This week Salted Stone’s Chief Strategy Officer, Tony Eades caught up with Drift's Content Director, Mark Kilens – who was also the founder of HubSpot Academy. Together they talk about the current state of AI and the importance of evolving your AI to speak more with your customers. So get comfy on your couch and read on to find out how you can be the best in AI!
Tony: Welcome back to the Couch. Super excited today because joining me on the Couch is a chap we've known for a fair number of years. He spent eight and a half years with HubSpot and taught the world how to learn about inbound. He's the founder of the HubSpot Academy, which has been awesome. Everyone knows about the HubSpot Academy, which has seen something over 165,000 professionals grow their careers by getting certified through the HubSpot Academy. He's now the VP of content and at Drift - a company with a mission to turn the internet into one big, massive conversation. Joining me on the couch from the US, is Mark Kilens. Mark, welcome.
Mark: Thanks, Tony. Great to talk to you again. I appreciate you joining me or having me joined the show. I'm super excited about this conversation.
Tony: Well, that's good. We're both excited, which is great and good to see you on the Couch as well. I love the pictures behind, it's always nice to see people in their natural environment rather than in our traditional work environment.
So just wanted to start off, maybe let's just backtrack a bit, because the HubSpot Academy is such an amazing thing. What I love about the Academy is, when you built the Academy, it's not just built as an educational tool for your product of HubSpot, but it's sort of evolved into everything, from teaching folks to do better social media, blogs and that kind of stuff. So talk me through why it was so important in your mind that, a company like HubSpot, which is primarily a marketing sales platform needed to invest so much in this free content.
So today, because of the situation we all live in now, content along with your website and community are the three, in my opinion, the most important things to focus on right now. So I think Tony, we'll dive into all those. Starting with the Academy, number one - it's a website, it's part of HubSpot's ecosystem of websites. It's also got a lot of content, but it's also very much a community like you mentioned 165,000 people certified. That's a community of people that have a bond in some way, all have some type of thing that they can identify with together, which is really important, right? Because right now, brand building, maintaining relationships, being top of mind, establishing trust with people, deepening the trust you have with your customers and the value you're delivering to your customers is so important.
So that's really how Academy came to be. I was a HubSpot customer and I was like, man, this is amazing. I was actually a customer during the last great recession. It was in 2008, 2009, and we actually were able to use HubSpot to save the business. So I said “I got to join HubSpot”, I had to go build this Academy type thing. It was an idea I had, but I think I got to build it with the help of many people, hundreds of people helped us, you helped us by contributing content to it, very much a community crowdsourced approach. And it was all about delivering more value and enabling more customer success which means better retention for HubSpot, better revenue expansion. But then we knew we were going to use it for demand generation and brand purposes and things like that.
And the funny thing Tony is, I'm doing the same thing at Drift now, with Drift Insider, but coming at it from a different angle. We built Drift Insider more from the demand generation mindset first and then more brand demand generation marketing sales side. We obviously knew, and now we're doing it, moving much more into customer success and value by creating content for that audience and those people. So it's interesting, I've done it both ways and I'm happy to unpack either way, but at the end of the day, content, your website, community building is super important right now.
Tony: Fantastic. I was going to ask you how things had changed. Obviously going from all the amazing stuff you did with the HubSpot Academy, how have you brought that into Drift now? Tell us a bit more about Drift Insider.
Mark: Yes, Sure.
So Drift holistically is a conversational marketing platform, right? If you think about what it is, it's a conversational marketing platform with a suite of chat tools, email, video, etc, with a lot of AI built into it. We have a very strong AI engine and we have an AI lab. It's all about helping you generate more leads, book more meetings, really create more qualified pipeline and revenue. But the thing that makes that so unique, is it's using conversations as the means to do that. Where HubSpot is super strong is that it teaches the world how to use the content. Now you're using conversations and content. The two cannot go more together, Tony, you really have to think about how you are engaging with people who are coming to your website these days.
I would argue that a website is probably one of the most important assets a marketing team or company has right now. If your website isn't in a position to, like I was saying, engage with people and understand more about them and help them understand more about themselves, then what are you doing? How are you going to talk to that person? With Drift Insider, what we're trying to do, is teach people that it always starts with the who - who are you educating? Who are you teaching? Who are you try to engage with?
We took that same approach with Academy and we're doing the same approach with Insider, who are we trying to attract to Drift Insider? To Drift? What are their pain points? What are their challenges? How can we teach them some unique things? How can we also help them understand our point of view? Which also makes the content really strong. You need to have a strong point of view. Some people will agree, some people won't, just like inbound, just like conversational marketing, right. But that's what makes a good brain and a good content strategy. It's a one, two punch if you actually execute it well, I mean you're off to the races, you're going to create a tonne of pipeline and revenue.
Tony: A hundred percent! Even as you’re talking about it, it sounds like they go together. It sounds like they’re part of the same sentence.
Let's dive in a little bit deeper. So the chatbot market, for example, if we talk about the chatbot industry, it’s projected to be $6 billion AUD by 2025. The interesting thing with the COVID crisis is that all of us being at home is increasing worldwide internet traffic, they say it’s up by 18% since the beginning of this year. A lot of data that you guys have put out from Drift, shows that post-COVID conversations on the net for food products, in particular, have soared, as well as a whole bunch of industries from telecom to pharmaceuticals, internet software, professional services. So do you believe a chatbot is a necessity and can it work for any industry?
Mark: The simple answer is, yes.
I believe what's a necessity these days is creating a conversational experience across your website and content. Right. So, what does that mean? That means, observing who's coming to your website and why they're coming to your website. The fundamental truth is we as humans, haven't changed in thousands of years. Like, our biology, the things that we react to, our tribal type of nature, wanting to be in tribes and talk around the campfire and tell stories and have conversations haven’t changed.
What has changed, is how we have those conversations. And what we've seen, and I was one of the first people to ever use Facebook, my college back in 2004 was one of the first colleges to ever get access to Facebook. I was using AOL Instant Messenger, AIM, in 1997, vividly remember that. By the way, what was your first messaging tool? Do you remember the messaging platform?
Tony: Well, messaging, could it be mobile?
Mark: Yeah. It could be. Messaging, any sort of messaging.
Tony: I think it would have been Blackberry. I think at the time I was using the old Blackberry. When you went from Blackberry to the smart, to a traditional smartphone, iPhone, you miss that little mini keyboard.
Mark: Blackberry Messenger, huge thing. Right. So I actually never had a Blackberry, ironically, I went straight into the iPhone. However, I was messaging people through AOL Instant Messenger. Nonetheless, messaging has been exploding over the last 25 years, even like, 25, 30 years. So what we as humans now have built a habit around, is this new form of communication and it's a digital form of communication.
So what happened just a few months ago, that was out of our control, was this massive shift from industrial type world to a more digital type world. Right. That's much more based on a knowledge economy versus more of an industrial economy, right. A physical world to a digital world. So now with your website, no matter what you sell, as you said, what were some of the examples? Manufacturing...
Tony: Pharmaceuticals, professional services, I suppose B2C and B2B, that whole range.
Mark: It doesn't matter. I mean, you have clients, are you mostly helping B2B clients, B2C, who do you help?
Tony: Pretty much both mate, pretty much both. I suppose the interest is B2C, I think B2B people will understand the importance of a website, whereas B2C, especially bricks and mortar retailers maybe don't even have a website, which is scary in this world. So, probably leaning towards that B2C and how they're going to use this.
100% is relevant to B2C because people can't visit your store now as much, or people are actually nervous to maybe visit the store in person, now more than ever, your website is the store, right? B2B has always been the store. Your B2B website has always been your store, your storefront, who you visit, it better be awesome. And by the way, there are all these things you can do to improve your B2B website, and using a chatbot, using a conversational experience with your content and web experience and pricing page is a great way to do it.
For B2C, now it's shifted, where some people will not just go in now, they're not going to go in, maybe until there's a vaccine. Maybe they won't ever go in again, because it's my life habits, it's so easy to talk to you over the web experience. Right? There are people on the B2C side businesses, it doesn't matter if you're selling a high-end luxury good, furniture, could be clothing, they're using websites now to book meetings with consumers, so they can know, number one, I'm booking a meeting with you, that's going to be in person. So you're coming to my store, but it's because I want to limit the number of people going into my store. I'm going to use a chatbot to book a meeting with you. That's super interesting, right? And super personalised. And number two, the booking meetings and having conversations with people visiting their website, that don't want to go into the store, and they're using Zoom technologies and other video technologies to do that. So I think it's both Tony.
Tony: I think you're right, and it's interesting because even in the current market that we're in right now, I don't know, it's probably different in North America, probably similar, is the fact that you can only have 10 people inside the store anyway. So the chances are, even if you did go to a store or a shop or some professional services outfit, how do you know you're one of 10? What if you're number 11 or 12? You're going to have to wait till you get in, whereas online, there's no limit to the number of transactions and conversations that can happen.
Mark: Exactly. And if you could book a meeting or an appointment, whatever you want to call it, maybe it's an appointment, same thing as a meeting, with 10 people at a time via your website or link to that experience from social media or whatever channel you're using to engage your audience with and your community with. And you could have them go through a simple experience and where you can collect more information in a conversational tone, in a tone that is on-brand, that uses your brand's voice and be as more empathetic, right? Why would you not want to do that? Because then you're giving them a more personalised, VIP experience from the very first interaction to when they get to the store. And then you can follow up with them in a digital setting too, and ask something when they come back to your website, hey, how was that visit to our store? Do you have any other questions? How is that product working out? That's all possible today.
Tony: A lot of things like having that re-human conversation works really well in live chat when there's a human on the other end and you're having a live chat. What's your feeling on chat being more human? Because there was always this thing where people get frustrated if they think they're talking to a human, but they're talking to an AI chatbot. Should you still be obvious that it's a chatbot, have a bit of fun with that or should you try and make it more humanised?
Mark: You should make it more humanised. You should never lie that a chatbot is doing the talking. Always name your chatbot, some type of XYZ bot or it could be Wistia, as a video hosting company calls their chatbot Lenny bots. So Lenny is the name of the company bot. So it's Lenny bot, right? There are tonnes of examples of this, but you never want to fake that a chatbot is a human. That's never a good thing, but you want to make sure your copy, your conversational tone in your chatbot is very human-like. So what I mean by that is, you want to have a way to ask and acknowledge people. To engage with them in a way that is, like you talk, you then want to help that person understand more about what is going on in that moment and help you understand more about them.
So that is about learning more. And that's more about replying back. So when you ask a question, say a chatbot asks a question, you programme it to ask a question or the AI helps you do that. And they answer that question back, Tony, you do not want to just go into another question. That is a very bad thing to do. You want to give a reply back that says, “Hey, that's great to know, by the way, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”, we do that, As a normal human would do, right? A normal human is not going to jump to question, to question, to question, to question, that's insane. That's a bad experience. So, what I want to do, and what my mission is now, is to change the perception of how people use conversational experiences, by educating people about them and changing how to build them. AI is going to help, It's going to become more accessible.
A lot of what Drift is doing is using an AI engine. At the end of the day, there still has to be some type of human involvement in orchestrating that AI, the person though, interacting with that experience doesn't care if it's AI, a human, a combination of both something else, all they care about is getting an answer or getting connected to someone or finding a time to visit the store. So really what matters is, and what we're focused on more than ever, Tony, is outcomes. What is the outcome of the buyer once? And that's what's most important.
Tony: So important. Let me throw this at you. They say that according to studies and some of this may have come from HubSpot because you guys are great for putting statistics out, year in, year out. Actually, this one comes from Lead Connect where they say 81% of today's buyers will not fill out a form. And not only that but if you respond to a lead within five minutes, you increase your conversion rate by 10 times. Do you agree with that?
81% of today's buyers will not fill out a form. And not only that but if you respond to a lead within five minutes, you increase your conversion rate by 10 times.
Mark: If you go into my LinkedIn and you look at one of my latest posts, I talk about no forums, gating content, et cetera, et cetera. So, sometimes a form is a good thing. If you have to fill out an application for a college or driver's licence, the tool aka the form is the best thing, a chatbot as a tool, chatbots on a strategy, right? Strategies, conversational marketing, conversational sales, things like that, inbound marketing strategy, right. A landing page is not a strategy, a form is on a strategy, right? Those are tools. So tools can be used in good ways or bad ways, so that's number one. Number two, what are people most used to and comfortable with these days and enjoy? Right? So for example, it also, so that's on the person interacting with the website side, what do they enjoy? What are they comfortable with? What’re their new habits like? Going back to that messaging conversation we just had. Then what's also the new ways businesses can qualify, understand more about people visiting their website? So both of those things have changed, right?
Both of those paradigms have changed. And one of the best ways to understand more about someone is by asking them questions in a way that's more natural versus forcing something upon them over and over again. So if I was to say, if I was going to gate something, right, I'd say great, by the way, none of the content on Drift our comments is gated. The only thing we asked for is, we have one form that helps you sign up to become a member of Insider, which we're going to change and make that even better experience. But that's a one-time thing, it's like signing up for the software, one time. What we say is, look, thanks, you want the PDF, right? The content is un-gated, but you want the PDF to go. The reason we need your email address is that we're going to email you the PDF. So, if you set the context for why you're asking that person for that information, Hey, why do we need your phone number? We're going to call you back. Why do we need your emails? We're going to send you a Zoom link to the meeting we're booking with you, right? We're going to send you a confirmation. More than never, that doesn't happen with a form fill that doesn't set the context, and actually we need to train people who are building chatbots to do the same thing.
You got to get people, why are you asking for this information? And if you do that, the chance of them giving to you is going to be much higher. You have a much higher conversion rate. And honestly, it's just a better experience. Why am I asking for this information? But I go to the store to buy this thing. If you don't know why you're probably going to ask. So why not just present that expectation with someone, right? And if the expectation is also an ingrained habit, yeah, well, if I need a PDF or something, I'd probably have to give you my email, then it's going to be okay anyway. Does that help set-
Tony: It does. I think it makes total sense because it's something that I think people struggle with. I'm probably watching this today thinking, well, I think I need a form on my website because I need to get my leads. I need to know who's looking at my stuff and how they're going to get it. But, in context, you're saying, it's free, but we'd like to email it to you. It makes perfect sense. It's a conversational way. It's the same way as you would ask for someone if they're in a store and they need a receipt email, so then you need your email address.
Mark: 100%. By the way, once you have their email address, you shouldn't be able to track the behaviours. So they know you're going to this website page. So we have a behaviour score that we use at Drift. And actually one of the parts of the behaviour scores, if they visit these pages or these blogs or these insider pages, X amount of times, X amount of days, the lead's going to get passed to sales, because they're showing intent. So you don't have to ask for their email address every time they're looking or trying to download that content. You're just using behaviours.
Tony: Its similar to HubSpot lead scoring in that sense, where you're just really understanding when people aren't engaged, just let them be, just give them the content that they need, but as soon as they start to get more and more involved, that's when you want to start having a deeper or a different conversation.
Mark: And Tony, I'll be very honest. I got to help the world change this habit of using forms too many times. Again, sometimes the form is okay, one-time thing, application, travel reservation, could make a lot of sense. Right. Before a lot of the other stuff, it doesn't make sense anymore. So I got to undo these habits because a lot of the things I taught in the past, where it was like, use the form to get your content. It's changed because people have changed.
Tony: You're going to have to go back into the Academy mate and redo some of those old videos.
Mark: Maybe, we'll see what I can do. I know a few people over there still.
Tony: Mark, I just want to move on to webinars, right? Because I think 2020 is going to be the year of the webinar, right? I think before COVID, we were, I would say probably hit and miss with webinars. Some were good. Some were bad. Some would turn up. A lot of people would register for a webinar, but honestly turn up for the live event, just to get the recording on-demand. But there's been a 71%, I reckon spike in webinars just over the last couple of months. And I noticed, reading through your site at Drift, that you now have the ability to create a webinar experience that generates 95% more registrations with conversational email bots. Tell us a little bit about that, because a lot of people are putting webinars and they're popular right now, but how do people continue? And how can they improve? I suppose, optimise the registrations.
Mark: This is a good one. So many things you can do. One is if you go to the website again, the website being super important, we have embedded a conversational experience in the replacement of a form. So it says, “hey, you want to use it for the webinar? Great”. And if we want to know who you are, we're going to say, “do you want to register? Yes or no?” If they say yes, we'll say, “all set, you're good to go”. Never have to enter the email address in. And then we could do the conversation, Tony, hey, by the way, have you seen this latest piece of content? Go over here to check it out. So again, a form could never do that, right? It continues the conversation, right? A good salesperson is going to try to continue to help you, or continue to ask you questions, continue to engage you. So check out that experience, drift.com/webinars. If we don't have your email, we ask for the email. The thing you mentioned, super interesting.
So what we do as marketers, we send out an email to our database, "we got a new webinar coming up". Great. I see these all the time. I get them all the time. What is the least amount of friction you can create to help someone sign up for that webinar? Of all the times, what happens is, hey, great, click the CT on the email, go to the landing page, fill out the form. Why would you do that? I already have your email. Tony, that's insanity, that's a bad experience, right? So what we do instead is using our email bot technology, and this is all AI-based, but it's not too expensive. We have an email webinar bought package. Don't quote me on this, but I think it's around 750 bucks. If someone says in the email reply, let me explain how it works. In the email, we say, hey, you want to sign up for the webinar? Just reply back saying, yeah, you do, whatever, it's fine.
If they reply back saying, yeah, sure, yes, sign me up. Any of those variations, we will automatically, the AI will look at that response, understand using a classifier, what they're saying, then using a dialogue manager, help people understand, the AI will help that person, aka, no one on the other end, because it's just going into a machine, understand this person who replied back to this email that came from a real human, that they want to sign up and it's going to register them for the webinar. Then send another email back saying, Hey, all set. You're registered for the webinar. Anything else I can help you with? And if they say, yeah, I have a question about this. The email bot will then route in a human, who either owns that account or doesn't own that account and get that human to engage with that person who replied back. Look at that experience, it's much better isn't it?
Tony: That's amazing. I haven't seen that actually, to be honest in operation, but I'm super keen.
Mark: Conversational experience. I'll send you a gift. I'll show you exactly what it looks over the course of 30 seconds. It is super slick. Send the email. Do you want to sign up? Yeah. I want to sign up, automatically sign them up. Send them a follow-up email. Have any other questions? I have a question about this, get a human into the conversation, boom.
Tony: That's awesome. I think we'll definitely share that. I want to move on, because I know we're going to run out of time shortly. I want to move on to the community. I know this is very close to your heart because obviously that's off the back of those 165,000 plus people, it's the Drift inside of it you're doing. I think post COVID, people are realising, brands especially, that they need to re-examine how they interact with customers and really build a community. So what would you say to businesses right now that are still focused on the transaction, about post-purchase, it's post that webinar. How important and how do they go about building a community?
Mark: I liked how you used the word transaction, transactional versus relationship.
So number one, you have a community, if you're a business, you might not know it. You might not know how big it is. But if you have customers, you have a community. There you go. And the magic numbers typically are around a hundred or 1000. Do you have 100 customers? Do you have a thousand customers or do you have a thousand fans that are willing to pay you money for something, you've got a viable business, right? Or sometimes it's a hundred. It depends on whatever model you look at. So that's all it takes, Tony, is a hundred to a thousand, that's it? Sometimes it's even less. But I think hundreds or thousands is a good range and a good threshold. So, now that you recognise that you have this and now it's like, Oh man, I got to do something or I've got to do more.
It's about listening, number one. People don't listen, Tony, to their community. Businesses, number one, I think they still do a lot of spray and prayer messaging. Spray it out, pray their community's going to listen, pick it up. But at the end of the day, number one philosophically, the business doesn't own the community, the people in the community run and own the community. The business is just so long for the ride. That's it. It's that easy, right? I shouldn't say that easy. It's that simple. It's not easy at all. You as a business need to enable, empower your community, educate your community, inspire your community. And you need to really be a broker of bringing people together. There's a lot of things you can to enable that, we do a lot of things at Drift.
Hubspot has done a lot of things to do that. But at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, why does this community exist? What is the driving forces behind its growth? How can we bring people together in now fully digital ways? This thing we're doing right now, is a version of community building, right? You have a community, I have a community, we're probably bringing some of these people together, they're going to go off and maybe talk about this. There'll be other discussions because of this. This is just a web, right? Of knowledge that's spreading, and it's spreading between people because people are social creatures like we were talking about and they interact with one another, et cetera. So for now, today, the question, Tony is, how do you build a digital community? So if you want to talk about that I'd be happy to, but that's the key, in person who knows when it will come back, how much it comes back? It's the digital side.
Tony: It's so true. It's interesting when you talk about the strength of the community because I go back and I think about, Simon Sinek, talking about, it starts with why. If businesses really come out of COVID thinking about, why are we really doing this? It's not going back. It's not about the transaction. It's not about the lead. I mean, that's all-important and that all will come, but it's about, why you're doing what you're doing? Why did you set this business up? Why do I want to build this community and educate and engage a community together, because ultimately it's going to grow your business? You've done it with Drift. You've done it with HubSpot. We know it works, I don't think you can be focused on the lead gen. How will this turn into sales? How will this turn into cash? I suppose.
Mark: Those are, you could call them derivatives if you want. I'm not sure if that's the right label. There are definitely outputs of a strong community or outcomes, maybe those are better ways to phrase it. But a community doesn't just happen, a community needs a spark and what you're saying there, is like, it needs a purpose. It needs meaning, it needs some type of fabric to sustain itself and come together. So principles or values, right, or a belief system. Right there are many classic examples of this and they've been around for tens of thousands of years. Religions are one, for sure. But there are many sports teams and organisations and franchises are one, but there is a thing that is basically unmeasurable about communities. And then a business has got to decide how much of that do we foster? Do we spark? And how much of it do we let the community do? As I said, the website, the content, the community, the three most important things now to build an enduring business and brand. And also, obviously, products, don't take that literally people, you need the product too, unless you monetise your community or monetise your content, so that's your product.
But you need those three things working together. So you should ask yourself, how much am I investing in content creation? How much am I investing in my website on a weekly basis? Because it literally should be weekly. We have multiple people, Tony, working in drift.com every single day, every day, to create a conversational experience. We have people focusing on the community every single day, me being one of them. So I don't know. I think it's a really good question you ask. I think, you folks listening should really do some deep reflection and look at what's going on and ask yourself some of these key questions.
Tony: I think it's really important. It's some really good thought in there, because community to me is like, that's the energy force that you're creating within your brand. I always loved the expression about, people say, what is a brand? And the best expression I've found is a brand is what people say about you when you're not around. And that's so true, isn't it? The people in your community are talking about you all the time. You don't know what they're talking about. You should be in that conversation. You should be part of that conversation. I want to just close up Mark because we could talk all night about this for you and all day for me, but I want to just talk about the future.
So Amazon Alexa, Google home, they're all starting to play around with this voice recognition technology, we're starting to get involved in that. How do you see, or are you guys already working on, moving away from the traditional chat bot, where you've got to type stuff into, to voice, how is voice going to play a role in this conversational marketing we're talking about?
Mark: It's 100% going to come into all of these conversational experiences. It has to. So the way I look at it is, how many messaging services do you use each day? Count them up.
Tony: I would estimate, just roughly, probably 10 plus.
Mark: Really? Oh, wow. 10?
Tony: Well, if you call Slack messaging.
Mark: Yeah, 100%.
Tony: Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, I could list, there's probably 10.
Mark: Okay. Mine is typically on five to six, but that's okay. How many times a day do you check email?
Tony: Too much, I think.
Mark: Okay. How many times a day do you use synchronous or asynchronous video? So either live video or non-live video?
Tony: Not as many. I know we should be doing a lot more with video, but probably a few times a day, probably.
Mark: But it's a few times a day on the less, right? You're watching maybe TV or Netflix. Maybe that happens once a day. I count that as video too. How many times a day do you talk to someone, in person, over the phone via Zoom without video or in another form? How many times a day does that happen?
Tony: It's a bit hard now, obviously in COVID, but let's just say, in a normal environment, without your conversations within the office that most people have, but actually external conversations where you actually face to face or on the phone, probably five, six times, something like that or more, depending on the day.
Mark: You add all that up, it's hundreds of interactions. Right? And guess what? Those four channels or means in which we communicate is the future of what we're building here at Drift. Right? We have chat, messaging, Twitter tools, we have email, video, and the only natural extension is to eventually do something with voice. Right. Because that's one of the things that we use every day. So I think everything that we're we're building up to, is thinking about how humans behave. Right? So, how do we behave, communicate, relate, debate? et cetera. So Amazon Alexa, the Facebook portal thing, right? With the video and the voice. I don't use it Facebook, but whatever, a lot of people are using it now. I was actually blowing up right now, I heard.
So the question is, it's not a matter of if, it's when that all of these things will continue to change with how businesses engage with other businesses. So people at businesses engaging with other people at businesses, that is outside of the normal consumer life we live. It's all coming. But if you think about it like that, people don't think about like, I want to engage with, or use a landing page or a form. I don't want to engage or use marketing automation software. No, no, no, no. I engage and use my email, my video, my chat tools, my voice tools. Those are the ways we humans talk. So, I don't know, what do you think about that?
Tony: 100% agree with you, what it says to me though, and I suppose everyone watching this is really, if you're not already started, you're going to be way, way behind the curve because all of this stuff is moving at such lightning speed. For folks that haven't even got a website, you're not even living in the real world, because you said that's critical to everything right now. And especially coming out of COVID, where we're all going to feel a lot more comfortable on digital, but then you probably should be, you need a chatbot, you need a live chat, you need to be getting started at least, would you say, folks are a little bit scared of AI, I think, a little bit scared of getting started, but what would you say to them, at least making that first step?
Mark: It's the simplest thing. If you don't want to do anything with tools, just go to Drift Insider, like you would have with the Academy and take our conversational marketing course. It's free. It's a couple of hours. You'll learn how to do it, in two, three hours, Tony, just to get started. You could get started with live chat. I recommend doing both live chat and our simple chatbot. And if you're a business under 20 employees, Drift just changed it's pricing plans. It's 93% off of $400. So, what does that work out to? What is that math?
Tony: A couple of bucks
Mark: There you go, 28 bucks. So, for $28, if you're a business under 20 people, you can get started. Right. If you're not put on $400, but you have to start trying it, Tony. If you can book a couple of meetings every month, more than a couple, because you will book more than a couple, but a couple of meetings and a couple of those meetings over the course that turn into deals. And by the way, not just that, the amount of learning, I think you made the right comment, the learnings you'll get from people interacting with the different experience. One of the questions they're asking? Because you can get those tools. You can analyse the questions they're asking. You're analysing how they're thinking. You're getting to know your customers better by using a more natural form of communication. It's super interesting, I think.
Tony: It's fantastic. Right. This has been an awesome chat. All I can say though, is I hope I've been actually talking to the real Mark Kilens and it's not, you found a way to create an AI version of yourself, and really there's another version of you, the real one, having a conversation somewhere else. But hopefully the real one, you seem like the real one.
Mark: That's to come. That's in five, 10 years. Would you have a whole other conversation about AI and maybe voice and augmented and virtual reality? Because that stuff is like, I think AI and VR are where the computer was back in the 1970s. That's my take on what I've been reading and studying. So that's a whole other spectrum of things to come.
Tony: Well, that sounds another episode of the Couch mate. So I'm going to hit you up on that in a couple of months time, and we'll have a chat about the future, what that might look like. This has been awesome, Mark Kilens, VP of content and community at Drift. Thank you for joining me on your couch from my couch.
Mark: Thank you, Tony, thanks, everyone.
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