PartnerUp #091 - Going-To-Market through Community with Kathleen Booth

What is up PartnerUp!?

Archaeology is a great way to understand B2B community. Yes, you heard that right.

Pavilion CMO Kathleen Booth broke down what a community is, the delicate dance between fueling and squelching one, and how Go-To-Market is being overhauled by innovators who build community before product. We get into some nerd stuff at the end as well (our favorite!)

Everyone seems to be finding religion in community, but few have the patience to play the long game. We discuss some possible “middle road” solutions easier than building or buying. Hint: it starts with a ‘P’. This one is fast-paced and hard-hitting, so buckle up!

Oh, and, btw, we’re having a community kickoff for the ENTIRE partner ecosystem. Everyone has an internal sales kickoff, but we’ve been thinking the partner ecosystem needs it’s own event. For us. By us. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, January 17th and join together See you there!

3 Key Takeaways

Huge thank you to Eric Sangerma for sharing his takeaways from the episode on LinkedIn!

  1. If you build trust, it's easier to gain users.
    Marketing is often seen as a cost center and is the first thing to be cut in times of financial difficulty. But it can become a profit center by building a large and loyal audience.
  2. Memberships versus Subscriptions
    In a traditional B2B subscription model, customers expect regular value in exchange for regular payment. If they don't get value, they churn. A membership model brings a sense of belonging which can create passionate and long-term customers.
  3. Three ways to build a community:
    1️⃣ Build a community first, before even having a product (the "Rand Fishkin model").
    2️⃣ Buy an already established community.
    3️⃣ Form a long-term partnership with an established community, which may turn into an acquisition down the road.

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Full transcript:

Jared Fuller  0:00

what is up partner up? We're back. Isaac, I was just telling you I haven't podcasted since PL X but even then pls was such a blur that I feel like we haven't done this in far too long. I'm glad to be back on the regular partner cadence.

Isaac Morehouse  0:24
Yeah, we'll replace you. You might not have even known this but I don't know we could go two weeks ago we did an episode but yeah, he did. Yeah, but will was there instead? He did a pretty he did a suitable job replacing you Jared. I don't know. Maybe Maybe you should be concerned.

Jared Fuller  0:39
Hold on. Wait a second. You said in Slack that he did a fantastic job. And then you just said pretty good. And then you're already down to suitable so I need to go listen to that one and do some quality control.

Isaac Morehouse  0:49
I don't want to you know, I don't want to scare you too much before we jump into recording another episode. So gotta you gotta keep your confidence high.

Jared Fuller  0:57
I'm really excited for our guest today. Because Gosh, Kathleen booth. Kathleen, how far do we go back? We go back to impact. Panda doc.

Kathleen Booth  1:07
Yeah, I mean, it was when you were at Drift many moons ago.

Jared Fuller  1:12
No, I think PanDa doc even Oh, you're right. You're right. You're right. Yes. Because I remember it was before he even started to drift Leah's in DC were like, come to the office and come and talk to some handful of partners that may want to do some stuff with drift and I believe you were there. That was whenever the office was in the mall.

Kathleen Booth  1:28
Oh my gosh, this we're going back into deep history here.

Jared Fuller  1:31
TLDR is that we've been in the partnerships arena somewhat together on like either side. So Kathleen, I think why I'm so excited to talk to you today. The the perspective that you bring is that you've been on the the agency side partnering up with like impact and HubSpot. You've been on the tech company side partnering, kind of like with a wider ecosystem. And now, you know, ecosystem is the combination of partnering and partnerships and community and then the content and media between now you're the marketing leader. As of October the new CMO, SVP marketing of pavilion, the biggest paid community and all b2b.

Kathleen Booth  2:07
Yeah, it's pretty exciting. I have to be honest, I've been a member at pavilion. I was there for three years as a member before I joined full time, and it's been really fun, really fun to come in house and be a part of it.

Jared Fuller  2:19
So maybe we start there. Why did you decide to go? I mean, it feels like a community's like, okay, that's like a niche thing that maybe some startup entrepreneur people would do. I wouldn't see a seasoned marketing leader at least last year. I mean, now I'm like, of course, brilliant move by Kathleen. But let's let's suspend disbelief for a second. And be like, Why would you go as a seasoned marketing leader, to help grow a community versus a business, a SaaS company, or, you know, an agency.

Kathleen Booth  2:46
It's really funny that you asked this because when I was interviewing at pavilion, I was also being recruited for some other companies. And I was in very late stage talks with a, I would characterize it as a late stage Series B stage tech company. And they were private equity funded the the recruiter who I was talking with, like, I was going into the last like presentation to the leadership team and the board kind of stage. And I pulled out to take this job. And the recruiter was like, huh, like, you're going to an association, like, I suppose after this job, you could take a job with a trade association, because you're living near Washington, DC. And I was like, No, that's not exactly what. So like, it is a totally different play. Uh, you're right. And I think to those who may be like, especially to somebody who doesn't know, pavilion, I think it could seem like that. But you know, the thing about me is that, starting really actually, back in my impact days, I became very passionate about community as a strategy. And back then I was thinking about it more as part of a, I would say, a larger play where b2b brands needed to start thinking of themselves as media companies. And I actually gave a talk at inbound about this, about this is the next evolution for a lot of the types of brands that people like me and others work for. And this was before HubSpot bought the hustle before stripe, but indie hackers, and to Bob reflets credit he was the he's the owner of impact he saw this was inspired by Joe Pulizzi, his books content, Incan killing, marketing. And so when I came in impact, what he really charged me with was this building of the media company, or

Jared Fuller  4:34
that's a new book alert. By the way, I got to just call that new book alert. I actually have not heard that one. I'm literally writing that down. Right now.

Kathleen Booth  4:40
There's two different books one is two different books both by Joe Pulizzi, who was the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, once called Content Inc, I NC, and the other is killing marketing. And killing marketing is about this. It's brilliant actually, because what he talks about is, marketing has always been seen as a cost center. And so in times like we're living in right now, right? What's the first thing you cut when something is a cost center, you cut it, you know, you cut marketing. And the book killing marketing was about reframing the discussion and seeing that marketing can actually become a profit center for the business. If you approach it with this media mindset, where you're not just marketing in service of selling a product, you're marketing and service of building a large and loyal audience. And then when you have a large and loyal audience, there are so many different ways you can monetize that through partnerships, through sponsorships or ad sales. But also having large and loyal audiences enables you to to effectively have a customer base to sell into for new products. And so this is something I became really interested in at that time and have studied a lot and, and like worked on over the years. And it's not every b2b company that's going to give you the the leash to go and do this. And, and the last thing I'll say about this is like most b2b companies, you think about HubSpot, right? They start out as b2b technology companies, or whatever it is they're selling. And then they might realize they need to move into this, like media, community mindset. But that's an evolution for them. But there are companies that come at it from the other direction that start as communities, and then move more into having products and you see it more in the b2c world. So if you think about somebody like Gwyneth Paltrow, she started goop as a blog. So she had this media property, she started to build a community. Today, if you look at goop, it's an ecommerce company. She's just she's like, I have all these people who are ready to buy anything, I'm going to sell them including crazy things like Jade eggs. And you know, she just started introducing new products. And it's the same thing with like, a Chip and Joanna Gaines at Magnolia, you know, they started out with a TV show that had an audience and now they have tons of companies that sell everything from paint to rugs to baked goods. So I think there's, we're gonna see this more on the b2b side. You know, we've seen, we've seen the evolution from tech company, to media company slash community, but pavilion to me, is that next evolution, which is what started as a community will become more like a tech company. And that's what I was like, oh, I want to be a part of that. Because that's the next step. The next evolution in the world of b2b.

Isaac Morehouse  7:20
The Oh, this is this is so good. This, I mean, that's like Microsoft clip right there. What you're saying me, Jerry and I have been talking about this and excited about this. It's almost like, if you build trust, you can gain users pretty easily, of a product, if you build a product. gaining trust is actually really, really hard, right? So like, which one do you want to build first, and they can come together, right? You can build trust through a product that you let people use. But there's a lot of ways to build trust, if you ask that question like, Okay, before I go try to sell something into a market, how do I build trust? What's the best way to do that? And there's a lot of different approaches, but asking that is kind of because because the point you made like Chip and Joanna Gaines, and all these examples, people buy their stuff, because they trust them. They trust them, as you know, personalities, people who have created value for them brought something to their life. And they know okay, well if their name is on it, I trust, it's going to be good. So I have one just like, sort of thought, but then I have a question. So the thought is, is it kind of like a radical idea? I'm not saying that everyone should do this. But imagine, imagine if you are a, you know, typical b2b company. What if you went to your marketing department and said, as a thought experiment, hey, imagine you got no budget, at all the money that you wanted to use for activities, you have to earn through things that you're selling to people outside of the company, right? So like, now, you're a media company, okay? You want money to run something, go sell sponsorships to, to, you know, the events that you're putting on, go go go get partners to partner with you on your blog. Now, that's not necessarily the right strategy in every instance. But when you ask that question, what if i What if I was forced to do that sometimes those kinds of constraints, those thought experiments can open you up to some possibilities that you didn't consider before that there is like there's ways to fund marketing activities that don't just come from getting budget allocated from elsewhere in the company. And I think that's, that's kind of like this, this marriage of media and products company. I don't remember my other point was gonna be I was gonna ask you a question. But now I got lost in my, my monologue.

Kathleen Booth  9:27
No, you're totally right. And it's like first principles thinking, right? You know, like, if we forgot everything we knew about marketing, would we build it differently going forward? And I do think there's so many interesting lessons to be learned from outside of the world of marketing and this is a failing of us as an industry if you will, that we we like all tend to think along these same lines with using the same rubric. So this is how marketing is done. But do the parallel to media. The other media interesting media parallel is if you look into like, certain types of media businesses, the other thing I've been fascinated by Studying is the difference between like subscription and membership. And so, subscription businesses, which is really what b2b SaaS is our businesses where somebody pays you regularly. And in response, they expect to regularly derive value from what they're paying for. So as soon as they stopped driving value, they're gonna churn. And that is a hamster wheel, right? Like you're constantly like, how do we prove that we're giving them what they paid for, versus a membership, which membership you regularly pay for just like you do with a subscription, but you don't expect it to regularly derive value. And the reason is that if there's a psychological difference between the two and with membership, you're joining something, that act of joining as opposed to buying, it's about being a part of something that's larger than yourself. And so the the parallel I would draw here, that's an interesting story is the Washington Post. So many years ago, when I lived in Washington, DC, I subscribed to the post, and I subscribed, I was like, I want to read the news, right? And I got busy. And as soon as I was too busy to read the post, every time I got it, I was like, I can't keep paying for this. I'm not reading it. Fast forward. And years later, the post introduced this new tagline, democracy dies in darkness. And it was right around the time of the elections. And I was like, Yes, I totally, totally believe in this, I want to be a part of supporting this, I am going to like join as a part of a Washington Post community and I resubscribed. But I'll tell you what, I very rarely have time to read that newspaper now. And I will not give up my subscription. Because it's not about regular value, it's about being a part of something bigger than myself. And so myself rather. And so this is where when we did to go back to our original point of community and the power it holds for b2b. You know, the reason that that community and this media approach have such power, in terms of their ability to change the future of b2b Tech b2b SaaS is that if you really want to develop customers for life, if you really want that passion, and you want to, you want to increase retention, it has to I think at some point, it has to go beyond simply delivering value through the product, it needs to be about creating something that's bigger than the product. And that's what to me, like, that's what pavilions doing really well, right now, like we have this mantra of kind folks finish first, you know, like Sam Jacobs wrote a book, it's now a Wall Street Journal bestseller. And so it's not just a community where we come to network, it's a community where we come to network. And by the way, we're about transforming the way business is done and getting rid of this notion of the toxic workplace and training and educating people as to how they can play a part in that kind of a future. That's the sort of thing that if you can, if you can, like bake that into b2b, you will become unstoppable.

Isaac Morehouse  12:44
How do you define community? Oh, that

Kathleen Booth  12:46
is such a good question. I didn't know I was gonna get quiz like this. So community to me, there's, there's different shades of it, right? I mean, community is a very organic thing. And I personally, where I, when I see a community that I think is really successful, it's where it has several things, traits to it. Number one, there is some higher purpose or higher cause or higher mission that brings people together. There is a grassroots element to it of self organization, like I've been in a lot of communities, the successful communities, the ones that really have staying power are the ones where the members step in and participate in community management, where they are policing each other where they're organizing, community can't be entirely top down, it has to also be bottom up and, and also like horizontal. So you know, and there needs to be shared values. I think if you have those, those three things like a higher purpose, shared values and self organization, that to me, those are the magic elements of a great community.

Isaac Morehouse  13:59
I ask because I've been thinking about this a lot myself. And it's one of those things where like, we all know, community is valuable. We all sort of know it when we see it, when we experience it. But it's very hard to define sometimes. And especially because I think what what often happens is the it's easy to let the tools and tactics kind of become the definition by default. So if in the modern, you know, sort of b2b context, if you hear, oh, you should join X community, the first thing you think of is a Slack group. Right? Do you think in terms of the tool, right, and that's, and that's not that's not bad? Like that's part of it? That's like one of the the media but I was trying to think of when you know, Jared, and I were talking a lot about the partner ecosystem, sort of the community of people who are in the partnerships world. If I think of that community, it doesn't live on a single slack group. It's on some there's there's conversations that take place on Slack groups. It's on LinkedIn. It's in some zoom events. It's in some in person events, it's in emails and DMS. And so I was trying Do you think like, what is it that I could I put a core definition to it? And it to me it feels like it's more about conversations, that shared conversations, which is kind of another way of saying those shared values to your point where people are talking about the same things. And they're interested in the same conversations. And whoever sort of rallies around to those, whether informal or formal, that's kind of your community. And what's cool when you use that conversations, where as you start to think beyond the medium, you're like, Okay, conversations are happening simultaneously in Slack groups and on LinkedIn, and this pot, yes, and right. And there's there, it's like, it's got this nebulous thing, you can't draw a clean line around it. But it's more like a like to use a mathematical analogy is more like a centered set than a closed set. It's not like you're in or out of a community, it's like you're closer to the center, or further from the center or something like that. Yeah, it goes

Kathleen Booth  15:48
back to my point about self organization like you can try to, to dictate the shape of a community. And you know, we do have like a headquarters team. But a community really doesn't come together until it starts to organize itself into your point, like those conversations can happen in a lot of different places. But that's the community organizing, and taking initiative to make things happen.

Jared Fuller  16:10
I mean, look at all the manifestations that just in the consumer life, like if you go back to, you know, the mid 2000s. I can't tell you how many communities that I was a part of the manifests in the face of like a forum, from everything from Square body pickup trucks, right? So like, it was all people that were obsessed with, like Chevy square bodies, right? It's just like, that was the community. And like, that's all the stuff that we talked about. And it was like, from a hobby perspective. Like, that's like, one vector, and then there's this other vector where it's like, no, I want to die on that hill. Like, it's a movement, right? So like, political things, right? Where people are going out and they're organizing, not just like truck meetups or shows, right? Like, Hey, let's go show off, you know, the cool oh, there's this, there's gonna be a truck show here, you know, this place, and then sharing pictures and stuff, but like, this candidate must be defeated at all cost, right? Like there's something to be said by this very organic way by which we associate around the shared interest. Right. So like, from hobby to like, our lives are on the line from Washington Post to you know, pavilion join today. I actually really liked what you said, Kathleen, on the difference between like the buy button versus the join button. Gosh, it's so good. I mean, the, the, from politics, to hobbies to business. I mean, politics themselves. One of my favorite things is that, you know, the most motivating force in politics is moral outrage. Like that is that is Morton Blackwell's. I think it's the second rule of politics. There's like 50. And it's so true, like people will organize just look at politics today, as part of the reason for the problem is that, like, people are so mad. And they want to galvanize around something that's like, anti, right. But at the same time there be that, that almost lacks the organization like it's motivating, but then it's gone. Right? Like think about how, yeah, how angry we are about things that how fleeting it is, like, the news cycle is just like, so fast. And what I'm starting to see is these more nuanced, harder conversations and like really understanding developed into these much bigger longer tail things like, like pavilion, like there's I know, members that have been members for years. How long have you been a member of pavilion?

Kathleen Booth  18:31
Since the fall of 2019? Yeah, as

Jared Fuller  18:33
far as night 2019. So I mean, you're going on three plus years? Yeah. That's, that's longer than a campaign cycle, right? Campaign cycles, like your three months. It's like, yeah, like, you know, put the yard sign. I'm Team this. I'm team that. And now we're seeing these longer,

Kathleen Booth  18:48
it's longer than the LTV of many b2b SaaS products.

Jared Fuller  18:53
Hey, so going back to my original question, like Why join a community? It's like, Hey, look at the LTV of this membership, membership versus subscription. You can sell subscriptions on top of it. I think it's fascinating. There's my my way of learning out loud of coming to this point,

Isaac Morehouse  19:07
customers churn faster than friends do. So there you go.

Jared Fuller  19:11
Oh, yeah, there you go. There's a there's a there's a tagline. Well, I guess what I was coming around to is trying to wrestle with this concept of like, are we in a place where nuance and building like a longer tail community or that's less like, flash in the pan motivated? Were more in depth conversations, deeper understanding facilitates these types of things. Like what's, what's your sense of that Kathleen, and the wider kind of like, zeitgeist, if you will. You've been a member of pavilion for three plus years. And yet at the same time, we have fast food information on Twitter, where it's like, Hey, here's this latest thing for us to all be mad about. And then it's gone in the next week. Jared, don't

Kathleen Booth  19:53
get me started on Twitter. That's a whole nother podcast right now. Right? No, I think to answer your Question. The word that really is the theme word for me around all of this is intimacy. There are a lot of places that we can go to connect with peers, right? Like, I'm super active on LinkedIn. And I love LinkedIn. And it's one of my communities. And there are other places I go to. But I think for me, the thing that has stood out about pavilion, and that stands out about other, the other communities where I'm most active, is the places that you love the most. And the ones you always keep coming back to are the ones where you feel a sense of intimacy. And by that, I mean, like, a sense of closeness and certainly trust, going back to the word we talked about earlier. Trust is huge, right? LinkedIn is tough, because you might feel like you have great relationships, but but you don't have intimacy, because like anybody can see your updates. Unless you're really cagey about connecting, and you have your profile settings, like, I don't know, who does that on LinkedIn, but like, there isn't intimacy on LinkedIn. And unfortunately, they destroyed LinkedIn groups years ago. So where do you go to find a place where you can really trust the people that you're surrounded by, where you can open up and have the vulnerable conversations to your point like, to be able to like advance to be able to learn to be challenged, we have to be able to open up and be vulnerable. And finding places where that is possible, is difficult in this day and age. And so I think to me, the best communities do that and, and that is also why it comes back to my earlier point about shared values. Because to be in a in a place of intimacy, a place of trust, you need to understand that there is some set of shared values underpinning the group of people that that creates a space in which you feel safe opening up,

Jared Fuller  21:41
maybe maybe what I just pulled out of this coming what you think Kathleen is, I feel like if I think about pavilion, or some of the other good communities, they almost feel like places I go to give, right? Like, if I'm going into pavilion, I see something and I see someone post something. I'm my response. I did this the other day, Isaac, you saw me like jump into a thread and like completely like, Hey, here's exactly how you need to approach this data set. And this is what you need to do. No one thinks about this. The hardest part of this is sales management. Everyone tells you is this No, it's getting the managers bought in. And here's what you need to do about it. This is big, long rant. And people were like, Oh, my gosh, that was so helpful. But I didn't post that on LinkedIn. Right? Like, on LinkedIn, I'm, I'm practicing thought leadership or whatever. Like, I'm, I'm like condensing my thoughts into, you know, you got Ogilvy behind you. It's like it's be practicing copywriting. Right. LinkedIn, for me is like, How can I take this idea and make it just like as polished as I possibly can? That's what I post on LinkedIn. But I'm not like doing answering like a step by step response to someone that I even follow, like, hey, who can help me with this? It's almost like people aren't even asking those types of questions in depth. But those places those things do happen in a community, maybe it's that it's like, community is a place where you go to give but like, LinkedIn is a place where you go to consume, think it's

Kathleen Booth  22:55
it's mutuality, right? mutuality is what characterizes a great community. And not in the sense of like tit for tat, or quid pro quo. Like as an I help you, you help me, I mean, that does happen. But mutuality, in the sense of we're all in this together, right? Like, we're all in this together, we're all part of the same team, we're all on each other's side. And so we go in there, and when you're all on each other's side, we go to bat for each other. And yes, we do expect to get some value out of community. But going back to my original point, not in the sense of like, every week, every month, I need to get value, it's like I am in this with, with my team, these are my people, this is my tribe. And so of course, when I'm with my tribe, I'm gonna like chime in and help people because, you know, we all succeed together. And, and that's really what makes for the most beautiful form of community.

Isaac Morehouse  23:44
I want to go back to this, something you mentioned at the outset, changes in go to market, which are a big theme that we're always talking about here. You know, you've we've kind of seen the product, lead growth become a big thing, hey, you know, you don't necessarily need a big sales and marketing team, when you first start out, just get your product out there, let people start using it. And, you know, they'll, they'll get it out there. But now, this sort of community led approach, where you may not even have a product yet, where you start with a community, right, and Zig started, because like, a lot of a lot of companies have known that community is a valuable tool. So it's like, okay, we build our product, we get some traction and get some things going. And then how do we create a community around our product? How do we get our users to form a community or a broader interest? You know, and that's, I think, much harder, because you will always face a little bit of a trust hurdle. It can be overcome, but people will be like, Yeah, you're a company. You're trying to form a community around your product, like Nice try, right? I mean, how many times have I got an email? It's like, you should join our community for users. You're a user, you know what I'm like,

Kathleen Booth  24:48
What do you I don't. So that's a user group, not a community. Yeah, exactly.

Isaac Morehouse  24:51
And so this, this other approach, which we're starting to see, trickle in, is very, very interesting that people Building communities that don't even they don't even have a product yet. And then they they basically tease the product out of that community. Give me your Give me your prediction, like, is this going to be a big thing? Or is this always going to be sort of a, an exception to the rule?

Kathleen Booth  25:14
Oh, I think I mean, let me just change how I refer. Let me rephrase the question. I don't know that it's ever going to be a big thing, because I don't think that many companies and leadership teams have the have the patience to do it this way and understand the value. But I think for those who do, it's going to be tremendously impactful. And we've already seen this in some cases. So like, a great example out there in the wild, which probably lots of people on this podcast might be familiar with, is Rand Fishkin. So he was at Moz. And he had a huge following. And then he left and he started a new business. But he didn't just like, start the business and then introduce the product. He started out just building a community of followers, like he started blogging and educating and no mention of the product whatsoever. It was just about delivering value. And he built this audience, right. And it was months later, months, maybe even more than a year that he finally introduced the product. And by the time he did that, everybody was like, give me I want it, you know, like, I trust you. You're great. I know what you're about. You've educated me, like, I'm going to I'm going to sign up. And that's a great example of somebody who's done this. Well, there's, there are some folks doing this now with like, pure signal is a great example,

Isaac Morehouse  26:32
I actually just saw, I just saw a post from Adam over there where he was like, hey, you know, in case you didn't notice, when I announced that we're launching this product, I didn't say I didn't tell anybody what the product is or what it does. Nothing in my post said that. And yet, we got however many pageviews and however many signups why, right? Because I build the community. And then I'm like, hey, everybody knows about this community and all these things we've been doing. Now we're gonna roll that community into a product and they're all like, cool, yeah, I trust you. It's gonna be a good product, Sign me up. I want to know, right? He's like, You didn't have to do any product marketing at all, if you nail the community part

Jared Fuller  27:08
Zero Product Marketing, literally zero product marketing?

Kathleen Booth  27:12
Well, and to that point, I don't know if you saw Camille transpose. So she's their head of content and community, she actually had this amazing post. And I'm looking at LinkedIn right now to see if I can find it real fast. And because I want to read this, this is actually brilliant. And I don't even know her. But somehow we're connected.

Isaac Morehouse  27:33
What? Well, while you're looking while you're looking for that, take a second to find it. Because I This just made me think of something. I got it. This is something so like the NFP world is mostly silliness and garbage and a lot of scams and stuff. But there's something interesting that I've noticed with world, Isaac, the NF T's, right, the world of NF Ts, like digital monkeys, and all this stuff, a lot of it's just crazy and goofy, but there's something interesting that I've noticed there, you get these communities around a particular project, or artists or whatever. And they don't, they don't need any sort of Product Marketing, when someone says, a new drop is coming on whatever date, they'll go sign up. And they don't even know what it is. They don't know what it's gonna look like. They don't know what they're, they're bought in on a different level, they're bought in on a tribal level, and they just automatically are excited about whatever you're going to drop. And that's like an extreme example, it's not necessarily always manifest in a good way. But I think there's something in there. No, you're

Kathleen Booth  28:28
right. I actually am an adviser to a company called GMG on Supply Company, which is a web three company. And their, their mission is to build 100, web three consumer packaged goods, brands. And so the idea is you buy into the Dow, you get your NF t, which is your entrance into the distributed access organization, which is like a shareholder organization and web three. And then they're like, they just released their first product, which is a chocolate bar on chain chocolate. And because I hold the NFT, I hold the token, I'm a part owner of the business. And this is the first of 100 brands that I'll basically be a shareholder in. So absolutely, great example. But going back to Camille's posts, so so her post said this, I'm no longer and this is one day ago, I'm no longer assassin marketer. I'm the director of a b2b media company. drawing this line was important to us. Here's how it works. Key play data powers, pure signal research, pure, community insights, fuel key play, pure signal equals media key play equals SAS, we decided to separate the SAS and media brands to incentivize the right behaviors. And like she goes on and on then to talk about it. But it's a great post and it's exactly what I'm talking about. It's like, yes, so back to your question, Isaac, like is this going to be a big thing? I don't know. Because, like it's it really is the long game and b2b companies suck at playing the long game. They are very beholden historically to like where's the next MQL going to come from? This doesn't lend itself to that. It is about investing, investing, investing upfront to build build that audience to build that trust. And then all of a sudden, yes, there's tremendous payoff, like they're gonna be, they're gonna have a great growth story, I have no doubt, because they did that upfront work, they had the patience, but I just don't think everybody's going to everybody's going to be willing to do that until there are more investors that understand this and are willing to foot the bill for it. If that happens, then then everything might change.

Isaac Morehouse  30:23
So there's, there's there's three potential ways that companies can do this right way. Number one is, hey, you're naturally good at building community and you do the full on Rand Fishkin model or the you know, pure signal model where you build a community first, before you even have a product. Number two is, you are a product company, and you find a community that's already established and been built by somebody, and then you buy them. Number three, is you maybe don't have the cash to buy them, or you're not established enough. But you form a partnership, a deep partnership are really not just like, hey, can we advertise in your community, but like a long term, and maybe it turns into an acquisition down the road, but I wonder if we'll see more of that, where it's like, taking the kind of okay, affiliate marketing with an influencer or whatever, and taking it a step deeper, like, Hey, we're not ready to like acquire this community, let's say, but what if we did like a really deep where we actually co innovate a product together? That's just for your community? Are we you know, something like that, where you kind of marry these things in kind of an in between? I don't know, I wonder if that will be a more common form that we start to see. Oh, I

Kathleen Booth  31:26
think for sure. And I think we're already seeing it. I mean, at pavilion we have, we do have a lot of actual partners that that have, they've sponsored our community. But what's really very interesting about what we're seeing, and I think this is a little bit of the future is we're really pushing our partners to become actual members as well. So like, when we sell a partnership, we say to these, these companies, we're not going to just let you sponsor pavilion, you need to sign whatever your your go to market team up as members, because it doesn't work the same way. If you're just doing webinars, if you're just putting your logo on our events, like, what works is your actual team members becoming a part of the community, building relationships at that grassroots level. And, you know, doing this or doing this organically, in tandem with your partnership, like, that's the really powerful combination. And I think, you know, we're probably one of the first communities to do this, where it's really a requirement. But we see that they just will not be successful if they don't take this approach. And so it's interesting to see like, who's who's joining us on that journey, because I think there's some of the more innovative SAS companies like, you know, sixth sense is a great example. They're a company that has awesome communities of its own has seen what community can do for the business. And so they're all in there. They're a partner, but they have their whole team enrolled. And that's where the power lies.

Jared Fuller  32:53
That's exactly how we've been thinking about the next phase of partner hacker is partner hacker was always about the Crossing the Chasm, from my point of view, right? So like, going back to, you know, arguably the best marketing book of all time. It's all about who are the early adopters? Well, it's the people that are going to hack the partnerships, right, they're going to make it work like, hey, you know, they're going to be creative and whatever, it's not going to go mainstream till it goes mainstream. And then we have this PLF Summit, Kathleen, which shout out to Sam, and your help there for getting him to keynote and close out the whole event. And he did an awesome kind of like fireside chat with me to close out the Bialek Summit, which was really great talking about his new book. But what we started to realize was like, we kind of have these different opportunities for each persona to like, meet them where they are so like, marketing together, selling together, building together, serving together, right? And what we realized is like, oh, shoot each of these personas kind of doing something a little bit different. And it's not about partnering. It's about them together. Right? So like the marketing function first market together. So like Peekapoo, to story who, you know, you know, people haven't been a big HubSpot partner, of course, you know, the data box story this year is incredible. You know, they interviewed 10,000 people, 10,000 people for the data box blog. Well, I've had this saying recently, where I say trust comes from helping people reach their promised land. So it's like, hey, it's five, you know, John Bedini is a great marketer over there. But then generally, you know, for three smallish that kind of entry level marketers. If you can't write something from the position of like, I've been to the place that you want to go, well, then you need to go talk to the people that have, and that's where community and media comes into play. And it gets really important. If, you know, I did a kickoff the other day where I was talking to people that sell the CIOs. And I was like, Hey, how many people in the room have been a CIO? None of you. None of you've been a CIO. So what gives you the right to tell the CIO that you're the right person to help them get where you want to go? You got to bring the people that have been to the promised land that your customer wants to be where they want to go to to them. That's the job today, I think community, media, etc. And I'm really interested in how we can do more of that even together like pavilion, and partner, hacker and what will become our second phase is like this interoperability between, let's say, community and media, there are overlaps. They're similar, but they're also not quite the same. How do we help each other get to the other side? You know, so it's an interesting, like, premise to be like, if you haven't been to the place, that you're telling your customers they need to go, who can you work with? That has? I'd love your reaction that Kathleen,

Kathleen Booth  35:37
the learning that happens in communities is so powerful, and I was just talking to somebody the other day, the other day about this, but like, from a slightly different angle, which is that every b2b go to market leader, I know whether you're the CRO, the CMO, the chief customer, customer officer, what have you, like everyone I know, seems to have this deep seated impostor syndrome, it's like, it's almost like the more experienced you get, the worse it is. And I think part of it is because when you reach that level of leadership, you're the only person filling that seat, you know, within the company, and so you don't have other people to go to right. And you have this tremendous spotlight on you and a lot of pressure to deliver. And, and community is about like, alleviating that fear that you don't know what you don't know, because that's what fuels imposter syndrome, you're like, God, not only am I scared, I'm not good enough. But I don't even know what I'm missing, right? Like, I don't even know I should be doing, you know, that meeting with my board or whatever. But you get into community and it's like osmosis, all of all of a sudden, you're surrounded by people, you're not the smartest person in the room. You're, you're able to absorb from others. And you now do know what you don't know, right? Like, because you're hearing you're part of the conversations, you don't need to necessarily be like posting or talking or whatever, but you can just literally be observing and learning and soaking in and that is just that is so powerful, that peer to peer learning and insight that you can get. And to your point, Jared, it can be within one community or can be two communities coming together. There's a lot of different ways to achieve that. But I think, you know, in b2b, it's, it's a problem I see all over the place, people being scared that they just don't know.

Jared Fuller  37:19
Right, I want to I want to tie this together real quick. Maybe this could be interesting. I feel like I'm, let's take a I don't know modern sales pros, for example. So shout out. Pika Jetski. I mean, I've been a member since day one, I think I mean, that day one, but like early early Google Group has never really advertised beyond that. Right? It's just a Google group. And you know, Pete's launched a product off the back of it, whatever. So like, that's, uh, the beginning, those conversations were really interesting to me. Because forecasting, sales automation CPQ. Like there was a lot of tactical questions around sales technology that no one had really used before. At least not done in a velocity way. Like the purpose was for creating sales velocity. Can we do this faster, faster, faster? And this is no, this is no, I'm not throwing any shade at the group today. But all of the content has already been written now, for that group. All of the it's all it's it's all been said. There's nothing new for me to read in modern sales prose. Right. There's nothing new to read in modern sales prose like, so to speak. Right? Again, no shade there. There's, there's up and comers, and there's new people that need to read and ask new questions. But like, as a vet, now, I feel very out of place. Now, the only people that I see responding are like consultants, right? People that have done it, like 50 times, and they respond with their opinion. And you know, that's probably how they get a lot of their business, right? In this other world, where the content doesn't really exist, so let's take partnering, or community or media like how to build partnerships, community media ecosystems, in b2b, a lot of that content doesn't exist. So communities around these topics are very interesting, because people are helping each other a lot. The conversations are very vibrant. But then the media company has a very similar opportunity in that we need to take these conversations, the social Zeitgeist and turn it into media assets. Right? So it's, it shouldn't, it shouldn't be a surprise that like the handbook that we published, was sold 1000s of 1000s of copies. Like we didn't work with a publisher. This is a self published, like top selling book and marketing and sales. And it's an anthology, right? It's there's a lot of things going against this book. But here's my point. There wasn't much out there that had been aggregated in an authoritative way there wasn't the guide. There's not the maturity model. There's not the blueprints, there's, there's all this new content that needs to be created. And I feel like that's really the opportunity at the beginning of any change, like the community has a different opportunity. The media company has a different opportunity, right? Like we're not facilitating, let's say the, the social sense of connection, so to speak the same way that you are But we are building the content that's required to, let's say, do the job, or to generate the interest or, you know, convince X, Y or Z person to go get budget, right, or to make that shift or have that hard executive conversation, it's almost,

Isaac Morehouse  40:15
you know, the, the constant process of bundling, and unbundling that is always happening in the economy, you can see a sort of microcosm of this in a community at the early stages of a community in a new category or around a new topic. It's a really big bundle, it's doing a lot of things. There's a lot of learning a lot of knowledge, documentation, a lot of ongoing conversations, a sense of belonging, all of these various things are happening. And then over time, as it matures, those some of those start to get peeled off. So even within pavilion, you've got conversations and events, but you also have this knowledge base, that's like, Hey, we're going to take the things that have been teased out of these sort of, you know, asynchronous flowing conversations and make some of them. Now they're sort of permanent chunks that are searchable. And they're they're, you know, it's a single source of truth about certain things or a record a database, and you're kind of peeling off that function. First, all that stuff just happens within conversations, and then it gets content defied, so to speak. And then one, that's one function of the community moves out, which is like, here's the timeless stuff, right? Here's the pinned the pinned stuff. And then there's these ongoing conversations in the sense of belonging. So you kind of like you can kind of peel off some of these different functions and get them more specialized. Well, if

Kathleen Booth  41:29
you go back to the concept of archaeology, and communities, like if you think about community through an archaeological lens, that all makes sense, right? Because when when archaeologists study community, they look at things like how are the the the rules of the community codified? How does the community transfer knowledge within itself? Right? Like, it's very much exactly what happens in b2b communities is what archaeal archaeologist studies, like, you know, are they documenting the rules? And the regulations? Are they documenting the history? How is that passed down? You know, how does, how does like gossip happen? You know, how are stories told? Like, it's all those same principles that we study in archaeology that apply in b2b communities, we just don't think about it that way. Because we're like, like you said, it's like, we're on Slack. We're creating guru cards, or we have a wiki, we might have a class, we're gonna have a huddle. But it these are just these are just the same principles that have formed actual communities out there in the world throughout history.

Jared Fuller  42:32
I don't think anyone's made me think that hard in like, 90 episodes, I I've, I've not overlaid, so like we've we've overlaid, like, biological ecosystem. So like, partner ecosystem, that is, it really is a fascinating way and like Model and Model of thinking. And Luigi just had an archaeology over community, my brain was like, wait, what I have never thought about it that way. Calling it now we have to have Kathleen back on the podcast, I want to go down that rabbit hole a lot. I love that. I've loved this conversation so much. And that's just another example of like, you know, there are fields of study that like we can use to dissect what is happening in phenomenon like

Kathleen Booth  43:09
this work has been done for us. Right? Yeah. Holy

Jared Fuller  43:12
cow. I'm still thinking about it. I'm like, I'm literally I'm shook.

Kathleen Booth  43:20
No, it's funny talk about I mean, I love nerding out on this stuff, right. It's so interesting. And I think it goes back to like, if we just look at this through our marketing lens, we are missing so much opportunity. And there's so many lessons to be drawn from archaeology, from media, from other places to like to do this all better. That if we're willing to like open our minds about it, I think we can, we can be pretty innovative.

Jared Fuller  43:44
And one of my favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes, a book both opens and closes the mind. Right? So if you've been drinking the Kool Aid for the demand gen funnel, and all of that stuff and waterfall that blah, blah, blah, for the past three, four or five years? Who, right? Your mind is pretty close to a lot of the conversations that we're having, when in fact, that's where the innovation is happening. Why does

Isaac Morehouse  44:04
it book open and close my eyes to your point, it's to what Kathleen is talking about with communities and archaeology, what happens with codification and formalization of things. There's this constant dance first, it's like messy and everything's kind of informal, and that can only scale so much. And then you get codification and formalization which allows for scale. But then if you get too much of it, everything gets stifled and it gets killed. And so it's this constant dance called bureaucracy. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yep.

Kathleen Booth  44:31
Yeah. And leadership structures and like, that's the self organizing principle. And coming together this is where this is where like community and media converge, like you might have an audience but until you bring that audience together and they meet in person, like there isn't that social emotional connection so yeah, we could go on and on for a long time. Yeah,

Isaac Morehouse  44:47
no, I'm getting I'm getting all hyped up I'm thinking about James Scott. His work on the concept of legibility, we could go we go all kinds of places. We're definitely gonna have to do a round two on this. We're gonna go deep into the community nerds zone.

Jared Fuller  45:00
Talking multimodal thinking and models and first principles, I didn't realize we could go do that with Kathleen, like Isaac, we got it. We got a friendly here, Isaac and I are known for mixed metaphors and going down first principle rabbit hole. listeners. That was a fascinating conversation. I've listened to it three times. And I got three bullet points. Finally, after listening to it the third time, I really liked it. Wow, Kathleen booth everybody. Kathleen, thanks so much for joining us today, we got to, we got to figure out how we can do more together on this because I feel like pavilion is such a role model company for you know, community and like how to build a company that way. And I'm sure all of us are waiting with bated breath on to see what the next big play is. I mean, you'll continue to drive community value. But you know, I'm sure there's a lot more coming up your sleeves. And then what we've done, we built the media company from the ground up, but that's not our last hurrah. So I'm just media company quant media company, right? Like we're trying to really generate a movement to help people work better together, right? Like, our mission statement is to build a world where everyone can win together. And I mean that for every department. Right? marketing sales products, yes, all of that. Like, if you if you haven't done the job, the job that your customer is trying to do, then you better be working with someone who has. It's just that simple. So I won't end with the question, but we got to figure out how to do more together and bring up pavilion in the partnering kind of world together, for sure is into 2023. I would

Kathleen Booth  46:24
love that. I love what you guys are doing too. So consider me all in.

Jared Fuller  46:28
Amazing. Amazing. Well partner up. Thank you so much. I say we got any plugs. I think we do got one we talked about kickoff. Yeah, absolutely.

Isaac Morehouse  46:35
You know, you're you've probably have company kickoffs revenue, kickoff sales, kickoffs, but we're gonna do, we're gonna do a kickoff for 2023. That is, for the entire partnerships ecosystem, we're gonna kick off the entire year, and really frame up like what the hell just happened in 2022? What is going to be happening in 2023? And how should partnerships people, the partner ecosystem, think about it? So speaking of community, this is a community kickoff if you go and think of it that way, rather than a company kickoff and January 17, we are doing this with partner stack, big shout out to partner stack. We love partnering with them on stuff. We've done some really great events with them in the past. So yeah, I'm really looking forward to a journey you probably I don't know, you probably have something intriguing to add to that.

Jared Fuller  47:23
Yeah, I mean, where to where to go, obviously. So partner So that's where you can go and get signed up and join us. So this the partner ecosystem kickoff, totally community related to Kathleen's point today, so like, come kick off the year with us and be like, Okay, what the heck are we doing and how are we going to knock the cover off the ball in 2023? partner Partner hacker partner stack. Let's go. I'm fired up. I'm back on the podcast game. What a way to kick everything off. Kathleen, thank you so much. You were a phenomenal guest and made me think about a lot of things.

Kathleen Booth  47:54
Thank you guys for nerding out with me. I loved it. Absolutely.

Jared Fuller  47:57
All right. I'll partner up. Peace out. We'll see y'all next time.

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