Podcast Interview of Ethan Beute, VP of Marketing, BombBomb Communications
by Heather Lutze, Founder, Findability University, The Search Party Podcast
Welcome to Search Party with Heather Lutze, CSP, the essential online marketing podcast. Heather dives into the minds of the best marketers, cutting edge tech experts, and Fortune 500 marketing executives to pull back the online marketing curtain and reveal the trade secrets of the most successful online brands. Get ready to party. Here’s Heather Lutze.
HL| Hey, Ethan. Welcome to Search Party. I am a huge fan of BombBomb. Can you tell us a little bit about what BombBomb’s about and how my listeners can use it to grow their business?
EB| Super. Thank you so much for having me, I really appreciate it. Thank you for the kind words. Our goal is to rehumanize your communication. We’re a software platform that makes it easy to record and send videos in a variety of formats. Traditionally, though, it’s in places where you’ve been removed from those messages. So anywhere that you’re relying on plain, typed out text on your phone, whether that’s an email or a text message or even social media or even on your laptop or desktop. We make it easy to mix in some simple video messages in place of plain, typed out text in a way that builds trust, differentiates you, helps you communicate more clearly. Because generally, we’re better just talking to people than we are taking our ideas and putting them into sentences and paragraphs.
HL| Ethan, you have quite an extraordinary background in broadcasting. How did broadcasting and BombBomb come together?
EB| I just found myself in local television. I’ve worked at Fox and ABC and NBC affiliates in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Chicago, and here in Colorado Springs where BombBomb is headquartered. So we founded this company in 2006. The background I have in writing and producing and editing videos was immediately helpful in BombBomb straight away, but those skills really transferred into social media and content marketing in general. Because it’s photos, it’s videos, and above all, it’s message. We’re asking, “What is the essence of what we’re trying to communicate and what’s the best way to do that?”
HL| My whole reason for having this Search Party podcast is to really feature the VPs of marketing. Sort of pull this curtain back a little bit for me. Can you give us a little bit of an insight to a good day at BombBomb?
EB| I’ve got a couple things just as you were asking that that came to mind. First is when I started with the company, we were a fraction of the size in revenue, in customer count, in employee count, et cetera. So we were still looking for our ideal customer, and what we had was essentially an email marketing platform with video built in directly, right? At the time, we were a constant contactor in Mailchimp, but oh, by the way, video’s baked in. A lot of people could use it, and so we were running ad words around video email and these other types of things, and we had kind of a random assortment of customers. One thing that I would encourage anyone, especially in a young situation, to find that ideal customer fit. We did two main things. One, go all in on discretionary time and money on the opportunity that emerged for us that was always kind of there, but it emerged and I’ll tell that story in just a second. Then the other one is around being really true to the real purpose of the company.
But if you have a strong conviction about what you’re doing and you have some early traction, and then I’ll transition into the story I referred to a minute ago, you need to honor that and stay with it. Until there’s a really clear or obvious pivot point, or you’re obviously not finding a good market fit, or your market has moved and you haven’t. There’s some reasons to bend a little bit, but I see so many, I’ve seen over the years so many different types of companies just chase shiny pennies, chase opportunities without really good, deep opportunity recognition and really good, deep self-awareness about who you are and what you’re trying to do and what you do best, right? As a contrast of two of our types of customers who we still serve, if you’re gonna spend your time and money and effort, we went all in on the one where every single person could say, “Yes,” for him or herself. We came in from the bottom-up, while a lot of other companies tend to go top-down. Like, “Let me get to the executives and see if I can sell a thousand accounts.” We came in and sold 50 or 100 or 500 accounts one at a time. Those influencers helped bring that up to the top of the organization, so there as an extra tip there, I guess, too.
HL| That’s fantastic. I think you kind of got scrappy there, right?
EB| Yeah. The opportunity was always kind of there. It emerged in a very clear way. We vetted it, we vetted it again, and then we just went all in.
HL| That’s absolutely genius. What’s your worst day at BombBomb?
EB| My worst day? It’s interesting. This is really personal, but in a growing company, I was basically a one-man marketing shop for a few years. I built a lot of systems, was really tied at the hip to sales, learned a lot about sales directly because marketing in a local television context is really audience and viewership-oriented. There’s some crossover into sales, but a really tight sales relationship was relatively new to me. But you write all the blog posts, you run all the social, you send all the newsletters, you send all the special offers. You do all the pre, during, and post-marketing at trade shows. Doing it all. Now, with some help from other people, we’re a full and proper team. For me, a tough day is when you go home at the end of a day or you go home at the end of the week, and when you’re honest with yourself, “I enabled her to do this, I helped him do that. I provided a key insight that got this team of three people really moving forward. I redirected this person four degrees and now they’re gonna be on target.”
But it’s not as tangible. So for me, it’s kind of tough as someone who really takes joy and has prided himself on doing, making, publishing, sending, posting. Really having this transition over the last couple years, right? I do have a full team around me. Day-to-day success and check lists and to-dos don’t have the same shape, and so I find that … I’m still dealing with it, I guess.
HL| I think it does speak to an overall marketing message. It’s not about us. It’s always about them (the customer) and what they need, even though we’d like it to be more about what we need.
EB| That’s a neat thing. After you’ve maybe spoken to someone on the phone or had an exchange or even met in person, being able to look back at them in a follow-up message and really identify with where they are.
HL| So BombBomb’s really been able to bridge that gap between just very impersonal email contacts and dialogues to creating a more human element in a digital sort of medium.
EB| Our highest level of purpose is to rehumanize the planet and restore some of the negative consequences of facelessness, which at the most hardcore and extreme is bullying, trolling, and some of these other things that you do when you don’t have to look someone in the eye and you know no one can see you and you have a fake screen name and a fake picture. That’s the most hardcore, extreme, negative behavior that’s around this digital facelessness. In the sales or marketing context it’s, “This email looks a lot like the other ones, except there’s a logo at the top and their stock art’s better in the email body, but all the plain, typed out text looks the same, doesn’t build rapport, doesn’t differentiate you, doesn’t give any characterization to who you are and what you’re about.” That’s the gap we’re trying to close. At the highest level, we want to rehumanize the planet because we’re all, even in developing countries, increasingly reliant on our digital communication channels. We wanna restore that.
What that looks like practically at the ground level is helping individual sales and marketing people communicate in a much more personal and human way, and thereby rehumanize the way that they’re communicating. It’s much more satisfying for you, and it’s much more effective on the other side. To me, it’s just the right way to be working in 2018.
HL| What’s next for BombBomb?
EB| We want to continue to find ways to add value to our current subscribers and to serve even more tightly the folks that we’re already deeply, deeply committed to in terms of we know the industry. We know a lot of the players, we know what the real challenges are in a really deep way because again, we made that commitment of our discretionary time and money years ago to understand these things.
HL| Wonderful. How can people check out BombBomb and get started if we’re feeling intimidated by the whole idea of being on camera?
EB| You can try it absolutely free for two weeks with no credit card required. It’s a truly free opportunity to get in there and see if it’s a good fit for you. I encourage you, whether it’s with us or anyone else to try it. I’m a huge believer that video is a better way forward and you don’t need to be dynamic to win with video. You just need to be relatable. If you are dynamic, great, but if you’re relatable you win by looking someone else in the eye, hearing them out, and sharing your own value back. This is gonna create a dynamic for you. ‘Cause people can reply back to you with their own videos.
HL| I already feel like I wanna go in and look and see all the new things that I can do.
EB| Well, that’s a challenge for us. It’s big. It sets a challenge for us as marketing, but that’s another episode.
HL| Thank you again, Ethan. I so appreciate your time, and great job in what you’re doing with BombBomb. I can’t wait to use your services and see how your company grows.
EB| Awesome. Thank you so much for making us part of what you do.
– Interviewer –
Heather Lutze, CSP
Dean and Master Trainer, Findability University
Heather is the widely acclaimed speaker, trainer, and consultant who literally wrote the book on search engine marketing. Her writing and in-demand keynotes and workshops are delivered with the same witty, “no-geek-speak” style that has managed to demystify internet marketing for countless business owners. Breaking free of corporate “cubicle” jobs well over ten years ago with nothing more than a dream of entrepreneurship and a basement computer, Heather has built and sold her multimillion dollar Denver SEM company—the Findability Group. She is a sought after Vistage International Speaker & has shared the stage with Tony Robbins at his Business Mastery Events in Fiji, London, Las Vegas & Melbourne.
– Interviewee –
VP of Marketing
Ethan’s got a background in and passion for brand, strategy, and content. To help people communicate more effectively with simple videos, he produces blog posts, videos, newsletters, webinars, social posts, stage presentations, and more. Prior to joining BombBomb, he directed the marketing efforts for local broadcast television stations and websites in Chicago IL, Grand Rapids MI, and Colorado Springs CO. BA: University of Michigan. MBA: University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. A happy husband and father, Ethan’s a big fan of fresh air, clean water, and warm sunshine.