Episode 15

Closing $40 million in annual recurring revenue through demand gen

with Gaetano DiNardi

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In this episode Adam (@AdamVazquez) and Carlton (@CarltonRiffel) are joined by Gaetano DiNardi (@Gaetano_Nyc) who is the Vice President of Growth at Aura.com – a company that protects you from identity theft. Gaetano shares how he closed $40 million in recurring revenue for Nextiva, what demand gen actually means, and how his musical career affects his work.

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Show notes:

* (3:32) Heard Hot Takes?

* (7:12) Have You Heard

* (12:20) Growing to $200m annual recurring revenue

* (17:12) What kind of people you should hire to build a world-class demand gen team

* (22:53) How working as a music producer vaulted Gaetano’s marketing career

* (31:32) Creating B2B content designed to be consumed rather than solely intellectual

* (33:21) What has Gaetano excited for the next few years in the demand gen space

Links & Resources: 

Transcription

Transcription generated by Otter.ai

Adam Vazquez 0:06
Our guest today is the notorious Gaetano de Nardi, who is the VP of growth@aura.io, where he heads up growth for the team dedicated to creating a safer internet for everyone prior to this role, he was the head of growth and demand gen at Nextiva, where he helped generate over $40 million in annual recurring revenue. I met Gaetano before all of that during a sales hacker days and I just he is transparent and growth focused mindset really struck a chord with me and I think as you listen to the episode, you’ll hear what I mean. He doesn’t talk like your average marketer. He is an act like your average marketer he acts and thinks like a musician or an inventor who is taking the most efficient artistic approach to creating growth. I said that on purpose those those normally don’t go together, but with him it’s combining both artistry and efficiency in the way that he works and creates. During this episode she shared how demand gen works, how he has dealt with imposter syndrome over his career and how you can build inbound growth at your company. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I really think that you will too. Let’s get into it with our resident r&b, King Gaetano Denari.

Bagel Bon giorno. grotty. Mila for listening. You’re back here. Content is foreclosure. Very special Italian episode for you today. Before we get to that, Carlson, how are you my friend?

Carlton Riffel 1:44
I’m doing good, man. I’m doing good. I was just wondering, are you? Are you Italian? Is that? Is that what your nationality is?

Adam Vazquez 1:50
I get I get asked that a lot are people I should say assume that. Especially as my hair gets longer it curls. And I just met a guy last week who came up to me and said something in a tiny Kimber, he said, and I was like, Oh, I don’t know what that is. But yeah, I am an Italian adopted Italian.

Carlton Riffel 2:10
I’d say you go, Hey, that’s all you need is the Italians to adopt you and put you in the family and keep you safe.

Adam Vazquez 2:16
Yeah, quick, quick, funny caveat on that I, my wife and I went to Italy for a couple weeks, five, six years ago now. And had a driver at one point booked through Costco middle class and had a driver at one point that could not speak English at all. And so we were trying to describe where we wanted to go where it was, we’re going from city to city. And I spoke enough broken Spanish and he spoke enough broken Spanish. And that’s actually how we communicated because neither of us could could figure out the other language. So

Carlton Riffel 2:49
I was thinking about all of the the hundreds of responses we get about our lame game of the week or our icebreaker and after evaluating all the responses, I think I think it’s best to just not do an icebreaker I think I think the consensus is that they don’t really care about random points in our past Adam. So here I think we’re safer. I think just offering hot ticks right? So we’ve got Have you heard we need another H one other thing so we’re gonna do hot takes and thinking if you don’t know Adam, personally, he’s just great off the cuff so he actually prefers that we don’t even discuss these so that is true for all he knows I could just be asking him something completely random and offensive to him. I guess if we did live it’d be a little a little harder.

Adam Vazquez 3:38
Yeah, with these are this is highly edited. This is actually the 16th time I’ve done this.

Carlton Riffel 3:43
So here’s here’s the hot take. We’ve got some news coming out on Twitter this week with with go Jack leaving leaving Twitter. Do you think Twitter is gonna be better or worse with without Jack? That’s the hot topic for today.

Adam Vazquez 3:58
Better or worse? Okay. Well, personally, I’m a pretty big fan of Jack. I think he’s a I think he’s a really great entrepreneur. I agree with a lot of his just view on the world view on technology. And to think net better or worse. I guess I won’t go. I think it will be net worse. Over time. I think some of the things that people have been like, I guess Twitter made a rule where you can’t share photos of private individuals without their consent. Generally, I’m on board for that. I know the internet is against that right now. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. But I just think that they’re they’ll miss his leadership and and at times, succumb to the whims of the far left instead of being a little bit more balanced, which I think I think he did a good job of

Carlton Riffel 4:41
interesting, interesting.

Adam Vazquez 4:42
What do you think so my

Carlton Riffel 4:44
take is that they’re gonna do better. Okay. So, yeah, as someone who likes to eat and more than one meal a day, and someone who doesn’t like to multitask, no, I think he’s got his time split between square and Twitter, and a very good point, I think if you can’t devote all your attention and leadership to something, then there’s always going to be this tension. So by him having to just focus on one thing, I think squares gonna do better. And I think with someone who has the full attention and focus on Twitter will probably help. If you look at the competitive growth, I mean, Twitter is actually stuff that they haven’t done great under his leadership. So you’re really looking at like, like a quarter of the growth of a lot of their competitors, even if you compare it with smaller companies. So I do think that I think the reason why he left is a little weird. I’m still curious to know why exactly. I think there may be something under the surface. But some people have, you know, suggested that maybe square is trying to get federal, whatever that is verification for becoming a Federal Bank of some sort. And maybe they couldn’t have he couldn’t be double dipping, if that was the case. I don’t know. Interesting. So I’ve heard some theories, but nothing concrete.

Adam Vazquez 6:01
I probably should have clarified before I jumped in, I guess in terms of stock performance. I agree with you, I think I think it will perform better as a stock. I was more talking about like the experience from a user’s stamp. Yeah, yeah. And uh, yeah, I’ve heard similar rumblings I’ve also in the crypto world, there’s a pretty, pretty strong theory that he was to Bitcoin Maxy for where Twitter wants to head and a lot of their investors or Andreessen Horowitz, obviously, yeah. Have some pretty strong opinions in the NFT space. And so yeah, anyway, I could see a number of those things being true.

Carlton Riffel 6:30
Yeah, that’s that’s those are interesting thoughts as well. I guess we have to like put a disclaimer now that this is not financial advice. And we are not.

Adam Vazquez 6:39
I feel like financial advice. Yeah. That’s like you deserve any losses

Carlton Riffel 6:44
that you’ve been hoping to add that at some point in our Yeah, I guess. Maybe on our guest, he could do like a little rap thing.

Adam Vazquez 6:53
So Gaetano Gaetano is already sorry, yeah, Tom. No worries. Yeah. That he Yeah, he definitely could sing something for us. We need we should have had him do like a hook for Yeah. Amazing. Yeah. Before we get to Gaetano, though, Carlton, I hope unless you’re also murdering this segment. No. still allowed to tell people things we’ve heard or Yeah. Is that

Carlton Riffel 7:13
all the people love? Have you heard? Okay, cool. So we’ll keep going with that. So my Have you heard, I guess I’ll go first. This isn’t that groundbreaking. But you mentioned Costco earlier, I was gonna do like the hot take was gonna be Costco or Sam’s. But like, that’s a little too easy. We have not had a Costco membership for a while, and we finally got one. And because of our son needing diapers, and so the Kirkland brand is pretty amazing. I got I gotta give a shout out to Kirkland. Just the the quality of their diapers is like a step up. And then their cheese man like I’ve been hooked on the cheese. So related to content, though, it’s funny for these all these grocery stores like Costco and Trader Joe’s, I’m always super impressed and amazed at the different content that comes out for these different brands. And so you know, as a brand, you’ve done a good thing if you’ve got like, I think I searched and there’s like five or six podcasts dedicated to Trader Joe’s five or six podcast dedicated to Costco. So that’s a goal as a as a big brand like that. If you can have people loving your brand so much that they create content on their own user generated content, then I feel like you got some good going. Yeah, that’s

Adam Vazquez 8:23
good. I really I agree hard agree on Costco. There. Kirkland band specifically, they do a great job especially like in like their putter for instance, is like on par with Scotty Cameron, one of the best putters in the world, things like that they do a really good job with and yeah, I mean, all episode today is around demand gen, and how you take what that means, first of all, and then how you develop it as a practice within your business. And that’s a great like, kind of out of left field example. But where your products and your brand are so compelling that you have people creating show I didn’t even know that exists, but creating shows around that it’s a good example. And yeah, something if you don’t have a Costco membership, shout out, shout out Costco. Mine. It’s a little I’ve talked about this before. But traction is the the book I’m going to shout out today. Have you on Have you heard now some of you have heard of traction and so you’re immediately turned off by this because there are like zealots who who pursue traction or evangelize it. I’m not one of those people. But as you’re going into your 2022 planning, as we are sort of wrapping up and doing at the moment, I got to tell you, it’s extremely helpful. I’ve put a stiff arm to this book and this process the US system for like two or three years. And and kind of wish I had now because it’s really I think it’s got a lot of helpful structure for for leaders who are going through that process. And so we’re doing some stuff content wise that it’s explaining that process that we’re going through, but specifically for the heavier for this week. I think people should if you’re going through that process you’re going through 22 planning consider at least checking out the book traction.

Carlton Riffel 10:03
Yeah, that’s awesome. I know from a high level thing he’s the author of that’s doing some other content things as well where you can dive in he’s got a lot of content for free. So whatever that URL is, we can we can link to that as well.

Adam Vazquez 10:18
Yeah, you know, we’ll put that in the show notes below. But today, as I said, is all about demand generation and Gaetana an RD as I kind of said in the intro is has been doing this for a while is has been doing it for Nextiva, who you’ve probably heard of and is now just transitioned to ARRA and I think this is a pretty fun episode he is a super unique and talented guy from from what he’s doing on the corporate side to his music career and everything in between so let’s get to the interview with Katana.

Our right we’ve got Gaetano dinar. Do I say that correctly?

Gaetano DiNardi 10:59
You said a really good almost like an Italian.

Adam Vazquez 11:01
Okay. All right. W
e got Thomas so many things. Like I feel like we could start a million different places here. We’re talking beforehand about Miami, Puerto Rico, the Yankee suck. Like I feel like there’s a lot we can we can get into. But But I guess let’s start with what your your most recent work. So you’re coming off just wrapping up three years leading Nextiva. Which by the way, speaking of the Yankees, you can’t watch a baseball game without seeing Nextiva all over the place. So you guys are doing something right over there.

Gaetano DiNardi 11:32
Yeah, yeah, dude, we’ve we’ve taken a stance on getting beyond bottom of funnel, which is, which is tough. In fact, I was talking to Dan Sanchez, from b2b growth earlier today. And I told him something that he was surprised about. And that is that every company I’ve ever been at, in my career, they’ve always wanted me to be hyper focused on bottom of funnel activities. And as a marketer, that kind of pains your heart, because you want to do more brand building, you want to do more creative marketing, you want to do more interesting shit. But at the same time, there’s pressure for growth, growth, growth leads, leads, leads, pipeline, and pipeline. And those results come from certain channels. And so you’re locked into PPC, SEO affiliates. That is what you’re you’re kind of stuck in. You don’t have much of a opportunity to do things like cool YouTube pre roll retargeting videos or cold based intent targeting on on YouTube pre roll, you don’t have as much opportunity to do that. So yeah, yeah, it’s

Adam Vazquez 12:46
cool. And so you you were there for three years head of growth and demand gen, or are there I guess, still a kind of kind of wrapping up, but maybe just tell us? What were some of your objectives going into it? And then how did it go? I know, I know, I know, some of the numbers behind it just from what you shared. But just be curious, from your point of view. How last three years have gone.

Gaetano DiNardi 13:07
Yeah, yeah. So when I when I landed there, the company was 70 million in annual revenue. And then today, fast forward to now it’s over 200 million in annual revenue. So a lot of growth in a short amount of time. Yeah. And every every fast growing company now wants to get to a bill. Everybody wants to figure out how do you get from 250 300 to a bill? And how do you do that in like four years. And the thing that’s nuts is like the company has been around since like, 2008. And it took them a long Yeah. So it took them a long time to get to that 70 mil but then in the last three years, how has there been such explosive growth. And there’s been a number of factors. It’s been evolving beyond being the two trick pony, which the company was when I got there, they ranked for business voip, and then they had paid marketing, which was PPC and affiliates. So I consider that to be a two trick pony. So one of the objectives was, help us evolve beyond that. grow out an organic flywheel content strategy, understanding the different types of customer segments at a deeper level, and creating content experiences that will resonate, and then really an attack plan on keywords, building out an attack plan to go beyond just business voice. We’ve got we’ve got to hit all these different buckets, and we can get into all that but that really was the main objective was pipeline growth, expanding beyond being the two trick pony rebuilding and restructuring a team recruiting and then catching up to the big boys being a scrappy, underdog, private company, the only private company that hadn’t raised money up until recently the company raised 200 million from Goldman Sachs and almost now $3 billion valuation but That’s, that’s nothing when you compare it to giants like zoom, and RingCentral. And now Microsoft Teams will, you know, has gotten into VoIP UCaaS space. So it was to recap, broadening the marketing mix, rebuilding and restructuring and recruiting a kick ass team and then scrapping back and fighting back against the big boys.

Adam Vazquez 15:22
Yeah. So I want to ask you about one of those specifically, because I know some people who have gone to work for you, and have all had a great, great experiences doing so. But zoom out a second, just for our audience is kind of a lot of content marketers, maybe some business owners, etc. Give us a quick whatever synopsis definition of how you view demand gen from a high level, just to add some context to what you’re talking about with some of these executions.

Gaetano DiNardi 15:47
Yeah, some the default sort of perception of what it is is just Legion. And that’s not true. Inbound. Well, I guess you Yeah, I really that that one may be up for debate, okay. Like some people can say that dimension is a mix of inbound and outbound. It can be Account Based Marketing, which is very narrow marketing that’s oriented toward a set of target accounts, versus the very cast a wide net style marketing, where you rank for things like commercial phone service. And then you have an affiliate partnership that is occupying multiple search results for things like business phone service, business phone system, commercial phone service, virtual phone service, internet based phone service for business, cloud phone service, cloud phones is right. So you get the picture, like, on and on and on and on. Google has not recognized in many cases, the relationship between virtual phone system and cloud phone system, for example. And so it treats those search results as individual. Meanwhile, the intent is the same. So when it gets down to demand gen, how do I define it? What do I think it is? It’s to me, it’s attracting, influencing and educating the market your you know, generating demand, creating demand influencing and educating as part of that. And then I think the ultimate measure for high quality dimension is really you have leading indicators and lagging indicators. For me the leading is, do we have traffic, good traffic, good quality traffic, the right kind of people come into the site? How is the consumption of our content and our marketing? Is the message being consumed? Is it resonating? Do we have high time on page do people click through to multiple pages within the site during a session? What is our ratio of new traffic to repeat visitor traffic that is not customers. So you have those leading things? And then the lagging is to me very simple. It’s pipeline and revenue, conversions, marketing, influence, then sourced revenue and pipeline. That to me, is how I would think about

Adam Vazquez 18:01
it. Yeah, I appreciate that. And I think that’s a really good encapsulation. A lot of times I think we jump to the lagging, when we’re talking about like, is this working or not, but to your point, there’s all these indicators or little check signals that you can see along the way to help you understand like, yes, it is working in the lagging is gonna come or it should be coming and there’s something else we need to we need to check on. This is a good description. Okay. So you’re building a demand gen team, you’ve got this company that is a bit of an underdog but is doing some stuff. I mean, there’s $70 million, or whatever. And so you come and and you’re tasked with building out a team and the the moniker I kept hearing, like on social and stuff is like, we’re building the Warriors. We’re bringing the Warriors together. This is like when the warriors were the Warriors. So talk a little bit about that. Like what it seems like you guys have a lot of fun. I’m buddies with Jeremy Boothbay. And I know, I know, you guys are tight. So talk about just that process and how you’ve built that team out over there?

Gaetano DiNardi 18:56
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. So yeah, I kind of do like to think of us as the warriors in some ways. Of course, the warriors have won many championships, and we did not win any championships next year. I can’t, I can’t necessarily say that we conquered the category, or have become a category leader. But I think we did succeed in making a significant dent in taking away market share from some of the other players that have been so so so dominant. And one that I’ll just tip my hat to is RingCentral. I mean, they’re just a monster player, no way around it. They were ranking for things like Cloud phone system back in 2011. That just goes to tell you how far ahead of the curve they were. Yeah, and you just have to respect that. There’s just no way around it. But I knew that in fighting back against players like RingCentral and Vonage and AP, zoom, we were going to need some really high quality players. And so I kind of dipped into my rolodex and recruited People that I had either partnered up with while I was at sales hacker and did some really good co marketing campaigns with Jeremy Boudin A Of course one of those guys, phenomenal. Marketer, great copywriter understands content just good human, you know chemistry. I think chemistry is what I will say about this equation. Alina Benny came along with me from sales hacker. Then we recruited a guy named Joe Manna phenomenal product marketer, copywriter content wizard I recruited a paid media mastermind name is Susan Winograd and she’s just all around piece level, more than 15 years of experience in paid marketing, conversion rate optimization link building. And then we layered on ABM at the very end, which is in its early stage, but I think chemistry Yes, that is how I would summarize all of this, the reason it was so good work so well, I don’t want to pat myself on the back too much. And say that, like I’m this great visionary, but I know chemistry I know feeling. And you can’t teach that. And so I recruit for chemistry, and for good human beings that have common sense marketing skills, but also not just theory based marketers, people who can actually get in there and do stuff X cause marketing fails execution when it fails. And I want to see people who have actually done shit in real life who maybe have had side projects themselves, growing an email list on their own built up an audience are falling on their own doing something. That’s the kind of things that I look for, and then tying it all together chemistry, just good chemistry. That is key.

Adam Vazquez 21:40
I love that because marketing fails at execution. That’s a great little, we’re definitely gonna you’ll see that somewhere on social like clip that will we’ll put up here because I totally agree. And I think so much so much of our failure as marketers, is this like navel gazing we get into on like, are we following the funnel? Or is it awareness? And then what? And none of that really matters when it’s like game time, and you have to execute. And I totally agree with that. I think your ability or the theory of kind of going with your gut and building this chemistry speaks to who you are as a person, but also as an artist, right? Like you. You’re not a tradition, I wouldn’t say you’re traditionally like me, like I didn’t go to a traditional business school. I actually don’t know where you went to school. But I You don’t strike me as a traditional like business school guy. And I think part of that is because of some of the other things that you have done. So maybe stepping back a little bit. I know you’re a huge musician, you love music. That’s a huge passion area of yours. First of all, where did that come from? And then how do you think that’s, that’s filtered your view of marketing and how you build teams and all

Gaetano DiNardi 22:43
that? Yeah, yeah, definitely. That’s not really the question. You’re, you’re asking some doozies, man, thanks. Thanks. Thanks for bringing bringing this out to me. So yeah, do it. I went to Biola where I went to school, I went to my undergraduate State University in New York at Cortland. Which is, I’m just, I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I’m just gonna say it. It’s a place where New York City kids go to just party and have fun. Okay, there wasn’t much learning that was done there. Okay, what you learn more than anything else at a place like that is how to work with people and discipline, like how to show up on time, get your work done, but it wasn’t incredibly challenging work. My graduate from my graduate study, I went to New York Institute of Technology and and yeah, and what I what I thought that I was going to do with my life was be a creative director. I wanted to be like a UX UI, creative mastermind and I was I was in classes learning things like Adobe After Effects, all these sorts of things. I wanted to be like leading a creative unit at a company and then maybe that ties into like, who I am as a musician, I am creative guy got a lot of passion and soul stuff like that. And I fell ass backwards into marketing because I was blogging about and I was writing about my experiences as a music producer, coming up in New York, and people were finding my articles online. For example, I wrote a post called how Atlantic Records ghosted me. And people were finding people were searching for things like how to get a meeting at Atlantic Records. And they were finding my shit. And like random and random people were hitting me up like oh my god, dude, I can’t believe that happened. You like wow, like, it’s such an unspoken thing. Like, you don’t hear about this. Nobody ever writes about what happens behind the scenes. And then I started promoting my shit on Facebook and this was like back in 2012 running some ads and like getting huge traction and engagement and then I fell in love with marketing from from right there.

Adam Vazquez 24:44
So you see you backed into it as a result of when you say you were promoting your music, or

Gaetano DiNardi 24:51
so this is the hilarious part. I wasn’t even promoting my music. I was promoting my articles the things I had written. Oh, I see. Okay, yeah, because what I was, yeah, You’re doing when I was doing demand gen. Yeah, what I was doing, I was plugging my music into the articles. I see. You see what I’m saying? Yeah, I but but what I had realized was shit, this is actually good for engagement, but it’s vanity. Why? Because the audience who’s consuming this other musicians, other music producers, they’re never going to be fans. They’re going to respect me and admire me. But this is not the way this is not how to build a fan base. This is not going to get people to come to shows and subscribe to me and promote me and stuff. And then when I look at the audience details and analytics, you see 90% male, and I’m making r&b music. Something’s not adding up. And it’s right. Yes. So so that is dimension that is dimension, regular bullshit marketing would say, look at all the engagement I’m getting. Yeah, I’m doing something right. No, you’re not. I forgot even what the original question was. But that’s not okay. Great.

Adam Vazquez 25:59
That’s a great, great story. I think just how then, because you’ve continued to do music and release things and find ways to promote it, and just how that filters your your view on marketing. But I think that’s, that’s how I like what you just said, Yes. You have a natural compass for intent past, whatever metrics because of how you’ve, you’ve come into it. Is it like, is that fair? Do you think,

Gaetano DiNardi 26:23
did that mean that that’s you hit the nail on the head? That’s, that’s exactly it. When you think about demand gen connecting all these dots. It’s the same thing, for example, is running PPC, marketers who don’t look beyond the front end metrics, like cost per acquisition, for example, because that’s what a lot of CFOs like hearing, hey, we lowered our cost per acquisition from this to this. Alright, cool. But what did the back end of that look like? We lower our cost per acquisition, because we went after shittier quality traffic and leads, and therefore there was worse pipeline and worse revenue performance, and we got less customers. Those are all the things you have to be thinking about. And I actually think PPC is some of the hardest marketing today, given how competitive it is how cost per clicks have skyrocketed. In the world of UCaaS, and VoIP, you’re looking at $80, a click and above. And that’s just for the click. And now considering when most products are not that expensive, 20 bucks a seat, and most traffic and clicks are for SMB customers, right? It’s a scary math equation, it doesn’t look very good. So being back to the question of like, what is demand gen about you, you do need to be thinking more like a business owner instead of a marketer. And that’s how I would characterize it.

Adam Vazquez 27:37
Yeah, I love that I love I love non traditional paths. And I think partially, there’s there’s all these different terms now. Like there’s like social marketer, content marketer demand gen Baba. And I guess they’re, they’re necessary. But to me, it’s either like, Are you a marketer internally? Like, do you have that sense and awareness for culture and people and the ability to execute, or you kind of don’t like it doesn’t, you might have an area of specialty, but you have to understand the whole scope to what you just said, and how they all interact with each other. I mean, that doesn’t mean you need like a bunch of degrees, it just means you need to be able to be sensitive and empathetic towards all those different components and then tie them into the story that that you’re telling, right? And that that is similar to when you’re or I don’t know, because I don’t create music. But I bet it’s similar to when you’re when you’re creating and promoting your music as well.

Gaetano DiNardi 28:30
Yeah, and there’s so many parallels, by the way, brilliant, man. Well, super well said. But there’s so many parallels you can make between music and b2b marketing,

Adam Vazquez 28:42
which is not like I don’t feel like that’s, like obvious. I mean, nobody connects the like you got music, sexy r&b, and then b2b marketing. You think of like, polo shirts. You know what I mean?

Gaetano DiNardi 28:53
Yeah, yeah. Well, here’s here’s something I tweeted about yesterday, that got a lot of engagement, website messaging and copywriting. I actually host a Twitter page called roast my homepage, Twitter account called roast my homepage. Check it out. There’s no good laughs But I stumble across these websites all the time that have this like super obscure, nebulous, jargon filled headline, and I’m like, what does this company even do? What the hell is this? And so I tweeted about like, alright, imagine you’re a hit songwriter. What you have to do is dumb your shit down to the most like people want a memorable hook, something they can sing along with and repeat. And if you’re a b2b company, you should be thinking about your messaging in a similar way. And then you can even take it further right, like content gating, gating content. Imagine if musicians gated their music. Nobody would listen now. Unless your drink,

Adam Vazquez 30:00
no titles tried to start, remember? Yeah, yeah, it didn’t

Gaetano DiNardi 30:05
work. No, it didn’t work, they failed. And Joe Rogan, with the Spotify deal, exclusive deal with Spotify. There are diehard Joe Rogan fans that are like, Alright, cool, whatever. But if you’re a b2b company, and you’re not gonna, you’re gonna really, you know, have a hard time with this. But getting back to the example of like, imagine if musicians gated their content, it will go nowhere, right? Why do music? Why do musicians make music so that it can be shared, heard and consumed, musicians want their music to be consumed, they don’t just do it. So they can listen to it in their room by themselves, right. And so like, if you’re a b2b company, you should be thinking like a musician, I want the content that I create to be shared and consumed. I don’t want to gate it so that nobody will read it and consume the message. And then if you think about that, it ties into the measurement strategy, that’s all fucked up. Companies are creating content to get it to produce leads. And and instead, it should be we’re creating content so that it can be consumed so that customers can be educated so they can understand how our solution helps the market. And then when it’s time, they’ll come and raise their hand and buy because they’ve been educated and influenced. And ideally, if you can throw this in there, it’s even better entertained in some way. 100 forget them to get them to stop scrolling somehow. But that’s the parallel man, it’s songwriting is meant to be consumed. b2b content should be meant to be consumed. And that is the disconnect. Yeah, it’s

Adam Vazquez 31:38
it’s a great analogy. And it’s just taking the first part of that a little further, like you talked about the song itself. I think sometimes musicians like indie or whatever, it can get, like, Oh, I’m doing it for the music. And so then like, it’s this weird, like, 10 minute song that nobody wants to hear or whatever. And that’s what we do, though, as marketers like, yeah, with such introspective content. And I just wrote about this for, for our daily show, that a lot of times, I think we get in our own heads as marketers about, like, what the execution has to be. And so like, for example, like you said, if you want to if you if you make a good hook, you want to play that over and over again, because people like it, they want to, like they want to hear it, they want to feel it. And so for some reason, though, with content, a lot of times we make one good thing. And then we’re like, Okay, we got to follow that exact same format, and not use that same thing. But like, make duplicates of it over and over and over again. It’s like, like, if that was the case, there would be no reruns of Seinfeld, or friends that are constantly on the TVs at the gyms that I mean, or like, yeah, there’s a reason that people just as humans, when we find something we like, or we think is entertaining to your point, we’re going back to that thing, no matter how many times we’ve already seen it. And that’s what that’s what we’re doing as marketers, but for some reason, it’s just hard, especially in the b2b space, to get over that and just be be comfortable leaning on something that that audiences have signaled they like, I don’t know what it is. But it’s just an interesting fact.

Gaetano DiNardi 33:06
Yeah, that that that is a really interesting point. And it’s something that I had known in like, it’s like, you know, this in the back of your mind, you just never really like no one ever really talks about it or calls it out. Right. So yeah, that that is an interesting one, for sure.

Adam Vazquez 33:21
Cool. Okay, so great, great running at Nextiva. You obviously have this history of building brands and in a specific way that I think is very sought after right now, especially the way that just the economy’s moving, right, like, yeah, back in the day, it was a part now. It’s like it is everything. And when I say it, I mean whether whatever want to call it digital demand in this ecosystem, we play in content. So so just looking into your crystal ball a little bit looking into the next few years. What are you looking at that has you excited, or has you interested? Are I mentioned before NF Ts are like, Dude, I don’t even I don’t even know anything about FTM I got me either. I just put it out. Because I know it’s like on social. So what is it that you that you’re excited about? Yeah,

Gaetano DiNardi 34:05
well, I think professionally, I think what I’m excited about is like maybe thinking about what what am I going to be in my life. I just turned 33 This year, I feel like I’m really entering like my prime time stride. I finally have like, the knowledge, the wisdom, the network, the experience to do something like really big. And in resigning from Nextiva I didn’t have anything lined up next. The reason why I resigned was because I felt like I was getting too comfortable. And that I wasn’t like I had basically had capped out in what I could basically learn I want to try new tactics, new strategies. And if I stayed at Nextiva for another year or two would just be more of the same. And like continuous learning and growth is like important to me. So in terms of what I’m excited about and what’s next. It’s like figuring out what where my life is going to take me and what I’m going to do I never thought I’d be in this position because I remember not being able to get a job in 2010 nobody would hire me. Nobody would give me a look. I was a nobody, dude. I had nothing I had, I had no credibility, no credentials, no proven skills, and to get an agency to take a shot on me, unproven kid from the Bronx, that’s I knew that all I needed was one shot. And that I would outwork everyone and hustle my way into you know, kicking ass. And then 10 years later here, I am, like, now in the opposite position where companies want me to join them and like I have to decide what I want to do. But what I’m excited about dude, congrats on that. That’s Thank you, man. It’s not easy. No, but but thank you. And so what am I excited about? There’s a couple of different directions I can take my career at this point. One is joining like a traditional sort of enterprise b2b company that has expensive products, working with sales really closely long sales cycles. Do a mix of channels where it’s inbound and outbound demand gen were predominantly in my career, it’s been all inbound, have been like a real inbound, mad scientist, if you caught that, and trying my hand at some outbound, and ABM techniques would be super cool. So that’s one route. The other route is going b2c. And going around that has no sales component, no manual human sales component to it at all, where it’s just website checkout, and its marketing control the revenue environment. That’s another route that has me very excited. Entrepreneurship is something that’s also been kinda like it that door is like, I feel like there’s like a knock there that I maybe can’t score that much. Yeah, and I don’t know what that is. But there’s something inside me saying like, I need to pursue that at some point. And I feel like it may not be right now. But I think I have one more big one or two more big runs left in me in terms of like in house marketing before I go that, so solo Wolf, Lone Wolf, or entrepreneurial route? And then just like on a personal Yeah. And then just like on a personal level, like what am I going to do next with music? I don’t know what that is right now. I got to figure it out. But I’m excited about all these things. And then I think like everyone else, like during the pandemic, I became kind of an investment nerd, just learning a ton about like, crypto stocks, like, I wasn’t one of those Robin Hood, dudes that got rich off Dogecoin or anything like that. But that’s been cool to, you know, really get get into as well. So

Adam Vazquez 37:39
yeah, that’s cool. I want to ask you something back on, you’re like, I think we have had and I didn’t know this, but somewhat similar paths coming up in that I was similar. So I, I had no credentials, got got somebody gave me a chance and an agency shout out gene, one of my mentors still to this day, and and that kind of got levered into a bunch of different things. And so when I was in the height, I would say of like, my external career, it was at VaynerMedia. And I got a promotion. And I knew, if I don’t jump, this is going to be too much for me to like, walk away from because I really liked it there. And I really liked the people and all that. And still, to this day, there’s like this little bit of fear that I think that just drives me because I know, I’m just older, but I’m still the guy who like Gene was nice, too. And that’s why I’ve had like a D. Do you have any of that in there? Or is it just for you? You’ve overcome that over time?

Gaetano DiNardi 38:35
Oh, no, I think you won’t you you aren’t a true human. You’re, you’re a cyborg. Right, right, like no matter I think how much success you have, whenever the time comes from for you to do what’s next. There’s always like, Alright, now I got to outdo what I just did, going back to music. Am I gonna be a one hit wonder, or am I gonna be able to top my last hit? Like that’s, that’s what I feel like like, damn, I kicked asset pipe drive, I kicked ass at sales hacker. It kicked ass at Nextiva now the stakes are even bigger. It’s gonna be more responsibility bigger job title. I’m saying probably managing a larger team bigger stakes. Damn, the pressure just continues mounting and mounting. And so I think everybody has a little bit of that imposter syndrome. I know I certainly do in in people hearing me would probably be surprised to hear me say that because I from the outside looking in. It’s like, damn, this guy has been successful. He’s, you know, done well. But yeah, dude, I have it as well. But I’ll tell you one thing. In this process of interviewing, I’ve dude, I’ve in the last like month and a half. I’ve interviewed so much like at least 40 companies. Wow. And yeah. And it’s been fascinating. It truly has been fascinating. I’ve learned a ton about myself. And just like, I think getting that validation Have Where is my worth? What is my level of desirability in this talent marketplace? I got into very late stage rounds for even cmo roles that like Series B companies. And I don’t think I’m anywhere yeah, dude and I never even thought in my life I would even get to that level of consideration. But just knowing that I got that far was like I damn maybe I’m not that bad yeah, maybe I’m doing something right but no in the back of my head, dude. It’s always like shit. I am just kind of winging this like everyone else like No, no one truly has this shit figured out man like, look at the end of the day, I’m going into my next role winging it. Just like I winged it at Nextiva. Just like I winged it sales hacker just like I winged it up Pipedrive just like I winged it. The first agency I ever worked, that we’re all just winging it in one way, shape, or form. And I think that is kind of a humbling, yeah, realization,

Adam Vazquez 40:58
I was about to say the same thing. I think being aware of that, and, and embracing it makes you better at it. Because you’re going to be more open ideas, you’re going to be less less careful as to where they come from. You’re just going to be more utilitarian. And so I think that humility goes a long way. But this is fun. This is this is kind of all over the place. And no, no, we kind of bounced around. But I always enjoy talking to you and hearing about your journey. And what’s what’s got you excited to go and coming down the pike here. So before before we roll out, where can people check out? Follow what you’re doing? And definitely your music as well.

Gaetano DiNardi 41:33
Yeah, definitely. Well, you can just search me and Google Gaetano done it. Yeah, yeah, of course, an SEO guy would have my own shit optimized. But yeah, you can. My personal website is official gaetano.com. That’s me on like social media handles as well. You find me anywhere, basically.

Adam Vazquez 41:54
Cool, man. Well, appreciate you joining the show. And I will catch up with you soon.

Gaetano DiNardi 41:58
All right. Thanks, Adam. Appreciate you.

Carlton Riffel 42:01
And that’s a wrap. Thank you for listening to this episode of content is for closers. We hope you find this show really helpful as you grow your business with content. Maybe you know of other people who would find this show helpful as well. How about you send them our way? If you didn’t like this show, and you want to tell us that then you can head over to content is for closers.com where you can send us a message give us some feedback, ask questions, or find detailed notes for every episode. Until next time, keep creating and keep closing

Transcribed by https://otter.ai