Why Marketing & Dev Need Each Other with Jennie Larsen

Overview 

Jennie outlines the way that marketing and dev can work together to attract and keep customers.

Guest

Jennie is a serial entrepreneur and have been learning, growing, and stretching in that world for over 22 years. She is Marketing Director at DevSimplify.

Reference

Billy Bateman 0:02   

All right, everyone. Welcome to Digital Conversations. I am your host, Billy Bateman. And today I am joined by Jennie Larsen, marketing director at Deb simplify. Jennie. Thanks for joining me today.  

Jennie Larsen 0:14   

Thank you. I’m excited to be here. Thanks, Billy.  

Billy Bateman 0:17   

Yeah, I think it’s going to be fun. I’ll let you introduce yourself in just a minute. But we’re going to really be talking about the relationship between having in house marketing and Dev, and how they can complement each other. But before we get into that, just tell us a little bit about yourself and about dev simplify.  

Jennie Larsen 0:37   

Okay, sure. So, my name is Jenny Larson. I’ve been a serial entrepreneur since I had my first child at 22. And I ended up in marketing really from just, hands on, I mean, learning it in the trenches. I started marketing, my first company before there was an internet, talking the Yellow Pages, tacking up stuff on boards. My first company was a preschool. And so, I really did have to how am I going to get kids here and that kind of thing. And it went into my first actual company where I was doing marketing and trying to figure out how to get a product out into the market was, I purchased a scrap a company that sold scrap kits. and the owner was one of my actual preschool moms. Anyway, I bought the company from her. And I loved scrapbooking at the time. And my first kind of true introduction into marketing was with that company, how do I get these kids to stand out? amongst a million other this is before obviously, scrapbooking was digital. So how do I get kids to stand out amongst a million other papers, stickers, scrapbooking material.  

And so rather than going to scrapbooking stores, I went to bookstores, because they were kits that could be hung. And so, I landed a desert book account and a seagull book and tape account. And they ended up just being huge hits. Were from Utah. So, I tapped into the Mormon market.  

And just I looked at the biggest market we had and how I could sell them and went straight to their bookstores. And that was really my first introduction into marketing strategy. And really, kind of just had a natural knack for it. And I’ve been doing it ever since. So awesome.  

Billy Bateman 2:27   

Awesome. So started with the preschool the scrapbooking. And now you’re a dev simplify. Tell us what dev simplify is. Yeah, and what you guys do and about your role there.  

Jennie Larsen 2:40   

Okay, so development simplified is a full development company. And the thing they do most is custom development, see a lot of fast products, apps processes back-end process. So, they do custom coding. And they do a lot of websites as well, but not so much WordPress sites or Wix type sites. These are sites where people need something very specific, or they want a very specific customer journey or something interactive that you have to have custom coding written for. And so, I actually approached my brother is one of the owners, he’s owners with two other people.  

And I approached him and said, you know, it just makes sense to me that you guys would offer marketing solutions, because you’re a developer, usually, if someone is getting a product developed, they actually need to take that product to the market. And so that’s kind of how that whole journey started. And that was about four years ago. And since then, we’ve just become a real powerhouse, team between marketing and development.  

We’ve realized I’ve brought in marketing customers that needed development and development has brought in customers that needed marketing. And so, we’ve actually created this really cool powerhouse team between the two companies. And it used to just be development simplified. And now we have marketing simplified. They are two separate companies but working under the same. We work in the same offices. We have two offices, but we have two full teams. And yeah, so it was a four-year journey. And we’ve just the benefit to that has just been massive, and it’s just the development feeds the marketing, the marketing feeds the development, and the customers just really benefit from that relationship.  

Billy Bateman 4:24   

Yeah, yeah, I agree. Like we our dev team helps out our marketing team all the time. And then but you know, vice versa on product adoption and driving those free trial signups. So, marketing team, we work together pretty closely. So, it really makes sense. I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking they should be separate and not really work together that much. But when we started talking, I was like, Man, this is a conversation that if people haven’t thought about, they need to at least think about how I bring Dev and marketing closer together. So, first question, I want to ask 

ask you is what do you think the benefits are advantage?  

So, Jennie, when we, when we first started talking, like, exactly what I wanted to talk about, once you were talking about this relationship is, you know, I think it’s something everyone should at least be thinking about, you know, not everyone’s going to have the resources. But, you know, as any company grows, you would hope to have the resources to do this, and have maybe somebody on development, you know, or from development on your marketing team, or vice versa, have somebody with a marketing background on your dev team. So, what have you found are the benefits and advantage is of having in house development as part of the marketing team? 

Jennie Larsen 6:16   

Well, I would say, and I’m going to go one step back from what you just said, because I think this is really key when you said a lot of people don’t have yet the maybe the financial means to have in house development. And I would just say to that, even if you don’t, even if you’re not at that stage yet to bring development in house, get out there and network with development companies and build those relationships, because it really is beneficial to not only your company, but also to your customer. So, you know, go meet developers, take them out to lunch, start building that relationship, understand what they do meet every couple of weeks. And 

with the understanding that it’s mutually beneficial, you know, and we’ll go We’ll jump into that now. Because I’ll answer that question. But I just wanted to say don’t be, 

Don’t feel like you’re kept because you can’t bring it in house. Networking is huge. And you can absolutely have a very strong relationship with a development company, and a small development team that you work with consistently, even if they’re not in house. So don’t allow that to stop you from taking advantage of having developers as part of your team.  

And so I would say, to your question that you asked, the benefit, mostly on our side, from the marketing side is just absolute freedom, it gives us in our marketing strategies, you know, I don’t ever worry about when I meet with a customer, I never feel limited on the strategy I can build for them for their success, or for the vision they have for their company. Because I’m not thinking about, well, how would we build that process, who’s going to build that landing page, who’s going to link the back end, you know, that funnel going to work out. I mean, literally, nothing that I know, that is going to need development is limiting my mind or my team’s 

coming in, and our brain dump. So, we’re not limited by what we can do as a marketing team. And what we can’t do, because we don’t have the development to do it. And so, I would say the greatest benefit not only to our team, but more importantly, our customers, is that we’re not limited. So, we, when we have, we have brain dumps, continually in our company, where we just come in, and there’s nothing off the table, our brain dumps or just anything, you think that’s going to give us a skull, we’re dumping, and then we obviously flush those out. But because we know we have such a strong development team, and we’re not limited, it gives us ultimate freedom to really put strong strategies together and to present those in a way to our customers that we know we can follow through and we can execute effectively, you know, not just that we’re going to go find someone we’re going to figure this out, we already know going in, we’re going to be able to put that strong strategy together without limits around it, and then effectively execute that in a really good amount of time. So, it’s a massive benefit. 

At most marketers are visionaries, most marketers are creative. So, when you feel like your creative flow is, you know, stifled because you don’t have the development side of it. It really can limit you on your strategies moving forward. And because I don’t have that we just, we go in just full open and out of the box thinking which makes it fun.   

Billy Bateman 9:31   

Yeah, no, I definitely agree. Like when you’ve got that every source. I mean, you can ask any of our developers, I’ve grabbed him and said, hey, you’re going to help us with this project, you know, and they’ve all done it at one point and some of them quite a bit. It really opens up what you can do on the website. You don’t have to stick with the kind of out of the box like hey, here’s this template for your website, and this is how it works. And this is what you can do and what you can’t do. 

You can just do whatever you want within reason, you know, and, and you got to be different if you’re going to stand out unless you just got to Moodle, noodles or money to just buy traffic and buy customers. So 

Jennie Larsen 10:14   

is having a strategy behind that is the most important thing. But yeah, I mean, it just really amps up your strategy with that with that key part of development?  

Billy Bateman 10:26   

For sure, for sure. So, let’s flip the let’s flip it a little bit, what are the benefits advantages for a dev team to have some marketing resource available to it?  

Well, I would say that the advantage is just as beneficial on their side and into their customers. Because on our dev sides, like I said, most of the stuff they’re doing is for custom coding or custom sites, or SAS products. And they bring in our team in there from conception and then wireframing. And through so we’re thinking about their customers, they’ll bring us in on consulting, saying, Okay, this is the end goal, this is what we want their customers, this is the experience we’re trying to create for their customers. And we also have UX UI designers on our team that helped with that customer experience, but purely from a marketing standpoint.  

And I would say 100% of the time when we’re wireframe, that when the marketing company comm or the marketing team comes in and consults on that side, we’re always looking at on a wireframe. What is it that what is the end goal here? What is the customer journey you’re trying to create? And we’re able to make those choice those decisions at wireframe, rather than so many times a product will go out whether it be a website, or an app, or a SaaS product or a landing page. And then you bring in the marketers, and they’re like, well, what’s the, what’s the clear goal here, we don’t understand your landing, you want people to do you have three seconds. And so were brought in, at conception, and then again at wireframes. So that all that thought process is done well in advance.  

Jennie Larsen 11:56   

And we’re also brought in and the consulting with their customers to help you know, the best thing is educating the customers on what the strategy is and why. And when they can see it both from a development side, and from a customer and marketing side. It’s like they know, they’re getting that whole package that down the road, they’re not going to come back and go, now we need to go back to your website and redesign these things. Because we didn’t think of A, B or C. So, it’s a benefit on the other side as well.  

Billy Bateman 12:23   

Yeah, I agree. Like having some marketing influence in the dev process, especially early on pays off quite a bit. Like, you know, if you ask just a developer, like, hey, build me a landing page, and I need to just collect emails off of it, you’d probably get like a white page with a form on it that says input email here. Yeah, there you go. your landing pages. 

Jennie Larsen 12:48   

And the truth of the matter is, is developers aren’t marketers and marketers aren’t developers. But we understand. I mean, in our team, too, we’ve worked for so long together, that our developers now understand marketing, so we can give them something and they already understand what it is we’re wanting, because we’ve worked, we’ve worked with them for so long. And vice versa.  

I know more about development, now, four years later than I ever did coming in four years ago. Like, now I can understand the process, I can get a general idea. I we know when we have something we want developed, and I have a general idea of how long it’s going to take, you know, which I consider into my world strategies. So, both benefits, we’re both learning from each other. And the like I said, again, the ultimate goal always is our customers the benefit to our customer base, and what it is they need. And so, it really is the win scenario, you know, so Yeah, 

Billy Bateman 13:41   

I agree. I agree that they work together, they both learn it, and, and it gets quicker, it gets better. So, let me ask you this, then what mistakes Do you see companies making with this relationship between marketing and dev? 

Jennie Larsen 13:59   

I would say always IT strategy, you know, people get working on something, they have an idea and they, they just get moved, they just jump in, and everybody starts working on it or creating code or creating content, but there’s no strategy behind it. So, then you start getting a lot of back and forth and development gets frustrated. Because you know, even changing something as simple as a on a landing page is what looks like text, but that text is embedded in an image that now they have to go back and change the code. And, you know, there just wasn’t a strategy behind that. as to where, you know, I say this a lot to my customers.  

It wouldn’t matter how much money you had. You could have the best contractors in the world and all the best, you know, the supplies out there. But if you went to go build a house and everybody showed up, the very first thing they would say is where’s the plan? So, the money doesn’t solve it. All the best people working on it, don’t solve it. If you don’t have a plan and you don’t have a strategy and that strategy includes what part is the development side what part is the Decide what is the end goal we’re trying to get to, and everybody following that map, and you just end up, like I said, you’re not going to get the house you wanted to build, you know, you might get some things, you know, similar, but it’s not going to ultimately be what it could have been had, you have a strategy in place, and time wasted and money wasted, which I hate wasting either those things, especially time, you know, I’m one of those people that that time is our greatest asset, not only for me, but for my customers. So, it’s, I would say, 100% strategy is the biggest mistake that customers making these, you know, going back and forth. So 

Billy Bateman 15:41   

I agree, I agree not having that plan, like, you can throw them together. But if there’s not really a plan, like, it’s not going to matter. 

Jennie Larsen 15:50   

When you have that along, the development team understands it. And when the development team has a plan, and they pass it to us, we understand it, you know, and that plan is we come to get together to put that strategy together. So, with that’s our start, then from that strategy, everybody gets busy. And everybody knows clearly what their roles are. And more importantly, what is the end goal, not just what we’re creating, but what are we creating it for? What’s the end goal of this strategy? And if we’re off, we can clearly see it. We’re like, well, we thought we were going this way. And we’re actually heading this way. So, we need to readjust and realign. So 

Billy Bateman 16:25   

yeah, I agree. I agree. Thanks for thanks for sharing all your insights with this Jeanie. If people want to reach out to you and continue the conversation, what’s the best way for them to contact you. 

Jennie Larsen 16:39   

And I would say the quickest is probably just email me directly, which is Jenny at marketing, simplified, calm. And you can also call me directly. I don’t know if you’re going to have my if you want me to give my phone number or if you’re going to have it somewhere. So, if you wanted to reach me directly, it’s 801-361-0422. I would send you through the Office line, but then you get put on hold and it’s just a whole lot of going around. I’m one of those very personable people. I like to just talk to people myself. So that’s my direct line if anyone wanted to contact me, so 

Billy Bateman 17:16   

awesome. Awesome. Thanks, Jeannie. And we’ll chat later. 

Jennie Larsen 17:20   

Hey, thank you so much, Billy. Thank you for having me on Billy. 

Billy Bateman 17:23   

See Ya.