Martech Stacked Episode 14: Record, Transcribe, Edit and Mix... As Easy as Typing! With Ramli John.
27th August 2020
I’m joined today by a product growth specialist who helps product-led companies optimize their user onboarding experiences to convert more trial users into lifelong customers. He’s host of two podcasts - Growth Marketing Today and Product-Led Podcast - and the producer and host of the Product Onboarding Teardown video series for Product Led. Welcome to Martech Stacked, Ramli John.
Listen to Martech Stacked on Apple, Google Podcasts or Spotify.
#1: Descript Record. Transcribe. Edit. Mix. As easy as typing. Take control of your podcast with Descript.
#2: FullStory Deliver exceptional experiences by letting our easy-to-use, intelligent software pinpoint when, where, and how user struggle is affecting your revenue and retention.
#3: SQL (and CodeAcademy.com) SQL (pronounced "ess-que-el") stands for Structured Query Language. SQL is used to communicate with a database. According to ANSI (American National Standards Institute), it is the standard language for relational database management systems.
David Bain: I'm joined today by a product growth specialist who helps product-led companies optimize their user onboarding experiences to convert more trial users into lifelong customers. He's the host of two podcasts, Growth Marketing Today and Product-Led Podcast, and the producer and host of the product onboarding tear down video series for Product-Led. Welcome to Martech Stacked, Ramli John.
Ramli John: Hey, David. How's it going? Super excited to be on this. The table is turned and I'd love to answer your questions. I'm usually the one asking the questions.
David Bain: It's great to be on with fellow podcasters because you've got decent audio equipment. You're comfortable with the medium and it's always fun turning the tables.
Ramli John: Yeah, it is.
David Bain: I find Ramli over at productled.com. So Ramli, explain what Product Led does and how you use marketing technology to make it better?
Ramli John: Product-Led Institute. It was actually started by Wes Bush. He is the bestselling author of Product-Led Growth. Essentially what we do is we'll help companies in two ways. First, if you're sales-led, so you have a very large sales organization, we help you transition to become more product-led and product-led is allowing customers to actually try out your product first or to try a free part of your product before buying it. A lot of buyers nowadays prefer to try it before you buy it. It's what we do at Costco, right? There's a lot of free samples there.
Ramli John: The second part of the business is that we actually help product-led businesses convert more of their free trial or free users into lifelong customers. I'm really focused on the second part of the business where I help product-led businesses increase their conversions.
David Bain: Okay, great. Just to clarify, by being product-led do you mean SaaS businesses or do you mean this business could also be a service-orientated business that is positioning what they offer in terms of packages?
Ramli John: That's a really good question. Yeah. The way the product-led is actually more of a go-to market strategy. You can be a service business but transition more into where consultants, what they do is they get people to fill out a huge form with 20 different fields before they directly contact you and you got to start thinking about a way, like how can I maybe provide value sooner whether that's giving, what do we do? We're doing onboarding tear-downs or maybe doing a smaller kind of offer or a tool which Neil Patel does it really well. He's a consultant that has taken over tools that offers free actual value to people with, in SEO, he asked, you know, he bought Ubersuggest which used to be paid but now he offers it for free. It's more for go-to market strategy, an approach to how do I front load value to my customers before they even have to fill out a big form or pay upfront?
David Bain: Do you think that any technology business listening should perhaps have a free part of their offering? Because there are many technology businesses that perhaps do one-to-one webinars or an expanded sales process and just sell B-to-B possibly and don't offer a free trial or certainly a free ongoing access to their product. Is that something that every business should be looking at doing?
Ramli John: Yeah, that's a really good question. I think there's this matrix that Wes Bush put out in his book and really what you have to think about is the more complex or more novel or more new the technology the more likely you need to explain to people first. For example, if it's a totally new interface that people have never seen before or it's a new piece of technology like AI, whatever is new, you might have to do that one-on-one conversation first. Product-led businesses tend to apply better for things that consumers already understand or customers already understand. Like what we're recording on now, Riverside.FM, people already have an idea on what it looks like to record a podcast and record video because it's been standardized, versus something that's actually totally new which you might have to explain what is it exactly that you do? You might actually need a human there to explain what that new piece of technology is.
David Bain: Yeah. That's a good example actually because the platform that we're using to record this podcast and video is called Riverside and it records everyone's video and audio locally and then provides me afterwards with high-quality recording of that. They do offer a free trial. This isn't an advert for Riverside but it's funny that you mentioned human involvement as well because the founder of the business offered to come on with me and to have a call with me to see if I had any questions at all. I think, you know, ideally you've got to combine that free offer and the facility for customers to be able to use the technology with actually that hand-in-hand approach to make sure they use the technology in the right way.
Ramli John: Yeah. Totally agree. They don't have to be mutually exclusive. I think that's a big misunderstanding that people have. I've talked to somebody who is hybrid sales-led and product-led where product-led actually gives you a lot of data about product usage. Like now you can go to the sales team well, you got to talk to this user because he's added five podcasts and recorded this and this. Like this is a very, what we call a product-qualified lead because they've now engaged with a product so much that they're probably really excited about it enough to talk to the sales team. That's one instance where product-led and sales-led actually have a hybrid model and work well together.
David Bain: Great, okay. What about the marketing technology within your particular business? In general, what would you say that you're making better use of at the moment?
Ramli John: I think since I'm so focused on conversion a lot of the tools that I really focus on, it's really more product engagement and how do I get product data? Those are a lot of the tools that I've been really focused on to how do I forget what my users are doing in the tool. Are they getting stuck somewhere because with product-led now you're hoping when people try something do they actually end up doing what I want them to do? With Riverside, do they actually record a podcast? Do you actually start doing something or did they just sign up for a free trial and then leave right away which is a being problem? Then I really try to dig deeper into that.
David Bain: Okay, great. Okay. One of the tools that may fit in there is Hotjar. We've already had someone from Hotjar on the series.
Ramli John: Yeah, cool.
David Bain: Let's see, I guess, if that's one of the pieces of software that you've got in mind there as your top three tools. Starting off with number three what are your top three tools in your current martech stack and why?
Ramli John: Yeah. I go back to basics and people might crucify me for this but I actually really believe that SQL, so S-Q-L, is a really big tool. You can apply Chartio or other tools like Mixpanel to your tool but often those things miss things because of the implementation. Sometimes there's ad-hoc product engagement data that I look for. So that's the first tool. A big example is I use this right now for one of my clients here, an e-commerce email marketing platform and I use it to see hey, first of all when people sign up for a free trial do they connect their e-commerce store to the email platform? Second, do they send a first email and the cool thing with SQL before you go dig deep into finding a tool that's perfect for you is you can get the data, what do you need, before you actually start looking at tools. So I use SQL pretty much every day.
David Bain: Do you believe that digital marketers that don't understand code are always going to be worse off than digital marketers that do?
Ramli John: Not necessarily but SQL is slightly different from knowing Python or Ruby on Rails. We're actually building an app. SQL has become the standard language for being data-driven. Everybody talks about being data-driven and SQL is the language of data because every app probably most likely is based on a SQL database. That's just the standard. Every company I've ever worked for in tech, their database is in PostgreSQL. When you know that language of data now you don't have to rely on the limitations of the tool that you have or like oh my goodness, we forgot to pass over this specific field from the data? How am I going to find it out? Now you have to bother like an engineer or a data analyst if you do have a data analyst on your team to try and figure out and get the data that you need as a marketer or growth marketer.
Ramli John: In some sense I do believe that marketers should try to learn SQL because it is the language of being data-driven and marketing has turned into a more data-driven field versus what it was maybe 20, 30 years ago with the era of the Mad Men.
David Bain: Perhaps even 10 years ago.
Ramli John: That's true.
David Bain: Right? It's changing very, very quickly. If a marketer just doesn't really know what you're talking about there where's the best initial resource if you can think of one that someone can go to online to find out more initially about SQL?
Ramli John: That's a good question. I think Code Academy has one that's more generic. I'm actually thinking about putting together a resource for marketers related to that. I don't know if it's going to be out when this podcast comes out but that's something that I've been thinking a lot about. SQL is a good tool for marketers to learn so Code Academy is a good resource.
David Bain: Code Academy. That's your tool number three. So what's your tool number two?
Ramli John: Yeah. You talked about Hotjar. I actually love Full Story and it's something that I've talked to other growth folks in product-led businesses. Like people from Wistia, they love Full Story for a few reasons. They actually have Full Story Friday parties where they would get their teams and then they would go sit down, have lunch together, and they would just watch recordings of their users interacting with the app. One other thing that Full Story does is they have, I don't want to call it AI because it's such a buzzword but they have some kind of algorithm to tell you Ramli, or David, you got to take a look at this user. This user is really stuck. They call it click rage, where somebody is click ... You know, have you ever clicked on a button or something over and over again because you're just frustrated and they have signals to tell you, hey, you had five people click rage.
Ramli John: I think what really Full Story or Hotjar, or other user recording tool, what it does is it provides the why behind the what. SQL gives you what. What did my user do? Did they connect that store? Did they send that first email? Now with Hotjar or Full Story now you're going to find out a little bit more like why are they not completing what we want them to do? Why are they not sending their first email? Why did that free trial in Riverside not add a podcast to do a recording? What is it about it that they might have gotten stuck with? Maybe the wording or the design is confusing and allowing those Full Story Friday parties with your team can allow deeper insights into the quantitative data that we just talked about in the SQL.
David Bain: Great, okay. So I'm just having a look at the Full Story website, fullstory.com and also HotJar as well. Trying to get a feel for the differences between them both. HotJar, I've actually got an article in their blog comparing them both. It's quite good to actually try to be honest and open and say to the user, this is what Full Story has got, this is what HotJar has got. You make the decision. At HotJar they're saying openly that they don't have bug tracking. However, they're saying that they do have feedback widgets and surveys and Full Story doesn't have that. Is that a fair comparison between them both? Is there another reason why you went for Full Story rather than HotJar?
Ramli John: Yeah. I think that's a good point. HotJar you can launch surveys, you can ask questions. What I really like Full Story is that it already provides that insight, like the way they talked about click rage and versus HotJar, I don't know if they've updated or added that feature recently, where they don't highlight ... you have a thousand recordings and then I don't want to have to sit through a thousand recordings. With Full Story I have a thousand recordings but they're going to say hey, these 30 had a problem with something. They obviously got stuck somewhere. They either click raged or they did something or they didn't do what you expected them to do. You should watch this. I think that's one advantage. The other thing that I find with Full Story is it's really team focused.
Ramli John: You can actually, when you're watching a recording, you can leave a note and tag your teammate. So now it's really focused for teams like where I'm a product-led growth marketer, I can tag a designer or I can tag an engineer. It's like hey, I can tag an engineer and say, hey, there's a bug here. It's obvious somebody is stuck here. That's super cool that you can work as a team within Full Story and that's how it actually, Full Story is. One person in the company gets that and then they invite everybody else because they just want to tag everybody on the team.
David Bain: Because you can do things like that you can tag team members does that mean that, and also looking at the full story website, I've clicked on plans and I can't see any pricing. I'm feeling that Full Story is more enterprise focused and HotJar SME more. Is that fair?
Ramli John: Yeah. I think that's a great question. I interviewed the product marketing manager at Full Story and this is an experiment they just pulled off last month. They've always been product-led where they had prices up front and I think they're starting to move enterprise. They do still have a few account, there's a free user, a free plan where up to a thousand sessions, but it is, I think it's gotten more pricey than it has been maybe six months ago.
David Bain: Okay.
Ramli John: I think, yeah, it's fair. Probably HotJar is more SME than Full Story now.
David Bain: So we've got SQL tool number three, Full Story tool number two. What is your tool number one?
Ramli John: This is actually one of my favorite tools, not just for podcasting but I feel like it's a superpower. When it does what it does I still scratch my head like how is it doing this? It's a tool called Descript. When I do a lot of communicate interviews I can get it transcribed through Rev, right? But the video and the transcription, when I record the video for customer interviews it's separated from each other unless I ask for subtitles, which doesn't make sense. So with Descript you can drop any audio file or any video file into Descript. That's why I've been using it with my podcast, and then you click on it and then you say transcribe and then identify separate speakers.
Ramli John: So Descript can tell you who was speaking, like how many speakers you had on that video, and then now you can tag them. So like this voice is Ramli, this voice is David, this voice is Melanie. It would like put the names attached to where the words are in that video and you can actually make it searchable. When you skip and search for a specific word like "problem" you can skip forward to that section and the video would be attached to that word. I'm like, how is that even possible? So I've been using that for podcasting as well where you drop in a file and let's say somebody says "um." I can find out all the "ums" in that file and just delete it. I can just delete the word and actually delete in the audio as well. So I've been using this for customer interviews particularly for my business because I do do a lot of customer interviews and to find out more about the why behind the data and it's cut back a lot of the time I spent on analyzing transcripts.
Ramli John: I can get it within a few seconds versus maybe when I put it to Rev.com or something it does take 12 hours to get their transcription back.
David Bain: Great. So it's descript.com you're talking about there as well. Do they only offer an AI-driven transcription service or do they use real users as well?
Ramli John: That's a good question. They have multiple plans. I believe the highest level they confirm up to 99.9% accuracy so I'm guessing there's a human involved in there. Then the plan that I have is a little bit lower which is like 95 or 90% accuracy and that is just through AI. That AI is definitely not perfect but it's enough for me to like, "What did they say here?" Then you play the video and then you can actually edit the text so that you can hear the exact words they're saying.
David Bain: Great. It's a great service. I've certainly heard positive reviews about it before. I haven't actually tried that one myself before. I've used Rev quite a bit and Rev is generally very good.
Ramli John: Yeah. I agree, yeah.
David Bain: Obviously there are occasionally issues but it's going to be a more costly than Descript so I would expect Rev to be a bit better because they use a combination between AI and users actually doing the transcription at the same time. That said, there was an offer on AppSumo recently.
Ramli John: I saw that, yeah.
David Bain: For a service called Happy Scribe.
Ramli John: Happy Scribe, yeah.
David Bain: I'm not sure if you're ... so that's a different one. Are you talking about an offer for Descript?
Ramli John: I thought it was an offer for Descript? Yeah. They did have an offer a while back.
David Bain: It was an offer for Happy Scribe. I'm not sure if you've heard of that service.
Ramli John: No.
David Bain: But I've signed up.
Ramli John: Interesting.
David Bain: And I've taken a few tokens or vouchers or whatever they're called and I'm trialing Happy Scribe and they're very, very good. They're not quite as good as Rev. I would say Happy Scribe are probably about 96, 97% accurate and Rev is more 99. But AI is getting better and better and it's incredible the formation of the sentences that they can have, and certainly in a year or two it's going to be indistinguishable from people almost.
Ramli John: The other cool thing that just came out with Descript, and this is absolutely mind-blowing. I don't know how they do this. You can talk to Descript now for like 10 minutes and you can fake your voice. I'm not sure if you heard that in like, what is that? Where you type words, right, and it's saying but it's saying it in your voice and it sounds you. It's absolutely crazy. It's for if you want to ... you don't have to re-record your intro if you wanted.
David Bain: That sounds more like for a criminal to use your voice for voice recognition technology.
Ramli John: I mean, sure. If you're a criminal you could use it to hack your phone.
David Bain: Exactly. Ramli John:
I thought it was cool. I don't know if I'm actually going to use it but they're crazy.
David Bain: Wow. Okay, it's a great service. These are the services that businesses should be considering certainly if they produce a lot of video and audio content because the amount of editing that you have to do is reducing as time goes by. So those are three great recommendations there. Let's get a feel for your content marketing strategy and how these services integrate with that. I gather you produce videos on a regular basis so do you actually use Descript while you're producing the videos to produce text?
Ramli John: Yeah. I think that's a great question. For my podcasts and also for the product-led onboarding what I do is I find a minute snippet that I can post up on LinkedIn and Twitter so that I can promote it. I do use Descript because then I can just highlight the best quote from that podcast or that video or onboarding tear down that I've created and just drop it into a new file. The words, copy and paste the words, and it'll copy and paste that portion of the video. That's what I use now. I used to use Premier Pro which I don't know the word so I have to scrub through the certain part, like put in the input for the beginning of the quote, and then put in the output for the end of the quote, and then export that which now what am I doing? Descript can just copy and paste this and you can export up to 4K so Descript does export video content really well.
Ramli John: I do the same thing for my podcasts as well for audio snippets. I would take audio snippets where some of my guests don't want to show their video on the promotional stuff so I would go to the audio snippet and just highlight the words and then paste it into a new, what they call a composition, and then export that as a minute promotional audio snippet for the episode.
David Bain: For video editing using Descript could I take a 16 X 9 video and would they output a 1 X 1 video for social media?
Ramli John: Yeah, you could. So you can crop that. I haven't actually done that yet but I think you could. Yeah. There is a way to change the dimensions.
David Bain: Aspect ratio?
Ramli John: Yeah.
David Bain: Yeah. Okay. That makes it interesting for me because I've been using Premier Pro as well and it's important to try and produce a video that's right for the medium. You mentioned actually producing minute-long videos there for social media. Is that because you use them for Instagram because I know the limit on Instagram is one minute but the limit on LinkedIn is 10 minutes and for Twitter I think it's two minutes and 20 seconds. Do you do Instagram as well?
Ramli John: I don't. I should do Instagram, not as much. I know other marketing podcasts have done really well. I just do a minute because I get bored. But also I don't know. I think Twitter had a shorter limit back then. I don't know what it was but a minute sounds like it's not too long where two minutes might be too long for some folks just to give a taste of the podcast.
David Bain: Okay. The reason I'm asking is because it's good to use video on Instagram but it's also a pain to produce different lengths of videos for different social networks so you tend to look at the minimum required across different networks and just I guess produce one piece of video for social media based upon the minimum required.
Ramli John: Yeah.
David Bain: It's always great diving into your specific use of different tools and videos. What about calls to actions from those videos on social media? You mentioned that you take snippets of your podcast. Do you actually drive people back to try and subscribe to your podcasts as a result of consuming those videos on social media?
Ramli John: Yeah. That's another great question. One thing that I've been trying, and it's working somewhat pretty well for one of my podcasts, Growth Marketing Today, is I try to drive them back to the website for a very specific reason. So each episode I actually, and this is why I use Descript as well, is actually pull out all the actionable insights from an episode, put it in a one-page PDF. I call it the growth cheat sheet and I tell them, hey, why take notes when you can steal mine. Go to growthtoday.fm/101, whatever the episode number, to download my free growth cheat sheet. That's my call to action is to try to get their email so I can stay connected with them and also the second option is to subscribe. Those are typically my two call to actions. Download my free cheat sheet or subscribe to the show on whatever podcast you use.
David Bain: Yeah. Email is still very important and of course once you get that you can always ask them to subscribe as well. Do you attempt to see what kind of device that people are reading your emails on and just deliver them, their subscription option that's suitable for their device, I.E. Apple Podcasts if it's IOS.
Ramli John: That is not something I've tried. That's probably quite smarter. Like if they're using Iphone, right? But even in that case it's hard to tell because I have an Iphone and I don't use Apple Podcasts. It's not my jam. I use Overcast. It might not work as well but if it was-
David Bain: I guess it's more challenging to do it by email. That's a good advertising strategy to do on Facebook if you have a call to action to subscribe. So let's veer back to the use of marketing technology within product-led and ask you, as the business grows, what's an example or process that you currently do manually that you may wish to automate using marketing technology in the future?
Ramli John: Yeah. I think there's still a lot of things that I use ... Whenever I look at a spreadsheet I'm like, man, this could be a tool. I still drop my customer research stuff into a spreadsheet to pull out the insights. I don't know if there's any tool yet that can take it all and then kind of organize customer research and it's the same thing for podcasts. I feel like for podcasting a lot of the content stuff that I've been working on, whether that's doing video or doing podcasts, I'm all over the place. I'm doing notes, in on Apple Notes, then I'm on Google Docs, and then I have some files in my hard drive. I use Trello to try to organize everything but I can't really drop files in there to organize everything. I have a feeling that there's a way to better put everything in one place and have a workflow somehow to get it all together.
David Bain: From conversations with ... the great thing about doing this podcast of course, I get recommendations from top marketers about the best technology they're using and a couple of people have recommended ClickUp to me. I'm not sure if you've tried that. That's certainly marketed as a Trello replacement in addition to being able to store documents and to do lots of things. That might be worthwhile looking into there as well.
Ramli John: I'll check it out. That's a good suggestion.
David Bain: Great. In terms of you talked about all the data that you collate for target consumers or for research that you're doing. What kind of data do you actually collate and for what purpose?
Ramli John: So I categorize like different, when I do customer interviews, maybe 10, I try to pull out insights into if I had sticky notes I would use it here but I put them all in a spreadsheet. Once they're all in a spreadsheet I would categorize it based on what value proposition they're really attached to. Whatever that is for that tool. Whether it's faster or better or what is it, I'm trying to kind of organize the value of this product to what consumers are thinking. I've been using Google Spreadsheet which probably isn't the best. I probably can use something else that can drop that like Miro or some other, even Trello. I probably can drop it in carts and organize it that way. But it's still a pain trying to organize everything in one place and re-categorize it.
David Bain: Definitely, definitely. I think it's challenging to begin with because you don't necessarily know the categories that are appropriate, so you end up hustling away and creating documents with not much structure to begin with before you can actually start to structure things. To a certain degree you have to be a bit messy to begin with before you can start to categorize things.
Ramli John: That's true.
David Bain: Well, Ramli. We've had a great discussion today about different types of marketing technology, how you use it in your business, really diving into transcription there and how it's very important for certainly podcasters and video publishers to be aware of. In terms of what we've discussed today would you say there's one key takeaway that you think the listener should leave with?
Ramli John: Yeah. I think if I put it all together I feel like with a lot of marketers now, we're all data-driven. Getting into the data is, when we say data often it's quantitative data. Let's do some spreadsheets or let's do SQL all around. You can do SQL, go to SQL and figure out this and this. Finding out the why behind the what and merging that together is really where the magic happens. Two out of three tools that I suggested are really focused on that, the why, and if I can suggest that to any marketers about being data-focused or data-driven that's where the magic happens. Focus on merging the why to the what and telling a story.
David Bain: That really jumped out for me as well as a phrase, when you were talking about Full Story you were talking about the why behind the what. I like also the phrase that you used there as well, being data-focused. I think data-driven can sometimes encourage people just to look at data and not ask the question why.
Ramli John: That's true.
David Bain: And just reacting from the data and not using a bit of common sense or a little bit of qualitative data at the same time. Superb. Thank you so much for your time. Superb. Thank you so much for your time and your tips today. What's the way for your listener to find out more about you and what you do?
Ramli John: Yeah. Three easy ways. First of all, I'm really active on Twitter and LinkedIn. There's only one Ramli John, thank goodness for my unique name.
David Bain: Lucky for you.
Ramli John: Second, you can find my podcast, it's Growth Marketing Today. You can find it on Apple Podcasts or wherever. Go to growthtoday.fm. Third, I do onboarding teardowns of different products. I've done Deputy, Drift. I'm going to go do Canva. So go to onboardingteardowns.com.
David Bain: Superb stuff. Thanks again.
Ramli John: Thank you so much for your time, David. I really appreciate it.