fbpx

How Wistia’s creative brand voice helps them retain their customers

Chris Savage | CEO and Co-founder of Wistia

  • | Activation | Customer Success | Engagement | Growth | Onboarding | Product Strategy | Retention | Sales
  • January 2020
  • EP45

Fight churn with branding

Why brand creativity is important

Today on the Churn.fm, we have Chris Savage, the CEO and Co-founder of Wistia!

In today’s episode, we talked about how having a creative brand can help retain loyal customers, how churn and retention have changed in Wistia over the years, and why qualitative data is irreplaceable.

Chris also shared the story of why he and his co-founder decided to take on $17M in debt, things he wished he realized earlier in regards to churn, and the ownership of churn metrics within Wistia.

As usual, I’m excited to hear what you think of this episode, and if you have any feedback, I would love to hear from you. You can email me directly on Andrew@churn.fm. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Mentioned Resources

Highlights

Time

Why being true to your brand creativity is valuable 00:02:01
What Chris wished he looked into earlier when it comes to churn and retention 00:08:36
Questions Chris aimed to understand when he’s talking to a customer and why qualitative data is irreplaceable 00:10:48
The point when Chris realized that they have a retention issue and how the Wistia team tackled it. 00:13:00
Why Chris and his co-founder took $17M in debt 00:17:03
How expansion revenue plays a role in Wistia’s growth 00:23:17
Chris’ pricing advice for early-stage entrepreneurs 00:25:52
Creative ways Wistia use their own product to help their customer retention rate 00:31:09
Chris’ churn and retention advice for those who are just starting out 00:36:12

 

Don’t miss our weekly episodes

A new episode every Wednesday. Subscribe to receive the latest episodes and exclusive resources

View Churn.fm's Privacy Policy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chris Savage

CEO and Co-founder of Wistia

Chris’ recommended resources on churn
What Chris is reading right now

About the podcast

My name is Andrew Michael and I started CHURN.FM, as I was tired of hearing stories about some magical silver bullet that solved churn for company X.

In the real world tackling churn and increasing retention is one of the hardest problems a subscription business faces.

In this podcast, you will hear from founders and subscription economy pros who are taking a systematic approach to increase retention and engagement within their organizations.

Transcription

Andrew Michael

Hey, Chris, welcome to the show.

Chris Savage
Thank you for I’m excited to be here.

Andrew Michael
It’s exciting to have you for the listeners. Chris is the co founder and CEO of Wistia. And if you don’t know Wistia, make marketing software video series and educational content that helps over 500,000 companies grow their business and brand with video. Prior to co founding Wistia Chris graduated from Brown University with a BA in arts semiotics and was the winner of the Western Fine Arts Award for Excellence in film.

So my first question for you, Chris, is, how did you do it? I mean, from watching your content, and seeing your brand that you built it on Wistia the company just uses fun and love. Like, what’s the secret?

Chris Savage
I think the secret is that you can’t fake that. And we were fortunate and and in the early days were fortunate unfortunate for us, like, incredibly fortunate because we found something that worked. We were right about some trends are happening in the market, but unfortunate at the time, because things took way longer than we thought, you know, I thought, we’re going to start this business. And in six months, we would we honestly thought, we’re going to sell it and then we’d be rich. Or we’d fail in obscurity until no one that we ever tried.

And it was like, you know, four years into building the company, there was four people on the team, we’d raised one Angel round, and we just hit like, 200 paying customers, which is great, but I thought for years, it would be a lot it would, we would be much farther. Yeah. But even at that point, we were Just like loving the challenge in the creative process, and we realized that like, loving what you do allows you to work on it for a long time. And so it kind of started then and then evolved and got bigger over time.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I think it’s amazing the work that you like, I personally have a few I’d say like a handful of companies, I think differently, you and MailChimp are two of the most creative companies out there and the tech the content that you create. And it’s one topic that I’ve always been interested in herceg the power of brand and how much influence that actually has when it comes to churn and retention, and obviously, with the nature of the topic, but how have you made the conscious decision? I mean, with the brand that you’re building, and a lot of the work that uses is very creative, and I’d say maybe even risky to some extent for like early stage startups, like what is the decision and thought process that goes into some of these creative efforts that you put together and Wistia

Chris Savage
so now the creative decision is like we know brand matters. We’ve we’ve had an Number of a number of different projects and events and marketing activities and things in the early days, which were basically impossible to track, quantitatively, but got a hugely good qualitative response. And it helped us see power brand. And so we know that it works. We know that that’s what our customers want. We and we’ve made mistakes when we didn’t include, we didn’t communicate in a Wistia way in a fun creative way. And our customers call us out and tell us it wasn’t good. Yeah. Like there was an example. A couple of years ago, we had to do a pricing change, and almost three years ago, and you know, we’d made a mistake in our model, we had made one metric Unlimited, and it was, it sounded good at first and it became a huge problem. Yeah. And anyway, long story short, we sent an email we were testing the site pricing migration saying, like your pricing Growing up, XYZ present like, this is why blah, blah, blah. And we were testing the pricing change, we thought we had a good number. And we said that we’re in the message we sent, we sent a video because we wanted to make the messaging human. And my co founder and I were on there, but we’re kind of apologizing. And not very, we’re definitely was not fun. It was definitely not exciting. And it did not feel creative. It felt like, well, we made a mistake. So that’s why we’re fixing this. And it was crazy, because the only responses we got that we tell us that were like 800 bank customers. The only responses we got were people being like this pricing change makes sense. But this communication is not on brand for Wistia. It’s not fun. It’s not creative. And I signed up for Wistia because of your fun and creative brand. Yeah. That’s crazy. Yeah, they told us that so then when we actually did the change for all customers and told everybody about the pricing change of why was happening. We were willing To have more fun with it, and we made fun of like the house that we started the business in. And like how basically we said, you know, this company has grown up. And when you grow up, a lot of things change and things that worked before, don’t work anymore. And like, this is why we do this. And now we get to invest in all these fun and interesting things. And the video itself is fun and interesting. And we told him, we just kind of took that approach. And we got basically no negative response at all. It was all positive, which is, you know, pretty rare when you’re doing a price increase.

Andrew Michael
Extremely rare.

Chris Savage
And it was it all came down to brand.

Andrew Michael
Push. I think that’s definitely like a very big powerful indicator of the power of brand because the pricing change, it can simply be something very sensitive, and typically companies as well maybe approached him a little too formal. So it’s good that your customers called you out and it’s even better that you turned back in combat with the personality as well at the end of it. I love that. So you mentioned as well a little bit now. That, like this was the early days your company started in the small house and you’re growing and things changed as well. And we touched on a little bit before we started this episode is that for you looking at Wistia, like Turner attention has been an evolving journey as well. Like you mentioned the first 200 customers. You didn’t have one customer turning up until that point. So I’m interested to hear like how things have changed and evolved for you as the company’s been growing and maturing.

Chris Savage
Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly right. First one, our customers, we had zero churn. I thought we had it all figured out. And we had the perfect business. That turned out to be untrue. And yeah, as you as the company grew, and we got basically started to talk to more potential customers who were, you know, didn’t have the largest problem like they weren’t just like the tiny niche that knew exactly what was there was but they had to understand the problem and they had more things going out of the market evolved. We’ve course started to have churn and head A really close attention to the unit economics of the business turned out to be incredibly important to how we’ve been able to scale. And if you look at it today, we have an incredibly dialed in in terms of how much we expect to customers spend in month one in month six and month 12. And month 24 month 36. Like, it is it is all. You know, that’s one of the magical things about SAS, right? Like if you can get the right data and you get the right people looking at it, you can really understand how your customers interact with your product. You can build something really great. Yeah,

Andrew Michael
it’s amazing. I think definitely one of the things I love about sauce is how predictable they can be once you understand any of the right data. But you mentioned as well like 200 customers and you thought you had the perfect business. In the early days when you were looking at measuring and tracking like with any mistakes that you think you made that led you to believe that you had the perfect business. Do you think there’s any things you could have done earlier on to better understand the problem or challenge ahead?

Chris Savage
Yes, I think the thing that we in the early days, were just looking at the absolute numbers. Are any customers canceling now? All right, we’re in good shape. Yeah. And then when you have a business where people are canceling, and people are upgrading, and people are expanding, and there’s referrals, there’s all the stuff like digging into the Y is the is the critical piece. And looking at, like the usage, and how much are people actually using this? And you know, it’s funny because in our world, people can use Wistia and that means that they upload videos about them other site create channels of content, and some people continue to upload lots of videos as well don’t. And there’s not a super strong correlation between people who are not uploading videos and people who are canceling because like the videos continue to deliver value when they’re on your site. And I didn’t go in expecting that, you know, like that was not that was not part of a plan, but that Turned out to be the reality. And it also is why I think churn was so low at first. And I over and over and over and over, I learned the lesson like, you’ve got to measure all the quantitative stuff. And that’s how you’re gonna understand at a high level what’s happening. But if you want understand really quickly, where there are issues, you want to understand really quickly. You know, what can be what can be done to improve something, you have to go talk to people, you have to you have to figure out a way to sample the data and actually have conversations with your customers or prospective customers or current customers, wherever I’d like almost always a small number of qualitative conversations that’s going to give you the insight to, to make decisions really quick.

Andrew Michael
So what you’re saying is you you’re really using the quantitative data to inform who you’re speaking to and who you’re learning from as well at the same time. What sort of questions are you asking these customers then obviously, depending on the scenario, but what are you really trying to figure out when you’re speaking to them?

Chris Savage
We’re just really trying to understand like it and it’s obviously it constant evolution, as the world is changing the markets evolving, like, how does what we do fit into your work? How does it fit into what success looks like for your marketing team? Like, how does it fit into how people communicate in your company. And it’s really like, the ideal scenario, you’re sitting down with someone over their shoulder, watching them work, and seeing, like, all the interactions that they have, and all the things that they would never put in a survey and never, you would never go to figure out the quantitative data. But it’s actually so easy to figure out if you can actually sit with someone.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. And I think even more so at the early stage, like you say, like at that stage, you don’t even have enough data to inform on trends or to give you an idea of what’s happening, but having that really close touch with your customers and having that person speaking centers is where we’re more powerful than actually looking at data to begin with.

Chris Savage
Well, it’s also Yeah, I mean, you know, I made this mistake where we had a period of time where we’re scaling a ton. And we basically only looked at the quantitative data. And in the early days is to your point, like, you’re just talking to everybody, you’re hearing all the stuff, you know, and there’s two people or four people, like, you know, what every customer wants, you know, what their problems are, like, you just inherently know. And what I missed is that like, as a company scaled, we had to create new systems that would allow us to hear what customers wanted. And so you know, building out a research team, and do it thing over their shoulder user testing, and like all of these different things. They’re designed to help us understand what customers really want and what they need and how we can help them be successful. And that stuff that was easy in the early days, just because it happens, a part of your job became much harder as a company scale without having a process. I had to create a process and a system and then it made a world of difference.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I mean, actually, this is what I want the question I wanted to ask you because I was interested is like You got to the point you, you thought you were doing really, really well when it came to generate attention, like, at what point was it like, Oh, look, we have a problem now maybe we should give this attention. And then what was some of the things that you tried to do as a team to give focus to retention?

Chris Savage
Yeah, we we basically tried to look at the ownership of acquisition and growth. So, you know, it was some point we were just doing the math was like, how much does it cost to acquire customer versus how much does it cost to retain a customer it’s like, well, it’s much cheaper to send a customer and much easier to retain a customer. And we had to just like start to evolve our focus from saying, like, only focus on acquisition to really focusing much more on retention and expansion. And like anything, you have to give smart people the ownership and let them roll and figure it out. And so our team started talking to people about what success looks like and what their challenges were and you know, the was like, easy, quick things that came up like, making it clear that if someone moves out of a role like if our customer if the person who is our customer in a company moves into a different role or lose the business, like how do you make it easier for the company, who is a customer to continue to give value and have somebody else on board? Things like that, and I’m making made a really big impact. But it was just like seeing that problem and having people focused on it, which a lot of subjects do not?

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I mean, this is definitely a big recurring theme that’s come up is typically two areas onboarding needs to be improved, or when the customer champion leaves is trying to figure out a way to better protect the company against that you sort of realized this as well. And then you started sort of giving ownership you said to specific teams was any specific team that sort of was responsible for this or was it really like a company wide effort and trying to understand like how each team within the company would influence it?

Chris Savage
Yeah, we gave ownership to Our growth team.

Yeah, they were coordinating with many other people, but they were kind of like responsible for looking at the data.

Andrew Michael
So what was your like reasons motivations behind that, obviously, everyone has different teams that they give it to. And

Chris Savage
um, you know, at the time when we were starting to do that, the reason we did that was we had built a cross functional team. So they had everything that they needed to get the job done. And that meant that they could attack things pretty quickly. And they could try things like with small tests without having to get a lot of permission or without there having to be a lot of coordination. So it’s really like, we have this team. It makes us the own us, and we can increase the speed that we learned in the first. Yeah.

Andrew Michael
And you also mentioned as well, that sort of the the metrics and the math behind it, you sort of realized that it was cheaper to like retain customers and to acquire new ones. How did you go about figuring that out cycle? What was the analysis to look Like when you sort of realized, okay, this now makes sense for us to really focus on retaining customers.

Chris Savage
Yeah, I mean, it was just as it’s also part of it was like, we have done a lot of conversion optimization. And we have done a lot of working on onboarding. And so when you’ve done a ton of work there, and you fail to move, so the numbers but you kind of see where they’re at, you start looking at like, well, the incremental effort here, but we see how much that costs, and if they’re sustainable channels, fantastic, like, go do it. But if there aren’t, then like, the easiest way to grow is to is to pay attention. Yeah, that I think that the interesting thing there is like, you can’t look at it as just like, what is your turn number? Like that’s not that’s not very good, because reality is like, churn changes dramatically from a customer who’s in month one or two to a customer who’s in month 24, right? Like it’s very, very, very, very different than you need to do different things, to retain those customers at different times. And so that just like digging in on that it starts becoming You start to realize like, how can you can attack the different problems?

Andrew Michael
For sure. And then like talking about problems as well, I think something that was super interesting to me and was the one of the reasons why I reached out to you was not too long ago in July 2018, you decided to take on 17 billion debt between you and your co founder to actually buy our two advances and bring back the company. And I think for a lot of people as well, they could see that as a huge risk and like wondering, why would you to do such a thing. So now that we have you on the show, like I’m really, really interested to hear, like, what was some of the motivations behind that? And obviously, I like a note something, building something for the long run, but did churn and retention sort of goals have anything to do with that as opposed to like, really aggressive growth? or What does it mean motivation?

Chris Savage
Yeah, it’s a great question, I think, to the main motivation was, like, the fundamental motivation I’ll say was, we realized if we sold the business, we would try to rebuild Wistia. And we thought, why would we want to rebuild the company, my co founder and I. And as we had conversations were like, well, we realized we don’t think we’re doing our best work. And we’re kind of unhappy with how we’re running the business. And so instead of selling the business to try to go build a new one, like, why don’t we try to like fix the one that we have? Yeah. And that is what caused us to look at like taking on the debt. Now debt does look very, very scary. And I think this is where it gets interesting from, like, a unit economics perspective. So we realized we weren’t gonna sell, we wanted to fund a buyback. So we could buy back shares from our investors, we could also give our employees who had stock options or return and debt as a way of like, kind of pulling cash forward, you know, from future years, right. Yeah. And so that seemed like a good way for us to do it. And the way that we figured this out was like, all right, how much debt Do you need to pull together a deal And then what does the fundamental unit economics the business look like? And how are those evolving? And if we look at that over time, can we predict accurately what we expect revenue to be? And what we expect the cost of acquiring that revenue to be? Yeah. And we looked at the math of how we expected revenue to expand from existing customer base and how many customers could come in and all the stuff and like, we thought that we had also been spending really aggressively and some things that we didn’t think were working that well. So we’re like, if we turn off some of these things, we look at the future we think we’ll keep growing, which means we can get to profitability. Once we’re profitability. That’s basically we have to we have to be profitable to serve the debt. And yeah, it was really just like understanding our subscription business really well. And once we understood that we felt confident that we could do it. And the interesting thing was that the company that provided us the debt, this company, Excel KKR that’s is an alternative debt program. So it’s like much higher interest rate to new yet from a normal bank. But they came in and evaluated us as if they’re going to do like a growth investment. And they do tons of growth investments, and they understand software service really well. And so they came back and understood, are you going economics? And they’re like, well, it’s clear to us that you’re going to be able to pay us back or not. Yeah. antastic. So it was like everybody knew from look at the unit economics, that it didn’t feel that risky to do. Yeah, especially because the worst case scenario is that we weren’t gonna be able to pay back the debt, in which case, we probably have to sell the business. Now, we just turned outside the business. And we thought we probably could continue to sell the business in a bad scenario. So that felt less risky. And it was really the biggest risk was how long will it take before we can get Wistia to be profitable? And can we get profitable enough that we can refinance the debt, and that would allow us to have a much lower interest rate and add less onerous covenants. And so that was kind of the backward ticking is like, Can we get the business profitable quickly Do we think we exceed our plans? And that is what ended up happening. So we got our business profitable, exceeded the plans and then refine it. So that

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I’d say that’s an understatement as well, like reading the tweet that I first came across of like, from going from burning 500 k year to turning around to 6 million profit before tax, I think in lowering the debt from 17 to 13 million in the years, quite short of a miracle results. Amazing.

Chris Savage
Yeah, and it was it was amazing. And, you know, it’s also the power of focus and the power of understanding the business. You know, I think it really did allow us to, like make that, that that and it made it feel not very scary. And even the debt we have now you know, we’re paying it down aggressively, but it doesn’t feel scary because we have social buffer profitable other.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. And also you have the confidence in knowing your unit economics and how the business is growing. Exactly. It sounds like you must have a really good data team then at Wistia. Like what does that look like at the moment. So how You’re structured in terms of getting this data and ensuring that the team is informed.

Chris Savage
We do we have a great business intelligence team. There are two people on that full time, and then a bunch of other people in different operations roles around the company that like interface really closely with them. But they have built our internal dashboards and, you know, work across teams to make sure we’re getting like a full picture of what’s actually happening. And yeah, they, you know, when I look at the dashboards in the morning, I look at the weekly ones, their monthly ones are all built by them and managed by them. And they understand, you know, the forecasts are built by them. It’s all it’s a centralized team. And it’s, it’s been fantastic.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, definitely help said that central focus. And I think one of the challenges startups have is that they maybe don’t invest enough early on with the metrics and then it gets to the point where they realize now they need it. And then it’s almost like an impossible task to try and sort of Bringing the data from all your different sources and then trying to put together reports and using this data to cross correlate events happening in one system versus the other. So definitely put you in a powerful position to have those metrics in place to be able to use them to make decisions.

Unknown Speaker
Exactly.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. So you mentioned a couple of times as well about expansion. And I’m interested to hear sort of how you go about measuring retention at at Wistia. What sort of the key metrics that you’re looking at and how much does expansion and net Mr. Retention play a role in what you measure?

Chris Savage
Um, so it plays a pretty significant role. So I mean, we look at, it’s almost like in the first, the first six to nine months, the most important thing is going to be churn mitigation. So it’s like, people have come in and picked the product, but if they’re not on board well, and they’re not getting enough value out of the product, then they’re going to quit. And so can we help them get enough value? Can we help them use the product well enough, like it’s great to the other systems that they have? And then when people adopt Wistia, and they’re using it, well, it’s going to it scales based on usage. So the numbers of videos, the amount of viewing, stuff like that. And so if people are really successful, and they’re driving their business, with video, then they’re going to use this to more. Yeah. And then they’re going to spam expand more. So it’s a very natural expansion. It’s but it’s different than, you know, it’s almost more similar to like AWS, like you know what you’re going to pay and you understand the rates. And then as you commit more, the rights are going to go down. And then we have some more advanced features that don’t make sense for everyone, but makes sense for you know, smaller selection of customers who want to understand the impact of video more completely on their funnel, or they want to run automation off of how people are viewing things, or they want to build video channels and their site because they’re investing in shows which is something that we’ve been investing in a lot ourselves. And so those are kind of like more advanced features that someone can expand to. Yeah, but those someone’s gonna expand when they’re ready. So it’s more like, get them in, help them get value out of the product. If they get value out of the product, they’re going to actually expand. And then if they are doing more advanced things, we’re trying to get way more get way more out of video by making shows and building their brand. By doing that, then we have tools that cost more that they will likely use to do that.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, it sounds like you’re in a really strong position with your pricing and packaging. And you’ve really got a good value metric that’s aligned with the unit economics as well like expand as your customers grow and become successful. You become successful as a business. But you mentioned earlier as well that you had made a mistake with pricing. And I think in the early days, it’s something that people don’t really give much attention to in the beginning they just set a price and then say, Okay, this is it and let’s go. Yeah, if you had to go back in time, and like if maybe one piece of advice to somebody starting out what would be it when it comes to pricing and packaging?

Chris Savage
would say that pricing is part of the product. And you have to think of it that way. So my example here is like MacBook Pro. If you buy a MacBook Pro, and it costs, whatever cost right now 1200 bucks, like, Oh, that’s a good laptop, kind of expensive. I hope you got a lot of value out of it. I hope it’s really fast. You know, you expect everything to work really well, you expect to get a good warranty, like all that stuff. It’s a really good computer. If it costs $100 you will. It’s like one of the best computers that has ever been like, it’s like, wow, if this thing costs 100 bucks. It is it that’s absolutely insane. Like people will talk about that, like crazy. Everyone will tell each other. You’ve got to get this thing. It’s only $100 like you won’t believe it. It can it can it run circles around everything else. And if it costs 10,000 it’s an absolute piece of shit. And I think that the thing that people don’t realize with pricing is that their pricing is part of their product. It is what people are used to evaluate where you sit in the market it is it is actually like a feature of your product. And so sometimes you can make an amazing thing. And you overprice it and you’re confused as to why no one thinks it’s amazing or you underprice it. And it seems like people should be going wild for but they think it’s too cheap, because they can’t believe that you can make a math book for 100 bucks. So of course, it can’t, it’s not actually good. So it’s, it’s just incredibly, incredibly important. And I think if I had really thought about that more in the early days, I would have thought about that and like regards to our positioning work. And I think that that would have helped us avoid some of the mistakes that that we that we made and end up having to rectify.

Andrew Michael
So I love that as a viewpoints as well really like seeing it as part of the product and just like you’d make changes to your products and experiments as well like with pricing and packaging. It’s something that you need to get right to get the whole product right at the end of the day.

Chris Savage
Yeah, if you have a great product, but you have a bad business model like you’re screwed. Yeah.

Andrew Michael
So talking about sort of bad business models, and maybe we can jump to the next question that I ask every guest that joins the show. And let’s have a hypothetical scenario now going to throw you into a new company, and you’ve arrived at this company and to generate attention is not doing well at all. And you’ve been asked to try and turn things around for them. And they’ve given you 90 days to try and prove and show some results. What would be some of the first actions that you would do at this company to try and turn things around for them?

Chris Savage
Yeah, I think in the first 30 days, I would get as many out interview the people who are not turning and try to understand like people who have high usage and are not turning, why you’re not turning out the people who are not turning and have low usage and try to understand why they’re not turning, like what kind of value they’re getting out of the product. And then I would try to sit down people who are actually turning and and say like, what’s wrong? What do we mess up like what’s missing here? Because you don’t have time to run a lot of tests unless you’re at an outrageously huge scale, you’re just not going to get statistically significant data. So you have to throw that out the window at first and just really talk to customers. Yeah. And I mean, that is going to be where your insights come from. And it’s going to, it’s going, they’re going to tell you to support terrible Oh, no, the supports amazing, the product is not good, the product is inconsistent. Or it’s all project based, or whatever. And I look from that and try to make a move and say like, if the problem is that people are not onboarding, I would throw people at that problem and do some things that don’t scale for myself at that problem and say, give me a percentage of the people who are signing up the project, I will onboard them myself. And we’ll see if we, if that makes an impact. And I basically try to come up with a plan where by doing something that doesn’t scale, but can prove the learning of what we need to do. If you could come accomplish that and the first 90 days, then you can make a big push to make a larger change. So if it was an onboarding or you discover that it’s actually a project based thing, maybe you have to revisit how you’re pricing the product, like whatever the thing is, find out as fast as possible, what the actual causes. And then once you understand that, it becomes much easier to figure out like, What thing can you do to validate that and then if it’s validated, then you can, you could do a bigger push to actually, you know, change the business model, change the onboarding, flow, change the product, change the pricing, add a new feature, whatever the thing is, you need to do.

Andrew Michael
I love that sort of mindset, as well, that you mentioned is really diving in speaking to customers trying to understand the problem. And then what can you do to MVP to prove its value so that you can then double down on it because 90 days is not much time as well, when you think about getting started a company specifically to make a dent on churn and retention, because it’s such a nuanced problem, but really, like pinpointing that biggest pain points and seeing how you can MVP proven solution I think is definitely a great way to run the show some value in the context as well of the show. And with Wistia its product as well, like, what are some creative ways that you use your own product to come and help with retention and engagement.

Chris Savage
So we’ve used Wistia a ton to help with turn engagement. I think one of the ways is, when introducing new features that we want two people to adopt to make videos that has someone explaining how to use them. And it’s very different, I think, to get an email from someone that says like, here’s a new future, good luck, figure it out, or to get something that shows up in the product that’s like, I’m going to walk you through exactly how to do this. Like as if you were on a call with me as if I was doing it for you. We found a lot of success in terms of driving adoption through that. We’ve also added videos told

Andrew Michael
you that your product feature announcements are probably one of the very few startups that actually watch and like actually go through. Just because they always like it. a joy to watch. There’s definitely entertainment value, you know, you’re getting some value as well from a product perspective. And they’re really, really good. I think maybe the way you did as well is the next level, like you said, like a lot of people will just record a video and walk you through the tours addressed, you really have their brand elements involved, you have that entertainment involved, and then you obviously have the value at the end of it for your project. So maybe you underselling a little bit, which we do is Oh,

Chris Savage
yeah, well, yes, that’s true. And I think you’re right that like, because I think like, work can be boring. It doesn’t have to be and you know, people care a lot about their work, like a lot, like a lot of pride and people’s lives comes from the work that they do. And so if we can give them we can show them that we care and a lot and want to help and we also don’t want to waste their time. I think that that ends up paying off and like I would say, to that point, we just kind of look at where we’re in the funnel, in that really the whole customer experience is there a lot of friction and if there was a human who was there to help guide you Through make you feel less stressed, make you feel more confident. Make a funny moment congratulate you, whatever we put, that is where we put content. We put videos that are humanizing, like all throughout. Like even our subscription page has like a, like an email subscription page or unsubscribe page has someone just tweeted about it yesterday as a of like, they’re all the subscriptions are analogous to different ice cream flavors. And you can like build an ice cream cone at subscription subscriptions. And there’s like, you know, the melted ice cream when you’re when you’re canceling. And it’s the type of thing that like we did that because we thought it was fun and cute. And we thought that people would appreciate it. That moment that’s a little bit stressful. Like you’re managing subscriptions. You probably think you’re getting too many emails. And so if we can lighten that a little bit, if we think it’s going to make an impact and some people are going to look at that and be like you’re right like, this is funny and I don’t need all of these but I still want some and Yeah, it’s just it’s just constantly looking for moments like that. And then I would say in the last year, year and a half, we’ve been going way bigger the content that we’re making. So we released a feature documentary at the end of 2018 called 110 100. Where we gave amazing sandwich video hundred $11,000 to make three ads for us at different budgets 4000 our budget 10,000 our budget was $100,000 budget and then we documented the creative process. We distribute that all through Wistia and did pretty giant marketing campaigns based on that. And then in last year, we did a show called brand wagon that I hosted about brand marketing. That was like the same idea and so it’s I just personally love when dog food your product because you just you get to see the benefits of it that other customers are getting but also like more importantly you get to find the problems, finding things effects you get to you come up with feature ideas more easily when you’re your own best customer and so I love I love I love doing that.

Andrew Michael
Yeah I think like it speaks to a couple of things, what you’ve said. And I think, definitely one shows that you have huge empathy for your customers really understanding them at the different pain points and what they’re going through, like taking into consideration their Psychology at different states and remembering that actually humans because I think this is so easy for us to forget, yeah, a lot of times people also find it a little bit risky because like, if you think about, okay, our customers, they are professionals in parenthesis. But what we forget is the humans as well. So yes, they can take a joke, there’s no need for a serious tone with everything that goes out like, but at the same time, it’s got to be part of your culture in your DNA and your brand. Otherwise, it just felt feels fake. So I think like you’ve just managed to have this really, really great balance between sort of being professional but also being human and understanding like how your customers pain points are. So the one thing I like I wanted ask them as well and maybe this can be the last question to wrap up for the show. Wistia has grown quite rapidly over the years. You Had your ups and downs. And if you had to give like one bit of advice to somebody starting hearts today, and let’s keep it in the context of the show of churn and retention is, what would be some of your advice for somebody starting arts, how they should go about thinking about the problem, and what should they be looking at for as the company grows over the years,

Chris Savage
I would tell somebody to look at what problem you’re solving for your customer, how critical that problem is, and how often someone’s going to have that problem. And if you are in a spot where your churn is high, or you think it could be high, or whatever the big question is, how can you evolve what you are doing to solve a problem that is more critical, more important, more used more often. And that means you’re delivering more value for customers and more ongoing buy for customers, and then they’re going to be happy to continue to pay you I think that a lot of companies find a very small niche where they start. And they can find success because of the only company solving a problem or the company solve it best. But you have to be really honest with yourself, I think about like, how large of a problem is that? How big will that problem become? Will other tools solve that problem and leave you just being a feature and not being a product? And I think I would ask myself that question a lot. And it’s okay to find a niche and solve a problem that no one else doing. That’s a great way to start a business. But you have to be constantly evolving. And it mean all the answers come back to talk to customers, like you have to be constantly evolving. And you have to you have to talk to your customers, potential customers to understand what the other challenges they have that you can help them with.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, absolutely. I love that as well. Like it’s a good point to end on that. It’s definitely the central focus and some of the activities Everybody just keeps on saying and saying on the shows, talk to your customers. So on that, Chris like, Is anything you want to leave us with? Like, how can the audience keep up to date with what’s happening at Wistia? If you got anything special that you’d like to listen to happen in this year? Before we segue?

Chris Savage
Yeah, I would say you can keep up with Wistia was calm, you can find me at Twitter see Savage. We got a lot more big content coming out soon, which is really exciting. So keep your eyes peeled for that. And I would say if you’re interested in learning more about brand marketing particular check out bandwagon which is our show on brand, which I’m particularly proud of. And that is it.

Andrew Michael
Awesome. Well, thanks so much for joining Chris. wish you best of luck going forward and have a good weekend.

Chris Savage
Thank you for having me.