How Typeform Stands Out In A Crowded Market

How Typeform Stands Out In A Crowded Market written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Karrie Sanderson

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Karrie Sanderson. Karrie is Chief Marketing Officer at Typeform, leading brand strategy, advertising, PR, internal communications, and DEI efforts as well as overseeing the internal creative studio.

Questions I ask Karrie Sanderson:

  • [1:12] How did diversity, equality, and inclusion land in the CMO job?
  • [2:06] Another aspect in your bio too is the internal creative studio – is that a product or a part of your own marketing?
  • [2:48] Has design been a key differentiator for Typeform?
  • [3:23] As CMO, how do you look at the customer journey?
  • [5:26] Typeform really seems like more of a conversation in comparison to a regular form– how often do you fight the idea that people perceive it as ‘just a form where they only need the data’?
  • [7:55] Would you go as far as saying a form experience could be a part of your culture?
  • [8:26] What do you feel is your core differentiator?
  • [10:50] I remember the first, probably 10 years ago first time I came across Typeform and most people probably had this reaction – “Wow, that’s different.” Do you ever fight the urge to say we have to be different again?
  • [12:29] Where do you stand on your messaging for client acquisition?
  • [15:49] If you were advising a form builder, what should the experience be as soon as I hit submit?
  • [20:08] What are some of the things that you’ve found that make Typeform surveys more enjoyable or more relatable?
  • [21:49] Is there anything on the horizon for Typeform that you want to tell my audience about that you guys are working on?
  • [22:55] Where can people connect with you and learn more about your work?

More About Karrie Sanderson:

  • Connect with Karrie on LinkedIn
  • Typeform

Take The Marketing Assessment:

  • Take the Assessment

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode or the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the Nudge Podcast, hosted by Phil Agnew and brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. You can learn the science behind great marketing with bite size 20 minute episodes, packed with practical advice from admired marketers and behavioral scientist. Nudge is a fast pace, but still insightful with real world examples that you can apply her recent issue. Talked about the, the idea of getting your customers, your prospects, in the habit of buying from you, or listening to you or following you. Habit based marketing, download, nudge, wherever you get your podcasts.

(00:47): Hello And welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Karrie Sanderson. She’s chief marketing officer at typeform, leading brand strategy, advertising, pr, internal communications and d i efforts, as well as overseeing the internal creative studio. So Carrie, welcome to the show.

Karrie Sanderson (01:09): Thank you. Glad to be here, John.

John Jantsch (01:11): So that’s a lot in the CMOs job, particularly diversity, equity, inclusion. I’m kind of curious how that landed in the CMO job.

Karrie Sanderson (01:20): Right. So I’ve been bene type for about a year, and one of the reasons why I joined Typeform was, was that early on, a lot of times startups don’t think about that until they Sure. Like, Hey, let’s get this business going. And the Met go, right? And then speaking with a leadership team, they were very upfront in the very beginning about how they want that to be a part of everything they do from day one and we live it. And so starting up the coms PR function, you know, we’re at that stage and really assigning someone and really thinking through how we embed it truly into our marketing motions, our internal culture. It’s been really important. So that sits with my team and I’ve got someone who’s dedicated to it and we’re in the middle of planning right now, and we are keeping that front and center as we think through our plans.

John Jantsch (02:06): So another aspect on, uh, in your bio too, that I’m obviously, I think a lot of people who know Typeform certainly know about its core functionality, But I’m curious, what’s the internal creative studio? Is that a product or is that just part of your own marketing?

Karrie Sanderson (02:19): Yeah, this is the marketing team. So we have a phenomenal studio team. And you know, part of why people know Typeform is the fact that we really did change the game in how you show up in the world and how you can show up as a brand. And so a lot of that’s been driven by just a brand expression ourselves. We can’t expect our customers to know how to do that if we aren’t doing that ourselves. So we’ve got an in-house team that really cares for and leads our brand expression across all dimensions, product, marketing, other things as well.

John Jantsch (02:48): And we can get into the specifics, but I mean, that design aspect has really been a key differentiator for Typeform, hasn’t

Karrie Sanderson (02:55): It? Yes, it has. And it was really the founder, our founder David, and he, it was really about, there has to be this better way, right? Yeah. As we get into this digital world and so much of our interactions are online, it just was feeling so one way. It’s like, why can’t we make this more back and forth, more human feeling? And it’s built into the actual design of the product. And when you do it that way, then it makes it easier to express it both for ourselves, but also let our customers express themselves that

John Jantsch (03:22): Way. So, So as a cmo, how do you look at the, the customer journey, you know, at at Typeform? I mean, you know, a lot of people would say, Well, you know, it’s a SAS online form product, you know, , I mean, there’s one way to do it, right? How do you look at the customer journey? Uh, I’m guessing maybe a little more holistically.

Karrie Sanderson (03:41): Yeah, so for me it’s about the mindset of customers. We, you’re thinking it through. When I first joined, we spent a lot of time talking about, you know, what is the promise of Typeform? You know, what is the brand? And when we think about that journey and this, it’s okay, it’s no judgment, but there are gonna be some customers or potential customers, like the TAM is still huge. So we have a lot more potential customers than we, than we do hundred 35,000 customers. But it’s people who care about that experience, right? If you’re moving out of brick and mortar into online, more and more businesses, whether you’re B2B or you’re b2c, are realizing that digital is a primary channel or at least equal. And so if you care about that experience, then what we’re trying to do with that journey of a customer who works with us is find those who are trying to lean in and provide a differentiated experience to their customers, not just at that first digital touch, but every touch along the way.

(04:34): And the way that Typeform is designed is to do that, is to make it feel, you know, two ways to build that trust. And it has inherent value for the person who’s filling out the form, because they feel like, Oh, they really want my opinion, and they took care about this experience, and it builds that trust. They’re more likely to fill out the forms, they’re more likely to have a positive brand impression. And then for us as Typeform, it’s amazing because people fill out a type form and Wow, what was that? And then they come check us out, and then like, Hey, so we have a pretty good viral product led growth experience as well for us internally.

John Jantsch (05:07): Yeah. And if you’re listening and you have not experienced Typeform, I mean, it really feels more like a conversation. It’s like, Hey, let’s get to know each other. What’s your name? Then it goes to the next field and it’s like, well, you know, how are you feeling? Did I mean it really, obviously you can make it do whatever you want it to do, but I think on its surface it feels much more conversational. How do you, I mean, I think people that get it go, Wow, that was a better experience, but do you often fight kind of the idea that people are like, Eh, it’s just a form. I need the data. You know? So I mean, and again, maybe that’s not your customer, or do you feel like that’s a fight you can win?

Karrie Sanderson (05:40): Well, it’s interesting. It’s part of the evolution of Typeform, and we’re a 10 year old company, and we have type forms, our primary product. We have Alzheimer, another product called Video Ask, which is like a video version of that back and forth conversation, which is great for asynchronous when you want video. Yeah. But we’re in this, that’s part of what I’m undertaking as cmo and we’re looking, looking at, is how do we get people thinking about it, not just as a form one time use case and gone, but that embedding within in motion, say for B2C or with b2b, or within a emotion for like customer, you know, education and helping them select the right product for Forc b2c. So we’re definitely changing our language a little bit, as opposed to like, we’re a form, we’re a survey. It’s like, no, we’re a way to humanize your brand, right Way to humanize your business, bring some human manatee back to, to your digital experience. So we are in the middle of kind of revamping and leveling and kind of expanding what people think of us and just getting started. But there are many customers who’ve already found us that way and use us that

John Jantsch (06:39): Way. Yeah. And I think also, um, you start trying to expand the use cases, right? I think a lot of people think of a form as, Oh, that’s lead capture. Yeah. You know, is we’re talking about the customer journey. It’s like, that’s who they got to know us, and now they’re starting to trust us, so they’re gonna give us their name and email. But I see people using your forms in onboarding, you know, in, you know, maybe even prep for a sales call, you know, in trying to get, you know, specs for, you know, how to quote, you know? So I mean, I think you really can use it all the way. I think people should expand how they’re thinking about using this form of data collection, I guess, you know, through the whole customer journey.

Karrie Sanderson (07:17): Yeah, and that’s actually right. Like we do see that primary is either like somebody has a research project or they need to do LEGIA and lead capture, but the opportunity is to provide that same sort of human experience at every digital touchpoint because customers are, they’re fickle and they expect a good experience all along the way. So we do integrate with a lot of the common MarTech stack, and so we’re able to be that touchpoint along the way, whether it’s legion or research or onboarding or education. And also for employees, a lot of, actually some of our larger customers use us both for employee, you know, use cases as well as for their customers,

John Jantsch (07:54): . So would you go as far as saying a brand, or I’m sorry, a form experience could be a part of your culture?

Karrie Sanderson (08:01): Yes, absolutely. If you do it right. I mean, we’ve seen so much creativity of folks using us for things that are really educational, like embedding videos and you know, quizzes or Right. You know, things that you can embed your own brand or you can pick from whatever. We have a way to show up and those folks don’t actually realize it’s a form, it’s an experience, and you can capture whatever you need to capture.

John Jantsch (08:26): If somebody was, you know, just the typical sort of sales kind of questions, like what’s the key difference between years and X? You know, how do you feel like, you know, what do you feel like is your core differentiator? Yeah,

Karrie Sanderson (08:38): I mean, I think it’s embedded into literally the DNA of the product, which is it’s, it was built to build that trust, to build that conversation. So just even the setup of it for the experience that you’re building, for whoever’s filling out the form, it can have conditional logic. So depending upon what somebody chooses, you can can take ’em down different path paths, all those types of things. But it’s that conversational one at a time, questioning that questions that really work well and build that trust. And so the differentiation is, and we know this from data, not only from ourselves, but we hear it from customers when they switch to Typeform, they get much higher response rates, they get better qualitative, please.

John Jantsch (09:13): Sure.

Karrie Sanderson (09:14): Yeah. Along the way, you know, a lot of folks are using us as part of lead gen process right now to ask people, how did you hear about us? And because they’re providing it via type form, people are more likely to fill it out and they get richer information. But the other thing too that’s differentiating is not just for the respondent, the person who fills out the form, but for the creator, like it’s so easy to build. I mean, it’s almost like a block drop in and load. So, because a lot of our customers are small businesses, you don’t have an IT department, so you wanna be able to easily set it up. You wanna be able to do this on your own. If you’re small and you have wear my money hats that you wear, or if you’re in a big company, you don’t have time. So we spend as much time focusing on the person we call the creator, and the person has to build the forms, connect the forms into MarTech stack. That’s also part of our dna, is building in that to be a great experience. Because if it’s hard to use, it doesn’t matter how great it is sometimes. And then the business value of course. So you try to pay equal attention to both of those on both sides of the software. So we show up well, no matter how you’re interacting with Typeform.

John Jantsch (10:16): And now let’s hear from a sponsor. You know, today, everybody’s online, but are they finding your website, grab the online spotlight and your customer’s attention with Semrush from content and SEO to ads and social media. Semrush is your one stop shop for online marketing, build, manage and measure campaigns across all channels faster and easier. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Get seen, get Semrush, visit Semrush. That’s to try it free for seven days. I remember the first, probably 10 years ago, the first time I came across Typeform, and most people probably had this reaction. Wow, that’s different. Do you ever fight the urge to say, we have to be different again? I mean, because everybody knows what a type form type of form is, right? You encounter one and you know, almost immediately that’s what you’ve encountered. Yeah. Do you fight that urge? Sometimes? I

Karrie Sanderson (11:09): Don’t think it’s necessarily fight the urge to be different. Again, it’s just more, are we constantly pushing the boundaries? We have design principles that we live by, you know, by being bold and pushing the envelope and being expected both, again, not only in how the product shows up to the customers, but how we show up with the people who have to build it. So it’s part of our DNA that we are design led and data informed. Sure, we do AB test todos type things. But I think when you think about the human experience first and you keep that first, then we can develop the best product because that’s what we’re telling our customers that we’re doing for them. So if we want them to be able to humanize their customer experience, we should be walking the talk. And who you are on the inside is what you show on the outside. So it, it’s, it’s, it would be easy to coast and rest. But we are a fairly restless bunch about innovating

John Jantsch (12:01): In terms of your own marketing for the firm. You know, the typical SAS acquisition model of, you know, users, you know, new users or trial users, that’s all that matters. And so people, most of the advertising, most of the messaging is about, you know, come try this for a dollar for free. You know, that kind of messaging. I’m seeing a more and more SAS companies, particularly more and more that, that have a core difference, are doing more what we might have called brand advertising for user acquisition. How do you, where do you stand on your messaging, you know, for, you know, for client acquisition?

Karrie Sanderson (12:35): Yeah. Well for me, my background is very heavy in brand. Yeah. And so I’ve, you know, worked in brand roles at some of the, you know, big players, Coke, Starbucks, some of those ones. So brand is like, just inherently in my dna. And I think it’s a matter of, um, of timeframes, right? There is absolutely a need and a place for new business development, the typical demand gen motions, you know, to kind of Google search and all the other things that you might be doing. But if you don’t invest in brand, you’re hurting yourself in the long run because it takes time. And it, and especially today where we are to be able to rely less and less on that cookie data and all those other things. Yeah. Like you don’t, aren’t clear what you stand for and people can’t have a positive experience and know who you are.

(13:19): It’s gonna be really tough to stand out. It will really get lost in that seed sameness. So we have invested in brand and we are doing work, you know, putting media out there. Mm-hmm. Scroll back to top

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