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Inside Exit Five | Behind The Scenes Launching Our First Event and Exit Five's Recent Growth

6 Jun 2024
Inside Exit Five | Behind The Scenes Launching Our First Event and Exit Five's Recent Growth

Show Notes

Dave and Dan (COO at Exit Five) share the behind the scenes on Exit Five's growth. They cover
  • How we sold out Drive in 24 hours
  • Why we used a waitlist strategy
  • How much Exit Five has grown
  • How much we're investing into the business this year
  • Solopreneurship

PS. We’d love to get your questions and feature you on this podcast. Have a hot topic, a burning question, or just want to say hi? Send us a voicenote at, and we will feature you on the show. Emails are fine too, but a voice note might get you on the pod :)


  • () - - Intro
  • () - - The Power of Collaboration
  • () - - The Exit Five Journey
  • () - - The Drive Event
  • () - - Launching Our Event
  • () - - The Success Behind Our Event
  • () - - Brand Connection and Storytelling
  • () - - The Power of Building an Audience
  • () - - Content and Audience Strategy

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Dave Gerhardt [00:00:01]:
Good to have you on the podcast. Thanks for all you do.

Dan Murphy [00:00:17]:
Good to be back.

Dave Gerhardt [00:00:18]:
Good to be back. First time, long time. We want to talk about drive. So we want to talk about the decision to do our first event, how we did it, how it came to be selling tickets. Da da da. People like the behind the scenes stuff, and I figured what better format than to do a podcast about it? But really quickly, if I could just put you on the spot. It's been about seven months since you've decided to come on to exit five incorporated. Well, actually, the legal entity is DGMG LLC doing business as exit five.

Dave Gerhardt [00:00:46]:
So maybe talk about what you thought it was going to be and what. What has actually happened over here.

Dan Murphy [00:00:50]:
Yeah, this is like my live performance review.

Dave Gerhardt [00:00:53]:
Thousands and thousands of B. Two B marketers listen to this. So don't blow it.

Dan Murphy [00:00:57]:
Yeah, well, no, again, I think this feels like my performance review, my seven month retro, and I get to do the self review first.

Dave Gerhardt [00:01:03]:
I'll do that. I'll do that. Let's see, where to start.

Dan Murphy [00:01:07]:
I mean, I remember when I wrote that I was joining and I wrote my announcement post, and I was saying, like, you know, you reached out and I was like, oh, that's kind of cool, but, like, I hadn't seen behind the scenes. And then you pop the hood and kind of show me some of the metrics behind the scenes and I was like, wow, this is doing a lot better. And there's so much more indications than I realize until you look behind the scenes that the business is doing really well. And we were ready to scale, and I was really excited about that. And seven months later, we just had a meeting with our team and reviewed a bunch of metrics, and lo and behold, we're scaling. When we just hired our fourth team member, we're about to open up our fifth. So it's rare that we had crazy growth, but we say this is what we want to do and we're going to go do it, and then it actually works out the way you intended it to on the timeline you intended it to. Yeah, I mean, it's been great to be here and be part of it and do this.

Dan Murphy [00:01:54]:
And now I'm, like, writing a lot on LinkedIn again and talking to members and just enjoying it. And I'm doing so much more than just marketing, which is fun, and doing operations and analytics and stuff that I really wanted to do. And so for me personally, it's been great. And I think for the business, it's just been awesome to see us grow over the last six months.

Dave Gerhardt [00:02:10]:
My guy right here had it. We were just on a call and I saw he basically has a CRM. Well, we should maybe get a CRM at some point. We probably have that with HubSpot.

Dan Murphy [00:02:18]:
We have one, we just don't use it.

Dave Gerhardt [00:02:19]:
You have this, like, sponsor CRM, which is unbelievable, and I haven't seen it. And it said, you have all the lists of the deals that we've closed, but also the people who said yes, but then backed out.

Dan Murphy [00:02:28]:
I knew you'd like that list.

Dave Gerhardt [00:02:29]:
And he has it, like, perfectly color coded. And, like, look, this is like, I'm being silly and talking about this, but, like, when you talk about, as marketers always, like, banging our heads against, like, ideas to get more, more and more. Like, what you just showed me is 20 people that we should go reach out to, like, now and be like, hey, you said you wanted to do something. Do you still want to do it? Like, the stuff like, that is amazing.

Dan Murphy [00:02:46]:
Yeah. And that was what was needed, right? Like, that's kind of what was needed in the business. And as a one person operation, and this is not a knock on you whatsoever. You can only do so much. Like, there's three people. There's only so much we can do right now. And so this was the next evolution is we have to have sort of organization and be able to scale, and, like, this is the stuff that gives us the opportunity to go hire amazing team members and go grow this business, you know?

Dave Gerhardt [00:03:06]:
Yeah, it's pretty cool. And then we just. So we just hired somebody. We can't share it.

Dan Murphy [00:03:09]:
Top secret.

Dave Gerhardt [00:03:10]:
We'll have her come on at some point.

Dan Murphy [00:03:12]:
Yeah, that's a good idea. She's awesome.

Dave Gerhardt [00:03:13]:
We'll have her come on at some point. But thank goodness we got a lady in the mix. Somebody emailed. Somebody emailed me and was like, you don't profile enough women. I'm like, look, I'm sorry. It's something that I am so conscious of. And, like, we just happen to have a bad email where, like, the webinar we promoted was a guy, the podcast that we got, the guy, the AMA.

Dan Murphy [00:03:32]:
Like a month straight, the guy.

Dave Gerhardt [00:03:34]:
I was like, damn it.

Dan Murphy [00:03:34]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:03:35]:
But anyway, it's just the way it.

Dan Murphy [00:03:36]:
Works out, and that's how this is. You know, sometimes that happens, but I'm glad we're addressing it, too. I agree.

Dave Gerhardt [00:03:41]:
Yeah. But it's so cool to be able to grow. What I also think about all the time is the very first conversation we had was literally, basically, like, hey, man, I got this property. I want you to be the property manager. Just like, keep it going, keep the lights on. And then, like, how. What has changed? Like, how much that has changed from that conversation to now? We'll have a team of. We have one more open role that we're going to hire.

Dave Gerhardt [00:04:07]:
So I think by mid June, we would have five, including myself, we'd have five full time employees. And it just. It speaks to, like, there's nothing wrong with solopreneurship. I'm not going to bash that at all. I think that's a totally great path. It was really good for me for a year or two, but there's just something so underrated that I didn't appreciate about just being on a team, working with other people, having a shared sense of doing something. And, you know, I fall in this trap sometimes, too, where it's like, man, I'm not saving the world. I'm just doing b two b marketing.

Dave Gerhardt [00:04:35]:
Like, does it really matter? And I haven't had that thought one time since we've had a real company and real people, because, like, that doesn't matter. We're hiring people. We're helping change people's careers. We're building a team, a company, a culture. Like, that is just something that was so unexpected for me, and that is such a. Such a fun part about this business that I did not expect to have that.

Dan Murphy [00:04:54]:
Jeff. Yeah. And I wasn't calling myself a solopreneur, but I kind of was being a solopreneur. I did consulting for a year after I left privy. And, you know, I've told you this. I spent a bunch of money on an office that was literally two minutes from my house. And I had my office. I had an office in my house, but I was paying like, $7,000 a year.

Dan Murphy [00:05:11]:
I looked at the end, I was like, why did I just spend all this money to drive two minutes with my dog and sit in smaller room and not be near my kitchen or, like, just be undistracted?

Dave Gerhardt [00:05:20]:
I was like, now you have a child also.

Dan Murphy [00:05:21]:
So now that's the other reason why I got rid of it. But why was I doing that? And I realized in hindsight, it was just like, I was lonely. And, like, solopreneurship is lonely. You're not going to bash it. I will. No, I'm just kidding. But I think it is. And I kind of had that experience, too.

Dan Murphy [00:05:33]:
And I feel like in November when you emailed me, you kind of decided, wait a minute, this is exit five. 2.0. Right. Your first investment was, like, bringing me on and, like, let's scale it. Then we got mad, and then we hired this new person and. And then there's been a bunch of investments outside of people as well. Right. Your time and our strategy and stuff.

Dan Murphy [00:05:50]:
But, like, this is a 2.0 level, and I think it's way more fun to do stuff with people and to win together. You know, I've been writing a lot about that stuff as, like, team and chemistry on LinkedIn. Like, it's so much more fun to do that together. Like, to jump on slack and talk about stuff, and you and I talk all the time. The funny thing, like you just said was, like, you were thinking about. I think you framed it as, like, security. I need someone to, like, have their brain wrapped around this and keep this property secure for me, you know, and, like, that's you, and come in and just kind of do your thing and, you know, we'll see what happens. And after a year or whatever.

Dan Murphy [00:06:19]:
But the real unlock was you being like, no, wait. I love this business, too, and it's fun working with Dan again. Let's hire some other people that are fun to work with. And, like, that was the huge unlock. And all the numbers since I joined have gone up, but I really can't take credit for any of it. It was really you having this unlock of, like, no, I want to invest in this and, like, talk about it and grow it. And again, investing is not just, like, putting money into it. It's also, like, your time and your thoughts and your resources.

Dan Murphy [00:06:42]:
That's like, the big unlock. And all the charts since then have just kind of gone up, which is great. And that's not us bragging about it. It's just like, that's what happens when you have that mental unlock.

Dave Gerhardt [00:06:51]:
Sometimes I'll write something and somebody will be like, especially on Twitter. Somebody be like, how did you do that? And I'm like, man, there's no short answer. Like, I think the other cool path is, like, the solopreneur path was, like, perfect for a year or two. It allowed me to have, like, a head start. And now we know we didn't start this business at zero, right? And so exactly. We were doing, I think, last year it was roughly 800k in revenue as a one person business. And so that was huge because that meant I didn't have to, like, stress about deciding to hire somebody and pay them, and then everything scales as it goes. I do think that is a great path where I, you know, typically the entrepreneurship path.

Dave Gerhardt [00:07:28]:
And I just was having this conversation with Leah the other day because I was like, yeah, we're just hiring two more people. She's like, wait, what? Where are you spending all this money from? Like, well, the business generates money. We have some cash. Like, I want to invest in hire, blah, blah. And it's, like, surreal because you have this running head start. A lot of people see the exit five thing, and it's like, if you want to go become an entrepreneur, you typically have to like, well, okay, I'm going to not take a salary. You know, I'm not going to not pay myself for two years, but because I had started it on my own and then realized, like, oh, this could be so much more with people. It's just, it is so cool to see that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:08:00]:
And then also, it's just so fun to like you when you're on a team, right? You know, I'm now, like, I get multiple opinions. My way is not the only way. It's like, oh, no, actually, like, Matt is a great example of, like, he pushes back on me. He's like, young Dan. Damn, it drives me nuts. No, he's. Matt's great. But, like, I'll share an idea, and Matt will be like, hmm, I don't think we should do that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:08:21]:
And here's why. Boom. Thing number one. Number two, and I'm like, he's right. Whereas if Matt wasn't here, I would have just made that change and maybe made things worse. And so I just think it's a lesson. And, like, if you have the opportunity to be on a team, big company, small company, wherever, I think that can just be such the right thing. And it's given me so much energy.

Dave Gerhardt [00:08:38]:
It's such a treat, you know, us getting to work again with each other. I also think we've worked at two companies in the past, and we've kind of always had a side message about, like, man, wouldn't it be so fun, like, we have a good chemistry working together. Wouldn't it be so fun if we could remove a lot of the b's? And this is not a knock on any company or people we've worked with in the past, but, like, remove all the B's of a larger company? And if we just had a team of, like, three to seven people doing this marketing content thing, wouldn't it be pretty special what we created? And, like, we initially were like, maybe we should start an agency. We're getting to do that now with the content and community business, and that is just, like, so much fun. I can't wait to see where this goes. That's just really exciting.

Dan Murphy [00:09:15]:
Now, if we go back a little bit, I think, like, some of your listeners probably don't know this, but, like.

Dave Gerhardt [00:09:20]:
The real origins, these are our listeners. These are our listeners.

Dan Murphy [00:09:24]:
Sorry, our listeners. If we really go back, I think the origins of exit five go back to 2019, I think. Right when you launched the a list.

Dave Gerhardt [00:09:33]:
November 2019. Yes. The day that I quit my job at drift. Yep.

Dan Murphy [00:09:37]:
And you did this as a side hustle. So, like, I don't know that your, our listeners, excuse me, know this. Right? Like, if you think of it and you in, like, what you just described of, like, we have this, we're talking about this great growth we've had over the last six months. Well, it didn't just start there, right? Like, you spent two years on your own with the business, and before that, you sent two years as a side hustle doing this business. And so I just, you know, we talk about build in public and we share kind of the stories and we're pretty honest. Like, you just share some revenue numbers. Right, with everybody. Like, the real business started, like, four years ago, even more than that.

Dan Murphy [00:10:05]:
Right? Almost five years ago now. And so, like, it was chipping away and building audits. And even before that, it took you forever to build that LinkedIn audience. I was there at drift when you really started growing that, and then that turned into this. These things don't just happen overnight. Exit five is not an overnight success story by stretch of the imagination. No.

Dave Gerhardt [00:10:20]:
And then the other thing was I've been fortunate to have, like, a couple of smaller wins in prior jobs. And I was thinking about, yeah, I'm going to just do this path where I'm going to, like, be a solopreneur. I'm going to run exit five. I'm going to be an investor. I'm going to invest in a bunch of different businesses. And that's going to be my thing. I don't know anything about investing, and it's boring.

Dan Murphy [00:10:42]:
And you don't really know. You do. You make an investment and then you don't hear anything for till twice a year.

Dave Gerhardt [00:10:46]:
And so you know what we're going to spend. I'm happy to tell people this. Like, we'll spend close to half a million dollars on exit five this year. Like, I am way more invested in that money, in that investment because it's our business. Like, we're, we're involved. We're growing this verse. Like, I don't have enough money just like blindly write a bunch of checks to people. But to apply that to this business, it's like I want to have skin in the game and something that I'm involved with and I think bringing in people deciding that, you know, I don't need to go put angel investor in my Twitter bio or LinkedIn bio, like, I'm going to let's do this for exit five.

Dave Gerhardt [00:11:20]:
And I own, I just also think you only have so many opportunities. I think we have product market fit. How do we know? That's my favorite question. How do we know you have product markets fit? I could show you a channel in our slack called Love Love Proof. I don't know why it's called love proof. It's a bad name. But the messages that we get, the comments that we get, the emails that we get, beyond the growth and the charts and all that stuff, like, there's something here. And I just felt like the more that I see it now, I'm like, man, I'm mad at myself for almost quitting this business three times because, like, what a moron I would have been if I had given up on that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:11:51]:
And so it's super fun and I'm fine sharing it here because I know the people that listen to this, like, love hearing this type of stuff. And you and I have been trying to share more about, like, the team and the culture that we're building as we're doing it. And, you know, selfishly, we're trying to build an employment brand. Maybe you'll kind of, you'll want to work with us over the years and so it doesn't hurt to share some of that. But anyway, we got to talk about drive. So I want to talk about, we don't have to talk about all the ins and outs, but I want to talk about how we decided to launch it and how it came to be. So do you remember where the conversation of doing an event came from? And roughly, roughly.

Dan Murphy [00:12:25]:
I actually tried to go back in slack and look at it like the other week.

Dave Gerhardt [00:12:28]:
PSA. Here's two guys talking about an event that has not even happened yet. We don't know if it's actually going to be successful. We've sold out all the tickets. But I'm hopeful.

Dan Murphy [00:12:36]:
I know it will be, you know, it's going to be. It's going to be awesome. But anyways. Yes, you were saying?

Dave Gerhardt [00:12:40]:
So when did it start? First of all, number one, when did we decide we're going to do an event?

Dan Murphy [00:12:44]:
I think I did a search in slack theory. Because I was kind of curious, like, what was the because look, not to spoil the story, but we had a huge sellout event from it. It was great. So I was kind of like, wait, when did this start? And like, how did we get here? Because I wanted to do the retro myself and kind of like digest all the steps to getting there. And we're not done. We still have to do the event and make sure it's amazing and more work ahead of us than behind us, but so far, feeling really, really good about it. I think we actually started talking about it when I joined in November. I think we started talking about an event in November.

Dan Murphy [00:13:11]:
We didn't get serious about it until January. We started having conversations about it. And then literally, I think it was one day I got a forwarded email from the event, from the venue, and it was a receipt from you and it said, deposit booked. And you, maybe I'm imagining this a little bit, but essentially, and this is kind of how things go, we both do this. You just decided, I'm going to book the venue. Like, I need to do that to like commit to it. And I think that was like February. And I just got like, hey, I booked.

Dan Murphy [00:13:37]:
Or maybe you called me and you said, hey, you know, like, I'm here, I want to do this. Can I do this? Like kind of like just getting to your point, another person's opinion, like, am I doing the right thing? And I think you said do it right. And that was basically it. We put that deposit down and committed to doing it.

Dave Gerhardt [00:13:49]:
Well, I think that's kind of what I wanted to mention. And I think that, I think it's very easy in marketing and in business and in any creative endeavor to let something just go on forever and not commit to it. And I think you and I, in talking about things we wanted to do this year, you know, multiple people in the community had been asking for us to do some type of meetup. I mean, we had a community with 3000 members. Like, people are going to say like, hey, we should do a meetup. I was like, okay, over four years. Yeah.

Dan Murphy [00:14:18]:
People have been in there for four years, right?

Dave Gerhardt [00:14:20]:
People have been in there forever. They want to do a meetup. I kind of like say some like, silly things online as it relates to marketing. Sometimes my joke would be like, I have too much scar tissue. You know, I'm too scarred from previous events. And really what I'm alluding to is like, when we were at drift, we did these massive events and they were hugely successful for the brand. But they were just super stressful. And I was like, if I'm running my own business, why would I want to, like, proactively opt in to that stress? Like, I'm designing a company, like, around my life, and I don't want to deal with that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:14:50]:
But I think the gravitational pull of the community was really strong. We had lots of other indicators that, like, a thousand people sign up for a webinar, you know, 50 people go to a roundtable. Like, we had all the signals. Like, the demand was there, got to do it. And I think you and I had just traded off so many messages. Our events going to be sweet. We just needed to pick a date. And I think this is such a lesson for anybody out there that works in marketing.

Dave Gerhardt [00:15:12]:
It's like, if you have something that you want to do, you could talk about it forever for a half a year, for a quarter, for years. Like, pick a damn date. And I think that's really what I wanted to do. And, like, the way that we picked a date was, okay, well, we started talking about this idea, and maybe March has started to be like, let's really go do this. Okay, well, it's march now. We can't do an event in May. That's too soon. We don't want to do it over the summer because people have travel and plans and families and whatever.

Dave Gerhardt [00:15:38]:
Okay, well, let's do it in the fall. Okay, well, we wanted to do. I said, let's stack the deck. I'll do an event, Dan. I'll do an in person event, but I don't want to travel for it. It said, you're going to fly across the country with a newborn. I said, let's stack the deck. Let's do it in Vermont.

Dave Gerhardt [00:15:50]:
Let's do it where I'm living. Let's do it in Burlington, Vermont. Stack the deck here. I know a place. We could do it. October. We can't do it. It's too expensive because people drive from all around the world to leaf peep here up in Vermont.

Dave Gerhardt [00:16:01]:
Okay, let's do it in September. I know the venue. I'm going to go down there today. I'm going to look at it. I talked to the woman about it. It was like $2,500 to put a deposit down. We looked at the dates. It was the week after labor.

Dave Gerhardt [00:16:12]:
It can't do Labor Day. Let's do the week after.

Dan Murphy [00:16:14]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:16:14]:
September 11 and 12th. Does this work? Yep, it works. Done. Sign it. Go. And I think this is where speed is an advantage. And this is how you and I operate like, you have to just pick a date, make a deadline. Like, deadlines drive decisions.

Dave Gerhardt [00:16:26]:
And so, like, that was the one. And then once the credit card's been swiped, and then you, you know, you had your baby, you were out for a month. We had 700 emails. They only use this. You can only respond to them in this, like, event CRM. So Dan comes back, he's got 50 messages from vendors, caters, whatever. But I think it just was so important to pick a date. And the date is going to drive the rest of the actions.

Dan Murphy [00:16:47]:
Yeah, it was a commitment. It was just a commitment. I think there's three parts to this, and I don't want to jump too far ahead, but I think there's three parts of why we were successful with the launch of our event. The first is what you just talked about, which is pent up demand. Four years, really two years as exit five thousands of members, all virtual. But it's a very active, we've quite frankly shown the receipts of how active our community is. People were excited to get together and do something in person. That's the first part is the pent up demand the second part.

Dan Murphy [00:17:17]:
Let's talk about this one next. Maybe. I think it's brand. I think you have built a brand over the last ten years of your career, but especially with exit five in the last two years and built the exit five brand. It's like this is a group of people, and it has a community of people that are smart, you want to learn from. They'll teach you things, they'll help you with things. And so I think brand was a huge part of that too. And just like, the perception of like, we're going to do something in person.

Dan Murphy [00:17:40]:
And then another huge part of the brand was, we're going to do this in Vermont, right? We're going to do this not in Boston or New York or San Francisco or Austin. We're gonna do this because we're not gonna be that trying to mainstream and like, you know, do a bunch of huge production value event. Like, we're just gonna get the right people, the right content, quality altogether in this kind of sleepier little town, which is like a fun place to go visit at a great time of year. Like, that's a huge part of this too. I think that demand and brand would be the two biggest parts in my mind of like, what drove the success of. Again, I'm not gonna spoil it, but we did sell out, you know, in 24 hours when we launched it.

Dave Gerhardt [00:18:13]:
And it's funny, cause a little bit of me, even though we've had a bunch of success, like, I still had the imposter syndrome of, like, are people going to come up here? And if we want to do it in Vermont, are they going to come up here? I think it's a normal thing that I still feel over and over again. But I do think that we share this thing a lot lately. Like, I love AI. I spend 50% of my day talking to chat GPT, basically, pretty much. I'm like, chat GBT. What's four minus two times three? But I do think that there is a strong appetite for, like, the in person connections. And I think especially in the world of marketing and business type of events, you. You kind of have.

Dave Gerhardt [00:18:51]:
You have saster, which, you know, Jason and team this amazing 10,000 people. That's like a huge thing. Even. He was like, I asked him on a podcast, I was like, what's the number one thing you do if you start saster over again? He's like, I wouldn't do an event. And then you have inbound. But I think there's a huge opportunity to have these smaller, you know, whether it's 50 people or 300 people, these smaller events. And so it happened to work, like, hey, let's. We're going to do a 100, 8200 person max event in Burlington, Vermont.

Dave Gerhardt [00:19:18]:
And, like, people were just like, yes. And I think that played into the brand thing perfectly. And there's a story behind exit five and Vermont that we've told that creates that connection. Okay, so we picked the date you mentioned people learning and the appetite for this. Here's another cool thing. This is why I talk about, like, the value of having a media company and being in content and how much value there is in being a publisher, because it drives all these downstream effect things for your business. All of the speakers we source from people that have been on the exit five podcast over the last two years. And so literally all I did was think about who would probably say yes, who would give a practical, specific talk about something that they could actually teach to our audience, and what were the most popular episodes of our podcast.

Dave Gerhardt [00:20:01]:
And so whether it was Peter Mahoney or Lachey or Pranav or Kyle Coleman or Ross Simmons or Devin Reed or Dan from Apollo or Amrita from ClickUp, each one of those people have already been on our podcast. We already have some type of relationship. I haven't seen them present, but I've have a rough idea of how they're going to present. And so it's like, great we just really quickly sourced ten to 15 speakers. We reached out to people, we got them to say yes. And that was how we came up with the content for this thing. And then the next play was thinking about before getting the website together, we did a waitlist. And I think this is such an underrated play for marketing because we were going to do this event regardless.

Dave Gerhardt [00:20:46]:
But I think anytime you can do a waitlist play, you basically get to pre test your idea. And so we announced we were going to do a way, hey, in a couple of weeks, we're going to announce our event, go to this page. We hadn't put any details of the event, the name, the dates, whatever. And we had close to 300 people sign up on the waiting list. And we're going to launch something new in a couple months. For exit five, we're going to do the waiting list. Why do you think that thing works and was a key piece of this strategy?

Dan Murphy [00:21:12]:
Well, I think it was commitment from most people because the big thing with the waitlist is like, we did it six, seven days before we actually launched the event. So it wasn't that people were signing up so they didn't forget about it. It was positioned as like, hey, we have a small venue, which was true. We only have a certain amount of seats. If you want to be the first to know and buy a ticket, we kind of feel like this is going to, this might sell out pretty quickly. Like, you need to join this and we'll email you before everybody else. Right. You know, an email database of 17,000 people that we can email.

Dan Murphy [00:21:41]:
And we did, but we said we're going to email people that sign up on this landing page first. And so again, there was that pent up demand. People didn't want to miss it out. It was, I think, well positioned with the brand, you know, Vermont, the fall, you know, everything, the speakers. Right. I think that was a really important part, too. And so we did it close to the actual launch. We said on Tuesday we're going to sign up.

Dan Murphy [00:21:59]:
So the value of joining the waitlist was much more important than, I think, some other, then another way that people might position the waitlist of just, you know, it's coming in a month, join our waitlist. Like, and it doesn't add a lot of teeth to it. This was like, hey, we're going to let you know early and we think we might sell out. So you need to join this list right here if you want to join. And obviously we have an active and engaged audience on, I think we just posted on LinkedIn twice. I think you wrote post, which drove most of the sign ups. I think I might have written a post, too, maybe. Matt, we didn't send an email and say, go sign up to this list as well.

Dan Murphy [00:22:27]:
Yeah, we just put on LinkedIn because we knew that's where our most active people were, the biggest, you know, advocates of the brand were, and they signed up. We got 300 people to sign up six days before we launched the event.

Dave Gerhardt [00:22:36]:
I think the packaging really helped, too. And I didn't think of this as a lever for driving demand. I thought of it because we were trying to be responsible about the type of event that we did and the budget and how out of hand it would get. And I think the venue that we looked at happened to have a max capacity for 150 people seated one way and 200 people seated another way, which was like, again, back to picking a date. Having a forcing function for like, the room size, I think was also really helpful. And like, okay, it can only be 150 to 200 people anyway. And so I think having that cap actually ended up becoming a good part of the marketing. This is not a lie.

Dave Gerhardt [00:23:11]:
We announced the event. We sold out all 150 tickets in the first 24 hours. And then Dan and I were trading messages and we were like, well, it is capped, but, like, we can talk to the venue about rearranging the room. And so we went back to the venue. We asked if we could rearrange the room, which would add 50 new seats. And then we came back a week later after negotiating with them and figuring out catering and all that stuff, and we added 50 more. And so we were, like, able to play off of real. If you have real scarcity and real urgency, it works.

Dave Gerhardt [00:23:45]:
I think today people have become skeptical of marketing and skeptical of fake offers, but we were like, no, literally, there are no more tickets, and we're going to turn this off. And so I think that helped drive demand, too. But I just think it all speaks to the power of building an audience. Owning your list, having an engaged audience, like, there were no crazy gimmicks, there were no crazy marketing plays. The more you can have. Like, this is why it's so important to build up a following on social media, to have an email list, to have that audience, because then when you have stuff to announce, you're just saying, hey, remember us? Do you listen to us all the time? Like, here's something that we have for you. And so I wish I had some, like, super neat growth hack about, like, how we did all these crazy, we use all these crazy tech tools to launch this. But we didn't.

Dave Gerhardt [00:24:28]:
We had an audience and that's what it comes down to.

Dan Murphy [00:24:30]:
And it was both too, right? It was like, yeah, we probably would have sold out if we just did LinkedIn and then sent our whole email list. But like, the reason we did it wasn't just so we would sell out in 24 hours. Right? Like the waitlist, the reason we did that was for the reason we told everyone, which is like, we know there's a lot of people that are big advocates of this community in the brand. We know. We've been, you've been talking about. The other thing we didn't mention, by the way, is like you've been sort of teasing and talking about the event for about three months. Like after we kind of booked the venue, you kind of teased it on LinkedIn. Like we.

Dan Murphy [00:24:58]:
That's another level of that demand you built up. And I think a couple of us have posted about it. Right?

Dave Gerhardt [00:25:02]:
Yeah. Talk about it. Talk about these things publicly. Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Murphy [00:25:05]:
We didn't wait for, like, the announcement to announce we're doing an event. That was when ticketing went live, but certainly wasn't. We announced we were doing event, we announced the event three months earlier. And that's a super important part, too. And people are seeing every few weeks or once a month, you post something about it. That's really important as well. But the one thing I just want to say is, like, with the waitlist, the reason we did the waitlist and the reason it worked was because the reason we did the waitlist, which is like, this audience has been waiting for three months to buy a ticket. And so this is the place to go.

Dan Murphy [00:25:30]:
Just raise your hand here, we'll give you first access to do it. It wasn't some like false urgency B's marketing play. It was just that those people we knew we were going to buy, we wanted to give them the red carpet treatment. Those are our people, right? We want to give them the fast lane to buy, so to speak. And so that's why we did it and just worked out well and that we sold out in 24 hours.

Dave Gerhardt [00:25:50]:
This is why for me, like, my playbook from the beginning, for the last ten years, has been content in social media. I don't know ABM, I don't know SEO, I don't know a bunch of different things in marketing, but I know how to build an audience and I know how to listen to that audience and use content to test ideas at scale. And that's just the huge differentiator and so I think if you're listening to this and, like, you know, I see questions often in the exit five community be like, you know, we want to do a webinar, but we're not sure of the topic. And I'm like, well, then you shouldn't do, like, you got the tactic before the strategy. Yeah, I think you have to be using these little small pockets, like, in testing messaging and testing ideas. And I think now we should never do something unless we have, like, a little bit of data on it. And I don't even mean, like, we've run some, like, statistically significant tests, but we've gotten a bunch of email replies. Like, there's so much value in, like, if you, even if you have a list of 50 people, 100 people on it, sending them an email and saying, like, hey, we're thinking about doing a webinar on XYZ topic, would this be interesting to you? Or what are the three topics you would want to hear from us? And only seven people write back, but that's seven response that you didn't have before, and then building your content strategy off of this.

Dave Gerhardt [00:26:56]:
I mean, it's why we've been able to create this into a whole business, because you have, you know, we should coin the term, like, community led growth if somebody's not already talking about that, because all the signals that you get from your audience is what allows you to go and do these things at scale. Anyway, the event is called drive. We're going to do more content around it. Also, we use this really great tool for it, which I didn't know was cool until we use it, which is called Zuttle. And the best part about doing the launch was that Dan set up Zuttle and Zapier. Shout out to Zapier. Every time somebody bought a ticket, it would shoot it into a slack channel that said who the person was, all the information we asked them on the forum. So it'd be like, this is Dave G, marketing manager at a $25 million revenue company.

Dave Gerhardt [00:27:37]:
Here's three reasons why he wants to attend this event. And seeing all that information was so fun to get that in real time. So that was cool. And we got a lot more to do now.

Dan Murphy [00:27:45]:
Well, I was just going to say this isn't made up. I'm not just saying this. We actually just got one right while you were saying that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:27:50]:
No way.

Dan Murphy [00:27:51]:
Yeah, we just got a sale and I got the slack, which is great. The slack integration, by the way, just to gives out a little more plug. It actually directly connects to slack. So it was super easy to set up. It just came in. The whole team's in there. We're excited. We're seeing it come through.

Dave Gerhardt [00:28:02]:
What is this nonsense in slack? Dave bobblehead. What would Dave do?

Dan Murphy [00:28:07]:
You have to ask our new swag vendor what that is. That's their pitch on what they want to do.

Dave Gerhardt [00:28:12]:
What would Dave do? Dave would not do a bobblehead of himself, despite the golf clubs. And listen to all you listeners out there, despite how big you might think my ego is on LinkedIn. It's not the reality of it. Please, please, no bobbleheads of Dave in real life. But yeah, this is sweet. So this person in Zuttle, we see their company named director of Demandgen. I'm the marketing team. I want to come to network, update my skills and learn something new.

Dave Gerhardt [00:28:36]:
I'm at a company, 1 million to 10 million revenue. Revenue. This is sweet. And then I've been going to everyone that signs up and saying if they're an ICP fit or not, which is great. Dan says that's the Dave bot.

Dan Murphy [00:28:46]:
And then the last thing I'll just say, right, it's great to have the information for your own business analytics. Right. But we asked for the information so we can actually tailor some of the event. Like, we have enough flexibility where we're going to do these breakout sessions at the event, we're actually using that information to make sure that as best we can, people that are showing up for a certain reason, they're going to get that right. Like, we're going to put them in a group, we're going to let them connect with other people like them in their industry, at their revenue tier in a similar kind of role. Those are things we get to do, which is really fun with this event as well.

Dave Gerhardt [00:29:15]:
Yeah. And I stole that idea from Pep because I went to his event for CXL Live last year and then he did another one in winter.

Dan Murphy [00:29:21]:
Yeah, shout out spring.

Dave Gerhardt [00:29:22]:
And people want to see, like, I think we got a message from somebody. They're like, people don't want talks. And I'm like, I don't agree with you. People do want talks. The talks just have to be good and practical and specific and we're going to make sure that they're. That. What's also cool about the way that we're going to do this event is we're going to book enough time. So I want the audio.

Dave Gerhardt [00:29:37]:
Like, I'm going to be emceeing and hosting. I want people to literally be able to ask the speaker questions and, like, not have to do it in just five minutes. And so we're going to have, like, a 45 minutes session where 2025 minutes is presentation and 20 minutes of open q and a for the audience to ask questions. But this idea of roundtables, people really want that. They want to hang out with their peers. And so, like, so much value is going to be in the hallways in those roundtables. I think Pep had a great idea for that, and that's what I felt people wanted from golden hour was just like, it's, the talks are great, but they want the connection. They want to be around people, get outside of work.

Dave Gerhardt [00:30:09]:
So, yep, we'll share more. We'll do more content about drive, but you can check it out. You can go to exit drive. There might still be some tickets. We have a small number left. You can go to exit drive and check them out. If you already bought your ticket, don't worry. We're going to make sure that you show up because we can't have an empty room.

Dave Gerhardt [00:30:24]:
We can't have you. You know, you got to be there. We'll see you September 11 and 12th. Dan, good to see you. Back to work.

Dan Murphy [00:30:29]:
Yeah, thanks for having me on.

Dave Gerhardt [00:30:30]:
All right, bye.

Dan Murphy [00:30:31]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:30:31]:
Good job. Exit.
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