The Strategic Marketer
The Strategic Marketer

Episode 35 · 2 months ago

Pervasive Curiosity - Paul Hepperla : 35

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Joseph Lewin chats with Paul Hepperla, Vice President, Offer Management & Marketing, Digital Office. The conversation focuses on the importance of maintaining childlike curiosity to win in the market.

Welcome to the strategic marketer, where we talk about strategies, tactics and practical steps to help you become a better marketer. I'm Joseph Lewin and today's guest is Paul Pepper Law. When Paul and I originally record this episode back in January, he was working for Emerson and I was still at part solutions, but he has since moved on to become the vice president of Opera Management and Marketing in the Digital Office at Eden and I am working at proofpoint marketing. The focus of our conversation today is about having pervasive curiosity and how knowledge and really knowing a lot and being an expert in your industry can actually become a curse and can blind you to what's going on in the industry in areas that you really need to pay attention to help your your company grow instead of stagnating. Without further ado, let's dive into the conversation with Paul. So I know you have a background in doing a lot of research and product research, working with engineers and an engineering background Um, and especially in the engineering space and industrial space, I feel like people really pride themselves on what they know Um, but can can knowledge become a curse. Absolutely, I think you know, especially as you accelerate in your career, you gain more knowledge and many times that will reinforce perhaps some of the thought processes that you've had previously and so you start to question it less. And so I've talked about the curse of knowledge quite a bit because the more you learn, the more you know more it can become a burden because of a number of things. Me Personally, one is I lose some patients when I'm trying to explain a new concept, something that's new to somebody else that I've known for years. The ability to explain it easily uh in common language with patients becomes a challenge. And the other big thing is that we make assumptions that because we know this and this and this about it, it can't be different, and so that that knowledge, the more you gain, the more it can become a curse unless you're continuing to be open about how you think about things and ask the question and continue to ask you know. Wise there's a lot of studies out there to talk about children and as they're learning they're constantly curious and as you get older that curiosity wanes more and more and more, and I think part of that is because we assume we know and when we assume we know, we lose the opportunity to be more creative uh and frankly, think about things differently. So I think that's one of the challenges that that we all have, and me with twenty eight years in a career, is continue to ask some of those questions around why are things being done, without just making the assumption that I already know why things are being done and it's either silly, you're stupid or it's a waste of time. Those all become opportunities for us to learn more and learn something different that we may not have been open to learning before. Yeah, that's excellent and I I think that's really important for people, I mean at any point in your career to here and you know, especially people who are much have been in in the field much longer, I think they're going to have a tendency, like you're saying, to have the curse of knowledge even stronger. But people who are right in the middle, I think that this is a really good word for them to hear, because maybe they are just getting the point where they're getting enough knowledge to start to feel like they know what they're talking about, and that's a really great time to take a step back and stay curious. You know, maybe they've been they were curious when they first started. Now they're getting into a management role or, you know, a director level role, and they're going, okay, I've proven myself now I'm the one who knows what I'm talking about. But maybe that's a great time to kind of take a step back and continue being curious. Yeah, and and you know, companies have a habit...

...of beating it out of you. You know, they want efficiency over exploration. And so as we as we think about that too, it's are you in the type of environment that will encourage it, or are you in the type that really wants efficiency? Then you might have to find other outlets for that creativity and figure out how you position it back into being efficient. And so that. You know, that's one of those things where companies get caught in the trap of and employees get caught in the trap of just doing what they're saying and doing what they're told rather than being allowed to explore the ideas. Is there a better way to do it? And and so, therefore, I think we lose opportunities to one learn and to to take on that and create something new, because, you know, efficiency wins out every day, uh, and productivity wins out every day. But exploration needs to continue to be part of the conversation. Yeah, there's two things that come to mind when you talk about the curse of knowledge being a curse, and one is, uh, Um, that what you already know was wrong to begin with, but you've assumed that it was right all the way along, you know. So I think that's one area for a pitfall and another area for pitfall is going to be that things have changed since you originally came to your conclusion. So maybe it was correct or write when you were the best way to do it when you came to the conclusion. But if that was, you know, ten years ago, five years ago, or with how technology is changing now, maybe six months ago, you know, things may have changed significant exactly four months ago, ninety days ago. So which one of those do you feel, you know, ends up being the stronger curse of knowledge and the more difficult thing to overcome? I think it is assuming that it's still correct. I think that becomes a big reason why, because again, we're being asked to Um. We're being asked to move forward and do the same things, and so therefore it's very easy, you know, it's very, very easy, it's very comfortable to rely upon the fact that we've already done it, solved it. Let's continue to move forward. And so, you know, it's human nature to rely upon what you know and go back to that, that that platform of what you've gained in that knowledge, and so it's really, really easy to do that. I don't fault anybody for doing that. But in the role of continuing to be curious, we've got to continue to learn. I mean history is replete with examples of folks assuming that everything is still the same, yet it's so different. And so I love the study history and I like to study history over a long, long, long period of time because you see many times the same situations with different results. So you know, asking yourself and thinking about those things around. Yes, it could have been perceived as the same situation with different results. So wasn't really the same. And Uh, I think was iron rand in one of her books was there are no contract actions. Wherever there's a contradiction question the assumption, and I think that's a it's kind of a great statement because if there's a contradiction, so if you're seeing a similar situation you've seen in the past, but there's a contradictory aspect of it, we have to question our assumptions and, and I think that's one of the big things that I tend to try to rely on, is if there's a contradiction, I need to question my own assumptions about what's different, what's changed, uh, and and keep asking why, what's happening? What's going on? What's happening? What's going on? Yeah, I mean one thing that is easy to do, like you're saying, once you once you've understood something or known something for a little while, Um, it's easy to have confirmation bias. You know, be looking for the people who are going to and, you know, promoting the voices that agree with the assumptions you've already come to or the conclusions you've come to, rather than encouraging, maybe dissenting voices that disagree, purely so that you are challenged on those ideas. But it's really hard...

...to do that. I mean it's really hard to bring people in who are going to challenge you on something and and, uh, still maintain authorities, still, you know, still maintain leadership. But then, Um, yeah, that could be a challenge. It. It is absolutely a challenge and especially in our work environments, it can be a challenge to find the right sort of environment that encourages curiosity. And they talked about personal interests. And years ago I read a it's a short paper and strategy and business and it was ten clues to opportunity and it walked through a lot of the things that that we should be thinking about in terms of clues to opportunity. But it's kind of all the same thing, which is questioning things. You know, the customer experience doesn't have to be time consuming, it doesn't have to be arduous, it doesn't have to be evasive, but it is m so we look at that and say, we might be quick to say all that's just all user experience. Well, let's let's talk about it, let's question it so it can fit into the normal day of your normal day of what you're doing. Find the right way to fit it into the culture that you're in. But you know, if if you've got a resource that you people are paying for and you don't know why, ask the questions keep asking the questions and again. You know, I talk a lot about acting like a four year old. And you get a four year old in your house or a young, you know, a young toddler in their house, what do they always do? They ask you why and then you'll provide an answer and they say why, and then you provide an answer and they say why, and then you're usually have at that point you get three or four questions in and you're like because God made it that way or because I said so and UH. And you know, as we get older, it's not it's not probably four levels, it's probably two. Like just do what I say. You know, I have the experience, I have the knowledge, just follow me, Um. And so I think we've got to find ways to just stop our selves and Uh and and allow the conversation happen. And if you don't know, uh, maybe it's worth explirations so that you can know. You know, why do customers do this? Why are people interested in this when they're not interested in mine? Go deeper, go deeper, go deeper. Yeah, I love that and the illustrations right on for where I'm at right now, because I have a nine year old a seven year old, a four year old, a five month old and the three younger ones are all girls. So my my son really asked the questions by just like not asking and trying things and he kind of figures it out by getting bruises and you know, Uma. He has the curiosity, but less than the asking questions. But man, especially my seven year old, she loves asking questions and then, you know, they're the kind of questions that there's not really easy answer to and it really does stretch me to have to try to answer him and I try as far as like yeah, not to just give her a pattiance, but sometimes I'm like, I don't know, I don't know the answer to that. You know, sometimes we have to go look it up or you know, it kind of opens up the way for us to explore some kind of answer together. Um, but yeah, that that's a great visual. So what are some other ways that Um, besides you know, acting like a four year old and asking all the questions and going deeper, what are some other ways to stay curious? I think one is continue to read and continue to learn. You know, constant learning creates a different mindset and and I think many of us, let's go read the latest Greatest Business Book? Are we all interested in business? No. So let's take a look at what's going on in our daily lives and apply it to what we do. You know, if you're you see the growth of Instat card over the covid you know time frame. Think about what would happen. You know what would happen if it was applied to my business. If You keep asking...

...that question about the things you experience in daily life, it might prompt some conversations or at least some thoughts around. Gosh, if that were to happen here, that would make a major disruption in our industry. Or, uh, it might create a different opportunity. So you know, one is just think about the things you do in everyday life and try to apply it to what's happening in your business world and say, how would that change and how would that be different? The other thing I really encourage is continue to read. And for me I love history, I like historical fiction, Um, but I'm trying to get outside of those to say, all right, I'm gonna go read about healthcare. I mean we we serve some healthcare, but not really, and I want to learn about the patients, patient experience and when I look through that and I look through how they think about decision support, how a physician goes through their clinical analysis and comes through that, I look at that and Nice. You know, naturally for me it's easier for me than it is for others. But I say, well, what are we doing? That might be similar? What are we is in an opportunity. So I continue to read and and Um, as of others have said about me, I'm a massive consumer of information and uh, but I try to do it from really, really a broad spectrum. So I'm not just looking at my industry and what I'm focused on, but trying to do it broadly. And then I'm also trying to extend it beyond a short window, which might be a one year or two year window, and look at it over a ten or fifteen year game. And as part of that I constantly question what would put us out of business, and I think that's a great question to ask anybody in any in any business market. What would be the reason why we would no longer be in business? Is it a new technology? Is that a new way of consumers doing something? Is it? Is it a disruption or it does the need go away and I think all those can prompt different ideas, and so I think that's a big part of it. Is just and I think we forget about it. We do so many things the normal course of our lives that we don't think about what it does for us or why we get so excited. And and how do we take that and see if there's a way to stitch a connection between those two things? You know, word, all everybody's talking about word. And so what is it? It's a it's a really simple game. You get six guesses to guess, you know, to guess. So is there a way to leverage that into what I do? I have no idea, but I think it's worth at least asking the question. And you might get two minutes into it and dismiss it out of hand. Great, move on to the next one and the next one and the next one. But if we don't, if we're not thinking that way, and again it's easy for me to say, but encourage others to think that way, like this just became super popular or this company just became a Unicorn. What are they doing and why is it interesting and how can I relate it back to my business? Yeah, I mean it's interesting because on the PODCAST as we're recording this, so it's going to to be quite a while ago by the time that's actually releases, but just released an episode with a guy named Kurt Anderson and he's an e commerce for manufacturing guy and, Um, you know, he's really pushing companies to question their assumptions about what could sell through e commerce without a salesperson at all. And he's talking about how there's companies that he's worked with and that are selling six and sometimes seven figure products online and, you know, without going through the whole traditional sales process. And that right there is destroying tons of assumptions about what people would purchase without talking to a salesperson. And you know, we make all of these these we have all these ideas and the B Two b market about you know, if it's an enterprise sale or it's you know this or that, then you have to have a long sales cycle or you have to have all these people involved or they would never run down on a credit card. But then when we question those assumptions and we say, well, is that actually true? You know what, if we could...

...figure out a way to sell our products through e commerce, you know, with that. What would that do for our business? How would that change the business model? Would that add more value to the to the end user? You know, is that going to be something that's going to benefit them if they don't have to spend a lot of time talking to our sales team before they could make a purchasing decision? You know, whatever those things are, maybe just setting aside the impossibility of something for a second and saying, well, what if this could happen, and then start to say, well, how can we make that happen? Then and if you start questioning those assumptions like that, you can really disrupt the industry and do things in a totally different way. Um, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, I mean so if you look at that, I mean there's the the growth of sales bots and and I'm a I'Mus I've been in sales a big part of my career in different roles as a salesperson, in a pre sales role so that, you know, the subject matter expert coming in to build the credibility with the customer and and I remember going through training and they said what do you think your purposes in this role of Pre Sale U and I'm like well, you've got a demo and you gotta do this. And really what it boiled down to is building more credibility with the customer. And when you build credibility, what the product is isn't as important as do they believe you or not. And we have so many of those opportunities, whether it's the whole idea of balancing um inside sales or demand generation versus sales, versus enterprise sales. Well, you've got to look at who the parts and pieces are involved, and amazing statistics just about social selling and how many people will already have an idea of what they want to buy just by researching, connecting with people on Linkedin or all their social media aspects, doing their own research, where before they always relied upon the company as the as the entity to provide you all the details and all the information. And just like all of us, if I'm going to go buy something off Amazon or anywhere else, I usually go to Amazon to look at the reviews because I want to see what they're saying and it helps me help helps me make my decisions. So there's so many things change in the e commerce world. The whole idea of payment and the way we in businesses. Think about traditional payment. It's it's credit card, Po Invoice, whatever else it might be, depending upon what business you're in. Let's take a look at crypto and say, am I saying you're gonna pay with Bitcoin? I think that's the easy path. The question is, why is crypto becoming more popular and what's the enabling technology that's making it different? And that's a harder thing to figure out. You've got to spend a little bit more time researching it and looking at you know, N F T S, you know the metaverse. Why? Why? Did? Why did somebody just sell a home in the metaverse for four dollars in real money? And we all you know the first thing I do is shake my head. And then exactly what's the tangible value there? And and is there one? And I think that also helps us see which trends are going to enable and stay on and which ones might be a flash in the PAN, that drop off. And so Tiktok, another great example I'm meeting. More and more business professionals are using Tiktok to create content and demand and because so many people are used to the thirty second and no more than one minute video, that provides some tangible information. It's creating lead generation, marketing opportunities and everything else, and so I think we've got to look at those experiences and if you don't know what to look at, go ask your go ask your niece, your nephew, your son, your daughter who's twelve or thirteen, and say what are the hottest things that your friends are interested in right now, and I think you'll have a really good idea of where the trends might be going. Yeah, I mean, and talking about staying curious and being at a point in your career where it's important to stay curious, I find myself now kind of frustrated. Are Poo pooing certain ideas that are just different than what I'm used to. And I mean I'm thirty, thirty one, I guess, and Um, I guess I'm at the age where I don't pay...

...as much at the all. So it takes me to take it, but I'm thirty one. And so yeah, I mean there's certain technology, are certain ways that people are communicating that really annoy me and bother me and I think it's, you know, less efficient or whatever um or. You know, there's uh, there's things that Gen Z is doing on purpose in the way they communicate to be able to quickly tell when somebody isn't using communication the way they do so, purposefully changing the way that emojis are perceived so that they can say that, you know, you're being passive aggressive if you're older and you're sending, you know, smiling Emoji, then it means something totally different than what makes sense. But then they're doing it on purpose so they can have, you know, a group, kind of the inside group and the outside Um, and that gets to be frustrating a little bit. But yeah, go ahead. Yeah, can you imagine receiving an email at work with nothing but emojis, like a whole series of emojis? Um, I'd be like, M it's an interesting thing. But again, we're all quick to send memes. Um, you know. So is it a generational thing? Obviously you communicate visually now much better and much I wouldn't say I don't know if I'd say better, but it's more commonly accepted to communicate visually, video, emojis, memes, pictures, whatever else it might be. Then with written word and and then with written word also with face to face communication, and so, you know, it's not. It doesn't mean that it's the only way to do things. I look at calendar, calendar, calendard Lee invites, you know, I'll get a requestion somebody and and they provide me the calendar. You know, hey, choose the time on my calendar. Here's what it is and and I understand it, but is it something that fosters closer link or communication? Because if you're trying to reach out to me and you're providing me a calendar link, it's contradictory. You know the way I think. But it's worth questioning and saying, why are people using this? Is this something that I think it's gonna be round in five years, is it not? And obviously history as numerous examples. Um, the Internet is going to be a fad by the CEO of IBM. I mean so many of those different things that that you say, well, if they were curious, what are they have dovin further and maybe understood the opportunity in the need and then taking that and been in a different position. And that's what I think we have to do, especially in the role of marketing, which is why our consumers buying the things are buying. You know, why? Why is it? Why is it so popular? Is Chick Fil as sandwich that much better than any others, or is there something else different there about the experience or how you feel and how you're treated that are creating the need and the difference? You've got to ask those questions because if you just make the assumption, so many people are in line, it must be better food. Maybe, maybe not. Well and yeah, the food taste better when you're experiences better. Even if you got that same sandwich somewhere else, you might not enjoy it as much because we tie we tie the emotions that were experiencing to the way that things taste and the way that we perceive it. So I know that there's been some interesting Um, I think that it was seth Godin that wrote about this in his book, but it was about one of his books. I mean he's got so many I don't remember which one it was. I read quite a few of his books, but he talks about, you know, this glass of the special glass for drinking wine, and every all of these like tops, Somalias and stuff swore about how awesome this glass was and how the glass, how the wine tastes different when you drink out of the glass and then, Um, they did blind taste tests and nobody could tell a difference when they couldn't see it. But it was the experience around it and the hype around it and the emotional experience that people had that was tied to it that made the experience it's from. All marketers are are liars and the idea is, you know, he's saying that all marketers are storytellers, and you could call that lie, because they're saying...

...it makes the experience better. But the fact that people had a better experience when they drink out of it means that the experience was better. And so even if the glass itself doesn't actually change to the way that the wine tastes physically, the experience is elevated because people thought that it would be elevated. And it's kind of interesting, you know, talking through through that. And how can we do that in to B two B space, you know, how can we add value to what we're doing by changing the experience and making you know if it's if you sell commodity components, for instance, sometimes there can't be any difference. So then how can we elevate the emotional experience that somebody has or the, you know, the ease of being able to use it or, you know, getting clarity around the product and how it's going to benefit them. How can we incorporate those emotional things that elevate the value of the product, even if the physical product is exactly the same as our competitors? Right? And if you look at a Swat analysis or porvers five forces, they don't address the emotional aspects of that. And you know it's something that I look at and talk with our customers. Why do our customers buy this from us? And you'll hear all the features and benefits. You won't hear any emotional reasons why, and I think that is a key opportunity for us to do discovery and continue to be curious, which is you've been a loyal customer for twenty years. Why do you buy this from us? You'd be amazed at the answers you get, because many times it's not the stuff never breaks or or you know, Um, your price is right. It's about the fact that you made their lives easier or they use it for a purpose that that they you didn't intend. I mean that's that's one of those great clues I had a product manager in the past that we had a report that we were generating for our customers and she was so frustrated and I said what do you frustrate about? And she said, well, we generate this great report and they don't use it for the purpose it was intended. I said, Oh, what do they use it for? I said, well, we use they use it to determine which piece of equipment is not working. Well, I said, okay, let's isn't that an opportunity? And she would she was really, really stuck on no, we intended it for this. And so think about all those examples in your daily life where you're using something that wasn't necessarily intended for it, but now it's. It's the exact reason why you bought it, why you use it all the time. Um, you know, I think that's you look at something like an Air Fryer and people are buying air fryers why, I mean, and now they become reliant on it. So I tend to look at those things. I just I question everything and I try to question it a lot Um, not because I'm trying to be a contrarian, but I'm also trying to understand what's the compelling reason? Yeah, and uh, we're already pretty far into our time and have lots more questions to go. Um, and I think what you're talking about really ties in to the next question. Uh, and I love what your talking about there about looking for things outside of your direct either industry or your your direct field that you're working in. So you know, we're a marketer, we're marketers, but usually we're going to be marketers within an industry that's other than marketing to marketers. So you know you have to learn about the industry. But then when you can look at those things across the board, like you're saying, looking for human behavior, looking for some of those underlying principles, you really can figure stuff out. So my career path to get to where I am right now it's pretty different than most marketers. Like I don't have a college degree and I didn't grow I didn't work in the corporate world and then transition over into marketing. Um, I was, you know, five years ago so, well, I guess seven years ago now, I was sweeping chimneys for my job and I've kind of made this transition through the back door by starting a business and starting to do marketing things on the side and then gaining the skill and kind of moving that way, and I think it's given me a really unique perspective because I I've...

...done a lot of different jobs that most marketers haven't, and it's kind of given I I do pull from all kinds of different areas that I like learning about and pull those ideas in to whatever I'm doing your marketing, just like you're saying, and I think it really makes a big difference. And so even like pursuing a hobby or, you know, going off the trail, like you're saying, and reading a different type of book than you normally would that's not directly related, you're going to start to learn things that, um, that are really valuable. But that kind of pulls us into what you were talking about with staying curious and questioning everything. Um, I'M gonna ask the question how we wrote it down, but then I'm going to kind of put a little twist on it for you. So how can you create an environment of curiosity within your organization? But I think one other thing on that is how do you encourage people and build an environment where people can ask those questions and crest question everything but still get things done and still have people kind of respect the decisions that end up being made and get buying behind them. Yeah, I mean, and both are really important. So when you've got to model it, you've got to model it yourself. Um, and you've got to model that inquisitive aspect of it, but we also have to respect the time bound aspects of what we're trying to do. So modeling model being inquisitive. Are you learning? Are you listening and learning and asking questions? Are you just providing answers? I'm one that has been in the role of providing answers and I've had to slow down and, even if I knew the answer, asked the question and I think that's part of that modeling inquisitive and when you do that you start to see the conversation open up a little bit more. But you might have to dedicate certain pieces of time, whether it's a day for the why, what? If? How Uh sort of questions. That becomes your focus and a period of time so you can be focused on execution on one hand, but create that opportunity for that. And then in other businesses that I've been in it's just been the normal course of how we've done things. And so, uh, we used to call it a ferocious debate amongst friends. It was just the way we made the decision making process. We'd get in and so in in the current world we will read team it. This is what we're going to propose with the customer, this is why we think it's great, all those other aspects, and then we read team it, which essentially means what all the reasons it's not gonna work? What all the reasons the customer is not going to buy it? And you can do that in a time bound dialogue. That creates some you know, creates some opportunity. But I think you also have to do some other things. You've got to hire for it. One of the number one things that I look at when I'm hiring somebody new is how curious are they? And I don't I don't care what the role is. I want to encourage curiosity, which means many times my team might be the island of misfit toys. Nobody knows how they work together or what they do. And Gosh, they're all different personalities. They're not all cut out of the same cloth. That's great. Um. That means that hopefully we've got an environment where they're all feeling like they're contributing and being part of it. At the same time we're creating some curiosity and uh so those are some tangible things that you have to do, which is you've got to model it yourself. If I'm going to go model curiosity, I can't just be providing the answers. And and you're talking about your child before. One of the great things is to say, well, why do you think it's that way, Scott? Why is the Sky Blue? Why do you think it's that way? And you get into a different conversation. So we've got to encourage ourselves and then to ask the question why, why do you think it's happening? And you're gonna hear an answer and then you might not hear any answer because they don't know. That becomes a great execution exercise to say just take an hour, go find out what you think is happening. Um, go talk with customers, go to your own research. There's multiple sort of go figure out why they're doing...

...that and then come back and let's talk about that as part of our execution strategy. So it doesn't have to be this Um Blue Ocean strategy. We're going to dedicate a time and we're gonna have played on our hands and we're going to think about all the things that are different in the world. You can incorporate little parts and pieces in the normal course of doing business just by your perspective and how you're communicating. Yeah, well, I think that's great and and it really is. You're going to be disrupted in your business. So it's either going to be you disrupting it or somebody else. And if you aren't hiring for curiosity and you're not doing the things you're talking about where you're actively looking for WHO's gonna take out our business? And Ten years? And I don't want to go too far down this tangent because again, we have a couple more things I want to cover and, Um, I don't want to run out a time, but one thing that I was listening to this week was, um, somebody breaking down crypto and Bitcoin and N F T S and all of that just in a little bit more simple terms, and it's still really confusing to me and I don't like investing a ton into things I don't understand. So I'm trying to understand it better because I don't think those. I don't think the underlying technology is going anywhere. Whether, like you're saying, it's Bitcoin or something else. CRYPTOCURRENCY isn't going anywhere in the long run, Um and and it poses a real problem for the banking industry because they've just gone through this massive digital transformation and they're considered one of the most digitally transformed industries, is banking. So it's like or something. Of Banks have gone through their digital transformation and now most of the processes are digital, but they're now on the cusp of having a total transformation of business model with cryptocurrencies and and and blockchain and all of this stuff that's going to disrupt and so you know, this guy was basically saying the banks have an opportunity to completely got their own business and take a loss for the next five years and then be the Bank of the future, or they're not going to be in business in five to ten years from now because the underlying technology and the way banking is done is going to be completely different based on this new technology that's far superior. But how many banks are really going to choose to destroy their current business model and totally got everything that they've done over the last fifteen years to have a digital transformation, to buy into what's going to happen in the future, and most of the time, instead of doing that, they're fighting to get regulation and things in place to make the you know, to keep that technology from coming out, rather than embracing it and being the ones to to disrupt. Just pretty interesting and that's what that's what businesses do all the time we have a new disruptive force in our business while there's two ways to beat it. One is to out innovate, which, especially as you get to be in a bigger and bigger bigger company, is harder to do. So what's the other path? You acquire or you try to get regulations that limit their ability to disrupt you. I don't necessarily gree it's the right approach, but it is what happens in the normal course of business and it is I think it's those folks that are willing to lead on change that look at it and say, is this something that we should be looking at? How would we use this? What will happen to it? Do we need to pivot? And pivots aren't disrupting what's happening in the current year. It might be we're yeah, WE'RE gonna start to pivot because we want to be ready in three years or five years and so and I don't know. Some banks are starting to make that pivot. I mean capital one tried this years ago with their their banking approach and I resonated with some of that because if I go into a bank it's because I lost my debit card or I'm doing a transaction that I can't do on my app and you know, UH, other people in my home, like you know, I don't trust that. I want to go to the bank. So there's generational aspects that made up that. But what is that bank experience like? You go stand in the line, you wait for somebody across the glass. Wallas Fargo was trying to transform that where you're sitting down on a comfortable chair. And so the...

...question becomes that's great, I appreciate that, but I meant to be in and out of here in two minutes, so I don't want to sit down with you and talk about a portfolio review and all the other things. So I think there has to be a balance and all that. But we have to be looking at all these disruptions and saying what's what? What could it potentially do to my business? Yeah, absolutely, yeah, so to kind of speaking of pivoting Um. But yeah, one of the other things we we we talked about, that you mentioned in our pre conversation, was the value of writing things down and, you know, kind of writing down your knowledge and getting that out on paper. So what value does that play in fostering pervasive curiosity? So I um, for me, what I find is that, and we're a power point reliant world. Put It on power point. That's how that's how many companies communicating, including my own. When you start to try to take that and put it down on a piece of paper with written word you're forced to really think about how do I communicate this in a way that somebody can read it and make sense of it, and I think that's a much harder challenge today, you know, given the tools that we have, but also given the generational aspects. When I have to sit down and write down what my idea is, it could become a long, lead worded, run on sentence that never ends, and so when you read that and then you read it back to yourself, it's like, Gosh, this didn't communicate it at all what I wanted it to communicate. So I think writing down things, certainly for me, allows other people to read it and consume it in a different way rather than just par point with your five bullets and a couple of pictures and cool Um. And I used to my my marketer used to call it my man of Festo. So when I was traveling international or whatever else, I'd sit down and just start jotting notes and things and how they might connect or not connect. Some more hair brained, some of them were tangible and someone were somewhere in between, and I would just send that off to him and what he did is he would read through that and we'd sit down then and asked me about a bunch of questions and what am I thinking, what am I doing, and that helped me refine and helped him, helped us refine what our market approach might be. How do we turn this into content? What's what were the key triggers that he saw from it that he thinks are worth Communica anymore. And I've had the experience where Amazon talks about their six pager, and so what Amazon does is part of their business process. If you're presenting a new idea or a new market or a new, new, something new to go get those those people in that business have to write a six pager and there's certain aspects that are in that sixth page and they bring it into a meeting and for the first twenty minutes of that meeting nobody says a word, presents and I think they're all reading through that Sixth Pager and then question time begins and for the remainder of that meeting, typically one hour, they'll go through all the questions. By the end of that one hour meeting they're making a go, no, go, no go decision. And I think about that in our environment and I've taken some of our product teams and said, can you write a six pager? Took them two and a half months to be able to get to the point where they could write six pages of explaining what it is they're trying to do from the perspective of I want to try this and at the end of that meeting we're gonna make a go, no go decisions. So it's so foreign that I think it forces you to to think differently and I love that. I think that's a really, really interesting way to approach it. Yeah, I absolutely love that. And since I've been in and uh now running my own business in the marketing world and starting at when I started at Caninians part solutions, I I was having to right out an idea and then create a presentation around it. And there were specifically these products that we already...

...had that we're a little bit confusing and we were working with a sales team that had way less knowledge about what we're talking about than anybody on our team, and our team it was already kind of confused about the product itself. So I had to go in and figure out, okay, what is this product and was it actually do? And then I had to write basically these summaries for each different use case for these tools, and then I had to create videos for these people to consume and I had to create slide decks for them to use to present it, and I basically had to take something that was complicated and simplify it down into four or five different formats. And we even wrote a basic sales script, a basic calling script. I mean kind of hit it from all the different angles of what this other sales team would need to use. And I didn't have any interaction without other sales team besides, to give an overall presentation to them. So not only did we make a presentation about the product, but I made a presentation than for the sales team to explain to them, you know, how they're going to use these materials and everything, and going through that exercise was extremely helpful and I think it's made me a better communicator and and able to present my ideas better. And I've had to do something similar to that and for multiple different products and different things that we've launched, and I totally agree getting those ideas out and writing them, interviewing other people on your team and getting their understanding and writing those things out and then pulling it together and then simplifying it from, you know, something long and arduous to something simple and and, you know, clear, and then having all that other information to back it up. There's there really is a ton of value and going through that process. Yeah, and I tend to I've used mind maps for a long time in my career, just trying to drop my own random thoughts out. That's great, but turning that mind map then into communication that's written format that I planned to hand off to somebody to read and say, can you read this and make sense of it. is a really big challenge because to think about WHO's your audience? What do they understand or know about the marketplace? How do I communicate it too simple. So the exact same process you've gone through. I think is something that we all struggle with every day, and I'm not one. It's so personal, you know, personal aspect. I'm not wanting to sit down with a blank power point and start writing slides. I need to think about it. I need to think about how the connections, who the audience is? What's the big three things I want to communicate? If I can write it down, it's much easier for me to turn it into that power point. And so just like, just like I learned when we were little, you know you're gonna write an say paper, you've gotta write your draft, you refine your draft, you you know you write your final one. And and I think we've lost some of that process in our normal course of doing things because we're so focused on trying to push our message out and communicate it to get buy in, rather than maybe spending a little bit more time about what's the bigger story here and how do they how do they stitch it together. Yeah, I love that. Yeah, so to cap off, I always like asking you know, what are some practical steps to fostering more creativity? I know we've kind of covered a lot, but if you could, if you could just leave people with one or two things that they could start doing tomorrow, what would that be? The biggest things for me are continue to learn, especially from industries that you're not necessarily comfortable with, to write down all your hair brained ideas and see if they have relevance and how you normal course of business. And three is just look around at what you use and what your family uses and what your friends use every day and look at it to say, is it something that could be beneficial or disruptive to my business? Those are just three simple things. Um, start thinking about it. Yeah, Oh, I love that. Alright. So, Paul, what are what are some ways that people can find out more about you and and stay up to date with what you're doing? I'm on Linkedin at Paul Heepperla, so you can find my name. It's H G P P E R L A uh, and otherwise my email is Paul at pepperload dot...

...com. Happy to talk with anybody. I like the idea of marketing and I like like even more so learning about people and what what's keeping them ticking and what ideas do they have. So happy to help. Yeah, I mean, and just a shout out to you, Paul. This is our, I guess, probably like fourth conversation, but second recorded conversation, and you know it's I've also recorded somebody that an interview with, somebody that reported directly to you um or you know, at least worked with you. And so, I mean, if if you're out there and you want to learn more about marketing, and especially in the industrial space, take Paul up on a shoot of an email or connect on linkedin and reach out, because he really is that. You really are just super smart and I really appreciate your approach, because there's a lot of things in the industrial world that people just get stuck on and and stay stuck on. I think the fact that you're willing to ask those questions, being as far along in your career as you are, is a huge testament to your humility and and how smart you actually are to recognize that you know, there's areas where you're where you're blind. So if there's anybody out there that wants to grow in those areas. I highly recommend reaching out to Paul. Well, thank you for the kind words. I'm I'm not that smart. That's why I read so much. Um, you know, I i. I like the experience, I like meeting people and I like helping people and uh and so, especially with things they're stuck on and or making a connection where there they might not have seen one before. It's awesome. Well, thanks so much, Paul. I really appreciate it and look forward to talking to you again at some point. Thanks, Joseph. Appreciate it. Thank you for listening to this episode. Don't forget to subscribe to the strategic marketer wherever you listen to podcasts, and if you could do me a personal favor and hit five stars on the rating you don't have to leave a full review, just hit five stars. It would really help me out. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Strategic Marketer.

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