to help power our content.

Logan Lyles 2:28
I love that. So as you and I were talking offline, you wanted to be clear, like, there's employee advocacy, where we're just talking about, you know, being an advocate or being an evangelist for for the brand, just by kind of repping the brand. And oftentimes we look at the entire company, no matter your role, oftentimes that starts in the GTM team, but throughout there. And then we talk about things like customer advocacy, what you're talking about is kind of blending these two looking into the organization and who has been a customer in the past? Or who fits the buyer persona that you're trying to reach with your content. Am I summing that up? Right?

Speaker 2 3:05
That's exactly right. And we do actually have a couple of folks in lasso who were once last Oh, customer. So they used to use the software to schedule crew to travel crew to, you know, clock their time, things like that. And when loved the company so much that when we had an opening they they made the jump and came to us. And so they're also just a huge kind of fountain of knowledge in terms of what they loved about it. What was the process that they used to before they had last? Oh, why did they decide to bring last on at their previous company, things like that?

Logan Lyles 3:42
Yeah, I love that. And it makes a ton of sense. I've even seen that, you know, in my We're a project management platform, but built specifically for scaling client work. And agencies are really our core ICP. And I've talked with a few members of our team who have worked in an agency in various roles, maybe they were a project manager, or maybe they ran an agency. But the the point there that I noticed that you're kind of closing in on is there are people within your company that may not be apparent to you, but at some point in their life, they sat in the seat of your buyer, and that's why they can be so valuable in marketing together with these folks. Why do you think just that more marketing teams aren't kind of taking this lens and proactively looking within the organization? For these folks, you know, your your hook on your LinkedIn post was, you know, a an incredibly untapped resource for marketing teams. Why do you think so often we're leaving them on tap?

Speaker 2 4:42
I think part of it is that it's kind of an afterthought after customers or prospects, right? We We rightfully go first to customers. We're like, we gotta get their insights. We got to talk to them. I've got to watch sales call. And I think maybe another factor is, it's not obvious who they are. You have to do A little bit of sleuthing to find them. Right? You have to talk to somebody who's been there for a little while to figure out like, who here, you know, has worked in a warehouse before? Who here has scheduled crew before? Right? Do you know of anyone? Oh, yeah. Hey, you know, Tracy actually used to be a customer of ours, you should go talk to her. Right. It's not, for whatever reason, something that is documented in most companies. So, you know, I think customers definitely overshadow them. And, and sales even overshadows them? And then, you know, it takes a little bit of work to find them.

Logan Lyles 5:35
I think you're exactly right, Justin, it probably taps into a common problem that we have on marketing teams is that, you know, sales is all about the one to one, the context, this specific relationship building, marketing is meant to scale the message and do things that scale? Well, some of these things that can scale have to start with the things that can't. So I think that part of the mindset shift is, if you're going to tap into a hidden resource, you've got to start with some of these things that don't necessarily scale in order to see the benefits out the other side. Is that fair?

Speaker 2 6:10
Yeah, such a good point. Absolutely. So yeah, kind of tracking those folks down, you know, understanding what their experience in the past looked like, and how that maybe applies to the message you're trying to get out. That's all a lot of like, journalistic work, right? It's not something where you can just kind of push a button or again, that it's documented or anything like that. So yeah, requires requires a bit of elbow grease in order to get it done. And then once you have that, once, you know, oh, this is kind of my go to person for kind of this topic, or I've got two people over here that I can talk to about this, you know, then you should document it one, because Help Help a sister or brother out who's coming onto the team next year, or you know, the team of the future at your company. And to have that way you can start to scale it the rest of your marketing team then knows who to go to for those topics.

Logan Lyles 7:06
Yeah. So you answered kind of my next question of how do you go about identifying these folks, and you touched on one of my favorite themes in marketing right now, is that journalists make great marketers. And even if you don't come with a background in, in journalism, like myself, and other people who have been guests on the show, you can learn a lot from a journalistic approach that can benefit you, in your marketing. And this is yet another example of that. So I like what you said there in documenting it creating a list of who are these folks don't let that just die in Slack or an email or a one off call, start to document that? What are your thoughts just about then pitching the value to these folks, because just because you've identified them doesn't mean they're going to be willing, they're going to get it, that you're going to create a good relationship with bringing them into the marketing. So what were some of the first steps you took once you identified some of these folks? Within lasso that, hey, these are employees who have at one point set in our buyers seed? How do we go about pitching them on the value and activating them,

Speaker 2 8:13
the first thing is just sit down and get to know them. So my first couple of weeks at lasso, I figured out who you know who those folks were within the organization, I just put 30 minutes on their calendar to get to know them as people to understand what their background experience look like, to kind of understand, like, you know, hey, you know, what about this? What did you do here? And what was that? Like? Right, just really try to understand like, what do they know? What, where could I? What point could I come to them and get some more information once I need it down the road? So I think first off is like just get to know on become, you know, become buddies have a quick coffee zoom. You know, because I think people are much more likely one to help someone who is is, you know, seen as kind of fun and kind. And yeah, I'd like to work with them. That would be great. Right? So I think that that's really important. And then second, once you've kind of established that relationship is you have to show them twofold. I think you have to show them how to work with you. I think not a lot of people outside of marketing, really understand all that goes into a piece of content, and all of the kind of the research and insight gathering and all of that. So I think you have to kind of take them behind the scenes a little bit. And then to I think you have to show them, you really have to kind of treat them like the rock star make make the light very make the lift very light on them. So that it doesn't feel like a chore, right? Make it feel like they are the star and you really need their insights because you do you want to hear what they have to say. And then actually I'll add a third and that is show them the impact that they had. So you know, you turn this piece of content around, it does really well make sure you're shouting them out on Slack and making sure people know the contribution they made, because it's going to make it much more likely that others are going to see that. And, you know, understand like, Oh, hey, Danielle, you know, she talked to jazz about her experience, and her background, and it really helped inform this piece of content. And then it helped us land to new deals, like, that's awesome. I want to be a part of that. Or if she comes to me, I'm gonna help you know, it makes a difference. And I think that's what you have to show people.

Logan Lyles 10:33
I love the her line there about treating them like a rockstar, like, Listen, you weren't on the Talent Team, you were an honorary member of the talent on the marketing team. Now we're phrasing it some some way like that. I love those three tips just as you get beyond that. And if you want to share a particular story, or just how you think about this in a framework, would you suggest other marketers who are heading down this road? They're following your advice so far? Is it? Have you found it better to work with these folks, and create some sort of regular cadence or to just say, hey, here's something small, let's get a quick win. I'm not asking for a big commitment. But like, Can I interview you and turn this into a written piece before you ask them to be on video or those sorts of things, talk to me a little bit about how you've navigated the next steps. Or once you have a commitment, in theory, doing the first things with these little mini evangelists that you're activating within the company.

Speaker 2 11:33
Yeah, so a lot of that you will kind of figure out in your first meeting with them, right, where you're trying to just establish this relationship. Some people, it's very obvious, like, they're not an on camera kind of person, they just don't, they don't feel comfortable, they don't care for whatever reason, maybe some people are very into that myself included, I, I have no problem being in front of a camera, and you can kind of tell that about a person. And sometimes you have to, hey, if I ever wanted to come to you, you know, if I had questions about this, would you be willing to be on camera, and some people will say no, and that's okay, you, you can still use their insights and their knowledge in a different way. Right, that's, that's okay. But if you can find those folks, like, definitely make a note of that as well, we have a we have a document within lasso that has kind of everyone's name in the company that fits this kind of description of someone who has, you know, was once a customer or has some sort of background and events, and what they are willing to do with us because again, like, if we hire someone down the road, I'm going to need them to know that pretty quickly, I don't want them to have to spend time figuring that out, I already did that. So that is that is really, really important. And then I think it is, you know, testing the waters with them, again, making it very easy for them. Some people love to write, and they're very willing to write you, you know, 1000 words on this one topic and handed off and feel free to edit, you know, as much as you need to. Some people don't want to take that time. And so you kind of have to figure out well, how do they like to work and you are going to have to adapt, adapt to their way of working. And that might mean I interview them for 30 minutes, and then I take those insights, and I put them into some sort of, you know, blog post, or, you know, I've worked them into something I'm working on or use them as kind of background information to, you know, build an ebook, or whatever the case may be. But, you know, I think you have to kind of figure out how they want to work and then working that way, again, just make it really easy, because you want them to come back and want to do it again,

Logan Lyles 13:42
that makes a ton of sense. And so what I hear you saying there tactically just is identify these folks back to your other point earlier, document who they are, document what they know, what are there specific knowledge areas, which you kind of mentioned before you even go to them and say, Hey, you fit our buyer persona, you would be great to be involved. You're just approaching them and asking them questions about what they know, kind of quietly in the background, you're like, well, they have some knowledge on this, they have some knowledge on this not in a deceptive way, but just in a in a approachable way to start doing that sleuthing. I think as you as you put it earlier, and then you're adding to that list of here are the people here are their knowledge areas. And then here are their areas of comfort or what they're willing to do or the types of content that might make sense. Others might be great for video and podcasting, others for written content. And my Am I kind of painting a picture of the list you guys have built well and is are there any other criteria that you start to document as you think about scaling this?

Speaker 2 14:46
Yeah, I think I think you nailed it. And as for criteria, you know, I don't I don't think so. I do think that there is you know, going back to those folks who maybe aren't as comfortable on video. One way that I love to approach those folks is just like a Slack conversation even, hey, I'm thinking about doing a piece on this. What, you know, what, what does that what are your thoughts there? Do you have any like heartaches or any experience with that, and a lot of people are willing to like, you know, send me a even if it's just a quick paragraph that at least let me know I'm I'm moving in the right direction I have a panel of folks that are from, you know, that are kind of fit that fit that bill of, you know, would be potential buyers, who I read memes past, I will literally send it to them and be like, Hey, guys, is this funny? Because I think it is, but I'm not that person. I'm not the right audience. I don't have that background. And so most of the time, they'll be like, yes, but it shouldn't say use this word instead or tweak it to do this, you know, that'll make it just that much funnier. And so I'd love to check in with those folks as like a gut check on does this resonate with you? Is this right? Are you feeling this? Is this a story or not? And and for the most part, they're very, very willing to share their opinion.

Logan Lyles 16:13
You I can just see your Slack channel internally. This is like memes spot check. Just as dropping another meme to see is it funny kind of reminds me of trying out new puns on my kids. And I know, Oh, that one's just for the dads. It's not actually for the kids because I got an eye roll. And I think that's another way to make it approachable for folks as well. Like, the basically the way I would sum that up is you're not always just coming to them and asking for formal contribution to the content, you're coming to them regularly, whether that's as you're just getting started, or in between these formal collaborations, just asking for their contribution or air or asking for their opinion on your content that may actually not involve them, because then they might lean forward and be like, Ooh, can I contribute to that? That sort of thing? So I think that makes a ton of sense. You know, one of the things just that I've talked about before is that I often see there are two challenges with getting content out of folks who have the experience, whether that's a podcast guest or an internal employee, like we're talking about today. One, sometimes they struggle to know, what is the content that they have that's worth sharing. And two, they may struggle on number one, and number two, to figure out how to package it, how to present it. Oftentimes people's mind goes to this just on video or on podcasting, but it can apply more broadly. How do you think about solving for some of those challenges as you work this motion into your marketing.

Speaker 2 17:51
So something I actually have a great story for this Logan. So we were launching our inventory product earlier this year, which just some quick background in that, essentially, a lot of that production companies have enormous warehouses full of gear, right, microphones, cables, lights, rigging stage components, and they have to inventory those things because they're moving in and out of the warehouse going to events coming back. And we launched an inventory product so that companies could inventory all of their gear in the same tool that they scheduled their crew and book, their travel and all of that. So I wanted to sit down with the people in our company who had warehouse experience who had used an inventory product before and I wanted to hear about what that was like. So I gathered a handful of them. And so I think that's the first tip is, if you have more than one of these folks, get them together, because what happens is, one person will say something, and another one will be like I have a story just like that, right? And they'll rattle it off, it will spiral it will snowball and you'll get five or six times more information and stories and narrative and insights than you would if you just sat down with them individually. So that's kind of the first tip sit down with a group of them. And I just kind of, I think the second tip is no one to stop talking. So just like ask a question. And sometimes there's like, you know, nobody wants to be the first one to like jump in, but like let there be some awkward silence and then all of a sudden it'll start rolling. And then just listen. And what happened with this particular group was I had asked a couple of questions. One I wanted to know, what is it like to have to work with one of these inventory systems, right? And so something that stood out to me was they mentioned that everything has to have a barcode. You have to put this physically put a barcode sticker on every Keeble every microphone, everything. And that stood out to me, I found that really interesting. And then the second question that I asked was just like, if I'm going to close my eyes describe to me what it feels like in this warehouse, what it sounds like, what it smells like, like, give me the full experience, right. And so they're all going into the stores. It's so hot, they're never air conditioned. It's really noisy. It's like echoey, there's, you know, floor to ceiling shelves, people pushing stuff around, right. So now I have kind of these two bits of information. And I wanted to come up with a launch video for this inventory product. And so in my mind, with these two pieces of like, little just kind of passing thoughts that they had given to me was we created this video where it's kind of a first person view, someone in a warehouse walking up to, you know, big kind of, oh, gosh, like a roller box, like a giant case of equipment. And they walk up and you see them kind of slap on top of an old barcode, a new LaSalle barcode. And that was it. That was the moment Right? Like it was just kind of a visual signal to anyone who had an experience in a warehouse who worked for an event production company that last Oh, now has an inventory system. And I got that just from sitting down with these people and hearing about what the experience was like, and what using a product like that was like, and I don't, you can't get that anywhere else. So I think you know, just like Ask, ask, really ask questions that are going to bring up stories and emotions, get a few of them together, if you can, and then just zip your lips and listen, because you're going to get some gold out of it.

Logan Lyles 22:01
That is a fantastic example. And I love your tips there, get them together, because it'll eliminate some of that. I don't know what to say that sort of stuff. And it can snowball be comfortable with some silence. So you know, again, that journalistic training, ask a long question, get a short answer, which I'm still bad at even as many podcasts as I've host. But ask a short question, let that silence set and ask questions trying to get the details out that you couldn't google, those are things that no matter how much online research you did, about what are the challenges for this, and that, it's just not necessarily going to come up. And one of the themes of this show is that we've been talking about the importance of trust in our marketing. We are, you know, beyond the days where data was really powering everything data we have about our customers and prospects and ways to get in touch with them, and the information that they can consume, right. We're beyond that age. And we're into a new age where trust is really fueling things. And I think in the example that you just shared there, the moment that they saw that video, and they slap that barcode sticker on there, like, they understand what I have to do, they understand what my day is like, they're not just, Hey, we have a new inventory system, and it has these features and these benefits. And you can tell that no one on the marketing team ever spoke to someone who sat in their seat it, it, I think the factor of trust cannot be overstated in this example, because it helped you create something even if they weren't featured in it, coming from them, where that video actually landed with a lot more trust with your target audience.

Speaker 2 23:51
It's like the visual equivalent of an inside joke, right? You get this if you are in the know, in this industry, it is an immediate, like, winking at you. And I think that that is that is huge. And I think that's why you have to, I think that's what you know, this isn't even marketing. This is just when you are building a product like that, you either have to get really close to the people who are going to be using it or you have to bring them into the company because you really, really need that insight and that level of credibility to build trust through marketing.

Logan Lyles 24:31
Absolutely. Well, one of the as we round out the conversation today, just I want to open it up to you for any other tactical advice that you would give to folks who are thinking about this, maybe they've done it as a one off, you've already given some good advice on make sure you document it, approach them, you know, not with a big pitch but getting to know them first and then some of the things that you shared just there but I know you've leveraged some certain to roles that have helped you scale this a bit. Any other tools, tips or tactics you would recommend in activating these evangelist employees who at one point sat in your buyer seat? Anything else you'd add to help people execute on this motion going forward?

Speaker 2 25:16
Yeah, actually, I do have a tool I love for this. So I use vouch, which is like an asynchronous kind of video collection tool. It's vouch., actually is the website. But, but it really allows you to, like, create a handful of questions, send those questions to, you know, those folks on your team who kind of have sat in those buyers seats before, and then they on their own time, their own terms can kind of turn a video answer around to you. And I think that does a couple things. One, again, it's a light left, it's like, you know, hey, if you can make this less than 60 seconds, that would be amazing, right? So it's just like, all you got to do is turn this around. To it's actually pretty easy, even for folks who get nervous around video, because it's kind of done on their own time, they can wait till they're good and ready, they can get as many takes as they want, it doesn't have to be like the first take, and you're done. And there's no do overs, right. So that's, that's kind of a feature of it that I really like. And then what it does is it collects all of that for you, on your on your vouch kind of like dashboard. And then you can go through and grab those videos, and, you know, use them on your marketing or not, but at least the insights are then collected there. And if you have a great soundbite, Hey, can I use this, you know, why just want to post this on social or we're gonna you know, use it in this video, or, we actually did something like this, where we asked some of the folks in last Oh, that kind of have, you know, have event experienced before, you know, like, tell us about the chaos of like, tells a story of a time where got really chaotic, producing an event. And all the stories they went into, were amazing, you know, they're like, we got the whole event ready. And then and then the carpet showed up. So we had to take everything out, put the carpet down and put everything back in an hour, you know, and they're just going through stories like that. And we were able to kind of take them through vouch and string them together in a really great medley that just like you can feel the weight and the pain of these, the chaos of events in these people's voices. So it's a really great tool, it makes it really easy to leverage your subject matter experts in a really simple way.

Logan Lyles 27:41
I love that I am always a fan of finding another great tool to speed up your content production, especially if it allows you to collaborate with potential evangelists as we've been calling them here on the show. And I think that's a another great example, pull those in up, upload those into the script, edit those allow the script to you know, pull out your filler words in the in the spaces, add subtitles to it, there's just one way that you could use that. As I know, that's another tool you and I both use in our content marketing tool belt. Well, I think you've given people just a ton of tactical things to, to do here. And the last thing I'll comment on what you just said there is, I think for a long time, last 510 years, at least in b2b marketing, we've been talking about the importance of storytelling. But oftentimes we don't talk about the importance of story finding. And oftentimes, we don't have to be the architects of the story, we just need to go to these folks who have the stories to tell. And that's what I heard from what you shared there, that if there's one takeaway, the if even if someone isn't going to follow your complete framework to activating these sorts of employees who have sat in the buyer seat, just go to some of those folks and ask them, Hey, do you have a story about x? And then just wait for the responses like that is one very simple way to just ask that question and then see what you get. And then if nothing else, even if you don't use that in a piece of content, it can help inform you in the way that you write about that thing in the details that you're able to include in that video, as your example pointed out, or something like that. Well, just, this has been a great conversation. I know you've got your own podcasts on marketing. So tell us a little bit for any fellow marketer out there who'd like to stay connected with you and connect with you as appear or follow more of your content, what would be the best way for them to do that?

Speaker 2 29:35
Absolutely. I am on LinkedIn and love to post their posts just about every day. I'm on threads. I'm not a Twitter person. I'm now a threads person. So that's exciting. If you're if you're on threads come find me I'm that Jess cook. And yeah, I do have my own podcast. I'm co host of that marketing baby. I cohosted with my marketing bestie Susan Winograd. She is kind of the media mind and I am the content mind. And so we're really nice little 360 marketing package and we just talk about, you know, whatever our heart's desire and about 20 to 30 minutes for each episode so definitely check it out.

Logan Lyles 30:21
Perfect. I would suggest if you're listening to this, go connect with Jess on LinkedIn, follow her on threads and subscribe to that's marketing baby as well. So just this has been fantastic. Thank you so much for being my guest. I'm glad that we finally got to connect one on one after a lot of time in each other's feeds on LinkedIn. So thank you for being our guest on marketing together and really appreciate it.

Unknown Speaker 30:44
Yeah, this was a blast. Thanks for having me Logan.

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