July 14, 2023

Marketing 101: "Focus on the audience, not just the channels." - Katie Butler | BCL #303

Katie Butler is the Co-Founder of Distractive, a major marketing contributor to Moonbeam, a smart contract platform that lets developers build decentralized applications that integrate across many blockchains. Prior to Distractive, Katie led marketing teams at Trilio and Codiscope (acquired by Synopsys). Katie brings extensive experience in developer-focused marketing, branding, and digital strategy to Moonbeam. Moonbeam is now the #1 place for developers to build in the Polkadot ecosystem and is positioned to continue as a major smart contract platform. Katie currently focuses on expanding the network’s 280k+ strong community to become a worldwide brand.

Katie fills her weekends with art and world history, day trips around New England, and tiring out her hiking-obsessed pup, Bodie.

Katie:What I see happen a lot is a focus on the channel or the brand of the channel.Twitter, telegram, discord, like these are tools rather than the audience,right?

Julian:Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast.Today we have Katie Butler, co-founder of Distractive, a major marketingcontributor to Moonbeam, and Moonbeam is a smart contract platform that letsdevelopers build decentralized applications that integrate across manyblockchains.

Katie, it's so amazingto chat with you, not only because of obviously, the unconventional structureof, of your company and its relationship to Moonbeam and, and really it, it'sexciting. I, I know you kind of explained it to me a little bit before show,but I'd love for you to unpack it to the audience. But also your experience asin, in marketing and the new and interesting channels that I think Web three isintroducing to how, kind of gaining an audience, building community and beingkind of directly connected with your consumer is just so different now.


before we get intoMoonbeam Distractive, what were you doing before this?  

Katie:Oh, it's hard to remember a time before crypto. So let's see. I mean, my, mycareer has mostly been B2B startup marketing tech, so that's the easiest way todescribe it. For years, I build myself as like the marketing chameleon becauseI was constantly bouncing into new industries, not because I really wanted to,but because I just never really found a home.

And the closestthing I found to something that I loved was marketing to developers, which is,I'm not a technical person. I don't have a CS degree. Like that's not a paththat I ever imagined I would take, but I found that marketing to developers issuper fun. They say they hate marketing, but really they just hate badmarketing.

Yeah. And I thinkwe can all agree that we do. They're just a little more vocal about it. Yeah.But if you can sort of earn their trust and provide value they're really brandloyal and really fun to work with and to market to. So I just fell in love withthat and that's sort of how I ended up in the crypto space anyway.

Julian:Yeah, it's, it's,  

you said two wordsthere that I think always are worth kind of extracting a little bit more ofmeaning, which is building trust and, offering value. Will you describe trustto these communities? How do you build that trust? Is it with educationalcontent, kind of free giveaways?

Is it kind of beinga part of the building process and taking their feedback and incorporating it?How is their community a little bit different than the communities and and whatis that trust process like?  

Katie: Imean, I can't speak to the only way to do this, but I can tell you forMoonbeam, we did what we said we were gonna do again and again and again, and.

That is the onlyway that we knew how to build trust. I would say. Like we were competent andknew what we were doing and why and executed as timely as we could, given howfast everything moves in crypto and all of the other sort of things that were,were circling around us. So that was how we build trust.

That's how wecontinue to build trust is not only are we continuing to invest back intoMoonbeam, Both sort of like from a budget perspective, but also from a timeperspective, from a technology perspective. But we're continuing to like pushon, what Moonbeam is capable of, what Moonbeam can do for builders, for peoplewho want to kind of create the next generation of applications in this space.So for us it was that Was it like just being reliable and being visible?  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Before we slip, too, too deep into Moonbeam Distractive. And, and

just to just focus a little bit more onyourself, seeing that the, just the changes in not only consumer behaviors, butin, in what's been attractive and, and what channels have been more attractiveto the types of consumers.

Where do you see alot of companies, I guess misdirected because like you said, there's, there'snot great marketing campaigns or strategies, and then there's good ones. Whatdictates that? Obviously it's a trust and value, but, where are companiesmainly missing?  

Katie:So, it's, it's tough because a lot of this, I think, is a shared struggleacross all kinds of companies in many different industries.

I don't think thisis unique to us, but yeah. What I see happen a lot is, is a focus on thechannel or the brand of the channel. So, Twitter, telegram, discord, like theseare tools rather than the audience, right? So if we have. A message that weknow is really only something our very technical user base cares, cares about.

Not all of ourusers and certainly not everyone who follows us on Twitter, then yeah, we coulddistribute that message on Twitter, but it would be better to find a way to getit just in front of those users who care the most. Mm-hmm. And so starting totake like marketing 1 0 1 and apply it to what we do from a crypto perspectivewhen we're so used to moving like fast and loose and doing everything.

As quickly as we possiblycan, but starting to implement some of these best practices in terms ofsegmentation and targeting your messages. Like that's where I've seen the bigshift in the way that that teams operate in this space. And I'm very optimisticabout, everyone always looks to like, what can the crypto space, what can theblockchain space do to be ready for mainstream or to get more mainstreamadoption?

And like what I seehappening right now across the industry are like the return to fundamentalsthat we've all needed to take. In order to like earn those users to, to earntheir trust, to earn their attention. So I think those are the things that Isee happen the most is that people are like, ah, we'll blast it out on Twitter.

And it's like,well, if you know only maybe 40 people are gonna care about this, why don't youget it in front of those 40 people first and then we'll see how we look  

Julian:at the end of the day.  

Yeah. Well, itseems now, it seems so cutting edge to, to really even more double down, focuson a small cohort of users or a small community and, and really kind oforganically grow it.

And what do youfeel has caused that shift for a lot of companies or even your company inparticular?  

Katie:Well, everybody left in terms of like the community, right? And I don't meanlike in terms of any community in particular. It's this natural contraction wesee every time. There's like a bull, a bear cycle here, right?

So everyone kind ofgoes back to what they think is safe, where they want to park their assets forsome time and they return when there's seemingly more activity, more, moregoing on, new projects coming out. And so when you see things like that it's,it's almost like you have to really be thoughtful about what you work on in away that you didn't before.

So in 2021, formost teams, anything you touched was gold, right? Like you just, you put outany message about any product and, and people were interested. They wereactively looking for that kind of information in a way that a lot of communitymembers aren't today, cuz they're kind of waiting until they think thatsomething's really starting to brew.

And then they'llkind of hop back into to being active users on the day to day. So I, I thinkthat is really the number one lesson. But also the, the difference that we needto keep in mind when we're acting or, or interacting with community members isthat like what they're looking for, what their expectations are, it's changedand we need to adapt to that and understand like how our relationship with,with them should change as well.


You thinking aboutthe channels that, a lot of the marketing is done through, it seems like,discord is kind of favorite Twitter, like crypto, Twitter and all these youknow the ones we commonly hear, but how do you, or do you see any kind ofincumbent, or not incumbent, excuse me, any new generational product that'shaving a little bit more of a crypto Ford audience now that things are a littlebit more constrained and those who are involved are, are.

Whether they'reenthusiasts, evangelists, or what have you, but you know, they, they have somestake in it. Do you see any new channels emerge?  

Katie: Imean, we're certainly keeping an eye out, especially with sort of all theruckus at Twitter. There's a lot of Twitter competitors who have popped up.I'm, I'm sort of cautiously watching and, and seeing what we think is gonna bethe winner if there is one coming out of that.

But largely, Imean, there's a few differences for me. Twitter, of course, is huge. In a waythat, in my B2B past Twitter was not as much of a presence in those roles, atleast for me. And then, discord and Telegram you've mentioned I think forgamers who are interested in crypto as well, discord in particular is sort of asweet spot.

Reddit. I thinkeveryone knows from like a crypto speculation standpoint, that that audiencehas always been active on Reddit. But again, like in the past, From a B2Bperspective, it's been hard to have a presence on Reddit, but here in thisindustry, like you have information that people are actively looking for, andso you are able to take advantage of those kinds of channels in a way that youwouldn't.

We are keeping aneye on like Threads and Blue Sky and Mastodon and all of these new platformsthat have popped up. But you know, from a marketing perspective, your numberone consideration is really audience. And so while we don't necessarily wannawait and miss any sort of first mover advantage of getting onto these platformsearly, we also don't want to go to vacant platforms.

So we're sort ofwaiting to see what happens when the dust settles before really kind of pickingour horse in this battle.  

Julian:Yeah, yeah. You're shifting our focus, to

Distractive andMoonbeam, describe the relationship between the two companies and what'sparticularly exciting about. How you structured it.

Cause I thoughtthat was extremely fascinating based on, on, on the execution of the thesisthat, you know, that, that, that was set out by Moonbeam. So yeah, we, we'dlove to, for you to share with audiences.

Katie:Yeah. So for, for folks who are new to Moonbeam, so Moonbeams a smart contractplatform. We were one of the first, if not the first, to really focus on takingthis concept of an E B M and putting it on a modern framework on a moderntechnology, which for us was substrate, which is what Polkadots built on.

So the whole ideawas like, Hey, how can you move the technology forward, create something netnew while still kind of conforming to what people use every day in terms oftooling and languages and accounts and so forth. And so that's what we did andwe started it late 2019, early 2020. And so in the years that we were buildingand then of course launched in 2022, we always had an eye to decentralization.

That's somethingthat was always important to us. I used to, when I would hire pitch people thatthis will probably be the first job you have, that if you're successful youwill work yourself out of a job. Like, it's just a very strange dynamic forpeople who aren't used to this space, but that's what we're all trying to do,right?

You're building atechnology, a platform. It's meant to be decentralized, it's meant to be open,and so you kind of have to go in being okay with the idea that at some point,like. You, you become less important. You need to, to really involve as manypeople as possible in these key decisions. And so that's something that wasalways important.

As soon as welaunched, of course with Polka Dot, we had on chain governments built in, whichwas something we took advantage of from the beginning, right? That's how youlaunch a chain in Polka dot. And so we have always had that sort of mentalitybuilt into everything that we do. As we progress through our kind of firstyear, last year, I.

We were trying tofigure out like ways that we could continue that decentralization path. And soone of the things that seemed to make sense is like, at least for marketing andbusiness development, to break it out into a separate entity. And now we haveformed a separate marketing agency called Distractive, which is Distractive.xyzfor those who wanna look us up.

So this iscurrently the marketing and business development contributor to Moonbeam, tothe Moonbeam Foundation. There's also other contributors, there's now like fiveor six that all are contributing independently to Moonbeam. So the way that Idescribe it to people who are totally new to this kind of concept is it'salmost the opposite of what you see and your typical business structure, right?

Like where normallyyou have a company and that company might have many product lines. This isflipped. You have a product which is the network, and they have many companiesworking on it. Yeah. And so there's not like an ownership relationship there,but you have sort of many different departments all kind of working in what Icall like a school of fish.

Right? You're allkind of generally going in the same direction. You have like a loose closeness,but you're not necessarily driven by the same prerogative that you might beunder like one corporate umbrella.  


And so how doesthis change how you measure success as a, as an agency?  

Katie:Huh? Well, I mean, we're two and a half months into this agency thing, so letme get back to you.

But I would sayfrom my perspective, it's, it's tough, right? Like it's tough to go from beingthe, the primary contributors to a project, to being like one of many andfiguring out how to work with all of these new teams and how to make room fornew ideas, new processes some of which are good, some of which are verydifferent from what we've done before.

So I think it takessome adjustment, but for, for marketing, it's actually a little bit easierbecause as marketers, we work with agencies all the time. Like you'd be hardpressed to find a marketer who hasn't hired a branding agency or PR agency or awebsite design agency or something in the past. And so we have thoseexperiences to draw upon.

It's a little bitdifferent for some of my colleagues who've pursued similar kinds of projectswhere they are working on. Like operational entities or developer relationentities, and their agency relationship experience is just a little bitdifferent. So they may have different working relationships, but for me, I havea lot to learn from and copy from in my past experiences.

So we're justtrying to adopt things that I've liked when I've worked with some really niceagencies in the past.  


Do most foundationshave kind of an a, an arm like yours that. What kind of focuses on buildingthat community? Or do they typically build it inside? Now? How different isthis from what we usually see other foundations structured?

Katie: Imean, to some degree it's different or similar. Yeah, I was gonna say, I, Ifeel like this is sort of forging a new path and so there's many teams thatI've seen sort of do similar things. I know like the Osmosis team is similarlydecentralized. There's a lot of different contributors to osmosis. I believethat, I'm trying to, well, I won't name any names unless I'm sure, but there'sa bunch of other teams that have sort of pursued something like this and Idon't know as much about like how many of them started out being like just acouple of teams, one or two, and then broke into, into many.

But I thinkgenerally speaking, what we're seeing is like, there's basically two, twoparties here, teams that are serious about decentralization and teams that arelike, Decentralization theater in some ways. And so for us, like we're tryingto just take it one step at a time and do what we think is like right for, forthe ecosystem.

And for me thatmeans like actively working and finding other contributors who can come joinand chip into what we're doing. Other vendors, other, other parties who can beinvolved with Moonbeam long term. So I, I don't have a clean answer to yourquestion. I think there's a lot of different models. For how people have chosento do this.

To some degree,there's some similarities but by and large, like we're doing something that notthat many people have tried before. So there's, there's just not a clearconsensus on the right way to do it yet.


What are some Iguess, kind of crucial decisions that you've had to kind of fall into beingthat, this is.

It's so different,it's so dynamic and, and really like, it, it's, it's so reliant that trust is,I, I couldn't imagine having such a reliance on that trust building within thecommunity. Have there been anything that's just, out of the ordinary thatyou've not seen in your career before, just within this new ecosystem?

Katie:So many things. I mean, I think Polka in their own right were one of the firstto do an on chain vote about their rebrand, which I think. Is is prettysignificant. I don't remember if it was 2020 or 2021, but a few years ago theydid a pretty big rebrand project. And so like that was, I think the first timeI've ever seen anything like that go on chain.

And so for me thatwas, I would say the true first for Moonbeam. Most of the decisions that happenfor Moonbeam are quite technical. And so some of the things that we're workingto make sure are easier for users to take advantage of would be things likedelegation, which has always been present on Moonbeam, but we want more usersto be able to tap into that so they don't have to worry about the minutiae oflike these channel openings and some of the smaller things that maybe don'timpact them day to day, but they do still have and want visibility for big, bigthings that are happening.

Like. Grantdistribution, for example. So there's these ecosystem grant funds set aside bythe Moonbeam Foundation and the community gets a direct say in how they'reallocated. And so we've seen that not only do community members really want toparticipate in those, they're very vocal about them and they're kind of excitedabout seeing these grants be put back into the ecosystem and being able to havea say in that.

And I think that'ssomething that you just don't see in a lot of places. Like when I first wasworking in this space. I was constantly struck by how many people wanted tofind out about what I was doing, versus again, like products I've sold in thepast. You end up feeling like you're, you're pitching people all the time,whereas this is the inverse, right?

People are knockingat your door. They want to know what you're up to. And so this was similarwhere so many people wanted to participate in the grant process. It wasrefreshing. It was nice to see.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah.  

What's beenexciting, ob obviously, the, the company's in, in terms of the structures alittle bit newer, but what's been exciting about the traction you've seen uptill now and what are you particularly focused on and as, as the, the nextmonth and the next year's goal and agenda come up?

Katie:So, I think Moonbeam, so Moonbeam launched at the beginning of 2022 and 2022was a wild year in this industry. So it's kind of crazy to see how many thingshave changed in the last year and a half since we've been live. I would say,we've always had like very good. Adoption on the DAP side. So we were, thebiggest in the first ecosystem in the polka dot in the polka.space.

And that for us wasalways sort of our pride point, right? It was the easiest place to build. It'swhere everyone wanted to be. It's where the users wanted to be. And thatexcitement, I think, really helped propel us to where we are. Last year wereally shifted to say, okay, how can we move things forward?

Exponentially,right? Because we're seeing a lot of, and I'm sure you've seen this too, inthis space, like kind of copying and pasting, like, oh, well what if we did,this app, but for this ecosystem or did this app for this ecosystem? And so youjust don't end up with total rethinking of the way that you approach things.

And so that's whatwe were trying to do last year. And, and the founder introduced this concept ofconnected contracts, right? So this is the idea that you can have. Manydifferent networks kind of behind the scenes, all coordinating to produce anapplication experience for end users that looks and feels nice and normal andyou don't have to worry about bouncing from space to space to space.

And so for us, thisis where we've spent a lot of our time and we've seen some traction here,particularly, there's one team that launched recently called Prime Protocol,and so they've kind of. Really changed the game in terms of what a web threebased application can look like, and that's the kind of thing that I get reallybullish about, right?

That's where youcan see, ah, all right, so we're not trying to say, Hey, we're just gonnapester users until they really wanna participate in this ugly, difficult touse, not very appealing application. It's instead flipping it on its head andsaying, ah, let's make it way easier to use so that we are worthy of theirattention and that we can present something to them that meets their basicexpectations.

And so I'm very,very excited to see this technology really continue to be adopted. There's afew other teams who have some interesting stuff in the works that I don't thinkI can talk about yet. But those, those kinds of use cases are what I get veryexcited about.  


And how's it, how'sit structured? So you, you get a project that has some momentum, some validity,and, and then your goal is to make sure that there's a lot of activity going onon that project. People are, know about it, people are educated on it, andmaybe even get involved. And, and, and, and then are you deploying resources tothat? What is, what is your, like, main responsibility in, in, in, in how youmanage the growth of a lot of these different projects?

Because it seemslike at some point there's gonna be so many.

Katie:Hundreds. That's always, I think the trick. So the, the Moonbeam network isneutral, right? The network is something that is, supportive of all chainsthat, that deploy to it. But that's actually one of the advantages of nowbecoming our own entity as destructive, is that as Moonbeam and as contributingteam to Moonbeam, we have a set of guidelines.

And we have tofollow those guidelines, right? You have to be live, you have to be clear aboutwhat you provide as an end user experience. You have to have a thing toannounce or some news to share. And so those sorts of support pieces make sensewhen you're first launching. But on a go forward basis as you're trying toacquire users, like it becomes really hard to just keep using Moonbeamresources in order to get in front of net new users.

But as destructive.As an independent marketing entity, we have a little bit more autonomy. And sowe haven't done this at all yet, but in the future, if this is something wedecide to do, we have the ability to say, all right, I think like thisapplication could be really interesting for us to work with directly.

Why don't we workon their own marketing channels to grow those marketing channels separately andindependently from Moonbeam, obviously as a, as a Moonbeam contributor, there'sgoing to be like some overlap in that audience, but. What we see is like not alot of teams who have the ability or the resources to invest back in their ownmarketing, and that's the real game changer rather than, marketing serving asa, as a general resource for 300 projects.

Julian:Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. To kind of identify and qualify, the projectsthat are, are, know, have the right recipe to work on and or have thoseresources and, and it is exciting to think about what those resource deployedlooks like. Being as an individual entity and the flexibility that you have,like, I would assume the speed at which you can deploy different tests and, andactually get different consumer feedback must be just, exponentially faster.

If, if, if you hada separate satellite entity versus internally, do you see that that deploymentincreased?  

Katie:Not yet. Maybe, no. I would say like right now we're still pretty small.There's like six of us. So we are, are sort of getting to the point where we'restarting to be able to choose resources that we think will really be able to helpspeed up some of the things that we want to work on.

But at least fornow, I wouldn't say that like the separation of the entity is really addedspeed. If anything, there's redundancy now, right? There's multiple decisionmakers involved in many different kinds of things. And so I think that some ofthat stuff will need to kind of figure out a new working relationship in orderto then gain speed down  

Julian:the road.

Yeah, yeah.  

What do you view assome of the biggest challenges that Distractive and no being faces todayoutside of obviously the external, market, but you know, whether it's internalor external companies, what do you  

Katie: Imean, focus and knowing what we're good at. Those are always, those are thehardest things to do from a marketing perspective, right?

And not because,we're incapable, but because, you want to do so many things, you want to sayyes to so many projects. You have, a constant like barrage of requests forthings that need your support. And so, it, it sort of requires going back to ifyou've ever done like a lean startup exercise where you're trying to figure outnot only your positioning, But what are your core competencies?

Like if you hadjust one channel to pick, to put all of your energy into, what is it? And sothe, the ups and downs of crypto create this like swelling and then contractingand we have to remember to contract, right? Like this is a good opportunity tosay, Hey, I don't know if this activity is really producing what we hoped itwould.

Maybe we put thaton the back burner until we have more capacity to deal with that. So I thinkfocus from a marketing perspective, focus from a Moonbeam perspective too,right? What is Moonbeam best at? What is Moonbeam known for? Those are allsuper important and this is a great time to work on some of that so that we'rereally like clean operationally as we move into the fall.


and if everythinggoes well, what's the long term vision for Distractive or for Moonbeam?  

Katie:Oh, I don't know. Distractive. We've pondered so many different kinds of ideas.I think our first prerogative is like reinvestment back into Moonbeam, right?Like we have been here since the beginning.

We're veryenthusiastic about Moonbeam and its ecosystem. All the things that we're seeinghappening, all of the projects that are coming in the continual, like, I don'tknow how to describe how impressive the founders are in this space. Likethere's so many people that I think are just really interesting.

Yeah, and so withthat, like putting more time back into Moonbeam is probably where Distractivewill spend its time for Moonbeam itself. Again, like I think there's, I meanthere's a few interesting things that we're working on from a marketingperspective of the first is like a brand refresh. We have, I think, Componentsof a brand that we really like and people respond well to, but we've never hada designer.

We're always kindof scrappy. And so I'd like to sort of have a more comprehensive approach tobranding, including who we are and what is our brand identity. Yeah, so that'ssomething that I think we're working on right now that will result in hopefullya new website. And that hopefully will be followed by sort of a bigger pushinto Moonbeam so that people can really start to understand what it is that wedo beyond like being a developer platform.

What is it thatmakes Moonbeam special?  

Julian:Yeah. I love this next section.  

I call it myFounder faq. So I'm gonna hit you with some rapid fire questions and we'll seewhere we get. So, my first question I would like to open it up with is, what'sparticularly hard about your job day to day?

Katie:Oh I'm remembering to sign off my computer before midnight.

I would say likethere's the, the first biggest thing is that marketing is in many ways the laststop for every internal and external team before projects are launched. And sowhat ends up happening is that, where you might have a roadmap in like a morecorporate company. Here we don't.

And so it's a bunchof teams with conflicting timelines, not talking to each other. So for me,marketing is in some ways the one who has to point these things out. And it canbe challenging, right? Like, hey, team one, talk to team two. Like, you guysare both trying to do the same thing at the same time, to the same audience.

Like you gotta workit out. And so, that I think is sort of persistently the biggest challenge. Aswell as, just making sure that. We're not forgetting that at the end of ourday, at, at the end of the day here, like our job is only done if we continueto bring our industry up a level. And so mm-hmm.

It's really easy tocontinue focusing only on people who are already in this space who already havean interest in crypto and in blockchain. But we need to kinda like pause everyonce in a while and say like, Hey, weren't we, weren't we supposed to be bringingthis to like a broader set of users? Why don't we.

Why don't we thinkabout that more seriously? So those are kind of, where I waiver back and forthfrom a challenge perspective.  


When you thinkingabout broadening your, your users, how much of that relies on justfoundationally the core story of the product or brand? I'm think thinking aboutcurrently I'm launching a product and one challenging bit is how does the storyof the product or brand impact.

The content or thecampaigns or everything that surrounds that. It's, it's, I don't know, it seemsso vague and ambiguous, so for me at least, it's challenging to make it makeall sense. What would you recommend for founders going through somethingsimilar to myself or even, with Moonbeam being that a lot of the products arenew, how do you build a story and then create content to actually, and, and,and reinforce that story?

Katie: Imean, it's, I mean, you're, it's marketing, right? Like that's sort of likeeverything that marketing does from an integrated perspective when you'retrying to like live and breathe your brand identity. Ideally like the big testis if you can put something out there and forget to put your logo on it, andpeople still know who it is, either because of your voice or because of yourvisuals or because of the way that you're approaching things, whatever it is,all of it, preferably.

If they can stillfigure out who it is, then you have like a pretty good brand, right? You'redoing things consistently, you have it. I think a lot of it depends on whoyou're working with and what your company looks like. Like I've worked atcompanies that are very, very open to having a, a unique, powerful voice whenit comes to branding.

And I've worked atcompanies that prefer to just be very literal and benign and a little bit tamewhen it comes to voice. I've worked at companies that like to be tame when itcomes to visual branding, but are okay being loud from a visual brandingperspective and having a neon logo. So it really depends on, on sort of whatyou're doing, but you know consistently across everything that you do from acommunication standpoint, that's really all you can do is like, define a path,hopefully a unique one, one that speaks to you, one that speaks to your users,and then just implement it regularly and consistently.


what are thedifferent components to defining that path? Is it having, values, a set ofwords that, you should relate your product and your brand should be say, funand joyful light, how do you define them?

Katie: Ihave so many fun brand positioning exercises. I love doing them. So the firstis, what is it that you do for your users?

Right? What's yourreason to be? What is it that. Continues to bring like that uniqueness to, toyour brand. That's your identity, right? Like, what is the thing that youoffer? Mm-hmm. And I don't mean literally, I mean like, what is the, the spiritbehind what you offer and then you kind of wanna work backwards to why do youdo that and who is it for, and what's the actual offering?

And so where,especially in the technology space, many people tend to get tripped up, isdescribing what they do without describing why they do it. Okay. And that'sreally a distinction that is super important, right? So that's a, that's a keycomponent. I do typically go through a lot of exercises around, what are theadjectives we use to describe it?

Who are we? Andmore importantly, who are we not, how do we talk and how do we not talk? So onething that I've been a stickler in a previous life in enforcing is like, weclaimed our brand spirit. Was all about like empowering developers to fix theirown code from a security perspective. And then at the same time, we used thingsthat were kind of condescending in our language.

Like, well, by theend of this, you should be able to do this. Instead of like, Hey, learn moreabout whatever it is that we're about to teach you you should understand. Andso it's kind of subtle things, but making sure that, developers are incrediblysmart people. Let's not be condescending when we talk to them.

Let's not bepedantic and like making sure that our brand identity matches our voiceeverywhere and go through kind of this pretty tedious exercise, but animportant one. And then if you can set produce like a set of documents thatreally. Outlines who you wanna be and why. That's kind of your action plan.


Have you ever had asituation with either founders or whoever is kind of responsible for like abranding project? It, it, it's just hard for them to define that. And how doyou, you go through this exercise, you push through it. How much of, how, howoften do you have to lean on your own kind of confidence and expertise and, andjust trust in your ability to, to, give them guidance in the right direction.

Katie:Yeah, I mean I think most people will tell you, most marketers will tell youthat if you don't have buy-in at the C level, it's not gonna happen. It doesn'tmatter. Yeah. How well-researched or thoughtful or specific your like brand'sdocumentation is, it's not gonna happen if you can't get buy-in at the top mostlevel.

And that can betough, especially, if depending on like the personalities that you've had, I'veworked with. Engineering CEOs. I've worked with sales CEOs, I've worked withproduct CEOs. I've worked with former investor CEOs. Like I've had a lot ofdifferent arch types at the helm here.

Mm-hmm. And I wouldsay that they're all, they all have sort of their own biases. But if you canget them bought in, that's really the biggest determination. And then you canwork with, I would say sales, if you have it, bd, ecosystem development. Sure.Whatever you wanna call it. And whatever industry you're in that's gonna be thenumber two place that you need to make sure this is enforced.

Because ifmarketing sounds all flowery and delightful, then you hand things off to yoursales team and it's a totally different experience than nobody wins.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah.  

Thinking about,your experience and, and what's something that you particularly has had or hashad a particularly lasting impact on you, whether it's, a book or people what'ssomething that you've taken today and, and actually impacts your work day today? Anything come to mind?  

Katie:Let me just look. There's one that I really liked called Contagious. And it'show ideas catch on. And that one sounds, have you read it?  

Julian:I'm like halfway through it and it's just, it's just giving me absolute likeword of how to maximize word of mouth and create that referral network.

Like, pleasecontinue. It's, yeah, I, I'm fascinated on how to do it.  

Katie:So I'm not, I, for one, I'm not a reader of very many marketing or businessbooks, partially because. Many of these kinds of books are written for nonmarketers who wanna understand the concepts of marketing, right? So I've had alot of them recommended to me, and I'm like, this is just explaining howmarketing works at a very basic level.

So it's not veryhelpful for me, but contagious I thought was helpful. Not only professionally,but like personally, right? Understanding how different presentations and, andtypes of communication can change the way that ideas are kind of accepted. Thatto me was I think probably the most interesting and something that I referencedall the time.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. It's such a, it's such a good book. And I, I, I, now, now I'm evenmore motivated to complete it, but it, it's amazing to think about how, you cantie a brand with such a, a a movement and the timing of it and it incorporatingall those different, aspects. And I guess, being that with marketing, I feellike timing is a, is crucial.

The product has tobe at a certain point, you have to have some product market fit. Maybe evensome customers already, some momentum.  

What are somesignals that you use to define when it is the right time to, deploy a campaignor test a new version of a product or new landing page? What are those signalsthat you see or that you use to, to dictate?

Katie:So, I, I have, I can think two approaches. The first is if there's a low liftway to do it now, do it now. Right. Like just start putting it out there andtesting. So, for example, like if there's a way, if you're, if there's a marketyou want to try out, if there's a use case you wanna try out, and you're notsure if it's the right use case, like put out a page, talk to a couple people,have a conversation with actual users and get some feedback instead of likewaiting and pondering.

And if the feedbackthey give you is like, you need more, or now's not the time, then at leastyou're getting that from someone other than yourself. So that's usually thefirst thing I try to do. The second thing is, Have like a, a frequent open lineof communication with your community lead. For, for us, for the longest time,marketing and community were very block step, right?

Like they wereworking together very, very closely, which was in my mind like a greatadvantage for marketing, right? Like we have a very good sense of what thecommunity is thinking and feeling and seeing. They're going to be the ones whotell you when sentiment changes when. People are starting to get excited aboutsomething, maybe about something you didn't quite anticipate.

When there'sstarting to be like renewed enthusiasm, when people are starting to kind ofcome back or be interested in a particular thing, they're going to be the firstones who know about it. And so making sure you have that constant open line ofcommunication is very, very important.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah, the sentiment, that's an interesting word that, that you chose.

Cuz I feel likethat that is a really interesting signal to be, but I feel like it's clear onceyou kind of key in and, and listen to it. Katie, I know we're coming to theclose of the episode, so I always like to ask this question before we before weleave here. Actually two more, two more questions.

One is,  

if you weren'tdoing this, what else would you be doing? Or working on this product, whatother products would you be working on?  

Katie:Yeah. Well, so I would say like I was, for the first year that I was in thisindustry, I kept referring to like crypto As, as those crazy people, right? Notliterally, but like I felt like an outsider.

I was referring tothem as sort of a separate entity. It took a good year before I felt like I waspart of it. And since I've sort of like passed that, I'll never go back. Ican't imagine a world where, I go back to working, even like I worked instartups my whole career and they operated at a snails pace compared to thisindustry.

Everything is sofast moving. There's new technology exists every three to four months, and soI, I don't think I would leave this industry. I would probably find ways toagain, like help close that gap between what I'm seeing as someone who livesand breathes this every day versus what outsiders are seeing.

Okay. In terms oflike actual applicable use cases and, and things they can interact with on aday-to-day basis. So probably application side would be my guess, but I don'tknow. We'll see.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Last thing is I know we covered a lot of things today, but isthere any question I a, I didn't ask you that I should have?

Anything that weleft on the table here today?  

Katie:Oh man. I'm, I'm not sure that I have a good, I should, I should have thoughtof something in advance. I don't think there's anything that comes to mind frommy from my kind of day-to-day point of view. I'm just really excited about someof the stuff that I think is gonna be popping up here in the last half of theyear.

So for me, I thinkthis is like a really interesting time because I get to work on projects thatI've been wanting to work on for a long time, and I'm personally very eager tosort of work to unveil those this fall. I just don't have much for people tosee for a preview yet, but hopefully this will be stuff that everyone will seevery soon.


Well, where can wefind that? Where can we be not only a fan of, the projects you're working on,but you and and what you're working on as a professional, whether it'sLinkedIn, Twitter,  

Katie:where, well, there's a million channels, so Distractive XYZ is the name of theagency, and so we are today marketing and BD, wholly focused on Moonbeam andthe Moonbeam ecosystem.

Moonbeam, you canaccess Moonbeam.network and there's a whole bunch of social channels you canaccess from the ribbon there. But we are on every channel that you've everprobably interacted with. Twitter, telegram, discord, Reddit, YouTube, all ofthe above. So you can probably, our website's the easiest way to get that info.

Julian:Amazing. Kay. It's been such a pleasure not only unpacking your early career,but also what you're working on now and just. The different and unique waythat, that the company's structured and how everything's kind of impacted to,to pushing a product in this ecosystem forward. And it's really cool to thinkabout what that means and changes to not only products, but consumers and thiswhole ecosystem.

So thank you forgiving us your insights and sharing about how we can also build our brands andbuild our brands better. Hope you enjoyed yourself today, and thank you againfor being on Behind Company Lines.  

Katie:Yeah, happy to be here.  

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