Assiduous is the word that describes me best. That is, I persevere and show great care to my work. To me, the "big picture" and details associated with it matter.
My life has been a fusion of "hard knocks" and academic exploration. Beginning at the spirited age of 6, I sold candy door-to-door. I then sold magazines, coupon books, and fine cutlery by age 18. Never was there a dull moment when doors were shut in my face. Yet, I persevered and got better. Anything I was given, I consistently sold more of than any teammate, music colleague, or schoolmate.
Good fortune has been on my side when I pay attention to details. With the ability to sell, I transitioned into marketing. I still focused on selling, but now had a computer screen in front of me in lieu of a door. With gusto, I learned the ins-and-outs of content marketing, advertising, and ancillary topics such as design.
I catalyze my work's results by failing forward fast. This helps me learn and apply ideas with agility. Products I marketed have now been sold around the world and viewed online millions of times. What my efforts boil down to is being assiduous.
Every moment is an opportunity and every day I get better. I look forward to imparting this message to spark a movement.
Director Tom Clark
Technical Director Tom Clark
Sound Technician Bill Lindemann
Character Generator Michelle Yuan
Floor Director Jim Seawright
Camera 1 Christine Cray-Rubin
Camera 2 John Farley
Camera 3 Jim Twu
Creative Designer Sergio Smirnoff
Show Announcer 0:00
Welcome to Silicon Valley successes, we interview experts and entrepreneurs to give the world access to the knowledge and experience that is here in Silicon Valley. Our mission is to create opportunities for those who seek them and help you to become the next Silicon Valley success. Welcome to Silicon Valley successes. This is the first episode of many to come we're doing here is we're building a reference library that anyone in the world can access the experts here in Silicon Valley, and the resources and the years experience. And the goal behind it is through this access to help people achieve their goals wherever they are in the world.
Shawn Flynn 0:41
So with that, I just want to say thank you for joining me and the team here at Silicon Valley successes as we go through this journey to build something to hopefully help you now in this process. Some of the information you may agree or may not agree with, but we are doing our best because we really want to help everyone out there. So with that, I would like to introduce my first guest, the first guest on Silicon Valley successes CJ CJ, can you please give us an a, an introduction of who you are and how you've worked and helped out the Silicon Valley ecosystem?
CJ Terral 1:16
Absolutely. Well, first off, Sean, thank you so much for inviting me here. It's a pleasure.
I am actually a Silicon Valley native myself, I've been around the area for a while. And I've gotten the chance over a number of years to help startups and mid sized companies help with their marketing. And I've done that in a number of capacities. I actually started out on the social media side where I helped a company launch a social messenger app in two different local communities across America, we had great success with that garnering a few million downloads within a few months. And so with gusto. I moved on to the next sort of areas within marketing, that included enterprise collateral development, b2b enterprise data storage, and computer networking to companies as well as more b2c type product companies. And so I've managed campaigns that over the years have been had product sold in over 20 countries, as well as getting about 300,000 different types of conversions through different people that have expressed interest through digital campaigns we've launched through events that I've helped manage within the social social community, and also tech startup community and products that I've marketed over the year. So I've actually been viewed round 8 million times online and been experienced offline, cumulatively about that amount. And so what this is all built into is this idea of what I like to call growth marketing.
Shawn Flynn 2:46
Okay, so so let's, let's touch on that topic growth marketing. And the idea behind this is to give as much information out there to startups around the world and founders and entrepreneurs. So I've heard that term growth marketing quite a bit, how is that different than regular marketing. So
CJ Terral 3:04
when it comes to marketing, there are a number of different topics that are involved. And one would be a common idea is inbound marketing, where it's more content focused people express their interest and then come to you through either a lead generation form that you have out there a blog webinars, things like that. There's also other types of ideas like growth hacking, which is more working on, you know, short term technical hacks or product enhancements, and then building out audiences through that sort of viral marketing sort of concepts ingrained into the product. And there are other forms as well, including advertising as such, the idea of growth marketing is actually more holistic. It's something where, whenever you're marketing anything, let's take a pen, for example, right? If you're selling a pen, I love the pen example. Yes. And I know some people are probably thinking, yes, I know where we got that exam on Baba,
Shawn Flynn 4:01
Baba, go on. We'll pretend everyone out there hasn't seen that amazing popular movie. Yes,
CJ Terral 4:05
absolutely. Where they have to sell the fence. So that is that when you're selling a pen, right, first off, you have to understand not only the values of the company, but the value you bring to people. And you're going to do that for different types of target audiences. People have different interests and dependent. And so to do that, they're going to be in different locations. For example, some may be on social media, some may only buy high end pens, and maybe a product extension. And they may only be offline and close knit communities. They may also be another what we'd like to call channels. And so when you have all these different types of channels, you have different types of messaging. And for each of these types of channels, the messaging you have to tweak just like anything else, and work through the concept of growth. Marketing is understanding when you're selling that pen and each of those different channels to each of those different audiences. What are those channels look like? What are they also what is the journey that each customer goes on first awareness to conversion to prospect to customer and potentially if they retain long enough, and they use that pen just long enough, they might become your advocate,
go over those steps one more time that you just mentioned, that was pretty interesting. Sure thing. And it's
CJ Terral 5:15
actually a five step process. I personally call it an inverted pyramid pyramid. Yes, we're an inverted diamond. But I tend to call it inverted pyramid, because it's very easy to visualize, right? The idea is that a typical customer journey is going to be seen as what we commonly call a marketing funnel, okay, imagine a marketing funnel, just like any, you know what a funnel would look like. But I'll double that and then flip it, right. So now, you actually have another funnel, that's a mirror image, but vertically flip. So it looks like a triangle is basically and flipped, okay, so that's why I call it the inverted pyramid, right?
The idea behind that is that there's five stages for this entire process. First, you have the awareness, let's take the pen example. Right, you first see a pen, and let's say, a popular retail store, right. That's the first impression perhaps, or maybe through an advertisement ideas with growth marketing have to understand which channels first offer it, but they do is that there's five stages. So let's focus on that for it now. So you have first the awareness stage, once people see things, he didn't have to convert them somehow, us, you know how to follow up with them. Okay. And so that's going to be the second stage. So first is awareness. Second, is a conversion right into what we commonly call a lead. So they've exchanged some sort of form of information, they've given you a number and email, maybe they've given you a business card at a conference for when you're selling those patents, right. And the third stage is they turn into prospects. Now, prospects are those of course, there's different definitions around the industry. But I believe there's a lot of
credibility as to, you know, this process where you have a viewer a lead, and then a prospect because the prospects or someone you nurture, there's a likelihood of them becoming customer. Okay. And so this process takes some time, depending on the type of offering you're selling, if it's a five, you know, dollar premium pen, or if it's going to be $100,000 data storage system, okay. Each takes a different journey. And so understanding your journey is tantamount and the prospect journey is
really throughout the big words there.
CJ Terral 7:18
Well, it's are not too too often. But there's some words that just tell it so much better than others. And so when it comes to prospecting, right, this is a nurturing processes where you're establishing trust, establishing understanding, not just the customer, but the customer understands your company and what you stand for. So
Shawn Flynn 7:36
quick question on that. Sure. So you're an early stage company, when is a good time to start this this market in process? Is it when you just have the idea in your head when you've written down on paper, when you have your MVP or minimum viable product, or after you've already raised some type of funding? When should I start thinking about this? Absolutely. Well,
CJ Terral 7:55
you know, a good point is, it depends on First off, if you're a b2b or b2c, see type of
Shawn Flynn 8:00
a business to business or business to consumer,
CJ Terral 8:03
you got to Sean. And so if you're selling to a business, let's b2b right, as you mentioned, and b2c is when you're selling to a individual or group of individuals. So if your b2b, it's typically going to be a longer life's a customer journey, or customer lifecycle, and so to think of when you're going to be marketing to them, it's typically more relationship driven. So it's going to be a slower cycle, but you want to start nurturing those relationships. This is not necessarily part of the prospect stage, which I just mentioned, but you're nurturing relationships throughout the first year stage, the lead the prospect stage, when they become a customer number four, and when they become an advocate number five. So when this starts, for b2b, it's really establishing those relationships before even potentially even building a product. Wow,
Shawn Flynn 8:48
I it's obviously not 100% fit for everyone. But that's the best chances that you have. Because when you are ready to now sell, you have someone that already trusts you. So before, when I just have an idea, I might already want to start at that point, reaching out to potential customers, I will see and if if there's interest, yeah, and
CJ Terral 9:05
way I might tweak that is, instead of potential, what you might call them as customers, I would even call them as colleagues, friends associates, okay, right. Because they, before they become customers, again, they have to trust you, there has to be some sort of promise that your brand represents. And so if they don't have that, if they don't understand what it is right, they're likely not going to buy unless they have a super pressing need, which is a different conversation, but beat a buddy that he would be so far down the road, yes,
Shawn Flynn 9:34
six months a year, possibly exist, sorry to cut you off there. But I was good for
CJ Terral 9:37
that in there. It's a good point. And so if you're in a commodities industry, it's more important than ever, to have relationships that drive that sale, right? If it's going to be a new innovative product, the product itself may actually be what people are convinced by, but that's on the b2b side relationships are really key. There are, of course, going to be advertising and content marketing campaigns that are important to that effort, okay. But the relationships especially important because you're going to be working with different influencers within that company, okay, it also going to be working with different buyers within that company, it may be one buyer, and maybe the CFL, it may be the CEO and CFO, I'll be both have purchase power, it's a company by company basis. But to be able to win their interest, you first have to establish the relationship. Okay, and what about B to C, great transition has actually just going to go into that. And so I'm glad she has with the b2c side, this is more mass market exposure. So it's going to be much harder when on the b2b side, you're trying to sell 10 companies, or maybe 100 companies on b2c, you may be trying to sell 10,000 or a million. And so it's going to be very difficult to establish relationships with all them. The best way to do this is through content marketing. This is how you nurture these relationships at scale. And so when you start doing this, right, this is going to be something where if you need to get a lot of press PR prior to something, if you need a lot of people in your, in other words, if you're marketing something that's going to need a lot of people to be valuable, you need to start doing that earlier. Okay. But if people find intrinsic value from what you're offering only by themselves, or through their family, you don't need as large of an audience to impress them. For example, if you're creating a social network, or a dating app, or something, where there's an event sort of venue service, you'll need a larger audience for that to be useful. Yeah. And so gathering that audience beforehand is going to be really important. But if you have something that doesn't need those audiences to be useful, perhaps a pen, a glass table, anything that people don't need audiences for, that can actually start to be done later. But what's going to be important in either scenario for others, those two types of mass market and products that need an audience, for those that don't need an audience or for b2b branding is going to be critical. Okay, so tell me about the first steps to build a brand. Absolutely thing people have to understand if you're externally facing already. In other words, you've already made something you're going out to the public, people have to know who you are.
A lot of people buy into companies, kind of like as their friends they like to buy from people, regardless of how many people you're marketing to, they still like to get to know the people behind it. And so the first step to a brand is telling people again, who you are. So your origin story, your vision, what do you want to do in this world? What do you want to change about it? It doesn't have to be the whole world. It could simply be local communities, it could simply be a new organization and nonprofits, maybe 1000 nonprofits, but ideas, what is it that you envision for the future? What is it that you are going to be doing? And then the mission? How are you going to get there?
Shawn Flynn 12:46
Okay, now, question on this. If I'm an early stage startup, I may not have funded at all, I may have a very limited budget. Well, you just told me this big vision may not be my price range, what what does it go to market strategy cost? or What should I be thinking about when I make a budget for it? Yeah,
CJ Terral 13:03
and Sean, you bring up a good point. There are a lot of people who think that branding, marketing advertising is really expensive, there's, I think in anything you do, there's always an opportunity to make it very expensive. But the best ones out there, find a way to maximize the limited resources that they have. And the good thing about it is that branding and go to market, which I'll go to in a moment, that's actually free. If I want to make it free. Tell us about that. Sure. Because I know a lot of people are interested in this. Now, I don't want to confuse the viewers to think that all branding, all marketing is free. It's not true. But what I'm saying is that understand what you represent, to understand the values to understand what you want to be associated with as a company and what you don't want to be associated with reading those ideas out or free, right, understanding who you are, what you represent, and what do you want to go, that's something that you can find out internally and amongst your founding team. Okay. Right. When it comes to the idea of then employing more people to do blogging at scale, or webinars at scale, or email marketing at scale, or some sort of channel activity, right? That is, you have different channels to market to. Yeah, right. You're going to probably need more people. And those people are probably going to cost money because they're building their own careers as well. It's a sensible act, right? Yeah. So that's really when a lot of market marketing money comes into talk and advertising, it's almost always going to cost you right, practically every time there are exceptions, but you have any tips or tricks or hacks or eating, there's, there are definitely a couple, you know, one is something that some people watching today might actually have heard of, it's called guerilla marketing. Tell us about it. How is that different than growth marketing. So I'll actually draw a parallel between growth hacking and guerrilla marketing, there's a lot of similarities. Growth Hacking happens to be online. And guerrilla marketing happens be offline, okay. And so when it comes to growth hacking, it's more of a product tweak, product enhancement, maybe, you know, downloading information or something like that to get your company had online. When it comes to guerrilla marketing. The idea is that they're low cost or free options in which to really broaden the exposure to whatever is you're building. For example, if you were going on a popular if there's thousands of people that wanted a popular hike right on the mountains, and you were a popular company that happened to like to sell to hikers. And there were some popular destinations along the way. And let's say, for example, you had the rights to maybe paint a boulder right, or something almost ridiculous, right? Like that. But the thing is, people will stop and look at it, people will remember that people will make that part of the destination. Oh, and when people take photos of that we live in a world of social media sharing selfies and all the photos and videos you could imagine.
Shawn Flynn 16:02
Yeah, I've heard here. I'm sure everyone here on this stage is going to share this with all their social media. Absolutely.
CJ Terral 16:10
No, you're absolutely right, john. And that's the neat thing about this too, with guerrilla marketing, it's offline. It's relatively low priced. And that is that you get mass exposure, but it's not guaranteed. Okay. And there is a technique to doing that. And so bringing on the right people to help you do that sort of thing can definitely help if you have people internally that can help you out as well. It's really important. It's not that it has to be difficult. It just has to be something that's special that people care about to share. And if you can think about that in any location where there are a lot of eyeballs will seeing stuff, that's the important part
Shawn Flynn 16:46
question on that one, to focus on grill marketing, when to focus on growth, marketing, and when to change your plan in the process? Yes, so that's a lot in one question, but it
CJ Terral 16:58
is it's a great question. And, and it's something that people need to deliberate. Some companies are inherently not built for guerrilla marketing or growth hacking. Some companies have very expensive products. I'll give you an example. By the way, there is this idea of what's called a viral loop. And some people who have not heard of it. Yeah,
go into detail, please. Sure. Explain. So
CJ Terral 17:23
It's debated a little bit exactly what this means, but pretty clearly stated. His ideas that think of any popular I won't name names, but the fastest growing social media startups that you may have heard of, or they're very popular out there, or any sort of email that grew very fast. We can all think of examples, right? I say, I don't say a name on purpose, so that we can fill in what resonates with us most Yeah, right. The idea is that those are inherently viral enabled. In other words, you sign up you share to a friend. And by the time that friend that you referred signs backup to that service. Yeah, that's one viral loop. Simply put, and some products just are not built for that some products when they cost 50,000, half 1,000,003 million dollars for a government project, for example, something that scale, right, it's not going to be viral in terms of the product itself, but the information surrounding it could be viral. So
Shawn Flynn 18:18
what of that type of information could be used by startups, early stage companies? Which information
CJ Terral 18:23
are you referring to just any tips or tricks for if they want to do a viral campaign themselves. So first, I would understand I would need to understand or the founders would need to just internally think about this is their product actually built for vitality. And it's fine. If it's not, it doesn't have to be to be successful. But for those that are in the software space, for those that are basically digitally focused, or if they're not digitally focused, but they have a digital footprint, they get their name out online, for example, things like that, they have much higher chances of success to go viral. And again, this is a great way to do it on a limited budget, if you have the right mechanics built into this, there's a trigger if there's an action or reward, things like that, okay. And if it also builds value for them over time, it increases in value, which if you can do that, Oh, my gosh, you're gonna you're going to get them hooked, right? It's it's invaluable to do. And so there are some really cool ways in which to do that. But each company has their own opportunity. And when it comes to guerrilla marketing, I'd say some really cool ways to think about that is look for what inspires you on lines, think through things that you've seen do this, whether they be posters on bus stops that just made you stop and Gok, right? I mean, that's an example of guerrilla marketing. If there's something online that you just can't get out of your head, right? That's an example of growth marketing, or a very well made advertisements, right,
Shawn Flynn 19:51
it takes us definitely a creative approach to do this. Okay. So, so far, we've talked about many different things. We've talked about growth marketing, guerrilla marketing, talk about online, offline, we've talked about how to build a brand we've talked about go to market and the cost that are with that, yeah, we've talked about adjusting the marketing plan, what else? Could we summarize what you've just talked about? and adds any more tidbits or tricks? Why use while you're doing that? Certainly.
CJ Terral 20:20
And it's a lot to ask, but I think it's or the question to ask, and unless, cuz it's the earliest days of any companies launch the most important until the point, they start getting customers. And then all of a sudden, it becomes even more important to live up to what you say on paper, and make that a reality to them. It's part of that brand promise that I mentioned earlier. And so I go back to this five stage efforts, right, it's idea that you first want to understand, and actually, even before we get there, I mentioned this, first off, understand what it is you're making, right? That's gonna be supercritical, right. And I don't mean that, if you know what, how to make, it doesn't mean necessarily, you know, what you actually are making customers may change their minds about how they want it to be, or what they want it to be. And that's the idea of pivoting according to how customers regularly engage as an important one. And more importantly, if it's something that costs money, watch the customers who are paying for this, not the people that are not paying for it, okay, if it's a service that they use for free a freemium service, or if it's a free offering, in general, just watch for those who use it, right, but watched in mass, you don't want to go simply towards the people, you know, small quantities, people want to try to make us what we call statistically significant as possible, okay, in other words, the lowest Delta. And what I mean by delta is basically the lowest change. So in other words, if a lot of people are doing it, there's a good chance more people want to do it, too. But then you have to understand how to segment this accordingly. And so I go back to this five, you know, step process, when you know who you're going to understand how many people you need to kind of see this to understand, you know, what they're going to regularly engage with? First off, you have to get people to look at it right, online, offline. Regardless, you have to get people in front of it. Quantity matters when it comes to the marketing funnel, right? And so when you get enough people or viewers to see it, then you have to think through Well, how do we get them to that next level? How do we get them closer to becoming users or customers, right? Okay, so the next one is, again, becoming a lead, right. And leads can come from Typically, what you call landing pages, you might use that in an advertisement leads may also come from trade shows where you exchange business cards, leads may also come from simply casual encounter, and says on the streets, things like this, the ideas that you exchange information, that's the key part exchange information with an intent for something more. And if and if you give them let's say, for b2b company, you give them a white paper, or you give them a cell sheet, or you give them a reviewers guide, or you give them a free sample of a product for influencer on YouTube, or Instagram or something like that, that's going to be important to then get them to the next level, right? Where if they're going to be now influenced some way through what you're offering, nurture them into prospects, get them to understand really the value of what you're delivering, instead of choosing a competitor, right? think through how you can engage them more, does that mean getting their friends and involved with them? Does that mean getting their colleagues involved with them? Does that meeting getting specifically their department or influencers at their school or workplace, other things like that? So with
all that information, yes,
CJ Terral 23:45
narrow it down you more What advice would you give a founder, number one, focus on delivering something of value, right? What that means is, if people see it, they say they want it and then they buy it, you're going to be a pretty good place. If you can then do that same exact process at scale,
you're going to be even better.
Shawn Flynn 24:10
Pretty good advice. I was gonna ask you another question. You know, what would be the most valuable advice you give a founder, but I think you you just nailed
focus on the customer.
Shawn Flynn 24:21
They love you, you're going to be doing well. Okay. And CJ, I want to give you the opportunity, could you talk about yourself, and how you work specifically with companies right now, in the past or moving forward? Absolutely.
CJ Terral 24:35
So I work with companies on a number of ways. Three, in particular one is Business Model Generation thinking through the foundation of your business, this is going to be so important later on, there's nine key areas to look through. But the most important part to remember out of this stage, just saying, we know what the heck we're doing from a company standpoint, we know what we're doing for a product. And we know we're going to deliver when we're going to deliver things like that it's generating that business model, all encompassing of what is we're going to do. The second thing is brand formation, this is going to be a continuous evolution that your company's entire history and present and future and what I mean by history is some things when people look in the past, you may need to rebuffed that and live up to those values that you want said and build that into the future I'm trying to impress is the fact that with brand management, you have to understand who you are, what you represent, your origins, your present your future, what people are going to perceive you as who they're going to associate with you. And the first thing that they think of you, is it what you want them to think about you that's part of the brand formation that can be pre launch or post lunch. And the third being go to market management go to market management is critical to understanding not only is what you were trading useful, it's understanding how we're going to get to the next stage, how we're going to think through the five different phases of the product innovation lifecycle, everything from the innovators, the early adopters to the early majority, late majority, 68% of the market is contained just within the early and late majorities interesting, you have to sell to them somehow, if you want to scale your company, and the last part being the laggards. Those who are kind of content with what they're already doing. Yeah, but you can still sell it to them, either. If you fix it to a product, their content with or other options. And each of these five stages have their own method of approach. And within each of these five, then you start to think about the five stages, captivate the viewers, convert them into leads, nurture them, as prospects, close them as customers. And of course, once they're delighted enough with what you offer, make them your advocates, and sky's the limit. Oh, wow.
Shawn Flynn 26:51
Okay, CJ with that want to thank you for all the help that in your time that you've given to us.
I want to thank everyone for watching this first episode of Silicon Valley successes. And to tell you more about this journey that we're going to go on every week, we'll have new industry experts from Silicon Valley here on the show will also be interviewing startup founders and talk to them about their daily lives and what they actually face and try to give real world information that's useful. So with that, our next guests that will have on this show is Shahid whose background is investment banking, he's worked with startups from around the world, helping them with their financing plans, helping them get ready to raise capital and raise capital. He has several, many, many years of working with startups from all over the world. It's going to be an amazing episode. So with that, if you want more information about CJ and what he's working on, there's information on Silicon Valley's successes or CJ website. What is your website?
CJ Terral 28:00
Sure. My website is simple. My first and last name.com being C J t. e. r r al.com.
Shawn Flynn 28:11
Thank you guys.
Show Announcer 28:15
Thank you. From all of us at Silicon Valley successes. We hope you found the information presented today useful in your path to success. For further information on accessing the resources in Silicon Valley. You may visit us on the web at Silicon Valley successes. com on Facebook and YouTube. Thank you. And remember, we want to help you in your journey to become the next success.