This Episode is Sponsored By:
Benjamin J. Shapiro produces and hosts not one, but two, top-charting podcasts – MarTech and Voices of Search. Considering his success, it’s hard to believe that none of it may have happened were it not for the rejection he faced right after college as a door-to-door salesman.
That rejection, coupled with sales training, eventually led Ben to eBay. Working at the e-commerce giant gave him exposure to startup culture. Inspired, he found himself leaving there to start his own company. This is when he began learning about integrating technologies as a non-technical founder.
With his previous sales experience and his newfound interest in using technology in marketing, Ben later started a consulting firm. He started the MarTech (marketing technology) podcast as a way of meeting new potential clients. 1,000 episodes later, the podcast has taken on a life of its own!
In this episode, Ben details how he and his team landed on Monday.com as their platform of choice for automating and streamlining the operations of two daily podcasts. He also gives a candid account of the amount of time it took to set up their workflows on Monday.com. There’s even a healthy debate about whether processes should be documented prior to selecting a digital technology.
Mondays don’t have to be the most dreaded day of the week. Listen and be inspired to use Monday.com to give you and your team a level of workflow transparency to look forward to!
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA USA
Air Date: November 7, 2021
- Benjamin J. Shapiro’s Consultancy: the website home to Ben’s consultancy specializing in brand development, growth strategy, and MarTech for early and growth-stage businesses.
- Follow MarTech Podcast on social! Facebook Instagram Twitter
- G2.com: an online platform designed to help consumers and businesses alike search, buy, and review technology based on data in real-time.
- MarTech Podcast: a show that tells the story of world-class marketers who use technology to generate growth and achieve business as well as career success.
- Voices of Search Podcast: “Discover actionable strategies and learn ways to gain insights through data that will help you navigate the topsy-turvy world of SEO & Content Marketing.”
- Monday.com: the software that powers the back-office operations of the MarTech and Voices of Search podcasts. Monday.com is a workflow management and automation platform that integrates with several apps so that teams can easily track projects and manage tasks.
- PipeDrive: an all-in-one CRM and sales platform designed by salespeople for salespeople. Track the various stages of your pipeline based on your sales process and close more details through greater visibility.
- Salesforce: a cloud-based, integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that brings companies and customers together.
- Marketo: an Adobe software designed to “…develop and sell marketing automation software for account-based marketing and other marketing services and products including SEO and content creation.”
- Google Data Studio: an online tool for converting data into customizable informative reports and interactive dashboards to drive smarter business decisions.
- AirTable: a web-based platform for building collaborative applications that break down silos and sync data across teams.
- Episode 056: The One Thing You Need to Know About Podcasting with Doug Sandler
- Episode 094: Retooling Operations for Customer Success with David Ellin
- Episode 168: Alicia Butler Pierre and Kate Erickson Discuss the Workflows and Operational Excellence Behind Entrepreneurs on Fire
- Episode 170: Tracy Hazzard Explains How Podetize Uses ClickUp to Scale Up Their Operations
- Episode 172: Dean Hamilton Describes How to Streamline Repetitive Tasks with Robotic Process Automation
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- Writer, Producer & Host: Alicia Butler Pierre
- Podcast Editor: Olanrewaju Adeyemo
- Video Editor: Gladys Jimenez
- Transcription: Jodie Maquiran
- Sponsors: ThinkSmart Whiteboard, CavnessHR
More About Guest, Benjamin Shapiro:
Benjamin Shapiro is a brand development and marketing strategy consultant that left a successful career in business development at eBay to become an entrepreneur that has run a bootstrapped startup, multiple marketing teams at early-stage VC-backed companies, and an independent consulting and content business.
Benjamin specializes in helping growth-stage companies understand how to identify the overlap between corporate identity and customer needs to build an effective marketing strategy. He’s the host of the MarTech Podcast as well as the Voices of Search podcast, which is a daily SEO and Content Marketing show.
More About Host, Alicia Butler Pierre:
Alicia Butler Pierre is the Founder & CEO of Equilibria, Inc. Her career in operations began over 20 years ago while working as an engineer in various chemical plants and oil refineries. She invented the KasennuTM framework for business infrastructure and authored, Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success. It is the world’s first published book on business infrastructure for small businesses. Alicia hosts the weekly Business Infrastructure podcast with a global audience across 53 countries.
More About Sponsor, ThinkSmart Whiteboard:
Thinksmart Whiteboard is a Windows App that turns your Tablet PC into a shared whiteboard. It allows you to create a whiteboard on your computer screen, then allows other people to write onto your whiteboard, even if they are in another location! Learn more.
More About Sponsor, CavnessHR:
CavnessHR delivers HR to companies with 49 or fewer people through a voice enabled AI platform along with access to a dedicated HR Business Partner. We do this while taking care of our own employees and customers, maintaining transparency, utilizing active listening, practicing empathy, and being valued members of our communities.
[00:15 – 01:14] Hi, I’m Alicia Butler Pierre, and the clip you just heard comes from a cult business movie classic, Office Space. Although the movie came out in 1999, hearing that line about having a “case of the Mondays” still cracks me up. Let’s be honest. Mondays are dreadful for many of us, but they don’t have to be. And I wonder if that’s part of the lure behind the workflow productivity tool, Monday.com. They’ve reclaimed what’s for many of us the first workday of the week and transformed it into something to look forward to. Their technology is changing the game for so many small businesses through its project and tasks, synchronization, tracking, and automation features. We’re about to find out why having a Case of the Mondays might be just the thing we need to streamline our operations.
This is Season 14, Episode 174. Let’s start the show!
[01:15 – 01:37] Welcome to Business Infrastructure, the podcast about curing back-office blues of fast-growing businesses. If you’re a business owner or operator looking for practical tips and solutions to scaling your business in a sustainable manner, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your hostess, Alicia Butler Pierre.
[01:38 – 03:23] Having a tough time, trying to explain ideas over a video conference? Try the ThinkSmart whiteboard. It’s the fastest whiteboard software in the world and allows you to upload flow charts and write on them while your colleagues are watching remotely. Call us today for a free demo. The number is 1-866-584-6804 or visit us online @getmytablet.com. Now that’s smart, ThinkSmart.
This episode is brought to you by Equilibria, Incorporated. Scale your fast-growing business with less pain by hiring the right people, implementing the right processes and leveraging the right technologies. Learn more eqbsystems.com.
All right, everybody, as you know, it’s Season 14 and our focus is on game-changing technology and who better to school us in this area than Benjamin Shapiro? Ben is the Founder and CEO of a brand development and marketing strategy consultancy. And he’s also the host of two extremely popular podcasts, MarTech, as well as, Voices of Search. The MarTech Podcast is a show that tells the story of world-class marketers who use technology to generate growth and achieve business as well as career success. Ben is joining us from the San Francisco Bay area in California. One of the most beautiful places on earth, just my opinion. Ben, welcome to the show. I’m so glad we were able to finally make this interview happen. How are you?[03:24 – 03:33] Alicia, I’m thrilled to be here. And I couldn’t agree with you more, San Francisco Bay area. It’s beautiful as, as much as people complain about it, it’s not a bad place to be.
[03:33 – 03:39] It’s not, but you know, I must say the weather is different. I’ll just say that.[03:40 – 03:42] I feel like 84 and sunny.
[03:43 – 04:04] So, here’s the thing, just, just a real quick aside. So my sister lived there for a year. She was on Market Street. Isn’t that like one of the main streets? Okay. So I have never been somewhere…this was like in May and literally you’re walking on one street, you’re burning up and then you turn a corner, walk down another street and you’re freezing cold![04:05 – 04:34] A couple of fun, a couple of fun facts about San Francisco. Sorry to interrupt you. Mark Twain has the famous cold, coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco, which is factually correct. And because of the fog belt, summer is actually the coldest season of the year. And now it’s a little windier and it’s more wet in the winter, but technically the average temperature in the summer in San Francisco is colder than the rest of the year.
[04:35 – 05:10] Wow. Yeah. So, now that I, now that I’ve been there and I know better, yes, exactly. Dress in layers. Exactly. But, nonetheless, it is truly a beautiful place. So I’d like to share with everyone Ben, how we met, we met unofficially, I would say, this is our first time actually having an opportunity to talk to each other, but we’ve, we’ve met through the HubSpot Podcast Network because I believe our shows MarTech, as well as, as this show was part of the initial six shows.
[05:11 – 05:25] Founding members. I think there were seven of us, but I think that Entrepreneurs on Fire was like three of them because that’s so big. And John does such a nice job that, you know, I count as a half he gets three.
[05:29 – 05:37] But what’s funny is, I think you and I were already connected on LinkedIn before this network.
[05:37 – 05:38] This conversation was just meant to be.
[05:39 – 05:60] Yeah. So, you know, it all kind of came full circle. Now I’d love for you to talk to us a little bit more, before we get into, you know, some of the different technologies. Obviously you have a show all about technology, marketing technology to be exact. Can you tell us a little more about the MarTech Podcast?
[06:00 – 06:59] Yeah, absolutely. I guess the history of the MarTech Podcast, I was running an independent marketing consulting business. I focused on helping early and growth stage, primarily Silicon Valley VC backed companies figure out who they are from an identity perspective and how to cultivate marketing channels. And, all of my business came from networking, right? I would download my LinkedIn contacts, find their email addresses if I didn’t have them already, reach out to them and tell them the type of projects I was working on. Try to find business. And so everything I was doing was very much centered around email outreach and, and, you know, using a CRM, we used a tool called PipeDrive. And after about three years of consulting, I kind of ran, ran into the end of the rainbow. I just didn’t have any new contacts to reach out to. So as an experiment, I started the MarTech Podcast figuring that it would help me in a couple of different ways. [06:60 – 08:32] One, the people who I wanted to have as my consulting customers, I could interview and offer them a speaking opportunity on a podcast that was industry-specific and also, you know, relevant to the consulting services I was trying to sell. And two, hopefully, I would grow an audience because the people I wanted to have as my consulting customers generally have pretty big social followings that also were in the same area. The experiment totally failed. The podcast did much better than I ever would have expected. And because the audience was growing so quickly, I never really tried to do the lead generation business development angle for the MarTech podcast. And so, you know, after a couple months we had a couple thousand downloads after a little less than a year. We were over 10,000 downloads a month. And so I kind of just kept my chips on the table talking to great marketers and we hit the iTunes Top 200, within the first year for marketing shows. Wow. Interesting thing happened. We started, instead of having to reach out to guests, they started finding us because we were in the, you know, the Podcast Top 200. So guests started reaching out. And the next thing you know, I had a, you know, these really sort of top tier marketers reaching out to be a guest on my podcast. And I decided to make it a media business instead of lead generation for my consulting practice. And now I’ve been doing it. We’re actually about to hit our 1,000th episode at sometime this month.
[08:32 – 08:33] Wow! Congratulations!
[08:33 – 08:37] A couple of years of producing a daily show now.
[08:39 – 08:45] Daily? Yeah. See, I couldn’t tell by looking at, so I was at, I was actually at the MarTech website.
[08:46 – 08:50] Yeah. MarTech, MarTechpod.com. Hopefully that’s true. There’s a lot of MarTech websites.
[08:51 – 09:08] You’re right. It was Martech. It was definitely the website for your show, but I couldn’t because I was listening to several of the episodes, but I didn’t have an appreciation for how many episodes. So I’m glad you pointed that out.
[09:08 – 09:17] You know what I’m looking at? We actually, we were going to do something special for our 1,000th episode. And now I’m realizing that today’s episode is 1002. So I guess the ship has sailed on that. Hey, everybody we are on the 1,000th episode.
[09:20 – 09:21] You can do it retroactively.
[09:22 – 10:20] I know.I missed the 100th episode too. It’s a problem when you pump out a lot of content quickly. Right, right. The trick there, and this is great for content creators that are thinking about how to scale a content business. When I sit down for an interview, what we’ll do is we’ll record multiple episodes at once. So we found that, you know, we were starting to lose people’s interest after 20, 25 minutes. And so I’ll record for an hour with someone. We’ll have a couple of ads, probably five minutes of ads total throughout the podcast. So I need to record 18 minutes of content while I can get three episodes out of an hour. And so when we have our guests come on, we’ll actually record three different topics in three different episodes. So I don’t have to schedule meeting after meeting, after meeting and do five interviews a week. I really only have to do two. And then we republish old content that we feel like is evergreen on the weekends. So, you know, we cheat a little bit, but
[10:20 – 10:48] No, that’s brilliant because you never know when someone is going to tune in. So that’s actually really, really smart. But as I was reviewing some of your information online, I noticed that you did go to Boston University, you have a degree in Business Administration, and it looks like your career started as in sales, as a Sales Trainer. And then eventually you worked in a management position at eBay. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
[10:49 – 11:45] Yeah. My first job out of college was glorified door-to-door sales and I’ve positioned it on my resume to be sales training, but it really was like a multi-level marketing, like the worst first job you could imagine from a credibility perspective, I was like getting thrown out of small businesses, trying to sell phone service. But I learned a lot of really important life lessons, not only how to deal with rejection, but also, you know, the basic principles of sales and persuasion and understanding what a bullet is and how to put a rebuttal together. So learning sales was a very important skill. It was a tough first job to have. I worked my way from that company into a marketing role at a sports marketing agency. I was living in Dallas, Texas. I’m an native Northern California, and I loved living in Texas, but there’s only so much light beer and football I could watch. [11:45 – 12:39] I was like, super heavy and it just wasn’t the best lifestyle for me. So I needed to make some personal changes. And so I came back to Northern California and, you know, it’s where my, my family and kind of my network is. And, you know, worked my way into a relatively entry-level position at eBay, doing account management and spent about seven years at eBay, going from an account manager on the internet marketing’s business development team, into managing strategic relationships for eBay, between eBay and some of the big portals and partnerships. So at the time, it was like Yahoo and Facebook as they were coming around and, and some other Google, as well as some other big partnerships for mostly fixed placements. So things that are on the internet that don’t move. So if there was like an eBay module on the Yahoo homepage, I was managing some of those relationships.
[12:39 – 12:52] Would you say, Ben, that that’s when you first started to learn more about the technologies, the digital technologies that are out there to streamline different marketing workflows and processes?
[12:53 – 14:08] You know, no, I wouldn’t. I think at eBay, I learned about the business and about business models and, you know, kind of the understanding of how to set a strategic relationship between two organizations. All the BD stuff was really useful. I had to leave eBay. I always wanted to have one of those cool startup jobs that all the cool kids were taking while I was at eBay, I was in my mid twenties and everybody I knew that was really good and smart was like going to these sexy startups. We all wanted to be the next Mark Zuckerberg at the time. Now I wouldn’t want that job if you paid me a billion dollars, too much pressure. So at the time I couldn’t get a startup marketing job because people looked at my resume and said, big company guy that does business development. I didn’t have hands-on experience. So I ended up leaving and starting my own startup, which was a guitar lesson marketplace called strumschool.com. And, that’s really where I started to learn about weaving the technologies together because I am a non-technical founder. And so I couldn’t just build it. I had to find other tools that could communicate with each other. And that’s really where the kind of background in MarTech started.
[14:08 – 15:21] Speaking of things integrating together and weaving the technology with the marketing savvy that you already had up to that point…something that I think is, that’s worth noting before we get into the technology that you’re going to talk to us about, which is Monday.com, but something that I listened to, and I think it’s worth pointing out here. It was an interview you had on your show on, on the MarTech podcast, Dr. Dwayne Furan, I believe is how you pronounce his last name, but you made it a point to define what MarTech actually is. I mean, obviously it stands for Marketing Technology, but what I have here, what I wrote down for what I ascertained from listening to you is that it’s, it’s really about marketing technology is really about how you connect different data sources together to streamline your marketing efforts. So to your point, you may not have a developer skill set for example, but you know, that workflow and what that workflow needs to look like. And then it’s just a matter of finding the right technologies and making sure that they can integrate seamlessly with each other so that this workflow becomes turnkey. Is, is, is that, did I…
[15:22 – 15:23] That sounds really smart, Alicia.
[15:26 – 15:29] Well, there’s some, there’s some of me weaved into there, Ben.
[15:29 – 17:38] Okay. That explains it. I definitely didn’t use the word “ascertained,” which was before I…sure let’s roll with that. I, you know, I think there’s kind of two definitions of MarTech that people use. I think the classic definition of MarTech people think of marketing operations, which is how do I get Salesforce to talk to Marketo and make sure my connectors are set up. And they’re like, basically engineers that work in the marketing team or product managers that work in the marketing team to make sure that there’s these, you know, big data flows and that all the data is correct and accurate. My approach to MarTech and the content that we create for the MarTech Podcast is much more broad and it is the use of technology to market your products and services. And so that’s not just purely how do the connectors work between the tools, how do you take, you know, what, Facebook calls a click and get it into Google analytics and then feed it into Data Studios?
So you can actually see data that, you know, is reconciled. You know, it’s everything from Salesforce to Snapchat. However, you’re using a technology source, which can be a social media, can be an email marketing tool, a CRM, there’s out of home, you know, technologies that are really interesting. It’s the sort of evolution of technology and data being integrated across all different marketing channels. And so we cover a lot of brand stuff. We cover a lot of various, you know, social media, you know, what’s the technology behind Tiktok and how do you use it? What’s the data that you get from Tiktok? How do you figure out if it actually works? Just as an example, we actually haven’t done a ton of Tiktok content, we probably should. But the moral of the story is we take a broader approach of the use of technology in marketing, as opposed to just, you know, how do you get your connectors to work and make sure the flow of data and the pipes are working. It’s not marketing plumbing, it’s a strategy and a philosophy of marketing.
[17:39 – 18:11] Not marketing plumbing. I like that. So I know just, you know, we were talking before, before we started the interview, Ben, and you mentioned the success that you’ve had with Monday.com and speaking of workflows and the use of technology to market your products and services. So are you using Monday, are you and your team using Monday.com primarily to manage your podcast? Or is it also for your consultancy as well?
[18:12 – 19:08] You know, the podcast ate the consultancy. I do a little advisory work and consulting, but I’m not an active consultant as in, people don’t hire me now to come into their company and work on a project for, you know, six weeks to six months. I don’t do that because I’m so busy with the content production and the ad sales and the sort of media business. So it’s easier to describe myself as a Marketing Consultant cause people know what that is as opposed to a new media business owner, like people just kind of [think] a podcast host that doesn’t sound like a real business. So nothing personal. It says one podcast host to the next podcast. Sorry, everybody. So yeah, we use Monday, for the vast majority of our business. There’s not a lot of consulting work that goes into it, but we do it for a whole bunch of different things.
[19:08 – 19:54] I actually have it open in front of me. And I’m just looking through the different workspaces that we have. We kind of have everything broken into five buckets, there’s business operation, content production, audience growth, sales development, sponsorship management, and then a list of future projects that we haven’t got to. So, you know, there is projects, assignments, workflows, and automation from everything to who wants to be on the podcast, to who’s accepted, to how do we communicate with them? How do we publish their content all the way down to, who are we selling to? How do we grow our audience? What ad campaigns are we running to make sure that our sponsors are happy? We really use Monday comprehensively across our whole media business.
[19:55 – 20:31] And before you start to get into any more details, which, which are great, by the way, why don’t we go ahead and take a quick break, hear from our sponsor when we come back, I definitely want to learn more about some of the different people on your team and that overall process for how you even set up Monday.com and how long did it take you all to set up that workflow. And obviously, it’s an iterative thing, right? You’re constantly making tweaks and adjustments, but initially when you first started using the tool, I definitely would be curious to know how long it took to actually set all of that up. But let’s go ahead first and hear a quick word from our sponsor.
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[20:38 – 22:16] Okay, Ben, so you were just starting to get into some of the nitty-gritty details about Monday.com and how it’s, it’s been a game changer for the way you all operate on the back-end for not just your MarTech podcast, but I would imagine for your other shows as well, right?
[22:16 – 23:23] Yeah. You know, there’s a philosophy that I have. I worked at a productivity startup, a company called handle.com, or I guess it’s now handle.app, I think, but the idea was that there’s a better workflow where instead of living in your inbox and just managing people, requesting your attention constantly, you can connect your emails to your task list. So when you get an email that needs to be a task, you can swipe once and it’s in your list of all of your tasks. It is also connected to your calendar as well. So the reason why I’ve mentioned this is that what I was trying to do with Monday was consolidate not only the list of sort of projects that we had, but also create a task list. So on a given day, I could look at a glance and say, okay, here’s what I need to do for content production, ad sales, sponsorship management, my marketing responsibilities for the show, my strategic decisions, my everything. We originally were using a tool called Airtable, which I loved.
[23:24 – 24:16] I honestly think that Airtable has one of the best user experiences in UIs, any sort of product management tool. I loved Airtable super fast, super, very intuitive, wonderful tool. We used Airtable for at least a year, maybe two, while we started running the podcast and we hit this point where the business started to grow and we started doing difficult, more complex things. And it was just hard to keep track of, well, how many episodes do I need to work on? And, you know, I could hand them to the editor, but, you know, he wasn’t sure when he was supposed to do which episode. And then I also had to do all these sales calls. And when do I follow up with the leads that were just the task list got really long. And it was spread between having to read Airtable, going into my CRM, having separate lists for tasks and strategy. [24:16 – 25:29] And so what I wanted to do was finding something that, find a tool that enabled me to not only have everything in one place that the consolidation factor, it, it would allow me to automate some of the responsibilities who does what task and when, but it would also give me a very clear list of what me and each person on my team needed to do. And so that to me was the big differentiator between Airtable and Monday. Honestly, at first I thought Monday’s UI was a little kind of elementary and a lot of bright colors. It was a little overwhelming at first, but once I kind of got everything set up and was able to, you know, customize it to, I guess my color palette, it became a little bit more digestible. And there’s some really rich features that are there, not only with the sort of like spreadsheet edification of what we were doing, that’s kind of what we were using Airtable for, but the ability to not only create automations, you know, when an episode is marked as interview recorded, notify my editor, that he is responsible for this task and set the deadline for three days from now.
[25:30 – 26:25] And then when he marks it as editing completed, tell the writer to write the show notes and mark her due date as three days from now, and also communicate with the guest that the interview has been edited and here’s the files and here’s that how they can give us feedback. So a lot of those various responsibilities get complicated, not only from a people management, but from a timing perspective. So we were building out these sort of complex automation rules, very similar to like what Marketo does, but a lot of it was internal communication, not external, not, “Hey, when a website visitor comes to the website, fire off this email,” but it’s basically, “Hey, when a piece of content hits this stage, this guests needs to be notified with this email message and this person needs to do, you know, this next hack to make sure that we have our production line constantly moving.”
[26:25 – 27:32] And we’re able to hit our publishing schedules because it’s a daily beast, we’re publishing content seven days a week, and we need to keep track of all of it. And we’re still doing ad sales and sponsorship management and got to market the show. So a lot of marketing automation that went into it, and then the best part Monday for me, the big differentiator was there’s a view that’s called My Work. It used to be called My Tasks, I believe. And it gives you a clear view of what’s due. Now what’s coming up, what’s overdue, what doesn’t have assignments, what doesn’t have dates. So I can glance over at my, My Work section and actually say, oh, you know what, I need to work on the deadline funnel ad for this week because you know, it needs to be optimized. And then tomorrow I need to record another ad for HubSpot because their October ad is due and I need to fly it before the end of the week. So, it gives me a sense of, you know, where I am in space and time from a work perspective. And, you know, that’s what, what I feel like is, is really powerful. It’s more of a, like, business operating system to me than it is a marketing automation tool.
[27:33 – 28:42] Speaking of a business operating system that is such a great segue to defining what business infrastructure is. Because as I’m listening to you, Ben you’ve touched on some of the different people, you’re talking, you’re really describing a process or a workflow. And you’re talking about the technology itself, which are the three main pillars of business infrastructure. So for those of you who might be listening to this show for the first time, business infrastructure is that business operating system that Ben is mentioning. It’s a system for how you link your people, your processes, and your tools and technologies to ensure that growth happens in a profitable and sustainable way. But perhaps most fundamentally it’s giving you that foundation. And speaking of foundation, Ben can you talk about the importance of first before you even start to set something like Monday.com up, you need to have, I would imagine a very clear idea of the information that needs to go into a tool like that and how you’re going to organize it. Can you talk about that a little bit?
[28:43 – 28:49] I know it’s your show, I’m going to disagree. Really? Apology, Are you ready? I hope you don’t, don’t fire me. Don’t hang up.
[28:50 – 28:57] I’m not gonna fire you or hang up. We can, we can have a debate. You can have an idea. This is healthy, it’s healthy.
[28:58 – 29:50] Most of the time, I would say, I was going to say, most of the time, you’re wrong. That’s not true. Most of the time, most of the time, I’m wrong. And I will create a board or a workspace on Monday, Airtable, ClickUp. You know, there’s all sorts of different infrastructure tools that you can use. And I’ll put all of these columns and it’ll be all this data. And I realized that I don’t use half of it and I just got tired of it and deleted it. Cause it’s, it’s just taking up too much space. And then often what ends up happening is, you know, the core things that were in that board, obviously stay there like for, I’m trying to think of an example that I can give you in our content production board, right. When somebody goes and fills out an application to be a guest on our podcast, we get a bunch of information from them.
[29:51 – 30:42] And then, you know, we enrich that. So somebody might like, give me their Linkedin profile and then my team is going and looking at how many LinkedIn followers they have to understand how much that potential guest could share the content we would create with them for, with their audience and how big that audience is. They’re going to serve as a marketing vehicle. We’ve got like 45 different columns of information in the content production boards. And there’s three different statuses at every given time. We have two people that are responsible. There’s a production responsibility and comms responsibilities. There’s six different dates that people are responsible for. It’s really complex stuff. There was no way on earth I would have sat down at first when I was creating the MarTech content production board and said, well, here’s the 45 columns I just need.
[30:42 – 30:51] No, of course not. No, but you, I would imagine you, you had to, okay, well, yeah. I’m sorry. Please go ahead.
[30:51 – 32:12] No, but here’s why this disagreement is like, in a way, it doesn’t really matter what you put at first, cause you’re going to get it wrong. what matters… That is true. …and you use it. And the more that you use the actual boards and build the processes in, the more that you iterate to make sure that it works and that, you know, we’ve got 68 automations in our content production board alone. Wow. That’s just to get somebody from being, you know, asking to be on the podcast to getting the content published. 68 automations. Wow. You know, look, that took three years to develop. If someone buys the content, you know, or, or my company, they’re not buying me, I’m a talking head, like there’s a million of, you know, there’s even two Ben Shapiro’s that are podcasters for god sake, right. Like I can be replaced, the infrastructure and the content processing work that we put in, like to me, that’s what the core IP of what we’ve done. Sure. There’s the content.. Yeah. …of the audience that we’re building. But the thing that I’m the most proud of, one of the things that I’m the most proud of from a business perspective, is how rich the system that we’ve built is because we’ve nickeled and dimed and tweaked and turned on it, for three years.
[32:13 – 32:39]Sure, sure. I should clarify. So what I, what I’m really getting at is having a foundation. You start somewhere, to your point, and of course, it’s, it’s an iterative process and of course, it just expands and it blossoms as it should, you know, because you’re, you’re continuously growing and scaling, but so no, you definitely wouldn’t start off, you know, sketching out 45 different columns of information…
[32:40 – 32:43] Look, I’m trying to be a little controversial, provocative, I think.
[32:46 – 33:27] But I’ll give you an example of, like, you know, we have this rating column. When I do a podcast, I would go and give it a one through five rating to be like, how good did this interview go? Thinking it would be useful that we only want to pull out the best content that we do. And, you know, when I do a five star rating, three is average, five is exceptional. Four is better than average. Two is worse than average. One is bad. And like, I was putting everything between two to four, I would never use the one and I would never use the five. Now that column is basically worthless. Almost everybody was like, it was a pretty good interview. They’re all, not they’re all the same. Like some are better than the others, but it wasn’t like, oh, this interview is a star.
[33:27 – 34:14] And this one stayed while I spent all this time building this column. Now it sits there. I just delete it, get rid of it. You don’t need it. It wasn’t serving a purpose. It was more work. And so the more you spend time on these boards, you know, the more useful they become. And I don’t think that is a Monday.com specific thing. I think that it is operational, if you’re looking for figuring out what tool to use, find out something that you feel comfortable with that allows you to have some flexibility. And the other thing is you have to, here’s my favorite catchphrase. You have to plan, to make a plan, right. You have to spend time to work on your infrastructure to evaluate what’s happening with your workflows, so you can figure out how to make them more efficient. So that’s what I mean by plan to make a plan.
[34:15 – 34:30] Sure, sure. And now you mentioned 68 automations. Can you share with us some of those automations? I know you mentioned the importance of being able to consolidate, you know, a CRM project management tool.
[34:30 – 36:28] I’ll read to you the last five we created. Okay. When writing summary completion states arrive, stage arrives, push upload date by two days, that’s one. When production stage changes to content upload, set upload date to today and push date by one day. I’m not going to read them all, but… Right, right, right. …they’re all like little microtasks. Okay. And really the way that all of this stuff works. And my whole philosophy on automation, you start with doing something that’s not scalable, right And, and this even goes out to the emails that we send and some of our email automation and outreach, if you’re sending the same email multiple times, and you’re, you know, you’re always saying the same thing, write it down once, use it as a template, and then automate the process of replying to that email. Whenever anybody emails me and says, I’m interested in being a guest on the podcast, I’ve got a template that I send to everyone, everyone, literally, it doesn’t matter who they are. That says you might be a great guest for the MarTech podcast, here’s our process, go to this page, fill out the form. And if you’re interested in sponsorship, here’s the link to block off time to talk about that. The more that you start doing repetitive tasks, the more there is a need to figure out a process. And most of these tasks are very, very small things. I don’t want to click this button 10 times a day. How do I just make it, so this button clicks itself and that’s what Monday and Airtable and HubSpot, as well. Like all of these tools that are about automation, whether it’s business infrastructure, or marketing should be the things that, you know, you are going to do that you’re already doing. And you’re just using these systems. So you don’t have to do things manually. You’re only doing the stuff that really requires creativity and thought. And then you build enough infrastructure over time that your business kind of runs itself.
[36:29 – 37:15] And I like how you’ve been very strategic about inserting the word infrastructure throughout your explanation. I appreciate that. Thank you, Ben. Now speaking of, you know, you know, you mentioned Airtable, you’ve been talking in great detail about Monday.com. You’ve mentioned HubSpot as a CRM solution. Are there any other resources that you can recommend to those listening right now, who may be thinking, okay, well, wow. It sounds like what Ben and his team have set up regarding Monday.com is great. How do I even get started? Are there some other resources that you recommend from a marketing technology perspective that they can also maybe look into or leverage before they set something like a Monday.com up?
[37:17 – 38:05] We kicked the tires on ClickUp as well. We didn’t have a great experience with Clickup. I found the product, the UI was nice, but the product was too complicated. And we just felt like Monday was a little bit more user-friendly and allowed us and our whole team to be able to grasp how to use it. There were just too many bells and whistles getting in the way for me for ClickUp. And so, you know, I think that you need to know your team, your level of expertise. You could probably do all the same things with all of the platforms, you know, like I liked Monday because of the task manager capability that might not be important for you. You might not run your business or your life that way, you know and so that was a feature that was very important to me generally, you know, you can go and get great information at G2 and do some of your product comparisons there.
[38:06 – 39:03] There’s no getting around that. The onboarding process is hard. Getting your board setup is hard, doing migration of all your data is hard. It requires time. It requires work. So if you’re gonna take on this infrastructure, it’s going to set you back. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take effort. It’s going to be distracting from other things. You’re not going to have, sort of business output right away, because you’re working on the infrastructure more, but it pays benefits over time. So, you know, kick the tires on a couple tools, do some demos, put your data in, see how it functions. See if you can learn the UI relatively quickly, figure out which one you feel the most comfortable with, and then just bite the bullet and roll with it. And, you know, you get better at managing the systems over time, you know, ClickUp wasn’t right for us. I love Airtable. It just didn’t have the task manager. And it was something that we felt we needed. and then, you know, here comes Monday.com and, and it’s been a wonderful tool for us.
[39:04 – 39:16] Well, it sounds like you, you, you all are doing some amazing things in, especially for it to, almost be the engine behind a daily, truly a daily podcast, seven days. Two daily podcasts. Two daily podcasts?
[39:17 – 39:19] We got the Voices of Search 12 episodes a week.
[39:19 – 39:24] Oh my Gosh, Ben. When do you sleep?
[39:24 – 39:55] The truth is I don’t work very hard because I’ve got all of these marketing automation or business automation, infrastructure automation, as you would like to say, all these rules setup. So, you know, I roll in it at nine and I record three, four hours of podcasts a couple of days a week and do some ad sales calls and spend some time doing projects and infrastructure. And I’m out of here by like, you know, 5, 5:30, cause I got to go, you know, help make dinner for the kids and live a bit of a normal adult life.
[39:56 – 40:13] Right, right. I hear you. Well, this, this has been wonderful information. Thank you so much for giving us some insights and letting us peek behind the curtain of what it takes to run two daily podcasts. What’s the best way for people to connect with you, Ben?
[40:13 – 40:26] I promise, I will tell you the answer to that question, but before you kick me out of here, I’m going to sing your praises. You know, it’s been wonderful to connect with you. And I have to say of the podcasts that I’ve ever been on, I think you have the best voice.
[40:27 – 40:45] Oh, Thank you! Everybody tells me how they’re surprised by how conversational it is. And I’m like, well, no, I, I told you that before the show. And they’re like, yeah, but, I still thought it would be more like a true interview. So yeah, we’re buds at this point. You’re not going to get rid of me, at least not easily. So…
[40:45 – 41:30] I hope not. And I’m glad the HubSpot Podcast Network connected us. And, to answer your question about how to get in touch with me, you know, the podcast is kind of the primary thing that I’m working on. And so you can find the MarTech Podcast. We should be the first listed. If you just put in the word “MarTech” into any podcast [M-A-R-T-E-C-H] any podcast player you can go to MarTechpod.com, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. MarTechpod @martechpod is our handle, voicesofsearch.com for the SEO and content marketing podcast. Or you can just type in Voices of Search and my consulting website’s still up. If you want personal information or, you know, photos of me, a Benjshap.com B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P dot com.
[41:31 – 42:40] Yeah. And that’s a really nice website by the way. Well, it’s been such a pleasure, Ben, again, thank you so much for taking time. I’m glad we were able to make this interview happen. Now, if you want more details about Ben, the MarTech Podcast, the Voices of Search Podcast, and as he mentioned, his own personal website, as well as links to all of the resources that he’s shared with us, including Airtable, HubSpot, Monday.com and so much more go to BusinessInfrastructure.TV, because we’ll have links to, again, all of Ben’s podcasts, as well as other websites and other links to other resources that he mentioned. Again, that’s BusinessInfrastructure.TV, while you’re there, you’ll also find more information about our sponsors, supporting them helps us keep this show free for you. Thank you so much for tuning in and for being a loyal subscriber.
Remember, stay focused. Be encouraged. This entrepreneurial journey is a marathon and not a sprint. Keep operating as good on the inside as you look on the outside.
Until the next time.