LeadCrunch Webinar: Use AI to Find Your Best Prospects, July 15, 2021 - Register Here

How to Use the Jobs-to-Be-Done Theory to Reach an Executive Audience

B2B Content marketing

15 Min Read

J. David Green

Listen now on these popular platforms

Share this podcast

Highlights from this episode

Podcast Transcript

Welcome back to another episode of Marketing Jukebox. In today’s show we welcome back Yadin Porter de Leon to continue our conversation in Part II of this interview. Yadin is the Global Executive Content Strategist for VMware. He has the difficult job of trying to reach very senior level IT executives in large accounts. On today’s episode we dive deeper into the topic of reaching the inner circle of trust of CIOs. Yadin also shares his advice on understanding the difference between gated and freely given content, and how to leverage your subscribers to build valuable research. So don’t miss out on this incredible conversation. Tune in to hear it all!


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Distinguishing between gated and freely given content.
  • Understanding the difference between subscribers and leads.
  • Applying the Job-to-be-Done theory to content given away for free.
  • Leveraging your subscribed audience to do surveys for creating valuable research.
  • Dispelling the concept of “build it and they will come”.
  • Learning about what it takes to get inside the circle of trust of CIOs.
  • Understanding the value of one-on-one human interaction.


“You give away this stuff for free, so that you then build that trust with a trusted audience.” — @porterdeleon [0:04:46.1]

“The stuff you give away for free, those are your subscribers. That’s your trusted audience. Those are not leads.” — @porterdeleon [0:06:03.1]

“You’ve got to get in front of them. If you don’t, listen to interviews with them, hear them speak.” — @porterdeleon [0:13:42.1]

 Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Yadin Porter de Leon — https://www.linkedin.com/in/porterdeleon/

Yadin on Twitter — https://twitter.com/porterdeleon

VMware — https://www.vmware.com/

Seth Godin — https://www.sethgodin.com/

altMBA — https://altmba.com/

Robert Rosen — http://robertrose.net/

Joe Pulizzi — https://www.joepulizzi.com/

Content Marketing World — https://www.contentmarketingworld.com/

Jim Rinaldi — https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesrinaldi/

CIO Leadership Live — https://www.cio.com/video/series/8534/cio-leadership-live

Maryfran Johnson — https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryfranjohnson/


[0:00:07.2] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the B2B Marketing Jukebox by LeadCrunch. Help us start a movement to make B2B marketers the maestros of shareholder value. On our website, LeadCrunch.com, you can find timestamped transcripts of these podcasts and info about the guests. Subscribe to these podcasts on all major platforms, like iTunes. Send topic or guest suggestions to the host at david.green@leadcrunch.ai.

Here’s Dave.

 [0:00:34.1] DG: Hi, this is Dave Green with LeadCrunch. Thanks so much for joining. I’m here today with a fantastic guest, Yadin Porter de León. Yadin is the Global Executive Content Strategist for VMware. He was with Druva before that. He has the difficult job of trying to reach very senior level executives in large accounts that are in the IT department. If you have to reach a senior level audience, and you know how hard that is, and I think you’re going to really enjoy what we’re talking about today.

Yadin, welcome to the show. Thank you for your interest in this. It looks like you just started with VMware. I was looking at your profile again on LinkedIn and it looks like you’re the person that’s largely responsible for the content strategy for VMware, if I read the profile correctly. Is that the case?

[0:01:32.2] YPDL: From an executive standpoint, yes. The CxO level, or CIO, CIO minus one, minus two.

[0:01:44.9] DG: That’s a tough audience to get their moment of attention.

[0:01:49.8] YPDL: It is. You have to get right in front of them most of the time. It was great. I was actually at an event earlier this year, talking to one of the CIOs. I asked, “So, how do people reach you? How do they get your attention?” The CIO replied, “Well, you’ve got to be in my circle of trust, you know? If by some miracle some sales person gets my phone number and gives me a call, I scream at them and tell them to get off the phone.” I thought that was one of my favorite quotes. I was thinking, “Poor inside sales persons getting screamed at by you.” It makes sense, too.

I have that whole philosophy, the circle of trust. There’s this very tight circle of trust, and CIOs are in the roles they are in because they built this network of people around them so they don’t need to go download white papers and get calls from reps and stuff like. Basically, they have those resources already there. You’re really bringing the person on, because you like their approach, the philosophy. Their vision is correct and they’ll have all the resources they need, whether it’s a technical resource, a leadership thought-trend resource.

Check out the blog- “Why Empathy is the Future of Marketing”


[0:03:03.2] DG: How do you distinguish between, or do you distinguish between, the content that you’re going to freely give away to attract people versus the content that you’re going to gate in order to get that exchange of their identity?

[0:03:18.6] YPDL: Yes, and that’s where we go to the Seth Godin piece, too. Seth Godin is very specific. I mentioned him because he distills a lot of these ideas down into really wonderful ways of looking at it. He does a whole piece, does a podcast, he has a blog, he also does a class for the altMBA, he does a lot of different things. It’s funny, I have a picture of him right here with a quote that I love. I have Seth Godin on my filing cabinet.

He talks about freelancers, so this is something that I think was really telling for this question. He has a whole piece about freelancing. He said, “You have to be really, really specific about the things you give away for free, things that you ascribe value to, and that free activity goes to communicate with the world in a way that you can’t communicate with someone with behind a gated asset or you’re in a foreign film.”

For example, let’s say you’re a freelancer and you decide, “Okay, I’m going to blog and that blog I’m giving away for free. I’m giving it away for free for a few different reasons. The main reason, though, is that people will understand that I am good at this. This is something I am good at and I’m going to use that to build an audience. With that subscribed audience, I’m going to build trust, and that trust is going to reap dividends in a whole bunch of different ways.”

I was introduced to Seth Godin by Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi who started Content Marketing World. You give away this stuff for free, so you then build that trust with a trusted audience. Then there are a bunch of ways, of course, to monetize them, or to leverage that trust your audience by saying, “Hey, great. Here’s all the stuff that you’ve gotten for free. Let’s see about my weekly blog.”

Then, one day, you send out an email saying, “Hey, look. We have a webinar and this webinar is highly valuable. Something we talked about is going to help me get a particular job done, and I’m going to serve it to you because I have built a trusted relationship with you. Now, here’s another valuable thing.” But of course, you know, this is a webinar. You have to go and you’re going to have to register for it.

Save your spot, register, get the downloads, start them on the course. You know that you’re then opting into a third party. It could be like a third-party sponsored webinar that’s on a subject you really like. You know you’re giving information, you know you’re going to get either an e-mail back or someone’s going to contact you about a particular product or something like that. But you’re doing it because you know you’re going to get value out of it and you built that.

You give away things for free, so you build that trusted relationship, you build brand awareness, you build an audience. You can then monetize in ways that draw them to a forum fill and then get their information. You have two different things: you have subscribers and you have leads. That’s where you draw that distinction between the stuff you give away for free and the stuff that you gate. The stuff you give away for free, those are your subscribers. That’s your trusted audience. Those are not leads. When they opt into a sales pipeline or a funnel, then they become a lead. You create the stuff for free, so that you can build that subscribed audience, so you could then pull them into a funnel. You can pull them into your pipeline. For example, I decide to give away a Forbes report. I decided to give away a Gartner report. I give away a lot of stuff because it’s my ideas to CIOs.

I give away almost everything and everything I’m gated. I’m that extreme side where my audience is a CIO. The CIO is never going to do that foreign thing. “Sorry, but you’re lucky you even got my eyeballs, and if can free up you have to make me type something, that’s it. I just want to click ‘download’.” I give all of that away for free so we can then pull them into the other activities, which is coming to our events. That’s the number one thing.

We want their contact information. We’re creating a subscribed audience. All the stuff we give away for free is to get that contact information. We hold that as this very, very valuable asset we cherish and protect and defend, and we use it only for delivering value, that’s it. Ultimately, in that pipeline of stuff, we’ll say, “Hey, here’s an executive forum event in Singapore, and let me make you aware of this.”

Or, “Here we have a virtual event, basically a webinar. If you’re interested in the new trends for X, Y, and Z. Please share, please attend.” The number one thing that I’m doing right now is building that audience in order to create a research survey. You give away this asset to build this audience, and then one of the ways you can leverage that subscribed audience is by doing surveys. For example, I did this one survey for people who were migrating data center resources to the cloud.

That original research was then put together in a business asset brief, executive brief, and distributed all the people, of course, who participated and all the people who were subscribers. It became our number one gated asset for several months. In fact, it still showed up on reports when I was leaving. I was like number eight or number nine as far as lead generation.

You can see how you can connect all the stuff you’re giving away for free. You can just give it away for free, and a lot of people do, but it’s a missed opportunity if you don’t build a subscribed audience that you can then monetize and create value from. But the first is always delivering value. I hate the term when people say, “We have to deliver value before extracting value,” that feels like a quid pro quo.

I don’t like framing it that way. I like to frame it as just continuing to deliver value and when you don’t extract value from them. You deliver more value to them, but then, in exchange, they deliver value to you as well. It’s always a two-way. It’s not like, “I’ll give you something, you give me something.” It’s, “No, I’m going to constantly give you something. At some point, you’ll give me something as well,” and it’s not a quid pro quo. It’s because you say, “No, this is a valuable mission.” I subscribe to podcast because I like the value of that particular content.

[0:09:23.9] DG: Yeah, let me ask you about the Job-to-be-Done as it applies to free. Isn’t there also a job to be done when you’re giving away free that you need to discover, or do you put that in a different category?

[0:09:34.4] YPDL: There is. I’ll use a blog for example. A blog is a classic example of something you give away for free that you build a subscribed audience for. There is a job to be done for that particular one, and that is put in a specific bucket as to what audience you want to reach, what audience you want to grow, and also whether you want to actually grow an audience. If you want to be specific, it’s much more valuable creating a category of one and understanding what that job is to be done for that particular category. Why do people go to that blog and continue consume it or subscribe and get it in their e-mail inbox?

Discovering that job-to-be-done is not any different than discovering the job-to-be-done for a gated asset. The results are going to be different and the purpose of that blog is a little bit different than that gated asset, but you’re still trying to get at that job to be done. For example, it’s great if you leverage that audience to do surveys, to get more information about what they’re really trying to get at or what they’re trying to do or who they are, so you can better hone-in on that job to be done. There’s a lot of misinformation about “build it and they will come” and people just getting on this content treadmill or hamster wheel. I hate getting in meetings and hearing, “We need to increase Twitter engagement by 20%, or we need to increase blog activity by 30%.” It’s like there’s no purpose. “Why are we doing this? Just creating more content? What are people trying to do? Why are people actually consuming this blog? Why are we creating this?” The response is, “Well because of this and this and that.” Then, “Yeah, I know, but why would someone subscribe to that?”

[0:11:19.9] DG: Let me ask about one other thing that you said which I also found really interesting. Rather than look at all the people in your overall audience homogeneously, you’ve come to the cogent observation that CIOs are unlikely to fill out a lead form because they already have their circle of trusted advisers, so it’s better not to take that tactic in the usual way. How did you come to discover that truth about that specific hard-to-reach audience?

[0:11:52.4] YPDL: Talking to them. You just get in front of them and everyone has different things. For example, I met with a national company. (I am trying to describe people without giving their information away.) They basically said, “No. You know what? I have built the circle of trust. Microsoft is in that circle, Gartner’s in that circle,” and this is at a customer advisory board event, and they described what that circle was to them.

One person I do mention all the time, though, is Jim Rinaldi, the CIO of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. He’s great and very vocal and very open about his perspectives. He had that circle of trust as well, or you have to get in front of him. If you go and listen to podcasts as well, this is all just like original interviews. For example, CIO has a great podcast called CIO Leadership Live. Maryfran Johnson, who is just wonderful, interviews CIOs and talks to them, and that provides you a tremendous amount of value. They also have executive briefings which say they would be in more campuses. I was in the executive briefings and it takes all day. First of all, I have to build a relationship with the salesperson, and the sales people are in a sales cycle. I have to build trust with them and then slowly build trust with the other people in the room and be part of that conversation.

Then I can approach the executives and say, “Look, I’m really interested. What sources do you trust?” and she was really good. This was Executive Vice President of a major global brand and it was wonderful just to sit here with her. She shared, “You know what? Sometimes it feels overwhelming.” Then all of a sudden, at the end of the conversation, she asked me, “So what podcast should I listen to? What book should I listen to?”

It’s a treat to be in that situation, but you have to get in front of them. If you don’t, listen to interviews with them, hear them speak. It’s tough because, when they get on stage, they’re reading scripts. You really want to listen to a candid interview, like Maryfran talking with them in that very intimate situation, where they’re answering these questions and engaging in personal, human, one-on-one contact. That’s where you find that information. Real information, it is that human, one-on-one contact that I feel is the most valuable thing in any situation.

Of course, you can do it at scale in other ways with different audiences, from practitioners to managers all the way up to directors. But when it comes to the exec suite, your only way to do it is really get in there, one-on-one, human. You can do a social, too, but you have to have humans there showing up, really engaging, and that’s the way that you then get the information about, “Hey, this is my trusted circle.”

What is that? Who is it? Which one is it? Is it Carhartt? Yeah, CIO Carhartt. I have a CIO wall, too, and so I have this wall of images of quotes. The first thing I do in the morning is read The Wall Street Journal and that’s one of his trusted sources.

[0:14:57.0] DG: Well, that will do it for today. I want to remind everyone before we go that you can find on our website, at leadcrunch.com, under the resource section, full transcripts of this podcast and other podcasts, links to our guests, and things that we’ve talked about on this show.

Thank you very much, Yadin, a fantastic set of insights. I can’t thank you enough for joining us today and sharing what you’ve learned. Thank you again.

[0:15:23.0] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening the B2B Marketing Jukebox by LeadCrunch. On our website, LeadCrunch.com, you can find timestamped transcripts and info about the guests. You can send topics or guest suggestions to the host at david.green@leadcrunch.ai. Subscribe to these podcasts on all the major platforms, like iTunes.

Thanks for joining us, and we wish you happy, data-driven growth.