How can any company — large or small — own their competitive market, charge more, and, at the same time, build a customer base that absolutely loves it?

Theresa LinaThis week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Theresa Lina, best-selling author of the book Be the Go-To: How to Own Your Competitive Market, Charge More, and Have Customers Love You For It, talks about the Apollo method — the system that she says is the secret to standing out as a brand.

Theresa’s method is simple and actionable, and something that any company can apply, and in this episode, she breaks down the details and talks about why so many companies get it wrong.

Resources from this episode:

Connect with Theresa on LinkedIn
Buy the book
Visit the Apollo Method website
Check out some of the other resources Theresa mentioned:

Visit ecorner.standford.edu
Stu McLaren’s website
Salesforce’s Trailblazers community

 

Theresa Lina and Kathleen BoothTheresa and Kathleen recording this episode

Transcript

Kathleen (00:15): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. I’m your host, Kathleen Booth. And this week, my guest is Theresa Lina, who is the author of the number one Amazon bestseller “Be the Go-To: How to Own Your Competitive Market, Charge More and Have Customers Love You For It.” Welcome to the podcast Theresa.

Theresa (00:35): Thank you, Kathleen. I’m so happy to be here.

Kathleen (00:37): Yeah, I’m really interested to speak with you. First of all, I love the topic of the book. I mean, who does not want to be the GoTo and also have their customers love them and be able to charge more and all the things that you mentioned in the title?

But also you have a really interesting background and mix of things that you do. You’re not only a book author, you’re a consultant. You are a teacher. You’re involved in Stanford university and educating people about marketing. I wonder if maybe you could take a minute and talk a little bit about your background, how you got to where you are today and all of the different things that you’re involved in today.

Theresa (01:13): Okay. Yes. So yeah, my, my primary emphasis throughout my career has been strategy and marketing in the tech and mostly in the technology space and primarily B2B. So I’ve studied marketing and information technology at university. And then I got a job with Accenture coming out of college and spent many years with them and was in both the client on the client side. And then later helped start the industry marketing program there.

And I had a global industry marketing role for one of the business units that I helped start with the partner in charge at the time. And we grew that to be over $850 million in a very short period of time with all organic growth, which was really incredible. It was an incredible ride. And now that business unit is a multibillion dollar business unit.

Theresa (02:14): It’s massive inside the company. And then I went off on my own. I, part of me, I had, I sort of wore two hats. I had one company that was an educational entertainment company for children, which was a personal project. And then I started a strategy and marketing consulting firm and worked with Accenture and other clients with that.

And then over time, there were various times when I went back inside to become chief marketing officer and chief strategy officer for a couple of different companies, which kept me grounded because as a consultant, it’s so easy to think you have all the answers and,

Oh, everything’s straight forward, just do this and you’ll succeed. And of course we all know, any of us who’ve spent time on the inside, life is very different when you’re, you know, dodging the bullets every day inside a company.

Theresa (03:08): And one of those stints was during the dot com rise and fall. And so I lived through all of the dot com bust and the 9-11 and all of that. And then another stint was through the great recession. S

o you know, I definitely know what it’s like to go through these hard times as somebody on the inside. And then I also have been involved at Stanford for a little over 15 years now in various capacities, both in helping with their own outreach to their alumni and their communities and stakeholders.

And then also I help I’m on the teaching team for some courses and one of their executive ed programs at the business school. So I wear quite a few hats and then I have, I still have my consulting firm.

Kathleen (03:59): Now let’s talk a little bit about the book. Be the go-to. What does that mean?

Theresa (04:03): Yeah, so, you know, one of the, the, the big problem that I was running into with my own business and that I was running into with companies that I was working for and with clients is that customers or clients started putting pricing pressure on us because they weren’t seeing what made us unique and different from anybody else they could work with.

And it was really frustrating because this was happening like say in my case with clients that I had had for a very long time who knew me, who knew our work, they, they had they knew we were a pretty different and the way we could execute and that we brought a lot of value.

And yet they still would say, yeah, yeah, but, you know, we could go over here and get the same work for less money.

Theresa (04:51): And it was really frustrating. And meanwhile, I knew that there were companies out there, Accenture, the one I, the organization I have have helped start within Accenture. We were a very high margin business getting paid very well for what we were doing.

And I was on the phone with one of my subcontractors one day who told me about a friend of hers who was charging $50,000 a day for what she was doing. And she had less experience than we did. And we, you know, it was, it was incredible. And so I really became fascinated by this. What is it that makes some companies able to charge so much more than everybody else?

And they can command these premium prices. They hardly ever have to compete for work. They are there the first name that comes to mind when somebody has a particular issue or problem.

Theresa (05:41): And so I really wanted to understand what the recipe was. And a lot of the typical answers weren’t in themselves enough having the best product, not enough having great PR or great market visibility, not enough you know, the, the list just went. So I did a, I did a lot of research and interviewed a lot of clients and executives and other people out there in the marketplace.

And I came up with what seemed to me to be the recipe for my own business. And then as I wrote it down on a plane, on to Chicago, one day, literally I was jotting it down and I realized, Oh my God, all of my clients need this. This is, this is it. This is what you do. And that became what I ended up dubbing as the Apollo method for market dominance.

Because later I came to realize that the parallels between what the Apollo space program had done to put a man on the moon actually were very striking compared to what a company needed to do to achieve sustainable differentiation and market leadership in, you know, a given market.

Theresa (06:54): So that was the genesis of all of this. And the essence of what the book is about. I basically wrote down the methodology. I’ve said, I want this to be something anybody can go off and do. It’s very step by step and actionable so that you don’t need me to do it.

And it’s not a big pitch piece to get to the upsell. It’s you can go off, read the book, and if you do what it says, you can, you can have a, make a remarkable difference in your profit margins and your longterm sustainability in a, even in a very competitive space.

Kathleen (07:33): I’m sure everybody who’s listening is thinking the same thing I am, which is, tell me more about this Apollo framework. What exactly does it entail?

Theresa (07:45): On the surface it’s so simple, and it almost sounds insulting because it’s, it’s very straight. It’s very simple, but of course, when you dive into the details, it gets a little richer with some of the nuance of what you need to do. But a lot of it is bringing together pieces that a lot of companies do go out and do.

There are some things that I, I see missing, which is why I did feel compelled to write the book, because I just was not seeing it discussed out in the market. So there are four phases or four pieces, and I present them in a chronological order in the book, but you can do bits and pieces.

You can pull from different parts depending on where you are with your business. So the four stages at the high level are launch, ignite, navigate, and accelerate. So launch is where you decide what it is you’re going to be known for.

Theresa (08:35): You decide not just what product or offering are we going to put out into the market, but what, what do we want to own? What problem do we want to take full ownership for in the market where we are really the, the thought leaders around that problem.

And we are the ones advancing progress in that area for the market. We have a vision for what the market needs to do and what will solve this problem. And we are in it for the long haul to to guide the market along. So that’s, so during that phase, you decide what markets, what market or markets you’re going to focus on, what you want to be known for.

And then you develop your point of view on that problem. So what’s why is it a problem? Why is it a pressing problem and what needs to be done about it?

Theresa (09:24): And then you define, or you hypothesize or define your unique, what your unique approach to solving that problem is going to be. And then you put your stake in the ground and say, by golly, we own this. You might do it with a big launch event. You might do it with a press release, with a, with an ebook, whatever it may be.

So that’s your launch. Then ignite is where you take that point of view and you go out and your, your goal is to lead a movement in the marketplace around that issue, around that point of view, around that problem and what needs to be done about it.

And of course your approach, but on a, at a higher level, it’s really more about taking the market forward. So you see Tesla doing this with electric cars, you know. They have their, they have their higher purposes.

Theresa (10:16): We want to accelerate the adoption of electric car technology in the marketplace. We really believe deeply that the world needs to move to electric car technology. And so when they talk about themselves, a lot of what they talk about is electric car technology, what we need to do to take the industry forward.

You know, they, they talk about their cars to an extent, but it’s really that, that bigger message and a key in the ignite phase is that you’re getting other power brokers in the market to embrace your, your your point of view and your purpose.

And so they become evangelists on behalf of you as well, out in the marketplace on your behalf. So the goal is to get that momentum going and really lead the market forward. We saw Mark Benioff do this with salesforce.com.

Anybody who’s watched that story unfold over the last 20 years saw him take a point of view, which said, we have got to get the world off of this expensive installed software that takes months, or if not, years, to install and millions of dollars, you know? We need to kill software.

Theresa (11:24): He literally had a a logo, the Ghostbuster style logo that said, you know, get rid of software. And so when he would go out to conferences, he would not talk about the Salesforce technology. He talked about the need to put the world in the cloud. And at that time, this was incredibly controversial.

And a lot of people didn’t think it was going to be ever embraced. Because at that time you didn’t dare put customer, your most precious corporate data in the cloud, no way would anybody do that. So he was an example of somebody who really went out and started a whole new movement in the marketplace.

So that’s the goal with ignite. The third phase is navigate, and this is where you have to walk the talk you have to deliver on your promises. So this is where you actually take your offering to market.

Theresa (12:19): You sell and market your offering, you get your people on board. This is what people normally associate with the business. But the big difference is that you have a unique offering that is more than just a product. It’s a true solution, so that you’re, you’re delivering a result.

You’re not just selling functions or features. You’re delivering outcomes for the customer that really change their business and actually solve their problem. And we can talk about more, talk more about that later, if you want, because it’s an important distinction between what, what a lot of companies need to be doing to truly be of high value and justify those higher prices versus the way they do it today.

And then the fourth phase is accelerate. You have to invariably, even no matter how unique you are in the beginning, people are going to come out and start copying you, especially as you become successful.

And the market is going to change. The world is going to change around you. So accelerate is all about staying ahead of the market and changing and adapting with the market. So those are the four key, the four phases.

Kathleen (13:29): So I have a bunch of questions. You mentioned at the, well, let me back up. The first one is, in the world of marketing, I feel like there’s a lot of buzz right now about the concept that people refer to as category creation.

And and there’s, you know, the book “Play Bigger,” which is on that. And there’s, there’s a whole host of other books in that space that this sounds a lot like that. Can you talk about like, is, is that really what this is? Are there differences?

Theresa (14:01): There are differences. There are differences. Yeah, I actually don’t, I know, Christopher and I have had a conversation. He’s a colleague in Silicon Valley and we have a lot of mutual friends.

And I know that, that I know that they have a very strong, the authors of that book have a very strong point of view around category creation. And a lot of people talk about it. I personally don’t believe that you have to go out and create a new category. In many ways, Salesforce did not create a new category.

They, they did it differently. They did the same thing that Siebel and other salesforce automation companies were doing. They, they did the same thing, but in a different, unique way that solved a very particular problem. So my, my perspective is that the key is focusing on the problem. What, what problem are you solving for customers?

Theresa (15:00): What, so it’s, and it’s more around coming up with a unique approach that solves that problem in a very, very high value way. So you do, I don’t believe you have to go. There are many, many companies that have tremendous success that don’t go out and create an entirely new category, and some analysts would even counsel you against trying to do that because it’s extremely expensive and you’re trying to really change, fundamentally change the market.

And yes, it’s doable. And I know Blue Ocean talks about those as well, to some extent, but it’s, it’s not necessary. The one big difference with my book is that you can apply this to any business, no matter what phase they’re in.

It could a solopreneur could go out and implement this for themselves, and a person trying to figure out their career could, who could apply this, or any product organization within a big company, or the company across the board. You know, it can really be applied at various layers. So it’s not about category creation.

Kathleen (16:10): I’m glad you’ve explained that because, and I’ll just share, it’s interesting. I have a point of view on this because, you know, I’m in a lot of different groups of CMOs and heads of marketing. And I feel like every single person I talk to says, they’re creating a new category.

Kathleen (16:27): And at the risk of violating my clean content rating on Apple podcasts. I just think that’s bullshit. Every single company can not be creating a new category because then every single company would be in a category of one. Like, it’s just, it’s almost gotten ridiculous how common it is.

Kathleen (16:46): And I do think there are companies that are genuinely doing it, and I think there’s a lot of excitement behind that, but that, you know, I sort of like teed this up. I didn’t tell you I was going to ask you that question, but, but I wanted to have that conversation because I just, I really do think it’s become almost ridiculous that it’s like, if you’re today’s marketer, you have to create a category, right?

Theresa (17:07): Yeah. It also kind of depends, you know, you can define the word category and I guess in a lot of different ways you know, I think with Play Bigger, they have a great perspective and you can do that and have tremendous success. And with enough capital and enough support and resources behind you you can definitely implement their strategy.

They talk about some great stuff in that book. I’m by no means denigrating what they talk about, or it’s just that I don’t feel that’s the only way to go out and have tremendous success and and have a tremendous impact.

And, you know, my focus is more on how do you go and have you know, deliver outcomes to a set of customers that are going to view you as, you know, the thought leader and the torchbearer in their, in their world.

Kathleen (18:04): Yeah. So I like that. I like that you have a focus on making this accessible, accessible, I should say, because I think that that’s one of the issues when people talk about category creation is it feels like you need to be VC backed and, you know, it’s, it’s a whole different play.

Theresa (18:21): It’s expensive.

Kathleen (18:21): It is. It’s very expensive. It’s a long game,

Theresa (18:24): Right?

Kathleen (18:26): You mentioned at the beginning that it’s, that this might seem like a big duh, but the reality is most companies are not doing these things. And so can you just take a minute and speak to why you think that is?

Theresa (18:38): Yeah. You know, it really confounds me. I developed this 20 years ago and I I’m stunned that nobody has already come out and come up with it. To me, it was, you know, it’s almost like writing down the chocolate chip recipe, chocolate chip cookie recipe that grandmothers have been making for eons.

But so when I first came up with it, I actually found some resistance in the market. I think I was a little early and talking to people about this because it was pre-internet and they couldn’t see how similar they were to other companies. As a consultant, I’m traveling around, I’m talking to lots of different people.

It’s like Gartner, you know, all day long. They talk to companies and every company that walks in and sounds like the last one, but to the company themselves, they, you know, they didn’t see each other.

Theresa (19:29): So they couldn’t tell. Now that, now that digital marketing in particular has sort of put everything online companies, I think executives even now more see, they used to be very insulated from how much they looked and sounded like everybody else. And that’s no longer the case.

So I actually realized even last year, cause I’ve been trying to talk myself out of having to write this book for years, I’ve started and stopped thinking, Oh, well, I don’t think we needed it. You know, I’ve heard about Play Bigger coming out.

And with the way they talked about that book before it was published, I thought, I had a conversation with Christopher on the phone and after hearing him, I thought, well, I think their book might be the same as mine. Maybe I don’t need to write this. And it came out and I realized, no, it’s still not quite the same.

Theresa (20:18): And last year I thought, Oh my God, you know, we, we need it now more than ever. And so because companies, they’re there, there are a lot of, they do some of the pieces, but they don’t quite put the pieces together properly.

And then they’re really missing the boat completely in other areas like, like a point of view, you know? Very few companies have an overarching, true thought leadership point of view about the market and where the market needs to go.

They have a point of view about themselves and their product and how their product operates and why. But you should be able to take your product out of it completely and talk just about where the market is going, what the problem is and what they need to be doing about it, independent of your company.

That’s true thought leadership. So that’s one of many examples of things that companies are, are missing the boat on.

Kathleen (21:19): Yeah, I think that’s, to me that’s so important because I feel like it’s that first step where probably 90% of the problems are. And I think you hit the nail on the head, which is that everybody thinks they are differentiated. Like, honestly, I mean, if you talk to any marketer, they’re not going to say I’m doing a terrible job and I’m copying everyone else. Like they’re going to give you their pitch and their value prop, and they’re going to feel like they’ve done that.

Kathleen (21:43): So I think maybe it would be helpful if you spoke a little bit more about really what it means to have that point of view, because I’m not sure that people listening are going to understand, like, what does that look like when it comes to life?

Theresa (22:02): Okay. Yeah. So in the book, I have a very prescribed message framework that I believe companies should be using, especially if you are a solution to a problem. And what most technology companies, most B2B your audience has more of a B2B focus.

Kathleen (22:19): No, it’s, it’s not, it is kind of all over the place, but I tend to talk a lot about B2B just because that’s where my focus is.

Theresa (22:28): And a lot of, I think a lot of it, it used to be interesting. It was so consumer and B2B were such completely different animals in the past and they still are somewhat different, but it’s interesting how much more similar they are now than they, than they ever know, or in terms of how you do your marketing, but the point of view. So the message framework is this. It’s three pieces. That’s why there’s a problem, what needs to be done about it and how you’ve uniquely solved the problem. So why, what, how. So the point of view is the first two. It’s why there’s a problem in the market. So it’s not just that there’s a problem. It’s why is it a problem? What’s the fallout from the problem? So for example, with me, I would say, you know, the problem is most companies don’t adequately differentiate themselves in a way that’s going to be sustainable over time.

Theresa (23:20): And this was a problem because it leads to declining margins over time. It leads to price based competition. When your customers can’t see what makes you different. And over time, companies have to compete on price. They have to lower their prices. Margins fall. They have fewer and fewer dollars to invest back into the business and back into their future and in marketing.

And eventually they go out of business. I mean, we say, see with agencies all the time. I mean, there’s some of the worst offenders and failing to differentiate. So, so what should they be doing about it? They need to come up, you know, they need to have a unique approach to a problem that they own in the marketplace.

So that would be for me, my what. So I can talk all day long about those issues and all, all what companies are facing and what they need to be doing, et cetera, and never once talk about me or my, my company’s services or, or even my book.

You know, I can go all day long just on that point of view about what needs to be happening. So every company ought to have that for themselves. They ought to have that very strong perspective.

Kathleen (24:38): You mentioned Salesforce earlier, which is a great example, and I love that story of Mark Benioff staging a mock protest with his sign. And are, are there any companies, maybe some more recent examples of companies that you think are doing that really well, that, that first step in your four step process?

Theresa (24:57): Well, I think for sure you know, I like to use Tesla because I think again, they’re kind of a textbook because they have taken such a unique approach to solving a problem that people have been talking about for a long time, which is how do you get electric car technology to be embraced? I don’t think people realize that I have the year in my book, but electric car technology has been around since like the beginning of the 20th century.

I mean, we’re talking over a hundred years of electric car and the, and you know, gas and electric were sort of developed at the same time. And then gas took off and electric got left in the dust. So but you know, Tesla has this, this very you know, Elon Musk. I mean, he’s a great example for all of his businesses.

Theresa (25:42): You know, his businesses start with a higher purpose. You know, SpaceX, you know, wants to make space, travel more accessible and more practical. The Boring Company, you know, he wants to solve the traffic problem. You know, he, we need easier, better ways to get cars off, you know, to get across town.

So, you know, those are examples. You know, REI, well, that’s not a recent example that these, you know, I, I tended in the book, I tended to study companies that have been around for awhile. The whole point is being sustainable. You know, I think, you know, I know you talk, talk about HubSpot a lot in your podcast and, you know, I think they’re a good one.

The, the challenge with that company is that it’s a little broad the way they talk about what needs to be done, but if they just were to focus on the, and they talk, you know, of course emphasis is on inbound, but you know, with them, I’d love to see a more focused message around, you know, what’s wrong with the way most companies approach their inbound marketing and what needs to be done about it.

Theresa (26:58): That would be an example of an opportunity, you know, for them to get more clear about leading the charge, even though they have done a great job of leading the charge in elevating the approach to digital marketing, getting people to be more integrated in how they do it and being more sophisticated and make it, making it more accessible to more companies.

Kathleen (27:22): Yeah. Now I think it’s interesting that you have your second step as ignite because it is, you know, it’s one thing to have your point of view, but if nobody knows about it, it’s the tree that fell in the forest. Right?

Kathleen (27:35): So talk me through what that ignite step looks like or should look like, or how a company should approach it.

Theresa (27:45): Yeah. So a key thing is is, is understanding the role of power brokers in an industry. So a lot of companies, a lot of marketers, I think don’t quite appreciate this, and they certainly don’t leverage this to their full advantage.

So every single industry or every market has literally a handful of people who know everybody, are respected by everybody in that market. They, their tentacles reach, I, I nicknamed them tree trunks with vast root systems, because that’s how you can think of it.

You just see one person standing there, but underground unbeknownst, you know, because a lot of times you don’t even know how far reaching their network is, but there’s this vast network and they all talk to each other and interact with each other.

So one of the keys to getting traction is getting those powerbrokers converted over to your point of view and to the point where they actually start evangelizing on your behalf and they help get the word out.

Theresa (28:48): So it amplifies your message. So instead of having to reach 500 people, one person at a time, you can, with one power broker can just because they have so much power and such a voice in the market, they can immediately convert thousands on your behalf. You know, relative, let’s say your market is, you have 10 or 20,000 people you’re trying to reach.

They can literally reach a giant chunk of it all at once. A good example of this in the technology space is Gartner. You know, if you get Gartner on board and behind what you’re doing, they start writing about you in their reports. They start talking about you even informally in conversations.

So and you know, the, the media can play that role, but there are also individuals just, you know, most industries have maybe a dozen who they know everybody, and they have the tipping point.

Theresa (29:50): Malcolm Gladwell talks about personality types, and one is the connector. And so these power brokers are connectors. They just proactively spread the word about other people and other companies they know and put people in touch with each other.

So you’re looking for those types of people and that can propel you very quickly into a market in a highly credible way that you won’t be able to do on your own. So this is something that a lot of companies don’t fully leverage. They do go after media. And you know, of course there are social media influencers and some, some social media influencers fall into this a lot.

Don’t, you know, a lot of them just have their 50,000 followers and they put out a tweet or whatever. That’s a flash in the pan that might give you some quick response, but you’re trying to get enduring influence in the market.

You’re trying to become one of the powerbrokers yourself. And so you need these power brokers to help take you in that direction, but they can also make it happen a lot more quickly.

Kathleen (30:55): So I think that sounds great in principle, but in my experience, a lot of the power brokers in any given market have a lot of people clamoring for their attention. And when we, you know, we started out by talking about how this approach is a very accessible one. So it’s one thing if you’re Elon Musk going to try and like get in front of power brokers, and of course, they’re going to take your call. It’s entirely another. If you are, you know, a first time founder who doesn’t have a big reputation or VC backers, or, you know, that, that super powered network. So how does one go about brokering those relationships?

Theresa (31:35): This is where the power of the point of view comes in because when you have a very powerful, provocative point of view on a really critical problem, and you have a perspective on what needs to be done about it, that’s truly fresh and innovative. People will listen.

They’re, they’re hungry to know to understand what’s going on out there. You know, I think of, I mean, not everybody may be able to relate to this example, but I think of Jamie Oliver who is the chef out of the UK, who caught, captured a lot of attention with a Ted talk he gave about nutrition and how it, how the typical person’s nutrition is literally killing them.

And he gave this powerful Ted talk. He was, he was a nobody at the time, just some chef, but he had this very powerful point of view and a very passionate devotion to his point of view.

Theresa (32:27): And he got the ear of lots of people and got onto the Ted stage. And eventually he got a TV show and, you know, he got a lot of notoriety, but it was because he had that point of view and Ted talks are actually a great example of points of view. They’re not up there to sell anything.

They have very powerful perspectives that are interesting enough for the rest of the world to listen. It’s what’s their slogan. Oh now I’m, now I’m drawing a blank on what it is. I’m sure somebody can put it in the show notes for us. Ideas worth sharing.

So your point of view needs to be an idea worth sharing, because if it’s provocative, I have four criteria, actionable, bold, controversial, and distinctive. And so the ABCD that’s in the book, so you can have a reminder. But it needs to be provocative to get other people wanting to talk about it.

Kathleen (33:28): I love it. So we’re probably not going to go into detail on the, the last two stages because I think those are probably the ones that my audience is much more familiar with, which is having to do with going to market and really how you execute.

I think at least the first two stages are the ones that, that really trip people up. And let’s be honest, you have to get through those to get to the second two. So I’m wondering if you, just, for people who are listening, who are thinking, I’m interested in maybe doing this, other than going out and buying the book, which they should absolutely do and we’ll talk about how they can find it.

What are some things like if they just want to get started, if they want to listen to this podcast and then go back to work, what are, what are one or two things that they can immediately start doing that can set them down on the path to get started with this?

Theresa (34:14): Yeah, I think one thing is, first of all, it’s just like any, anything else acknowledge the problem. Acknowledge that you have a problem. What I have found even as a chief marketing officer is sometimes having such a hard time getting the rest of the executive team to acknowledge that we have a problem.

And marketers know how often do you feel like you’re putting lipstick on a pig? You know, you inside, you know, know this company really isn’t different. You know, I have to make it, I have to make it sound different, but in all honesty, it’s not different.

So if there’s any way to get the rest of the full team to acknowledge that there’s a strategic issue and that the company, this is not a marketing problem, this is a fundamental strategic issue for a company that the marketer and others in the company need to play a role in solving.

Theresa (35:07): So I’d say that’s one thing. It’s get the team. And even, even if you’re a product team or a unit within the company, just to agree that this is an issue and that you need to do something.

And then the next thing is really get clear on what problem are we devoting ourselves to? What problem do we want to be known for in the market? What problem are we devoting ourselves to eradicating in the marketplace? And then, what is point of view about what it will take to solve that problem?

And then figuring out how to make your approach. If you already have a product, how do we make it more unique or how do we turn it into a more comprehensive solution? And instead of just some SaaS offering with our three levels of purchase option, you know, a silver, gold platinum, or whatever you want to call it, you know, how do we turn this into a full solution?

Theresa (36:05): I am, I, I have a support website out for the book Apollomethod.com. And there are some tools that I have in the book that you can also get. Just go to the website to get that. It will also help you start taking action on some of these areas right away. For example, an offering blueprint form can, it’s sort of similar to the business model canvas, but it’s an offering blueprint that will help you just define components of your offering. And you may see where some of your holes are right now that, that keep it from being a, a complete solution.

Kathleen (36:44): Awesome. Well, those are really good tips to get started. And I think, you know, that’s, that’s the first step as we said. So for somebody who does want to really see this through you, you mentioned the URL for the book website. Can you say that one more time?

Theresa (36:59): Yes. It’s www.apollomethod.com.

Kathleen (37:02): And is that where they can get the book or will that take them to it?

Theresa (37:05): They can, yeah, there’s a link to get the book, but they can also just go to Amazon and do a search on, on Be the Go-To and put my name in if they want, if they have trouble finding it. So Theresa Lina. And they can get the book on Amazon. It’s also available on other platforms both in hard cover and hard cover paperback and ebook on Barnes and Noble and some others, I think.

Kathleen (37:31): Great. All right. Now shifting gears, I have two questions that I always ask my guests. So now it’s your turn. The first one is, of course this podcast is all about inbound marketing and we’ve talked about a lot of companies in this conversation, but opening it up, you know, when you think about inbound marketing is there a particular company or individual person that you think is really kind of setting the gold standard for what it means to do that right?

Theresa (37:58): Well, right now, well, I’ve heard a lot of really good ones mentioned on your podcast. I listened to your podcast religiously. And so I won’t, I don’t think I’ll duplicate that maybe they’ve been mentioned, but I really think salesforce.com still does. They’re huge, but they do a phenomenal job of inbound strategies.

Their trailblazer program is really phenomenal. It goes beyond just typical lead generation where they’re really trying to, this is part of a strategy and the book, they, they, I did not work with salesforce.com, but they are a textbook implementer of the Apollo method for market dominance across the board.

So they have so many great programs that are all about generating, you know, getting people to start using the product and then making the product more and more a part of their business.

So I think they do a phenomenal job with all of their, the blogs and all their various blogs and materials and their free trials and the trailblazer program, the Dreamforce conference, et cetera.

Theresa (39:09): And you can do everything they do. You can do it on a small scale. You can, you know, Harley Davidson started the Harley owners group with 50 people back in the eighties, and now they have, I think, hundreds of thousands. But they started with just 50 people.

So you can you can start these programs with, you know, on, at a very small scale and still experience a lot of success. And then, you know, it’s interesting. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Stu McLaren, but he, he’s a, he’s one of these internet creator, you know, in the internet creator space.

And he specializes in building member-based communities. And I really think he’s doing some neat things around helping people and companies start membership programs, membership, or community based, or member based communities, paying members.

And for example, he has this wonderful founding member strategy, which I think is really brilliant that he talks about. If you Google him and listen to some of his podcast interviews, you’ll, you’ll learn some interesting things from him, I think.

Kathleen (40:23): Oh, I’m so interested to check that one out.

Theresa (40:25): Yeah. He’s one that’s caught my attention lately.

Kathleen (40:28): Well, funny enough. Yeah, you’re right. I don’t think anybody has mentioned Salesforce, even though it seems like it’s obvious.

Theresa (40:34): Is that right?

Kathleen (40:35): But I also don’t think anyone’s mentioned Stu McLaren, so that’s awesome. I like to get new ones. Second question, and you know the drill cause you listen, marketers always talk about how hard it is to keep up with everything. It’s all changing so quickly. How do I do it? So how do you do it? How do you keep up?

Theresa (40:50): Well, I definitely listen to a lot of podcasts. One of the things I love about your podcast is you get into the mechanics of things with people, especially when you’re talking to people who have specific tools. You know, I just love that you dive right into exactly how did you do this?

So I love listening to podcasts and reading articles and blog posts. And then I do monitor academic research because especially when it comes to analytics, because I find it useful to show me where things are going. One of the departments I’m involved with at Stanford is the management science and engineering department, which has a big analytics orientation.

And so I try to pay attention to what our faculty are doing in that space. And then there’s a great resource called ecorner.stanford.edu, which has lectures by different thought leaders in Silicon Valley.

Theresa (41:50): And while not all of it relates to marketing, it is another, a lot of these are up and coming, for example. It’s also part of put on by one of the groups in our department. And we had Mark Zuckerberg back when Facebook was just getting started.

We had the Google founders when Google was just getting started. So they have a real knack for seeing what’s coming down the pike. So I, again, I like to listen to that and look at what companies seem to be coming along and what they’re talking about, because they’re often on the front edge of things.

Kathleen (42:25): That is a great suggestion. And yeah, and when I have not heard about before.

Theresa (42:29): And then, you know, actually one more is political campaigns because they are, the stakes are so high. I like paying attention to what they’re doing and what tactics they’re using because a lot of times they borrow heavily from marketing, but they can also be borrowed from. And then my students in the Stanford marketing group are often at the front edge of what’s going on out there. So I, I I like to watch what they’re doing as well.

Kathleen (42:55): I love that. Well, that sounds like a lot of really good suggestions. And of course, as always, I will put the links to all of those, into the show notes. So head there, if you’re interested in checking any of those out this has been a lot of fun and really interesting. Theresa, thank you so much.

Theresa (43:11): Thank you. This has been fun for me too.

Kathleen (43:15): Yeah. Now of course you’re going to want to go out and get the book. So I’ll put the link to the website in there as well. And if you’re listening and you enjoyed this week’s episode, please consider going to Apple Podcasts and I would love it if you would leave the podcast a five star review so that others can find it as well.

And in the meantime, if you think of somebody who would be a great guest, tweet me at @workmommywork. I really do check out those recommendations. And a lot of people who come on the podcast come by word of mouth. So let me know if you think that there’s somebody who would make a good guest. That’s it for this week. Thank you so much, Theresa.

Theresa (43:53): Thank you. Thank you. This was really great. Thanks.

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