Providing Freedom Within a Framework for Your Podcast with Lev's Holly Enneking
Providing Freedom Within a Framework for Your Podcast with Lev's Holly Enneking
Today’s conversation is with Holly Enneking, the Vice President of Marketing and Alliances at Lev. One of the shows she works on at Lev is the marketing podcast, “In The Clouds.” Throughout her career in marketing, Holly has balanced structure and creativity to create the most opportunity in her work. She believes it is important to approach podcasting with an open mind and be open to collaboration and ideas from anywhere. On the other hand, she also believes that it’s important to provide structure to your show and have a clear perspective of your goals. At Lev, content is the core of her strategy, and she uses it to differentiate Lev from the rest of the market and build the brand’s voice. For Holly, podcasting is an excellent way to meet people where they are and create another touchpoint with your customers. Hear about how to create freedom within a framework for your podcast and learn how to add structure, consistency, and energy to your show in today's conversation.
Holly EnnekingVP of Marketing & Alliances, Lev
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's season five here at the Casted podcast and our guests, all season long, are our very own customers. We're shedding a light on these customers, not only because we love them, which we do, so much, but also because when a brand signs on with Casted, it's a pretty clear testament to their commitment, not only to podcasting and the role they see it playing in the future of their marketing efforts, but also to the much, much bigger picture of how these shows fit into their integrated sales and marketing strategies as a whole. As you will hear, these really are the most forward- thinking brands, that are harnessing the perspectives of experts with their podcasts, but then they're amplifying those voices across so many other channels to elevate not only the show, but also the overall brand. They're great examples of what you could be doing too, so, since they are practicing what we here at Casted preach, I want you to hear all about what they're doing, why they're doing it and how you can do it too. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO, and co- founder of the first marketing solution built around brand podcasts, and this is our podcast. Okay. Picture this, if you even can, as a marketer, say a couple of people in your sales team start a podcast. Okay. As the marketing leader, what do you do? Do you shut it down because podcasts should be a marketing thing. Or maybe instead, you simply try to go in and just take ownership of it, or maybe instead, you do what today's guest and her team have done. You show up in full support. Listen in as Holly Enneking shares the story of this exact experience and how approaching the podcast and its hosts with a positive, open mind and an eagerness to really partner with them and offer marketing support, has made all the difference. As she says, it's all about providing freedom within a framework.
Holly Enneking: I'm Holly Enneking. I'm the Vice President of Marketing and Alliances at Lev, which is a consultancy that's focused on marketers and helping them get the most out of the Salesforce platform for marketing cloud to all of the other clouds and all of the platforms within that Salesforce ecosystem.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Awesome. Speaking of clouds, tell us about your show, which is called-
Holly Enneking: In the Clouds. Our podcast at Lev is called In the Clouds. We've been producing it for a little over a year and a half now and are just absolutely loving having it as a part of our marketing strategy.
Lindsay Tjepkema: To get things started, you were just telling me how the show came to be, which is kind of the exact opposite way that most shows happen. Tell me the inception story of In the Clouds.
Holly Enneking: The In the Clouds podcast is really interesting because it actually came to us as an idea from our sales team. We have an AE and a solutions consultant, Bobby Tichy and Cole Fisher, who are the two hosts of our podcast. It was entirely their own idea. They have a lot of passion about Salesforce, and around marketing cloud. They're both former Exact Target employees, who are at Salesforce and have come over to Lev and are really core and central to our business. They are both a lot of fun, really outgoing guys. They had some stories to tell and they decided on their own, we want to do a podcast. They are really the drivers behind making this happen, bringing it to life and came to the marketing team with this idea, and wanted support in order to make it happen. They have really been the life and the energy behind this podcast and keeping it going. So, it's really different than I think some of the traditional podcast inception stories where it's like, we need a podcast. How do we create something? What's the story we want to tell? It was very organically... these two great members of the Lev sales team who were like," We have a perspective. We have lots of experience from what we're talking about in our customer stories and in our engagement with prospects and customers, and the Lev experience with them over time and how they're using marketing cloud, the challenges they're facing. We want to give some life and some energy to that." It was all them, which is incredible. What a gift to have two people who have an idea and want to bring it to life, rather than going the opposite way of trying to having an idea and like," Who do we get? Who do we get on board? How do we make this get off the ground?" We got really lucky from that perspective.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Definitely. Oh my goodness. There's so much to dig into there, because you're right. That came together, the exact opposite way that any content typically does, but specifically podcasts. How has that changed things from your vantage point, as a marketer, about the sales and marketing alignment in, around, and because of this show?
Holly Enneking: I think it's been really interesting, the evolution of the podcast from my perspective of a marketer, how I've used it and how I've approached it with Bobby and Cole. Really, when I came on, so they actually launched the podcast about a month or two before I actually joined Lev, and so the podcast was already around. They already had a couple of episodes under their belt. I really treated the second half of 2019 as just like, let's continue to produce it. We're operating on Bobby and Cole's schedule. They're very busy guys who are doing, working a lot of deals. We gave them a lot of latitude to lead things and come to us when they had content ready. I didn't really push too hard, as far as what they should be talking about or any messaging. Going into 2020 though, when we were doing some of our planning, content was going to be really core to my strategy for how we wanted to approach the year, what we were going to do to differentiate Lev in the markets, really enable ourselves to be good partners to Salesforce, and that channel that's so important to us. We really looked going into 2020, how do we leverage this podcast? Bobby and Cole are doing great on their own, but how do we get them more connected with what we're trying to do, the messages we're putting out into the marketplace. So, myself and one of the women on my team, Stephanie Purdy, we went to Bobby and Cole and like," Here's what we would like to see for the podcast and more regular cadence of posting the episodes. Here's some content ideas. These are things for us, industry focuses and things like that, that we're thinking about for next year and what that timing looks like. Can we come together and build out a better content strategy for next year and how the podcast fits into it? They were super receptive." Yes, please give us ideas." They'd been carrying it on their own. They were eager to get some fresh, insight into what they could be talking about, what messages were important to us. We, as a marketing team, at the time when I came on, I was actually aligned to the sales organization. So I reported into the CSO. A lot of my energy in late 2019, was about how do we, as a marketing team support the sales organization, almost exclusively, at that point? We really wanted to be enabling them with as many of the resources that they really needed, in order to be successful sellers as we could. After 2020, moving marketing out into its own entity within Lev, I really wanted to take a lot more ownership of how we were collaborating and not just necessarily being order- takers. So, we were able to come into 2020 with having more alignment around what they were saying, we were saying and how they could fit together. We had a lot of great examples over the course of the year of, some concerted efforts around media and entertainment or retail, where we were doing blog posts and webinars and customer stories, and then also podcast episodes. We have this well- rounded bit of content that our team can use when they're talking about those industries. Then you have that ability, which I think is really great, to meet people where they are. Everyone likes to consume content differently, and so the podcast is really a great way for us to be able to have a different touchpoint with our contacts at Salesforce, our customers that we're talking to, our prospects, and maybe they are a big band of podcasts. They want to listen to something, rather than read a blog post. This gave us the opportunity to do that, and so it was great, in order to really think about our marketing and content strategy. If we really wanted to lean into content and put ourselves forward as thought leaders, this was another way to really give weight to that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. No, that's fantastic. I love too, that it's a testament to the relationship that already existed between sales and marketing at Lev, in that you could go to these two, who had decided to do something on their own and say," Let us support you. Let us actually help fuel this fire and also give it a little bit more structure so we can go further," as opposed to," Let's take this over. Let's actually do crosstalk This should actually be a marketing thing." Kudos to you and kudos to them and the entire team, for really looking for opportunities to take something that exists and make it bigger, as opposed to saying," Okay, you guys are doing a podcast. We should really do a podcast. Marketing's going to do this now," which I think happens all too often.
Holly Enneking: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the things that I've really loved about Lev is just that... The sales and marketing relationship can always be a challenge. There's always competing ideas. Priorities can be different. What is important to sales one day, may not be important to marketing another day. Trying to find that middle ground can be a challenge. I was really lucky to walk into a situation at Lev, that there was already that collaboration there, that marketing knew that we needed to be supporting sales in order to help support the business. We were able to demonstrate to the sales team that we heard them, that we were going to move quickly to get them what they needed-
Lindsay Tjepkema: So huge.
Holly Enneking: ...and really build that trust with them, which then allowed us to get to a place where then, we had proven over time, we want to be collaborators. We want to help you do the work that you're doing. This is just one more example of that. That made it an easier conversation with Bobby and Cole of like," Let us get involved. Let's work together on this and make it even better," which I think has really paid off for us.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Tell me how that has evolved over the last year, year and a half, since you and marketing stepped in and said," Let us help." What does that look like? What is a big picture and then even really tactically and tangibly, how are you marketing at Lev, using the podcast content to fuel marketing?
Holly Enneking: Yes. Well, one of the things that's been great is, when we came into 2020, we were, we want to put a lot more energy into it. We want to have more structure. We want to have more consistency in the podcast and just really make sure that we're giving that the same sort of attention that we would give, like our blog, for example, which is another area that we were really trying to lean into and build up. The podcast was another component of that. We really pushed Bobby and Cole pretty hard. We gave them every other week, we want to publish a new episode. Here are some topics that we want to talk about. These are our timeframes and they did a lot of the heavy lifting when it came to building out their own content calendar, and how they were going to meet these goals that we had set up for them. We were really excited to be able to track, over the course of the year, how that really impacted the popularity of the podcast and the listenership. Using the Casted platform, actually, we were able to be able to come back to them and show them," Hey look, all of this effort that you're putting into it, it is actually paying off. Look here, we have metrics that we can show you. We have listener data that we can show you. We can show you which episodes are popular and what sort of topics are getting more attention versus others," and provide some of that guidance to them. Because we had a long- running joke that it was like, you know, their parents and our parents, and just Lev family that was listening to it. I think we reached numbers now where we can safely say that it's more than just family people listening to podcast. It gave us a lot in order to help them, prove value to them that it was worth the time and energy that they were putting into it. Then, one of the things that we've noticed over the last couple of months, the podcast coming up more in the sales cycle and the conversations with customers, where someone was like," Oh, I listened to your podcast episode about Datorama, and now I'm interested in Datorama, or being recommended between Salesforce they use, to customers and organically getting some attention without necessarily Lev promotion per se, which is exactly what you would want from something like that. It's like, if the intention is to bring value to marketers and to help them get the most out of the platform, then clearly it's resonating in some way. It's been really exciting to have that coming up over the last couple of months, and has given us new energy as we look to the rest of this year, and into next year of how we do even more with the podcast. I think, we're at the same place, where I imagine a lot of other B2B podcasts at. Now we have the episodes, how do we do more? How do we get more out of the inaudible episodes? How do we do more with the takeaways and how do we do more with the audiograms and how did we do more with taking out the pieces and parts and putting them into blog posts or into bigger content pieces, or repurpose episodes that are maybe from a couple of months ago and give them new life and a different format, or use the blog content that we're seeing perform really well, and bring that into the podcast, and make those connections in a much more intentional way than we were really resourced to do previously. Now we just have a lot more information to work with, in order to help us to move it forward. That has shown even more that continued collaboration, bringing more resources in from the marketing side and doing more with the energy and time that Bobby and Cole are putting into the great content that they're putting together.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love that, especially your story. I mean, that's music to my ears because that's exactly what everybody should be doing, but especially the Lev story, because it started so organically, like, let's just go have inaudible conversations. Right? Then it was like, okay. Then marketing got involved. It was like, let's fuel that and make it more consistent and more consistent conversations, and more consistent engagement with our audience. Then it was like, okay, now let's add to that even more and do more with it. You just keep saying more.
Holly Enneking: Yes.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Snowball effect, in the very best way, where it started out as this little seedling. Now, it's just grown and grown and grown to continue to fuel itself, and the show is fueling marketing and marketing is fueling the show and that's, that's fantastic. I love it. I'm curious, as you were, you talked a lot in our conversations just, now about, in'20, it started back even before you started. Then as you started to plan what, in 2019, what 2020 was going to look like, and you had all these thoughts and now you're looking at 2021. How has the show helped, in spite of everything that's going on? Has it supported what you're doing, given the fact that events have been canceled, and in- person interaction has been canceled? How has the show come into play in the pivots that we've all been forced to make?
Holly Enneking: Yeah, 2020, what a ride. I'm really ready to see the end of it or inaudible as is everyone.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Are we? Are we, though?
Holly Enneking: I mentioned before, that content was really big, coming into my strategy for 2020. The other side of that coin for me, coming into 2020 was events. Events play a really big role in Lev's, especially our strategy from a channel perspective, we're very channel- driven. A lot of our engagement is just with Salesforce and continuing to foster relationships between their sales team and our sales team. That's really what drives a lot of how Lev gets involved in customers. It's very important for us to be able to get that face- time. Suddenly in March, we no longer have that as an option. So, with events going out the window, everything was content. We really were trying to get creative about how do we find ways to do content differently, to do more content? Webinars weren't something that Lev had really tackled. I think we had maybe done two in the end of 2019, which were the first two in the history of Lev. Suddenly we're like," All right, we're going to do a lot more of this," and trying to find and ways to do that. One of the things that we ended up doing, we actually did a live broadcast of one of our In the Clouds episodes, that was specifically about marketing during a pandemic and in those early days, I think we did it in late April, early may, somewhere around there, from Bobby and Cole's perspective, what they were seeing, what some of the advice that they had for marketers, who were at that time, trying to have this tricky balance of supporting your customers, but you don't really want to be reaching out to people who maybe you haven't engaged with in months or even years. Then, that's kind of weird and how are you segmenting and how are you being sensitive and empathetic and demonstrating that, but not taking advantage of the situation? What were the right types of messages? Because, email, especially in those first couple of months was very central to a lot of team's outreach and how they were continuing to engage customers when everyone was locked at home, basically. They had a lot of really great insight, and that was a great opportunity for us to take the podcast and to take the expertise of Bobby and Cole and turn it into an event for us, where we could promote it. We could get people invited and then we have the content everlasting as part of the podcast and you can still go back to it. It's been a really popular episode for us, which is great. That was a good test for us. How do we bridge that gap between event and content and bring them together? The other thing that I think is really wonderful about podcasts that we leaned into during this time, was this idea of Lev's brand and Lev's brand voice. It gives you an opportunity to play with the brand voice side of things, in an actual audio way. Traditionally, within marketing, when we're thinking about brand voice it's in writing. It's the tone that comes across and the way that narrative.
Lindsay Tjepkema: More figurative.
Holly Enneking: Exactly. It's not an actual voice. What's great, is that the podcast really gave us an opportunity to play with that voice more, over the course of the pandemic and using Bobby and Cole, who in the midst of it. We're all experiencing this weirdness all together. They were able to give Lev a voice in what's been going on and what we're seeing or feeling and how it's impacting different industries and all of that, in a way that you don't necessarily get in a blog post, or even in a webinar where you're a little more structured. They are much more conversational, very in the moment. So, I love that it gives us an opportunity to shine a light on Lev and who we are. We are our people. That's everything that we're bringing to the table. We're not a software or a product or anything like that. We are a service. What we are bringing is our people and here are people, front and center, and allowed us to then, fill the gaps of these events where suddenly, we can't be face to face in the room. We have to lean into these digital experiences, and how do we make that personal and engaging and something that people want to show up for? It has ended up being a big part of how we continue to show up every week, every month, over time, in this time where it would be easy to be like," Well, we can't do events, so I guess we won't do anything."
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. No, for sure. It's also, especially because you are so such a human brand and such a human, your people are everything. It's consistency It's the consistent voice. It's the consistent human element.
Holly Enneking: Yes.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Before, during and someday after, all that's going on. Not to over- emphasize it or overstate, but the individuals who were listening before the pandemic and people who are listening now, it's some sense of consistency, even though so much has changed. Even though nobody knows what's going on and unpredictable is now the predictable, one of the few things that's held true is, okay, you can listen to the Lev podcasts. You can continue to be a fan of In the Clouds, and to get fueled by that information that you're sharing. That's big. It's bigger than I think a lot of people really, often realize.
Holly Enneking: Yes. It was one of those things, that I think was a really pleasant surprise to discover during the pandemic. I mean, so many things, it was, how are people going to react to all these webinars and all of these different experiences? Early on, I was like,"Are people going to be listening to podcasts?" That was always my car activity, driving in, commuting back and forth to work every day. Am I listening to podcasts? Slowly, I found I am. I'm finding different times to listen. We continue to see our listenership go up for In the Clouds. I honestly, I was like," I don't know which way this is going to go. Are things going to tank?" But really, I was surprised that people were leaning into that content, that they wanted to have some of that, I think, consistency of regular life, that window into a world that we had before. Now we're just finding new ways to bring it in. So, I was pleasantly surprised by that, because it was one of those, who knows? Everything, anything could happen.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, for sure. I think that people, I mean, I know for myself and then as I've talked to more people about it, it's yeah... it's that consistency of like, I used to listen to podcasts or audio books or I used to do this. I want to do that again, but also being so separate from everyone and everything, it's a way to fuel your brain. It's giving you insights. It's giving you information. It's giving you, it's helping you learn. It's helping you make connections in ways that you can't in your day to day anymore. Okay. Lessons learned. What advice would you give to a lot of the marketers that are listening, who either have a show or who are considering launching a show, what advice would you share?
Holly Enneking: Yeah. I think the biggest things for me are on one hand, keeping a very open mind. What makes sense to me, or what would make sense for the podcast, isn't necessarily the same as what Bobby and Cole think would make sense to the podcast. Being open to them and their ideas and even other people on the marketing team or other people in the company. What are the other ideas that people have, they think could be a good fit for this and not just leaning into my own opinions about what I think makes sense, especially because we have a broader audience than just marketers. So, hearing from Bobby and Cole, what they think makes sense, I think has done a lot for the popularity of the show and the broader listenership that we have. Just maintaining that open mind of what other ideas are out there? How can I find a way to make those fit within the construct of In the Clouds? I think the opposite side of that coin is providing some structure, having a clear perspective of what it is that we want to do. We're always coming back to, how are we serving our audience of marketers who are trying to get the most out of Salesforce? How is the content that we're putting in the podcast in service of that, and putting some of those constraints around, here's what we're trying to accomplish. Here are some goals within marketing, and how we can create alignment and how we can maximize the content that we're putting out there? Putting some of that structure in there while keeping that openness, I think has been really beneficial for us. I think it's a little bit of that balance of having the guard rails, but the idea of freedom within a framework, right? Constant marketing phrase. Having that freedom to bring ideas and be creative and think big, but have that framework in order to keep it moving forward, to keep it having that consistency, to keep it having that structure and true to the goals and objectives that you're setting out, has really set us up for success and has given us a lot of opportunity. You never know where a good idea is going to come from. Hey, the sales guys, just showing up with this genius idea and it's really worked out great for us. We should always be open to where those good ideas might come from. You never know.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely. It's you and your team and Lev, are such a great example of that freedom within a framework. It's ironic how often a form of content that's all built around listening, is so often created in a vacuum, without listening to the voices of other people. But, I think it's a really important lesson to be learned from you, to our listeners, about where good ideas can come from. It doesn't have to be central to something that marketing is doing or a big marketing initiative. Listen, the sales team and your success people and your solutions people, are the ones that are interacting with your customers and your prospects every day and have great insights what they want to hear, what they want to see, what they want to learn, how they want to engage. It's a great... You all are a great example of how something really wonderful can come from that, and to keep that freedom within a framework flowing. Well, thank you so much for being here and thanks so much. If you haven't listened yet, definitely check out In the Clouds and everything that Lev and Holly and her team are doing. That's our show. Thanks for listening. For more from today's guest, visit casted. us to subscribe and to receive our show as it's published, along with other exclusive content each and every week.