Wellspring Digital Chats – Zach Messler, Messaging & Product Marketing Magician

I met Zach on one of those countless Zoom things and knew right away that he was someone who needed to be on our Wellspring Digital Chat series.

Zach is that rare breed who can help you develop messaging and positioning that actually works! Here’s what we got into on this chat…

  1. How important are words today?
  2. Why do companies talk about themselves so much?
  3. Why do B2B tech companies struggle to truly “know their audience?”
  4. Do old marketing tricks still work?
  5. What’s the deal with “corporate storytelling?”

Let’s do this…

Digital Transcription (Edited for Readability)

Introductions

Jon-Mikel Bailey: I am Jon-Mikel Bailey, and this is the Wellspring Digital Chat where we bring in marketing experts and we dive deep into their psyche. We talk about their childhood, or we talk about their opinions on marketing, digital marketing, all kinds of great stuff.

So today, we have a product marketing brother of mine, we both speak the same language, he might say that a little bit better, but we’ll try not to speak in code for you all and speak in words that you can understand.

So Zack, if you could go ahead and introduce Introduce yourself, these good folks?

Zach Messler: Well, my name is Zack Messler. I was born a poor Jersey boy and No. So hi, I’m Zack. I, as you said, Johnny, I spent 20 years in product marketing for tech. What that means largely is just connecting the core value of our offering to what our audience cares about most through all these different channels, whether it’s sales channels, or marketing channels, or partner channels, or analysts or the media, whatever, that product marketing, at least to me.

Today, I help founders and their teams know what to say and how to say it. So they attract more buyers and sell more stuff. That’s it.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: So you know, when I think of product marketing greats, it’s you all day long. And I’m excited to talk to you about messaging and positioning, present, and future. And really, all the things that I think the tech world and businesses, in general, need to need to hear because I think what you bring here is a revelation to them about all the things that they are continuously doing wrong.

Zach Messler: So, it’s foundational. Yeah. So the thing is, everything that I do, is about foundation. It’s a messaging foundation, the positioning foundation, this is basic stuff, but somewhere along the path, we all forget the basics, because we think they’re too basic, thing is they work.

How Important Are Words in Marketing Today?

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Yeah. So that Okay, so that’s a perfect key up for my first question, because I really want to talk about messaging today, especially in TikTok society, where everything’s a blip. Everything’s a quick little video. Are we spending too much time still worrying about words or not enough?

Zach Messler: Oh, I definitely think it’s not enough. And it comes back to intent. Ready, you see so many, not just companies, people are not just people really, but companies. They don’t have a purpose behind what they put out into the market.

And, you know, I pick up TikTok, and it’s this short, quick video at sci-fi. Funny, largely funny, at least that’s what I see funny stuff or wacko stuff, but there’s still a message behind that even if there are no words in the video, there’s still a message there.

And if you put anything out into the world, without intent, why are you putting it out there, what do I want to get across? How do I want to come across? What is the thing I want my audience to think of when they’re watching this, when they’re hearing this, when they’re reading this?

If you’re not taking that step, your audience is going to define that message for you. And then once your audience defines that message, good luck.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: You know that makes me think, we always, as a digital marketing firm, have clients ask us, “should we be on TikTok? Should we be on WhatsApp or Snapchat or whatever?” You know, the latest, and I think what you just said there is really the question they need to ask themselves before they even consider going on any of those platforms. I mean, would you agree?

Zach Messler: I totally agree. Yeah, I violently agree. It’s what is the reason if it’s just, “oh, I gotta go on TikTok, because everybody’s there.” That’s not a good reason. What’s the business reason for a business? What’s the business reason for going on TikTok for going on WhatsApp, and from a business perspective?

Do you have the resources and the time to be able to manage that channel? The way it should be managed can’t just be this fly by night type of thing.

Why Can’t Companies Stop Talking about Themselves?

Jon-Mikel Bailey: So, it and this kind of ties in as well. I mean, especially with tech companies, why can’t these companies stop talking about how great they are? What is that?

Zach Messler: Well, a couple of things. One, it used to work. It used to work, used to be able to go out there and talk all about your product and how great it is and people who want to buy that. Right? It doesn’t work that way anymore. A little bit of that is ego too, for sure. I mean, especially in the tech world, especially in the tech startup world.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Oh, yeah.

Zach Messler: Where you have people who have built, really visionaries who have created these incredible products, that do incredible things. And they have a vision for it. And Goddammit, that’s going to be the vision for it right?

And so they don’t necessarily want to hear that. It’s not so good. Or it doesn’t solve this problem, or somebody’s using this in a way that we didn’t even think they would use it. That’s not how it’s supposed to be used. There’s a little bit of ego there.

Jon-Mikel Bailey:  Yeah, I mean, there’s a feedback loop almost that they’re ignoring when they only talk about themselves.

Zach Messler: Well, this goes back, this goes to a dirty secret in marketing, which is everybody talks about doing audience research, but nobody does it. People say they do it all, we got personas. And usually what happens and I saw this in my career, usually what happens is…

“Oh, we got to put together personas,” and you spend a week or you’re lucky a month and doing a little research, you come up with these, these PowerPoint slides that have you know, Andy, the engineer, and, you know, Mobile Marty, and stuff, and then you don’t look at it ever again.

But the thing is, if you’re not becoming your audience, it’s not even knowing your audience. It’s becoming your audience, being able to put on their glasses, walk around in their shoes, pick your favorite cliche about perspective, but taking on their perspective, and understanding it, not just knowing it, but really understanding it.

There’s nuance to that. There’s nuance to how people speak, there’s nuance to what people want. And if you don’t have that perspective, and if you don’t make the effort to get that perspective, then you’re not going to know it. And if you don’t know it, then you’re not authentic.

I hate that word. I was listening to an earlier podcast. I think I told you about this, I was listening to an earlier podcast when you had Scott Stratten and you guys were talking a little about authenticity upfront. But it’s true. If you’re, if you’re not taking on that perspective of your audience, and doing it purposefully, then you’re just selling shit.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And that’s, you know, it’s interesting, because anybody that’s watched, you know, a handful of these interviews that we’ve been doing here knows that a common theme is “empathy.” But I think you know, you can keep you can say empathy, empathy, empathy, practice empathy. But if you don’t do it, as you said in a purposeful way, then it’s inauthentic.

Zach Messler: Well, yeah, it’s not doing this so I can sell more products. That’s not why you’re doing it. It’s doing it so I can help people. The way I can help people solve their biggest challenges that I know we can address. Because if I take on their perspective, then maybe I’ll see that, “oh, hey, we design this product for x, but really, it addresses blue.”

So we can look at that problem and see, “hey, what are the challenges, or what are the things around blue, that aren’t being addressed right now in the market?” And now all of a sudden, I have a whole new positioning for a product, could be a whole new product line, which you wouldn’t find if you didn’t take on that audience perspective.

Do the research, not just research, it’s, I’m going to pivot here for a second…

Jon-Mikel Bailey: There’s that damn word.

Zach Messler: I know but it’s so good. I’m gonna move over here for a second, I’m gonna change shift gears for a second. When I used to start Product Marketing organizations, these tech companies, one of the first things that I would always do is I would find out who the best salespeople were, I’d pony up to them.

And I’d see if I could go on live sales calls. Now in the world of COVID, we’re not doing “in person” so much anymore, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from going on Zooms or listening in on phone calls. Sure, but I would travel with them. And I go to sales calls. And that was the first thing I do. Because one, you’re building trust with the sales team. So that’s always important, always important as a marketer.

But I’m not relying on a secondhand source. I can hear what customers, what the audience is saying, I can see their reactions, I can feel their reactions. And there is nothing like that.

But the thing that surprised me, and it didn’t by the last company, it didn’t really surprise me is I was almost always the first marketer that would that ever did that? Not just in that company, but the sales guy would say, “Why do you want to come on a sales call? Never had anybody asked me that before.” That’s crazy. Insane.

Why Do B2B Tech Companies Struggle to Truly “Know Their Audience?”

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And it’s funny because, in one of your recent blog posts, you said that this almost exact thing, it is impossible to understand your product or service and its value if you don’t deeply know, the audience you want to serve, which is what we’re talking about here.

Zach Messler: Exactly what we’re talking about.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Why do b2b tech companies struggle so much with this? Can you say something right now, that will somehow smack them alert and make them understand? I know that’s a tough task, but I’m challenging you right now. Make them hear you Zach.

Zach Messler: All right. No one gives a shit about your product. No one cares how great you are. They don’t. They care about they care about themselves. They care about, they might care about what you can do for them, but not in the context of you. They care about things in the context of themselves.

And if you can’t take on their perspective, you’re noise. At best you’re noise, at worst, you’re annoying. No flip that. At best you’re noise at worst, you’re gone. Really.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: You don’t exist. It’s a great point.

Do Old-School Marketing Tactics Still Work?

Jon-Mikel Bailey: So I still see even in this topsy turvy flipped on its head world of the pandemic, I still see companies where you know old school marketing tactics are still the norm and I think, you know, I’m wondering are they, are old school marketing tactics not only ineffective but also actually detrimental to a company in achieving their marketing goals. I mean, in other words, is relying on old tricks doing damage? Do these companies need to open their eyes and, you know, smell the coffee, or there’s all kinds of metaphors here. But yeah, you know.

Zach Messler: For sure it’s doing damage, but it’s, it goes back to how people buy, right. And again, I mean, it’s back to that, that core foundation of the audience and taking on your audience perspective and understanding how people by understanding their information needs, you know.

Way back in 2006, the iPhone came and that changed everything. And it’s to a point now because it changed everything because now I have everything I need right here. I don’t need your company. I don’t need a salesperson. I can do my own research. I can get what I want when I want it, period.

There are companies that have not changed their approach. Now, I always like to talk about this and shine a light on car ads, because you can see this in car ads. And I know that that is a mainstream consumer thing. And it’s not necessarily a B2B thing. That’s the pushback I’ll get sometimes.

But everyone’s a consumer now, everyone is a consumer. And even though in B2B, and especially in tech, you’ll have buying groups and you’ll have all your different committees and lots of people helping shape and make that decision. They’re still all consumers.

So you look back pre-2006 at car ads, and I always think of Lexus guy. I don’t know if you remember Lexus guy, “the all-new Lexus RX, putting the world on notice yet again.” At the time it killed. “Putting the world on notice.” I want to be like that guy, debonair, it’s dripping in luxury.

And today, it’s gross. Right? Today, you know, there’s a Lexus ad that came out. It was for the UK market, but for the same car. And it’s about a minute, I’ll send you a link. It’s awesome. It’s Jude Law.

Jude Law drives up in this Rx, and he tosses the keys to the valet, and he smiles and winks, and the valet takes the keys. And all of a sudden he gets in the car. You see the world from the valet’s perspective. And he’s on a joyride.

And he’s driving around and he ends up at some, you know, at a nightclub, and he knocked on the window and the little slot opens, and there’s a monkey there. And he goes in, and it’s a party, then he’s at a pool. And they’re like, yeah, this just like you see all this. It’s just a giant party and getting fed and all that stuff.

And then he’s like, “oh,” and he’s got to go. And he goes in, he comes back. And he gets out of the car, and he tosses the keys, that Jude Law, and they give the wink back and forth. And then you hear the only words in the commercial “Lexus, live the life.”

Holy crap. Holy crap.

Because when you think about how people buy, it’s no longer “why us, why us, why us.” Why change has to come first. And until people feel that need that burning desire, that fear of what could happen if I don’t change, they don’t give a crap about you. No one gives a shit about your product until they do.

If you’re focusing on why us all the time, then you’re assuming that everybody cares about you, they understand the problem, they’re aware that there’s a way to do it better. And if you do that, you’re missing out on a massive piece of that potential market share, massive piece, not even potential. It’s your market share, you’re missing out on it all because you’re focused on me, me, me, me, me, me. It’s not about you.

The Generational Conundrum

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And it’s almost more amplified when you speak about it in a generational sense. You know, like, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z. Now, you know, if you go at them with old school marketing tactics, they’re going to be turned off like, like you said.

Zach Messler: Well, exactly. It’s not just an annoyance, but you come at me, I’m firmly squarely Gen X you come at me with that, and I don’t have any concept of who you are, or why I should care. But now as a marketer, I kind of go “Whoa, I could help them.” But I’m mildly annoyed. You come at my daughter, who’s a senior in high school with that, and my God, it’s an offense. It’s, it’s, I’ve seen it.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s so true. It’s so true.

Zach Messler: That goes back to the authenticity though. And if you can’t take on that perspective, and do it in a way that’s real, you can’t make this stuff up. You can’t make this stuff up. It’s connecting. It’s connecting with your audience. That’s what it is.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s so simple.

Zach Messler: Oh, look, I have a great example of this. So in my business, so I said early on in my messaging and positioning advisor, really a product marketing advisor. And my main offering is called the Sounding Board. The Sounding Board, it’s an advisory service.

And so what I did to come up with that name is I know my audience, I put a survey out, I found people on LinkedIn, I found my audience on social, I had people that I knew I could help and wanted to serve. And I contacted them. And I set up phone interviews. And I spoke to over 100 people, I bet I said, “Look, this is not a sales call, I am not selling you a thing. I’m doing product and audience research. I’d love your perspective.”

I’m looking to serve founders and their teams. And I explained the offering. I’m not gonna do that here, but I explain the offering, what it was. And I don’t remember the exact number, but it’s like 70 something percent of them said, “Oh, you mean like a sounding board?” Yes, that’s exactly what I meant. Yes.

That’s how I came up with that name. (That’s awesome.) It is going to your audience, you pull in the words of your audience, you throw it back at them. Now, look, in a couple of years, maybe the Sounding Board won’t resonate as much, maybe I have to change, maybe in a couple of months, but it’s staying on top of your audience.

Always having their perspective, top of mind. And you can make the changes that you need to. (It’s brilliant.) It’s basic.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s brilliant in that it is so basic.

Zach Messler: The best ideas are always the ones where you say, “why didn’t I think of that?” And those ideas are always rooted in foundations. Always.

What’s the Deal with “Corporate Storytelling?”

Jon-Mikel Bailey: So I want to talk about storytelling. So we hear so many marketing experts advise companies to “tell their story” and I want to know I want your opinion what do people get wrong with this? You know, what actually works?

Zach Messler: This goes back to the same thing.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Is telling your story an effective marketing strategy? Or is it just another? Well, Tell me your thoughts on storytelling?

Zach Messler: The challenge with that, is people take that too literally. Tell your story. Your story is not your story. The hero of that story should never be you. It shouldn’t be. You have to connect with your audience. Your audience is the hero of that story.

And this goes back to Joseph Campbell, 1949, Hero with a 1000 Faces. It’s “who’s the hero of the story?” The hero of the story is your customer. I remember one of my stops, one of the founders when I was an employee, one of the last companies I worked for founder-led, the company was killing it. The founder was a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant guy.

And he would always get something in his head. And then that would be the focus for the year and one year it was storytelling “we’re gonna tell stories.” And he got up on stage at sales kickoff. And he talked about storytelling. I’m not going to share the name of the company because it doesn’t matter.

We’ll call them iTech. So he would tell these stories and iTech was the best. And iTech was just it was all about iTech and “look at what iTech did for Verizon and look at what iTech did for this big brand or that big brand or this other big brand. Isn’t iTech awesome?”

Later in that sales kickoff, I think it was the next day. I did a whole presentation on how to tell stories. And I didn’t mean to but I kind of blasted his approach and here’s why. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work, that going old school, it doesn’t work.

The hero of the story is your audience, your ideal audience. Your company can be a guide, your company can be the lightsaber the, the thing that that helps your audience achieve and get to that new bliss. Overcoming obstacles along the way.

And so what I did is I told I did the case study on Mobile Company x, we’ll call them Verizon, but it wasn’t Verizon. So, I did the case study talking about Verizon’s challenge and how iTech overcame and iTech help their IT team do this and that and the other thing isn’t iTech great?

And what I said was, “well, I think iTech is great. And I know you think iTech is great. But do we want, and this is the thing if you take nothing else from this story, do we at our company, want our audience to want to be like us? Do we want them to be like us? And that answer is “hell to the no, we don’t want them to be like us” telling these stories.

We want them to be like this amazing customer of ours that achieved these incredible results. We want them to be like this other customer of ours who achieved even more incredible results. And we want them to see themselves as these customers in those circumstances.

So then I told the story like that with Verizon or that mobile company. At the center, they’re the hero of the story. And it’s a different story, who’s the hero of that story? That crack IT team at Verizon, they’re amazing. They were able to roll out this new program in three weeks because they had the iTech platform.

All of a sudden, we didn’t achieve that. Verizon’s crack IT team did. But they couldn’t have done it without us. Right? totally different story. Yep. totally different story. That’s what most companies get wrong.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s almost like it’s almost like, if you if you want to go with the hero’s journey, it’s almost like, you know, the hero is the is the client, and the product is, you know, their swift sword that enables them to slay the dragon or whatever (this is me saying exactly with what Zach just explained).

Zach Messler: Although one thing I will say because I see this, especially in tech all the time, and this is just, there’s a certain four-letter word that has become a pejorative for me. And that is “tool.”

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s a great band.

Zach Messler: Yeah, great band, absolutely, nice. “When you use the tool, that can do this.” The problem with that is a tool is a hammer. A  tool is a wrench. When I need a hammer or a screwdriver, that’s even better one.

So, I got to fix something. You know, I gotta get the screwdriver. I got to do all this stuff. I go get the screwdriver. Oh, crap. That’s the Phillips I need a flathead. I don’t have a flathead. Alright, fine. I’m going to the hardware store. I got to buy a flathead screwdriver. It’s a tool.

What am I going to do? I find the flathead screwdrivers, I find the one that’s the right size, and I find the cheapest possible one. And that’s what I buy. And I don’t care if it has a fuzzy handle. I don’t care if it has. No, it doesn’t matter. It does not matter. It is the cheapest possible screwdriver.

That’s what a tool is. A tool is a commodity. And if you continually talk about your incredible innovation as a tool, you’re cheapening it and you’re costing yourself a ton of money, and you’re losing more deals than you should.

Bonus: The Fable of Zach’s Logo

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Amen. So before we wrap things up, I want to throw a little bit of a curveball at you because you were telling me a story about your logo. And some people know I came from, I actually founded and ran a design and development firm for like 17 years.

So I’ve been through the whole logo design process and that whole thing, but if you could just tell these people your story about your logo because I think it just kind of sums all of this up perfectly.

Zach Messler: All right, cool. Well, here’s the logo. This is a piece of it. (I love it.) Sometimes it has my name, Zack Messler, right there. But you know, it’s a lightning bolt.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s a great favicon too.

Zach Messler: Oh, totally is. It totally is. Yeah, I use it for that, too. Yeah, if you go to my site, there it is.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It stands out in a group of tabs. Boom, there it is!

Zach Messler: So yeah, that’s probably about nine months in. And my website sucked, my brand, my identity kind of design identity or brand identity kind of was weak. And you hear all these people say, “Oh, don’t worry about the logo, don’t worry about” which I think is largely true to a certain extent.

But I was at a point where it was bugging me. So I have a buddy out of Baltimore, he’s a exceptional designer, Brown Hornet Design. I’ve got a pimp his company.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: A lot of great designers in Baltimore.

Zach Messler: Oh, there really are. There really are. So Chris is my friend. So I paid Chris a crap ton of money. I paid him a lot of money.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Sorry, Chris, but you’re pricey, but worth it.

Zach Messler: You get what you pay for. Clearly, clearly, you should you get what you pay for. And so I paid Chris a bunch of money. And we went back and forth a little. And I told him what I was looking for. And I shared some things like he’s, you know, he asked me to share things from my business, from my life that were meaningful to me and great, so I did that. And then I heard nothing.

And two weeks go by, nothing. Three weeks go by, nothing. Now he wasn’t ghosting me, he’d respond. But nothing of substance, nothing about the design, nothing. So finally, I’m like, four and a half weeks in maybe five, I don’t remember. And I call him up like, “Chris, what the hell, man? You got to show me something, what is going on?”

And then he drops the hammer. He said, “Zack, I’ve been following you. I’ve been stalking you online. I’ve been watching your interactions, seeing how you behave. And I’m capturing it all.” And then he said, “give me a week. I’ll have some comps for you. And I bet you there’ll be something there that really stands out.”

And then, BAM! And I tell you what, I have had, I’ve done talks, and people have come up to me and said, “holy crap, man, that Z of yours, that totally captures your energy. It captures everything. That’s amazing.” I’ve gotten work. I’ve gotten work.

The combination of this logo, and I did a headshot with, there’s another story, but I did a headshot with a dude in New York City. Big proponent of a headshot as opposed to just “oh, you know, we’ll have Joe and marketing take our pictures.” The combination of a headshot that I did and this logo has legitimately with nothing else gotten me business.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: I mean, that’s impressive.

Zach Messler: And that wouldn’t have happened, this would not have happened without Chris doing that stalking.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And you almost ruined it by clienting all over it.

Zach Messler: I did, that’s right. That’s exactly right. But it’s almost the, it’s the brand piece of what I was talking about earlier in our conversation. He was looking to take on the perspective of my audience and design something, visually designed something that captured the energy, that captured the value, that captured the the tone, just everything. Man, that dude nailed it.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And see that’s the point. We don’t sit here and preach about empathy and understanding your audience just because we want you to be a thoughtful and caring person who, you know, is out to save the world. We do this because it works. I mean…

Zach Messler: That’s right. Think about it. One of the best pieces of advice you will ever hear, is I think it’s from Andrew Carnegie, so way, way back. It’s like, I’m gonna change the example. It’s from Hamilton. “Talk less, smile more.”

It’s, talk less and listen more. Really. When you want someone to like you, what do you listen to them intently? You hear what they have to say. And you start a conversation that way. You don’t talk at them. If you start talking at someone, then they’re gonna think you’re a douche.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And you can’t fake it too. You can’t fake listen to someone, you know, do that. And then and then completely go home.

Zach Messler: That’s right. And when it comes to attracting buyers, it is about we want people to like us. Not necessarily we want them to like us on a personal level. That’s not what I’m talking about. But we do want them to like us.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Especially to the mobile world.

Zach Messler: Oh, for sure. Well, buying, buying has always been this is kind of, people don’t believe this, they think it’s a recent thing, buying has never been exclusively about the facts. Ever. It’s not about the features, the way that this messaging has evolved, you used to be able to tie it, and they taught this back in the day in business school, marketing was feature benefit, feature benefit, feature benefit.

Then it became benefit feature. And now, I’ve witnessed this because I’m old. I’ve witnessed this because I remember when I first started marketing, I was in tech, and it was feature benefit, feature benefit.

And maybe that was just I had, you know, old school marketing leadership or whatever back then who knows, but then it definitely shifted. And it was “oh, we can’t talk about the features. Nobody cares about the features. They care about the benefits, they care about what our product does.”

And so it was benefit feature, benefit feature, benefit feature. Those companies that you were talking about earlier, they’re the ones that are still caught in benefit feature. But talking about a benefit of my product is still about my product, it’s not about you. And that’s the challenge with that.

From benefits solution. It moved again shifted again to problem solution. “We want to become more market driven. So we’re going to focus on market problems,” which is all good. That’s past too. That’s not popular. That’s not popular.

There’s a dude on LinkedIn, a really well-known sales guy blocked me because I hammered him on this. But problem solution. Selling the problem is old and bad advice. Selling the problem alone, is old and bad advice. It’s not problem solution anymore.

Today now it’s context, problem solution. Context is that immediate connection that I get with you. And you can’t fake context. People sniff that stuff out. And if it’s fake, again, you’re noise. At best you’re ignored, at worst, you’re so annoying, I never want to deal with you.

But context is just what I just got there. It’s going for that virtual head nod. Well, if it’s an in-person sales conversation, going for the real head nod. But it’s before introducing your offering, it’s important to have that context even before you start talking about the problem.

Context makes talking about the problem less fear mongering. If you don’t do context then it’s a fine line between selling the problem and selling fear.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And it all ties in together. So if you bleed over then into the SEO world, everybody now is talking about search intent. Searcher’s intent, their user intent, what is their intent when they’re doing that search, not just the keywords, but what is their, what are they looking to do specifically, and then how do you match your content and your solution to their search intent?

And that’s what I mean, all this stuff ties together and context is huge and intent really ties together.

Zach Messler: Absolutely. Absolutely. Totally ties together. I had a thought there and it’s just gone. I probably, at three in the morning, will wake up with it.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: That’s the problem of both of us being Gen X, you know, you have to really hang on tight to those thoughts, and then they’re gone.

Zach Messler: Okay. Here’s a good one. Well, whatever.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Well, we’ll do a part two.

Zach Messler: Yes, that’s good.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: So Zack, I really appreciate you being here. This is a lot of fun for me. There’s, I think, some really important stuff in here for people. So again, thank you so much for doing this. And I hope you have a great 2021 stay safe and sane out there.

Zach Messler: Right back at you, Jon. Thank you so much.

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Jon-Mikel Bailey is the Chief Development and Marketing Officer for Wellspring Digital, a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in SEO, PPC, Marketing Automation, and Content Marketing. He has been published in MarketingProfs, Business2Community, SpinSucks, {Grow}, Social Media Today, and more. He has spoken at the Digital Summit Series, MarketingProfs, ITE, Grant Thornton, and others.