Debunking Misconceptions Around Product-led Growth
Episode #045: Martin "Gonto" Gontovnikas, Co-Founder and General Partner at HyperGrowth Partners
September 13, 2021
There is no viral button for marketing or product-led growth (PLG). Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get users to feel that “aha” moment from your product.
In this episode, we chat with Martin “Gonto” Gontovnikas, Co-Founder and General Partner at HyperGrowth Partners. Gonto is a software engineer turned marketer and has made a career of combing his passions to create an “engineering thinking” model to marketing. Prior to his current role, Gonto led the marketing team at Auth0 for seven years.
We’re talking about the mistakes companies make when first switching to product-led growth (PLG), how to delight your users, growth teams, and so much more.
Stephanie's Strong Opinions
- The buyer is not the same as the user. Oftentimes the buyer never touches the product.
- Really dive into your data. You might find a channel isn’t performing as well as you thought.
- Never stop testing. Even if your experiment didn’t yield the results you wanted, you can still learn from it.
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Stephanie Cox: Welcome to Real Marketers, where we hear from marketers who move fast, ask forgiveness, not permission, obsess about driving results, and are filled to the brim with crazy ideas and the guts to implement them. This is not a fireside chat, and there’s absolutely no bullshit allowed here. And I’m your host, Stephanie Cox. I have more than 15 years of marketing experience and I’ve pretty much done about everything in my career. I believe speed is better than perfection. I use the Oxford comma. I love Coca- Cola. I have exceptionally high standards and surround myself with people who get shit done. On this show, my guests and I will push boundaries and share the real truth about marketing and empower you to become a real marketer. Well, I am super excited for this conversation, but before we dive into all the great things we’re going to talk about, why don’t you tell me something about yourself that few people know?
Martin Gontovnikas: When I was a kid, I was very, very shy. So one thing that I did when I was 17 years old, is actually stand up comedy. I did two years of standup comedy because I thought it was going to help me open up to people and do things differently. I presented two stand- ups, actually. After that I quit. But then I did a lot of talks and stuff like that around the world. So it definitely did help me. And I’m a big fan of standup now.
Stephanie Cox: I can’t imagine you not being the person that you are, and talking to people and being quiet.
Martin Gontovnikas: That’s what we don’t know that we always assume about people, but it’s crazy how history and decisions can change what we do and we can actually work on that. So big fan of having done stand up.
Stephanie Cox: Do you find that you use the things that you’ve learned in stand up just throughout your entire life and career in ways that you wouldn’t expect?
Martin Gontovnikas: Yes, but honestly the biggest one is just being, it’s about the exercise, how we eat, on being more relaxed, being better at improvising, thinking about what to say, depending on what somebody is telling you and being able to react fast. So definitely good learnings. I would say that if I were to, if I go back in time, I would do improv instead of stand up. I think it would have been a better fit for me, but still it was a good choice.
Stephanie Cox: Yeah, I’ve done improv before. And definitely, if you’re not used to, if you like to control situations, improv forces you to relinquish all control, which I think is good for a lot of us.
Martin Gontovnikas: 100%. I would have loved to do improv. So maybe some other time in the future.
Stephanie Cox: Yeah. One of the companies I actually worked for, we did a three- day team building exercise where we did an improv camp. And it was fantastic, and also it made me super uncomfortable the first day. As someone who likes to typically have a lot of control.
Martin Gontovnikas: I’m the same way.
Stephanie Cox: Yeah. Let’s talk about product led growth. So for those of you who may not be familiar, you previously were the SVP of Marketing and Growth at Auth0, and are super knowledgeable about all things product led. So I’d love to just start with, when you think about” product led” and explaining that to someone who’s maybe unfamiliar with the term, or even has maybe the wrong misconception about it, how do you best explain it?
Martin Gontovnikas: So, one thing that is fascinating to me about product led growth is that when you mention it to people, everybody thinks, okay, you create a great product, and they will just come. That’s it. And that’s a very big misconception, I think, about product led growth. To me, the idea about product led growth is being able to drive revenue for the company through adoption and retention. If you think about businesses, when they were sales led, you call them, or you talk to sales or to a sales engineer, they did a POC, and if you liked them, then you implemented it. And then when you were implementing it, maybe it wasn’t exactly what you thought, and you’re like,” F***. What can I do now?” Product led growth is changing all of that process the other way around, where you can actually test the product, try it out, and actually be in love and be retained and continue to use it before you start paying. And then you only start paying once you feel the value and once you feel that aha moment from the product.
Stephanie Cox: I love what you said about that, because I do think there’s this whole mentality. I used to call it the viral button. They think like there’s this magical viral button. I just hit the button and all the people come, in marketing.
Martin Gontovnikas: Exactly. And to me that’s insane.
Stephanie Cox: It is! There’s not a viral button! It’s not the easy button that Staples has. We’re not hiding it from you. Same thing with product led growth. Just because you put” Create Free Account” on your website doesn’t mean a million people are coming tomorrow.
Martin Gontovnikas: 100% agreed. And that’s, to me, part of the role of marketing in product led growth. It’s about how can we get people to try the product? How can we get people to activate and find the aha moment in the product? And then how can we find people to continue to use it?
Stephanie Cox: So let’s start with the first part, finding people to give the product a try. How do you think about what channels to use on that? Especially if you have product led growth with a freemium offering or a free trial, and you’re giving away whether it’s forever or for a period of time, free use of your product. How do you think about where you should start there?
Martin Gontovnikas: So to me, the first thing that you need to realize is that if you’re doing product led growth, the buyer is not the same as the user. And if you want people to click in that” Create Free Account,” you will need to drive the user for adoption. You will also need to create awareness from the buyer, so that then if the user likes the product, when they go to the buyer, who might be their bosses, they can convince them because they’ve already heard about it or already know about it. So what’s interesting about it is that before maybe you have one main target persona, now you have two. You have the user and the buyer. So specifically on the product led growth, if we think about the user, the main thing that I always try to do is understand their habits. What do they do and why do they do those things? So something that to me is fascinating is there’s no channel, there’s no one single bullet or one single thing that will work for all of them. So something that I always recommend in the beginning for driving people to at least come to the website is interviews. I start with interviews and looking, for example, if your target market is developers, like it was for Auth0, I would interview developers and ask them about, when do you want to learn about authentication? What do you want to learn about? Who are the people that you follow? How do you learn about new products in authentication? Do you talk to other people? Do you go to meetups? Do you go to conferences? Do you read Reddit? Do you Google them? What apps do you use in the computer and the mobile phone? Do you use more mobile or computer, and why? And to me it’s about understanding their thought process, their research process and their habits, so that you can create tactics that will tap into those so that they can start coming to the website. Once they start coming to the website, that is about conversion. But to me, the first step is tapping into people’s habits so that you can bring them. To give you an example, one thing that we learned a lot when we were doing interviews for Auth0 is that a lot of developers didn’t want to learn authentication because they didn’t care, but when they needed to implement it, they were going to GitHub very often. And when they went to GitHub, they found open source projects to implement authentication. So one thing we started to do was sponsor open source projects and give them maybe$ 500,$600 a month. And in exchange, they would put in their readme, which is the main page of that GitHub, something that said,” If you don’t want to implement authentication by yourself, just use Auth0.” So that’s about tapping into people’s habits versus trying to find a channel that is magical and will always work like ads or SEO or something like that.
Stephanie Cox: So one of the things that you mentioned around the buyer is not the same as the user. Do you think that’s something a lot of companies struggle with? Because it’s very different than how they may have thought about business if they’ve been sales led, or they’ve been part of another organization where they’re used to selling to the buyer, not the actual user of the product.
Martin Gontovnikas: 100%. And I think what’s even more confusing is that talking to the user is very different to talking to the buyer in multiple cases. So sometimes you need to have different marketing tactics for each where, for the buyer, maybe they won’t buy unless there’s a user trying it out. So maybe for the buyer, what you work on is more awareness and making sure that it’s top of mind so that you tap on their foreign language when somebody talks to them about the product. And with the user, you try to get them to try the product, be retained, so that then when they like it and they talk internally, the other people internally know about it. So different tactics, different personas, and you have to focus on those very differently.
Stephanie Cox: So how do you help someone understand that when they maybe are struggling with it? Because I think it’s something I’ve seen a lot of businesses struggle with. They’re used to selling, especially in the enterprise, to Directors, VPs, C- level, and now they’re in a product led growth company. And you know, it’s different. It doesn’t mean that those people aren’t still the buyers, but they’re not the ones that were honestly ever using your product to begin with. But also not the ones that are going to come in through a free account or free trial. How do you help get them to shift that mindset?
Martin Gontovnikas: To me, it’s not about shifting. It’s actually about adding up on top of that mindset. So if you think about it, the thing that… All of those roles, they are very different. For example, a director level might care about how to increase the ROI of their team. How to have better time to market. And I see on the team, maybe doesn’t care about that. And they care about making their life easier, making sure that they work on more fun things so they don’t have to work on boring stuff that is around. They think about how they can get eventually to a manager role. And if you start understanding the nuances on how they think differently and how their drivers are different, then you can also understand how to push them differently to do something. To give you an example from Auth0, for Directors of Product Management or Directors of Engineering, we were giving them some white papers, like” Build Versus Buy” or” ROI of Using An Authentication Platform”. For developers, we were telling them about authentication is boring. You don’t want to f*** it up, because you might have a bag, and then everything gets cut and you’re fired. You want to work on things that are fun to you, so why don’t you use a service for the part that is boring, like authentication, and then work on fun stuff like AI or machine learning or whatever it is by yourself. So the focus I think is very different on the messaging once you understand the nuances of the roles.
Stephanie Cox: Okay. So once I start thinking about buyers and users being different and having to market to both of them, and I get one of those users into my product for the first time, what are the things that I need to be thinking about for that experience to get them to that aha moment, to get them to retain and keep coming back?
Martin Gontovnikas: So the other thing that to me is very important about this is that you should treat them very differently on the digital experience. Something that I see a lot of companies do is they have the same digital and website experience for both buyers and users. So this is a place where I think that using data and maybe using predictive scoring or predictive algorithms to know who they might be, you can fine tune the experience. To give you an example, let’s say somebody comes to my website. When they come to the website, if they entered their email, once they enter their email, I might know, by using Clearbit Reveal or Discover Oracle, assuming for now, or one service like that, what is their role? And maybe when they click on the CTI, once I know their role, I will send them to different pages. Maybe to a developer I send them to sign up and try the product. Maybe to a director of product, I actually send them to a video on how the product works and some white papers for them to use. Other things that I might change is, for example, the navigation. For the developer, maybe they care more about the APIs the SDKs, which are basically ways of how they can implement it and use the software. For a director of product, maybe they care more about solutions and use cases. So again, once we start understanding who they are and then use the information from other services, you can do that once you have the email. And you can even do that a lot of times before you have their email. Because by using other services like reverse GOIP or via intent data from Cheeto or Capterra, by just having the IP address of someone, you might have so much information that actually helps you fine tune what to show in that page without them even knowing.
Stephanie Cox: Are you seeing companies do that successfully yet? Or is that still something that really only more leading companies have taken advantage of and are really making work?
Martin Gontovnikas: I’m seeing companies do this. I would say it’s the most advanced companies. Like Gong I think is a really good example. They do a really good job of depending on the email address and who they are to change the experience of what they are doing. At Auth0 we were doing this a lot. Georgia, I think, is another startup that I’ve seen doing this. And as we see more tools that enable companies to do this, I think we’ll see more and more. There’s a company that I’m very excited about called Mutiny that allows you to do website personalization. And they have examples from Amplitude, Brex, and other companies on how this is enabling them to do this level of personalization. The problem now is that this requires a lot of custom work. So you need engineers, data engineers and stuff like that to implement it. But as new tools like Mutiny and others start to show up, I think this will become more mainstream and maybe we’ll start using other more advanced machine learning or AI tools on websites to improve digital experiences.
Stephanie Cox: I mean, that sounds like how we all should be doing our marketing.
Martin Gontovnikas: I agree. I think the world is digital even more now that everything is remote. We used to use direct mail, and now it’s so f****** hard with everybody at home.
Stephanie Cox: It really is. So thinking about that personalization, if I wanted to get started with something like that, how do I start to think about what that journey should be digitally? Because it is so different than what maybe a traditional software company, as an example, is doing today.
Martin Gontovnikas: So I always start with pen and paper. I’m personally a big fan of thinking about what is the ideal experience that I would like to have for a buyer? What is the ideal experience that I would like to have for the user? And then I compare them and look at what parts of the experience are different and then prioritize based on that which are the easiest to change. And which ones have the biggest impact. Usually that’s the navigation and the home. Navigation is in every page of your website. So if you personalize that, you’re personalizing very easily the whole experience. If you change the home, which is where basically most people go and most people drop off, then that’s also going to have a very big impact. So I always try to think about that first.
Stephanie Cox: So let’s say I got, I have that personalized web experience. I get someone into my product. How do I think about creatively retaining them? Does that personalization go throughout their entire experience? And how do I build that out to make sure I’m getting them to value quick enough? Because I think a lot of people… Like I test out a lot of software at 10: 00 PM at night from my couch. There is no one to call me at that time, and you probably have maybe 10 minutes for it to do what I think it needs to do before I’m gone. So how do you create that experience that does get them to see the value of your product before they bounce?
Martin Gontovnikas: I think that’s the million dollar question. And the two things that I have to say here is, one is you want to get to the product the people who can use it. So if the people who can use it are the user, one thing a lot of startups don’t think about is you have to avoid buyers from getting into your product. Because sometimes if they get into that, they get discouraged because they don’t get it or they don’t understand. So, one thing that I think is very important is for buyers who won’t understand the product or for whom there’s nothing to do in the product, don’t send them there. Send them to a video tour. Send them to an interactive tutorial. Send them to white papers. Send them to a webinar or a demo or something different. That to me is the first step. Then for the people who are the users, I think that the main thing to think about is what’s called activation. It’s how do I get them to the aha moment? And how I think about this is, okay. The aha moment is the moment where they are like,” Holy shit. This is why I need to use this product.” And for that, again, I always start with interviews on talking to existing users. So I said, when was the moment where they were like, holy shit, this product is awesome? Once you have that information, you can actually now go into your data and look in your data on which of those were accurate by doing a correlation analysis between getting to that aha moment and looking if they were retained in the product maybe six months in the future, or eight months in the future. Once you have that correlation and once you understand that aha moment, then you’re at a place where it’s much easier to optimize for that because you know the exact steps that you need. To give you an example, one of the person who actually created this concept is Chamath. He was the VP of Growth at Facebook, but now he’s known because he’s the CEO of Social Capital. But what he figured out was the value of Facebook back then was when you scroll the newsfeed and you see photos and news from your friends, and they have to do that in 10 days. If they don’t get to that in 10 days, you’re f*****, because they are not going to be retained. And once they figured that out, they thought about, okay, what do I need to do to get to that? And if you need to scroll the newsfeed to basically see posts from your friends, what you need to do is have friends. So what they figured out was that they need to have 10 friends in seven days, so that then when somebody scrolls, they get to that aha moment. And that was the core metric and the core thing that they wanted to focus on and that they needed to get to. And I think that’s true for B2B startups as well, and for other startups as well, where once you understand that objective, that is the proxy metric to revenue, but it’s easier to understand and to attain, then you can start driving experiments and AB tests inside the product experience to actually try to minimize the time that it takes to get to that aha moment and also make sure that the most amount of people get to that.
Stephanie Cox: I love that, because I think what a lot of us likely would have done in that situation is not assumed that Facebook, like the aha moment is getting you connected with friends. And so you can see their stuff in your feed. It’s uploading photos, right? I think sometimes we think it’s the other things. How do you find that faster for your product and not have to go through so many cycles on it?
Martin Gontovnikas: So I think it starts with interviews and then it continues with looking at the data and doing that correlation analysis. If you cannot do that because it’s a new product, and you cannot do correlation analysis because nobody has been using it yet, I think you start with both interviews and your gut feeling. And then you’ll see if it drives retention. If it doesn’t, at least you have enough data where you’ll be able to do something different in the future.
Stephanie Cox: So let’s say you got the person to that aha moment. They are finding value in your product. How do you keep them coming back? I think one of the things that I think often a lot about, especially with product led growth in the software world, is monthly active users. How do you ensure people are coming back to your product every single month and continuing to use it, not just having an account that lies dormant? What are some of the best practices that you’ve done or you’ve seen that keeps people invested in spending time in your product that you’re offering?
Martin Gontovnikas: So the first step, similarly to what you said, is define what is the retention metric. You talked about monthly active users, but for some startups it’s monthly, for others it’s weekly, for others it’s yearly. So it depends on the startup. So the first thing you have to figure out is what does retention look like to you? For example, for Auth0, retention was 40 users are logging in through an application every month. If they did that, it had a 98% likelihood that they would continue to use the platform for 12 more months. So once you have that, it’s okay, what are the experiments, what are the tests that I can do to drive that? And for example, some of the things that we did at Auth0 was we tried to do emails, but emails didn’t work because everybody was getting emails. So what we did back then was send browser push notifications. We did that maybe four years ago, and it was a new feature in their browsers. Nobody was using it. So it still, people were accepting it and it wasn’t as confabulated, I would say, as it is now. So with those push notifications, people would see it and it would bring them back to the product. And they would again go back, look at it, and stuff like that. Other ways is to think about how can you get one user of the product to actually bring other users of the product back. So a great example for this is Slack. For Slack, it’s very easy to drive retention because when a user talks to you, you get a pool notification, you get an email, you go back to the app. You go talk to somebody else. And again, that keeps on driving retention over and over and over, because for them retention is daily message sent. So they actually care about daily usage instead of weekly or monthly, so that’s their objective. And that’s what they thought about for some of the techniques that they are doing now.
Stephanie Cox: I love hearing about that. So let’s think about, you figured out what retention really looks like and how it’s different for every brand. How do you start now to scale all of this? What’s the thing that helps make the engine go faster and get more people in the funnel to repeat what you’ve proven out to work?
Martin Gontovnikas: To me, it’s about continually creating cross functional teams that will focus in one part of the program or one part of the problem. So let’s say you are working on awareness, you are working on acquisition, you are working on activation. You can start first with one cross- functional team where in awareness, maybe the team is one SEO person, or one content marketer, one engineer, and one designer. And they are continually going to work on trying experiments, learning from the previous experiments, and continue to drive things. One thing that I personally always like to do is actually having cross- functional teams that keep on changing throughout time. So let’s say for example, first for awareness, we focus on SEO and content. But maybe then we don’t want to focus on all that. Maybe then we start focusing on sponsoring, I don’t know, deep cut projects or sponsoring other blogs. So maybe that’s another team. Now it’s a partner person and maybe it’s an engineer that will write something. So thinking about what cross functional teams can drive improvements in some of those areas and what channels you want to try to see if they work is a really good way to start scaling this. We have multiple cross- functional teams that we’re focusing first on acquisition, then on activation, then on retention, and then on pricing, which I think is typically the order in which you focus on each of the steps. And you give those cross- functional teams freedom. You give them the ability to fail, because that’s the only way to learn. And you give them guidance on where they should be testing things. And then the last thing that I would say is I like to think about experiments like bets. You’re betting that something might work. And if you think it’s like bets, then you can actually have big, medium and small bets. What it means is that we were planning for every quarter, for example, one big bet, three medium and 15 small bets. I knew that each small bet might increase only 0. 5%, but most of them we could test so fast that eventually we were always going to find one. The big bets took a lot of time to implement, but they could be a step change where they could improve 15% or 20% or something like that. So thinking about bets and making sure that you have an idea of what the change could be and why you’re making one bet versus another is another good framework for these teams to think about where to test and why.
Stephanie Cox: So you’ve obviously seen a lot of companies be successful in this area and also fail miserably. What are the learnings that you have that prevent, that would be helpful to know so the rest of us don’t make the same mistakes?
Martin Gontovnikas: So a couple of mistakes that I’ve seen is, one is assumptions. I think assumption is the root of all problems, where we assume that if in Company A ads worked, in Company B it’s going to work as well. That usually doesn’t happen. So I think assumptions is usually one of the big problems that I see. Another one that I see is that companies that start seeing success stop testing. So once you start seeing success with something that you tried, you just stop and basically continue to leave with that channel or that station work. And if you think about it, every channel, everything that you’re using, for example, let’s say Google or content, or this push notification for the browser that I was mentioning, have a life cycle. And at one point in time, they are very good, but eventually they suck. So I always recommend teams to use 20% to 30% of their budget to continue testing, to continue doing things and to continue trying. Another one is a lot of times, it’s very hard to find a successful experiment. So something that I always recommend is trying two opposites. So one thing we did at Auth0, for example, when we didn’t know what to do with the onboarding was, one test was we’re going to give people step by step instructions on what to do. A, you do this. B, you do this. C, you do this. The other test was we’re going to explain how Auth0 works and then we just let them be, and they need to go and configure everything. And that was so extreme that it was very easy to see which was the winner and for which cases. So when you feel you’re stuck, I think trying very different things will give you some north star on, okay, I need to go this way and continue to test and iterate here.
Stephanie Cox: Is there anything that you wish you would’ve known? Like when you started this journey with Auth0, is there something that you were like,” I wish someone would have told me this, or I wish I wouldn’t have done X”?
Martin Gontovnikas: Yeah. One thing is, a lot of times you focus in one stage of the funnel and that’s your only focus, and that blinds you. Something we did in the beginning was we were focusing a lot on signups. And we started to ads, and ads were bringing a lot of signups, so we were very happy. But what we realized later is that all of those signups were not getting to the aha moment. So therefore they were not bringing pipeline and revenue. So we ended up spending like$ 250K on ads that did nothing. They were like a complete f***- up. So one thing that to me was a very important learning was even if you’re testing something for awareness or acquisition, you always have to check what’s the impact in the bottom line, because otherwise you might have a local maximum that is not a global maximum, and it’s actually a global minimum that doesn’t help you get to the objective.
Stephanie Cox: That is such a good piece of advice. And I’ve actually experienced that here in our own product led journey, not to the same extent that you did. But there was a channel, it was ads as well, specifically display, that was doing really well for us in generating free accounts. But once you started diving into the usage data of those free accounts, none of them were having that aha moment. So while it was a cost effective free account creation tactic and channel, it was not actually driving conversions for us.
Martin Gontovnikas: Exactly. So I think looking into the bottom line is always, always important and just not being blind to other options or other things that might happen in the future.
Stephanie Cox: One of the things that has been a hot topic lately, and I think product led growth kind of is tied to it a lot, is this idea of a growth team. You have a marketing team and then you have a growth team. Have you seen… Let’s start here first. What’s your take on a growth team that sits outside of marketing?
Martin Gontovnikas: To me, there are two options about the growth team. If you think about the growth team, the growth team is separated into two. You have growth marketing and growth product. Growth marketing is the one that focuses on, at least in my mind, on bringing people to the website and getting them to sign up. So growth marketing owns up to creation of that free account. Growth product owns making sure that the users are retained. So it’s about making sure that their users try new features, continue to expand and pay more, and continue to be retained. And there’s one idea that I didn’t mention, which is activation. So to me, activation and onboarding should be somewhat shared between the two teams. Because growth marketing will focus more on pipeline and revenue, and growth product will focus more on usage and retention. And what you want for the onboarding is optimized on both. So if you actually have two teams that have conflicting objectives, you’ll end up having a better experience in the middle in the end. So if we have these two growth marketing and growth product teams, to me there’s two options on how you can have them. You can have the growth marketing team reporting to marketing and have the growth product team report into product, and then have those teams cross collaborate and work together. Option two is to have a separate team called Growth that will actually have both growth marketing and growth product, and they will interact and work together with this marketing and this product team that are separate. And actually a third choice that when I started I said two because I didn’t think of it is you could have both growth market and growth product report to one of the two leaders, either marketing or product, but sometimes that can be a bit problematic. I think both models can work, but they have their trade- offs. So it depends on what type of alignment you’re looking for. So if you have growth marketing and marketing, they will work better with the other marketing teams on SEO. They will work better on product marketing, messaging that they need and stuff like that, but it might be harder for them to influence things to change in the product, which is also part of what they should do. On the growth product team, something similar happens. The growth product team, if it lives in product, it’s easier for them to work with other product teams, change features in the dashboard from other teams, and don’t mind as much as ownership, but they need to also be close to marketing. Because after all, the idea of growth is to have a really good holistic customer experience. And that disconnect from having growth in product and another growth team in marketing is that maybe there’s a break in that handoff from one team to the other. So again, it’s a trade- off where you need to pick which one you want to optimize, but I think there’s no perfect solution.
Stephanie Cox: Did you ever see conflict arise between the two because your CMO and your Chief Product Officer are aligned or potentially bonused on totally different metrics?
Martin Gontovnikas: There are sometimes problems, but I actually think that that conflict is very healthy. Because overall one should drive more towards revenue. The other one should drive more towards usage. And you want both. So I actually think that conflict is healthy in that relationship.
Stephanie Cox: So last question for you. If you had to give one piece of advice to a marketer today, what would that be?
Martin Gontovnikas: What I would say is make sure that you don’t push bad on people for failure. And what I mean about that is a lot of companies talk about experiments. A lot of companies talk about trying things. And the reality is they say that, but then somebody tries something, they come to you and they’re like,” Hey, I just did this and it didn’t work.” And then the CMO or the marketing, they always say,” What the f*** did you do? Why didn’t this device work? Go work on something that should work.” And that kills experimentation. So to me, what you should do is ask them,” What have you learned from the failure?” And if they have learned something, then that’s great, because eventually they’ll get to success. If they haven’t learned anything, then yes, you can fire them or say bad words to them. But to me, that’s a very important thing where it’s about creating a culture where failure is not only okay, but encouraged.
Stephanie Cox: And that’s one thing I think is missing from so many marketing teams and even companies today is this idea of we all learn through failure.
Martin Gontovnikas: Yes.
Stephanie Cox: Not everyone knows the right way to do something. We’re not born that way.
Martin Gontovnikas: 100% agree.
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