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Creating a You-seful Customer Experience: 7 Digital Survival Tips from Jay Baer

Jae Baer

In just two weeks, Canadian digital marketing expert, Jay Baer, will be landing in Perth to kick-off Sitecore’s Digital Survivor Roadshow.

As a NY Times bestselling author and the world’s #2 most retweeted person by B2B Marketers, we’re expecting roadshow attendees to have lots of questions to ask Jay; but, in the meantime, here are seven questions I wanted to ask Jay, ahead of his arrival. Here’s what he had to say…

 Jae Baer

Rob: Not long to go now, Jay; I can’t wait for the Digital Survivor Roadshow kick-off! Thanks for answering these questions, ahead of the big trip.
Last year, we surveyed marketing managers across Australia and New Zealand, for our Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing 2014 report. One of the key findings was that marketers are still spending more of their budgets on offline activities, rather than online.
When it comes to providing Youtility for customers, does online vs offline matter?

Jay: It doesn’t inherently matter, no. Useful is useful.

That said, it’s often easier to create hyper-relevant, useful marketing online, because customer behaviours online leave a trail and are easier to interpret. If you click a link in an email, I know it, and I can infer something by it and tailor marketing accordingly. If you open direct mail, I don’t know it unless you take a trackable action, like telephoning or showing up in person.

There are many, many great examples of offline Youtility – some of my favorites, actually. It’s just that it’s usually easier to make sure they are relevant online and, certainly in much of the world, customers of all types are spending a greater share of their time in digital spaces.

Rob: In your experience, what are the most effective content distribution channels for B2B organisations? Have these changed in recent years and, if so, how? (i.e. Slideshare used to attract huge B2B audiences – is this still the case?)

Jay: Slideshare remains a massive opportunity for B2B – and is still largely untapped in many ways.

Video remains a huge opportunity for B2B as well. Recently, we’ve been working with more and more of our B2B clients on podcasting and audio content in many formats. It’s visceral, it’s informative, you can consume it while multi-tasking. Lots of advantage of audio. So much so that I built, the first search engine for marketing podcasts.

Rob: When it comes to multi-channel marketing, is there such a thing as ‘too many channels’? (i.e. can marketers spread themselves too thin? How can marketers decide which channels to bet on and which to ignore/ease off?).

Jay: It’s very easy to get spread too thin. Just because a channel exists does not mean you need to be present on that channel. Ticking boxes isn’t a marketing strategy.

That said, people are spending their time online in more and more diffuse ways, so it is nearly inevitable that you’ll have to expand your channel participation at some point. But when you do so, the key is to have a very frank conversation with your team about resources.

If someone in your company wants you to get involved in a new channel, your answer should always be, “Great, what do you want us to do less of in exchange?”, because being in any channel has a real cost in time and attention. You either need new resources to open a new channel, or you need to decide strategically that you are going to spend less resources on something you’re already doing. You can’t just add and add and add, and hope that it will all work out. It won’t.

Rob: During the Digital Survivor Roadshow, you’ll be interviewing local digital marketing panellists from seven major cities across Australia and New Zealand; but what’s the best example of Youtility you’ve come across, so far?

Jay: Impossible to say. I have many great AUS and NZ examples curated for the road show. Maybe my favorite is the Pedigree pet food program in New Zealand where – in cooperation with Google. Pet owners can press a button if they lose their animal, and real-time “lost pet” ads show up as hyper-local, targeted display ads in the neighbourhood where you live (or where you lost your pet). Incredible real-time relevance on that one.

Rob: The importance of creative thinking has been talked about a lot recently; in fact, in our Emerging Trends report, an overwhelming 90% of respondents listed ‘creative tasks (such as writing or working with designers’ as their favourite aspect of the marketing role.
How important do you feel creativity is in modern marketing? What do you feel most often holds marketers back from unleashing their creativity?

Jay: The occasional opportunity to be creative is what separates marketers from accountants and actuaries.

As marketing gets more digital and more measurable, it increasingly becomes about math and science. So in the few instances where you do get a chance to do something fun, marketers of course are going to love that, and gravitate toward it. What holds marketers back from unleashing their creativity is the simple fact that marketing is more science and less art than ever before.

Rob: Following on from that, we also found that content production one of the most commonly outsourced marketing tasks (outsourced by 30% of ANZ respondents).
Would you say that outsourcing content production is a good or bad move, in general? Why?

Jay: It depends on the company. Today, a lot of great content marketing requires skills and strategy that simply isn’t present in some businesses. If you want to launch a podcast, for example, can you do that in-house? Perhaps, but it might be easier to outsource it, at least at first.

Rob: Interestingly, we also uncovered that male ANZ marketers rate their digital expertise more highly than their female counterparts (38% of men vs. 18% of women rated their skills and understanding as ‘excellent’).
Why do you think this might be the case?

Jay: My experience is that males rate themselves more highly at everything than females. It’s what allows us to psychologically avoid dealing with our obvious shortcomings!


To register to attend a Sitecore Digital Survivor Roadshow event, at a city near you, please visit

Robert Holliday - VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia, Sitecore About Robert Holliday - VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia, Sitecore
As VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia at Sitecore, Robert is charged with driving strategy in collaboration with the local senior management teams responsible for Sales, Marketing, Customers and Alliances. Robert works closely with corporate and regional offices to implement and localise the global strategy to grow the business and ensure customer success with Sitecore's leading customer engagement platform.