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AI | How To Use AI In B2B Marketing (with Jessica Hreha)

29 Apr 2024
AI | How To Use AI In B2B Marketing (with Jessica Hreha)

Show Notes

Dave is joined by Jessica Hreha. Jessica is the Head of Marketing AI Strategy & Transformation at Jasper. Previously, she was the Head of Global Integrated Campaigns & Content Strategy and Founder of VMware Marketing AI Council at VMware. They discuss everything AI in B2B Marketing, such as:

  • How to use AI to ideate and refine your creation process
  • Use cases for AI beyond copywriting
  • Why you need dedicated in-house AI champions
  • What Jasper is doing to improve customer engagement with AI


  • () - - AI Guidelines and Ethical Adoption
  • () - - Confronting Resistance to AI in Content Creation
  • () - - Time and productivity savings
  • () - - Content Production 101: Outlining and Customization
  • () - - Unlocking Decision-Making Potential with AI
  • () - - Measuring Productivity and Savings
  • () - - Transitioning Careers: From Content Marketing to AI Program Direction
  • () - - Challenges of Implementing AI in Organizations
  • () - - Standardizing and structuring delivery plans
  • () - - Broadening the Role of AI in Marketing Operations
  • () - - Enhancing Marketing Efficiency Through AI
  • () - - Exploring AI's Role in Negotiation
  • () - - Closing Remarks and Invitation for Future Collaboration

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Dave Gerhardt [00:00:15]:
Good to see you.

Jessica Hreha [00:00:16]:
So good to see you. I'm glad we finally made this happen.

Dave Gerhardt [00:00:18]:
We finally made it happen. We were gonna have you on and then you changed jobs. So can you give your quick new bio and your quick overview of who you are and what you do? And we'll go from there just to set context and people can hear your voice.

Jessica Hreha [00:00:31]:
Yeah. So, hey everyone. Jessica, Hreha, so excited to hang out with you here, Dave, today. So I'm the newly minted head of marketing AI strategy and transformation at Jasper. It's a new role we created, kind of on the backs of what I did at VMware this past year and a half. So little quick back story. I was a Jasper customer for a year and a half, and at VMware last year founded our marketing AI council. We started from a pilot of eight and eventually rolled out licenses to 765 marketers in a responsible AI adoption program that we called it.

Jessica Hreha [00:01:07]:
So, a mix of broad based AI literacy plus tool training, AI guidelines, kind of everything that goes into the marketing AI council. And so what we want to do at Jasper now is provide the similar advisory and strategy services to our largest enterprise customers to get people to a faster path of acceleration, but also value realization in their AI programs.

Dave Gerhardt [00:01:28]:
All right, there's a lot that we're going to unpack there, but I have one question right off the bat. Why did you need to create something like this at VMware? I've seen you write a lot about this and other companies have done it, specifically this topic of responsibility. What does that mean? Is there something scary in there? And that's why we're all doing this. What is the responsibility? AI marketing Venn diagram why does that exist?

Jessica Hreha [00:01:51]:
Interesting question. Because you could just roll out a tool, right, and train everyone how to use the tool. But a responsible AI adoption is. We understand that AI literacy is at the core foundational element to successful upskilling here. We want people to understand what generative AI is and isn't, what to look out for from a bias, hallucination, ethics perspective, and not just kind of diving in into like a wild, wild west. So creating writing guidelines onto what tools to use and not use, what to do and not do within the tool, and then kind of bolstering all of that with AI literacy so that we can all not only learn how to use these tools, but understand the mindset shift and how to think about the now and the near future ahead. Does that make sense?

Dave Gerhardt [00:02:41]:
Yeah. But is it for internal? Is it so like we don't give internal secrets to this AI inside of the company. Or is it to make sure that our marketing content is appropriate to our audience?

Jessica Hreha [00:02:55]:
I think it's all of those things. I think the responsible adoption here when we talk about that or kind of approaching AI guidelines from a responsible and ethical manner, is we're going to take a step back and look at not only making sure that you're not putting proprietary information into the tools, but also making sure that you are applying human editorial to the outputs at all times and understanding that these tools could hallucinate or could have bias. So knowing that you have to look out for these things in your editorial as you would review any other content, it's not new in that sense, but you can't just assume that things coming out of there are factual and correct. But then also our marketing AI council came up with our charter and our guidelines for using Gen AI writing tools as at VMware, and then decided five, six months in to take that a step further from a core value perspective, saying that we believe that companies have a responsibility to upskill their workers to become modern marketers in using these tools. We believe that any time saved should benefit the employee as much as the company. And we believe that we use AI for good in applying that to our community and volunteer efforts, as well as helping train other marketers in our community.

Dave Gerhardt [00:04:13]:
Okay, I got it now. So it's not just about like being a managing editor and making sure that someone's reading what content you're getting out. It's not like you just put something into Jasper or chat GBT and then throw it on the web. You're putting that editing layer in between. But the council is also responsible for. It's essentially like another form of sales enablement where we have this tool, it can make everybody's jobs more effective and more efficient. How do we train the organization on using these tools?

Jessica Hreha [00:04:40]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:04:41]:
Okay, cool. So tell me what you do with 765 marketers at VMware using a genai writing tool. What are the primary use cases? And speak to the skeptics a little bit. There are a lot of people who still don't believe that these tools are going to be helpful for them, and I think the reason why is they don't know how to use them the right way. Obviously if you just like write a shitty prompt, you're going to get shitty copy back and you're. Yes. Is that going to be worse than paying an actual writer to write you a blog post? Of course, but you obviously didn't do that. Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt [00:05:13]:
Tell me about some of the biggest wins in bringing AI into a company like VMware.

Jessica Hreha [00:05:19]:
Couple different things I'll talk about. And this could go on for hours, too, right? But I think that the skeptics and, for example, you could say writers are really skeptical, but until you actually jump into the tool and start using it, you don't really know what it can do. Right. So being able to start using it in your personal life kind of opens up ways that you could apply it to the business life. And we have some examples last year at VM where one of the writers, or group of writers on one of the team was completely anti AI. In every global enablement session, they'd pop up in the chat. This just makes all of our content sound the same, and this isn't going to create unique value, blah, blah. And I was one, a lot of b, two b content sounds the same anyway.

Jessica Hreha [00:05:59]:
You can take the same value proposition and apply it to a lot of different companies, I feel like. Right. Freeing up time to do more strategic tasks is like something we all say. And then two, like, well, let's get you in there. Let's apply your skill set and your editorial chops that you probably have way more than a lot of others. And we found that she could push the tool further. Right. And kind of push it as a writing student.

Jessica Hreha [00:06:26]:
So I think writers and the designers are going to be able to push these tools way better than people who don't have that skillset. An example I use there is, I'm not a designer by any stretch, right. But I can't go into a mid journey or dolly and write, like, the best prompt to create an image, then somebody who's an actual designer and can add in viewpoints design, I mean, I don't even know, right. Cause I can't do it.

Dave Gerhardt [00:06:50]:
So make me an image of a guy wearing a hat, and it's like, not how a designer would describe it at all, right?

Jessica Hreha [00:06:56]:
And so writers are the same way. Those are the skeptics, too. And then I think a lot of leaders, we found that it was like this grounds up approach at VMware because we're kind of the hands to keyboard content creators. And from a leadership perspective, it's hard to understand what it can do until you actually log in and start using the tool. So even from, like, ideation and strategy brainstorming perspective, giving you analyzing a project or analyzing a strategy, maybe putting together in a PowerPoint. Right. It can pull holes into that. But I'll share some examples for you that, that I share frequently in some early, early results, right.

Jessica Hreha [00:07:37]:
That people talk about is just like the time and productivity savings, right? You hear everyone talk about this, 2 hours to five minutes to draft video scripts and you're like, cool, two and a half hours, that's not that much time, right? But then you think that's a two hour block that you have to have this week to get that project done that you probably put off till next week, right? And so it can add incremental time savings. Right, to actual production. And then what I'm talking to clients now is let's peel back the layers on what this means. So what does a 20 hours time savings mean to you? A month? Yeah, it's savings and employee cost or what can you do now that you could never get to before, right? So now that I have these, this extra time, like I can actually apply verticalization to my content or website and sharing with your team. Like we couldn't do that before. And then once you have that in market that's going, specificity is always going to increase conversion and everything, right? So you're going to be able to see that downstream. It's like an onion. You have to keep saying like, so what does that mean? What does that mean to get to the downstream kind of more high value impact? I have tons of examples I could share, but like, time savings, cost savings, moving from agency to in house and then increased performance or decreased cost optimization from ad spend, stuff like that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:08:56]:
How much of that comes from learning how to use these tools at a more professional, pro level, right. Like if you want to get that stuff out, you can't just write take these and do this with them. You need to actually understand when in the past I've made a bunch of mistakes in hiring contractors or agencies, and oftentimes it's actually not because of the quality of their work, it's because I did not do a good enough job of articulating what I want. And when I've worked really well with a designer, it's like, hey, you see, I love these five websites and here's why I want ours to do this. Da da da da. That's when they knock it out of the park. Is it safe to make a similar comparison to like, using AI tool to do marketing? The better brief you can write, the better output you're going to get.

Jessica Hreha [00:09:43]:
Exactly, that's exactly what I was going to say. From a brief perspective. Right. If you go into any content or campaign project without a brief, you don't know where you're going with it. So the outputs are never going to be exactly what you're looking for. You have to understand kind of the strategy, the target audience, what you're trying to get out of it. But there's a lot of talk about the skills, skill of prompting, right, and not prompt engineering on the back end but like the front end, prompt engineering. But I think more and more tools, and Jasper is one of them, are kind of building these uis to walk you through the stages of prompting.

Jessica Hreha [00:10:15]:
You're like, I want to write a blog. Cool. Who's your target audience? And then you say that, what do you want to talk about? What's important to you and your like product solutions? And then it's what's your content length, how long you're trying to make it? And you put that in there and then you add in your brand voice.

Dave Gerhardt [00:10:28]:
That in its own exercise, even if it wasn't AI, that spit out the result. That's just amazing. Those are amazing prompts for you as the writer. What are you trying to write? How long is it going to be? Who's the audience? How many of us actually answer those questions each time before we write? One or two of the most hardcore great content marketers on your team. But even me, like I try to use LinkedIn as my way of writing. The best stuff that I write is a little bit more intentional. That's a great example of the questions on the way in. Is that also like a pitch for using a purpose built tool like Jasper? Because like I love chat GPT, I have to know those prompts, they're not coaching me to use those things, right?

Jessica Hreha [00:11:08]:
Yeah, exactly. And this is a new UI that Jasper launched a couple months ago that we internally called easybutton because it walks you through all of those stages and it actually customizes what it asks you based on what you're trying to create. But you could also, it'll say like what else do I need? Need to know? And you could attach a product brief or a campaign messaging guide or a competitive brief, right? And then it actually gives you an outline. So before it actually writes any content. This is like content production 101 though, right? So to your point, it's so foundational. So before it starts writing content, it'll give you an outline and you can either insert an outline, let's say you've been thinking about something, or you can have it generate an outline, which then you can edit from there. And everyone knows that you need to spend all the time upfront in the outline right. Especially if you're working with an agency to get that right before you actually flesh it out into full content.

Jessica Hreha [00:12:01]:
So it's just really kind of that front end strategic. What are we, what things do we need to know to make this better? And that's where context is king or queen in these scenarios. And the more information you can give it up front, the more accurate and kind of aligned to what you're trying to do on the back end, which is, to your point, so interesting because that's kind of content marketing one on one, right? In terms of, I think we're asked all the time to create content and sometimes we just do it. To your point. The good ones are like, well let me ask you why, what are you trying to do here? And nobody wants to be asked those questions, but like that's how we're going to create better content for you.

Dave Gerhardt [00:12:35]:
I want to know how you use AI personally. Do you have like a notes app or something? Like do you use like notion?

Jessica Hreha [00:12:40]:
We use notion, which is new to me at Jasper in terms of kind of like an intranet and taking notes. I have used the AI in notion to add things up for me in this table. How many are XYZ?

Dave Gerhardt [00:12:54]:
That was a bad question on my part. What I mean is like, I want to know, you're so deep in AI as a job, you clearly see the light on it. I want to know how does this make its way into your day to day workflow, either at home or work related?

Jessica Hreha [00:13:11]:
So I think about everything that I do, can I bring AI to this it? And I think this is something everyone should be doing. It's like the calculator. You could do math in your head or you can use a calculator and both are important and you need to learn how to do the math.

Dave Gerhardt [00:13:26]:
The first part of that is not true. Some of us can't do math in our heads.

Jessica Hreha [00:13:29]:
But yes, I am also one of those. As we saw earlier on, the two.

Dave Gerhardt [00:13:32]:
Different, I'm good with the words. We all have our ways.

Jessica Hreha [00:13:35]:
Yeah. For example, I'm trying to write a customer advisory board program, right? And so I can spend all this time drafting and I did right on the whole thing and then I was like, oh my God, use the tools, right? And so I put it into Jasper or I'm writing a strategy services document, right? And I wrote it all, but then I put it into Jasper and said if you're a CMO, what is missing from this deck, slide deck? And it was like, you should bring in more examples on results from other clients or from VMware. Right. You should talk about who you are and what makes you experienced enough to do this, basically. Right. So it kind of analyzing your content. I'm speaking at my kids elementary school career day this Friday, which is like a whole thing. I felt like they were, like, begging for people to come in.

Jessica Hreha [00:14:21]:
I don't know if you've ever done this. They were begging for people. And I finally said, like, I can talk about AI if you'd like, and kind of show the kids some tools. And they were like, oh, my God, that'd be amazing. So I asked Chachi Bt. I have Chachi bd four, you know, to start brainstorm ideas on how I could showcase. Here's what I'm thinking. I always kind of give it, here's what I'm thinking initially and then have it kind of fill in those gaps and offer up things I haven't thought about.

Jessica Hreha [00:14:45]:
And then from there, that inspires, like, oh, maybe there's an opportunity to talk about safety, Internet safety or AI. Like, they all kind of inspire each other, you know? Is that, are you bringing it to every project?

Dave Gerhardt [00:14:58]:
Yes. Also, what you can do that's cool is you can then say and explain this in a way. How would you explain this to a first grader?

Jessica Hreha [00:15:05]:
Yes. So I'm going to bring up PI. AI. I love PI. You can talk to PI. I'm going to have PI explain to the grade based on what grade I'm talking to, what AI is and what generative AI. It's going to be really cool. I'm actually kind of excited about the whole thing.

Dave Gerhardt [00:15:20]:
That's pretty wild that you're going to go do that. Wait till the PTo gets a hold of you, though. You're going to basically be able to do 50% of the, of the school operational activities. You could create a whole new business. That's like enabling elementary schools to do AI just as a business person, a marketing person. Like, I'll go into school related things and see five different men. That could be more efficient. We could do it that way.

Dave Gerhardt [00:15:41]:
And AI is totally going to bring that. I love that. I love that you're bringing AI to school.

Jessica Hreha [00:15:46]:
Or I'll get letters home from the parents. We'll see.

Dave Gerhardt [00:15:49]:
No, the letters will be like, yeah, can you help me?

Jessica Hreha [00:15:52]:
Hopefully those are the positive ones.

Dave Gerhardt [00:15:53]:
Yeah, right. There's. Yeah, that's true.

Jessica Hreha [00:15:55]:
But I think there's a lot of ways. I mean, I use perplexity a lot in search now when I don't want to go through the Google search results and go through all sponsored ads. So if I'm just looking for some answers or some brainstorming, I'll use that, actually use it.

Dave Gerhardt [00:16:10]:
I use it more than Google now.

Jessica Hreha [00:16:12]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:16:13]:
If I'm looking up where a restaurant is, I'm not going to go to chat. GPT right? I'm going to go to Google. Or if I'm looking up like a news story, who won the golf this weekend? I have a question, as we all do. I'll give an example. I was talking to someone the other day, and I'm into running and lifting weights, and there's oftentimes those two things are at odds. And I wanted to articulate that and I wanted to show a friend of mine how you could run and lift on the same schedule and when to lift and what to do. I didn't want to write it out myself, and so I went over to chad GPT and and I said, I have a friend and the goal is overall health and longevity. They enjoy weightlifting and also want to continue to build muscle.

Dave Gerhardt [00:16:55]:
I love starting my day with an early morning run before work, before the kids are up. It makes me feel amazing. It wakes me up, it gets the blood flowing, it clears me out and improves my mood. However, I don't want to train for a marathon. I don't want to do competitive running, but I also want to work in lifting. And I wrote this very detailed thing and when I got back was like this amazing intro. Pros, cons, overall summary, those are the types of things that I find myself going to. And now this is where I think a lot of marketers get stuck.

Dave Gerhardt [00:17:22]:
The goal is not to now copy and paste that and write an article about it. But I love this idea of, like you said it subtly in there. I think that's a perfect example. Like, now pretend you're the CMO and poke holes in this thing. Or right now I am thinking a lot about my business and exit five. And I just read this book called ten X is easier than two X. And the premise is basically like, it's easier to grow something ten x because it forces you to think bigger. When you think two x, you just kind of like do these small optimizations and you just do more of what you're currently doing.

Dave Gerhardt [00:17:51]:
And I have a lot of questions and I don't really have like a mentor or business advisor and chat. GPT has become that for me because I'm kind of framing up these different business scenarios and then I'm writing thoughtful prompts and then working through different scenarios. And I've gotten a bunch of new ideas. And so I love asking people like you how they're using it because a lot of marketers especially, we go to, we go right to like copywriting. And yes, if you write a bad prompt and then just use it for copy, but I don't think people have seen enough yet about how AI tools like this can help you with decision making. It's not going to make the decision for you, but it's going to do a much better job of showing you the options and ranges of possibilities than a Google search would. Right?

Jessica Hreha [00:18:30]:
Yeah, exactly. And I think there's also pressure for tangible results. Right. In terms of how do you measure the productivity and time and cost savings and impact? So thinking about bringing it in to analyze a piece of content or help you ideate, it's hard to show leadership that on a slide, like, what did that turn into for you? So I do think you've got to start with some use cases and hypothesis that you can show time, cost, performance savings, but the other stuff is like, that's where the magic happens in terms of how can I bring this into every meeting? You know, let's say somebody sends you a deck ahead of the meeting and you know that you're going to have to answer questions or you know you're going to be talking about it. You can, based on what it is and making sure you have a secure tool, you can upload the deck. Right. And ask questions. What questions should I ask about this proposal? What am I missing? Let's say it's a vendor.

Jessica Hreha [00:19:23]:
Who are their competitors? How would you care? Like, there's just so much faster meeting prep you can do to then go into a meeting more informed and add more value. And I feel like we all have meeting fatigue. So what if we could get more done?

Dave Gerhardt [00:19:36]:
I want to ask my boss for a raise, but I'm not really sure how to phrase it. Here's a list of some of the things that I've done last year. Here's how the company's been doing. Here's what I think I should be making. Can you help me frame up the bright way to ask for a raise?

Jessica Hreha [00:19:47]:
I love that example.

Dave Gerhardt [00:19:48]:
It's not going to be a playbook, but it's going to give you something more than you had, right?

Jessica Hreha [00:19:51]:
Yeah, exactly.

Dave Gerhardt [00:19:52]:
To go in and now have. Oh, okay, this is helpful.

Jessica Hreha [00:19:55]:
Yeah, it's all inspiration.

Dave Gerhardt [00:19:56]:
Does this ever happen to you? I actually, I use AI for writing a lot and I actually don't even use what I get back. A couple weeks ago I wrote a video script I wanted to do just like a 1 minute explainer video for what is exit five. And I wrote a bunch of prompts and eventually got chat GPT to write me this great script, but I didn't like how any of it sounded. It just didn't sound like my voice. And so then what I did, and I even have the custom GPT set like setting. So like I have my tone of voice as a prompt and I still just didn't like it. But what I did is then in 20 minutes, with that open side by side, I wrote the script from scratch. And it was perfect because I wrote it, but I'm writing based off of what it gave me as opposed to copying and pasting that verbatim.

Dave Gerhardt [00:20:41]:
And so then it essentially took me 20 minutes of actual writing to write the script. But it was probably like an hour or two of researching and tweaking.

Jessica Hreha [00:20:49]:
Yeah, it gets you to where you're trying to go faster. So instead of staring at a blank page and writing writing and then kind of looking over that for a long time and not figuring out right, and sometimes it shows you what not to do right, or what you don't want to write, which helps you get to what you actually are trying to say or want to write faster. So a good example of this too is in like headlines, titles, subject lines, webinar titles, where like everything that gives you back sucks, but you're like, I like that word and that word. Or oh, that reminded me like I should use this word. And eventually you write a title that had nothing to do with any of the output, but you got there faster and you got something better than had you just been doing it yourself.

Dave Gerhardt [00:21:29]:
You hit on something so important, which is like, I like that word, and I like that word. So often when it comes to writing, copywriting, positioning, headlines, the answers are already out there. You just haven't found the right word to say it yet. And at a previous company, I used to always riff on our company positioning and messaging with the CEO. And what people don't understand is that it's not like, oh, we're working on it for this two weeks and then we're going to be done. We just always talked about, I'm sure this is true. At Jasper, all we did was talk about how we should be talking about the company to the world. And we have an entire text thread of just screenshots and examples of things that we liked.

Dave Gerhardt [00:22:09]:
Oh, interesting look at how Salesforce is talking about this. Oh look at this. Oh look at this headline from the grocery store. This is the word that they use, right. It just helps you get to that point faster. I love how you frame that.

Jessica Hreha [00:22:20]:
Yeah. Instead of it coming out of thin air you're looking at examples. So that's a really great kind of everyday use case as well.

Dave Gerhardt [00:22:28]:
Let's talk about your career change a little bit. You're now this AI evangelist, you work with Jasper's customers, you're a field marketer, you are a vp of marketing like marketing leader in B two B. I.

Jessica Hreha [00:22:41]:
Would not have predicted that I would be in a client facing customer success role. No I wouldn't have. I grew up in field marketing, telecom, then went up the stack into the application layer.

Dave Gerhardt [00:22:55]:
What was field marketing and telecoms like? Traditional, like are you traveling? Trade show booths, big meetings, dinners. What was that world like?

Jessica Hreha [00:23:02]:
I started in field marketing actually before it was called field marketing. So I was the liaison to all of the other departments outside of marketing basically because at time runner cable from a residential standpoint everyone's in sales. So I was the liaison to of course the customer service channel and sales because at that time customer service could start selling phone, right, upsell, cross sell and then I would, I rolled out a referral program. So now I'm meeting with literally every single department rolling out our customer referral program. And then I started doing like I call it rah rah in the call centers even on weekends, right, where there's billing system, backlog and I'm like it's a whole themed weekend, there's like food and decorations, spiffs, all this type stuff. And then yeah it was the trade shows or in residential at that time it's the community events right where you're out there flapping cable. So and then from a telecom perspective I was so excited to get into the b two B side of it because all of the events were generally during the work day. In residential it's all on the weekends and nights, b two b.

Jessica Hreha [00:24:05]:
It's like no, no, we have lunches, we do these events during work. And then yeah it's trade shows, it's sales enablement, sales incentives, that kind of stuff. And then, then I got into content marketing right around the time of kind of content marketing, spent a little bit of time in sales and yeah and then managed a small marketing department and a regional fiber provider before I went to VMware. And so I feel like it's field marketing and content marketing, content strategy are like my two kind of big buckets of experience. But I thought about this a lot last year and anyone on my team or like my mentors or bosses could tell you I had this conversation a lot. Like, okay, do I continue in content strategy here or do I lean all the way into this AI ops, AI program director, you know, AI evangelist type role that we don't know what to call or where it sits yet. And I had some people even tell me that it probably sits in marketing ops. And I was like, well, I'm not a marketing ops person, right? Like they're way more technical or data focused or driven, although we're all data driven, we say, right? But like, that was something I didn't see myself in.

Jessica Hreha [00:25:11]:
But I felt there was a turning point in the second half of this past year where I thought content marketing is marketing, content strategy is marketing, right? A lot of things we were doing was training other people about the buyer journey and like content mapping and what type of content goes into what stage, because not a lot of people know that. So like content marketing and content strategy is a skill everyone should have. It's just going to make everyone better at what you do in terms of audience prioritization and stuff like that. So I felt like this was a time where I couldn't sit back and let this opportunity and the experience I had passed by where I wanted to be a driver and help other people do the same and then kind of see what happens next.

Dave Gerhardt [00:25:54]:
I like the observation about content and marketing. It's something that I've thought a lot about. When I have one of those existential crisis, I'm like, what is my, who am I? And it's like, oh yeah, content has kind of been the one theme through my career and content is such an important skill in marketing and I, they're not different today. You need content to do effective marketing. But yeah, yeah, I want to get at this from a career transition point because it is a big change to leave a company, leave a steady job, go to a new company, take on a new role. How did you know it was the right time to make that decision? And what were some of the factors that you thought about?

Jessica Hreha [00:26:31]:
The timing was right in terms of market conditions and the acquisition that was happening and a lot of the change in the company last year. So I was privileged to have an opportunity to move over to Jasper and I was talking to other AI companies as well because I had made the decision that this was the type of role or the type of groundbreaking area I wanted to be in.

Dave Gerhardt [00:26:56]:
That's the elevator pitch, which is you separate from whatever company you were working at and wherever you were going. You had this zoomed all the way out thing and were like, there's a thing right now which is AI that I'm deeply involved in and have a passion about. I think I want to make this my thing. Right. That was kind of the first big domino. Yeah.

Jessica Hreha [00:27:16]:
And I think you have to be cautious if I were to go into another enterprise organization, because not everyone is there yet. We're starting to see some titles come out in some roles, but the majority of organizations are going to tap somebody to do this on top of their day job, which is what I did, which, by the way, is not sustainable for past a year. Right. Or past getting things up. You've got to move people into full time roles, I think, right now. But you also don't know through an interview process what's lib service and what's real in terms of an enterprise's readiness to go through kind of managed piloting, experimentation and adoption. So that's why I felt like coming inside to an AI company with people who are obviously dipping their toe in the water, right. Getting ready, kind of learning about this as an opportunity to evangelize and help them accelerate what they're trying to do.

Jessica Hreha [00:28:04]:
So my prior CMO calls this the zigzag of a career. Like, don't shy away or be afraid of the zigzags. It's not a linear path in terms of what you're doing. And so just like I went into sales, although I had a marketing mentor once, tell me, like, you've got to check the sales box. I think this in a customer success type of role is just going to make me a more well rounded marketer for what comes next.

Dave Gerhardt [00:28:28]:
That's a great way to put it, the zigzag. It's like, and then oftentimes there's no path that you laid out. You need to, like, get in the stream and you kind of just like, see different stops that come up along the way and you're like, oh, I'm here, I'm here. I didn't wake up and dream to start a B two B marketing media company. It just was like, on the way up that path, like, you didn't know doing field marketing 1015 years ago, you didn't know that this was going to be this big trend that you could latch onto. And, hey, you did this humongous thing, initiative at VMware, you have an opportunity to go and work on AI full time and you took that, right?

Jessica Hreha [00:29:01]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:29:02]:
I think you got to be able to look out for yourself and stay proactive based on different things that are happening, right? Yeah.

Jessica Hreha [00:29:08]:
And I'll give you another example. I don't have a lot of demand gen experience on my side. And so I was having this crisis moment where I was, well, to be a CMO, I have to have demand Gen. And then I met with my CMO VMware, and she was like, well, there are different kinds of cmos, right? And it depends on what type of CMO that company needs at the time. And sure, if you're going to a startup, that's demand gen, but if you're at a big brand, maybe it's community brand awareness, right? Other things. And so, but at the same time, I kind of went into this demand gen role thinking, I need to get more experience here and check this box. But what I found myself doing was all content strategy because that's what I was passionate about, right. I would start to talk to people, other demand gen marketers on my team, because we realized there was a huge education problem.

Jessica Hreha [00:29:55]:
People would tell me, like, my eyes would light up when I talked about content strategy. And so it was a real kind of reckoning that, like, okay, no, this is like more of where, where I need to be at the time.

Dave Gerhardt [00:30:06]:
Tell me what you do now. What does the average week in your life look like?

Jessica Hreha [00:30:10]:
So I'm like a month and a half in, but I'm starting to meet with more customers and prospects. So I will engage both pre and post sales to talk to people in terms of where they are in their journey and kind of help them take those next steps. I'm bringing in a customer point of view, even though I'm on the Jasper side now, right. Because I can point to real results, published results, about what we did and how we did it. And I think that's helpful. You know, not everyone's on the exact, it's not cookie cutter. Not everyone is going to follow the exact same path, but just hearing from others how they did it, just like we're talking about with the AI tools, like it can inspire you to think about how to apply that similarly or even differently within your own company. I'm building out a lot of playbooks and kind of trying to figure out how to standardize and kind of structure the, you know, what I'm talking about and what I'm able to deliver.

Jessica Hreha [00:31:03]:
I'm going more on site now with not only our own events, but with customers to kind of do some workshops or just more hands on kind of getting started. So it's a mix. I'm also internally helping the marketing team from an enterprise SME perspective. I will look at and edit content when I see it or when asked. Right. So the editorial content marketer in me is still there. So it's kind of this mix of customer facing in various stages and marketing side of it. And honestly we're kind of figuring out as it goes.

Jessica Hreha [00:31:34]:
And I've thankful to the team at Jasper to give me that freedom. But also every day that I have more and more customer conversations, you get more focused in on what customers need at what stage and you can then kind of build and replicate from there.

Dave Gerhardt [00:31:48]:
What are some of the common themes from customers? There's a lot of people that are those customers or of the profile of those customers. What are the top two or three trends or questions or things that, that customers are asking about or wondering? And I don't mean specific to the Jasper product, but just in bringing AI into their marketing organizations in general, yeah.

Jessica Hreha [00:32:11]:
I mean from our events and our roundtables, it's a lot of people will say they're AI curious or they're dipping a toe in.

Dave Gerhardt [00:32:19]:
It's great, they're AI curious.

Jessica Hreha [00:32:21]:
Such a fun phrase. They're just not sure how to start. I think the hype has been around for a while. Leadership is starting to ask what are you doing from an AI strategy or implementation perspective? But the actual how exactly do I get started and where do I start? Is kind of a big theme in the community, I think, and amongst a lot of people outside of like maybe your marketing AI community, that's more kind of bleeding edge of this.

Dave Gerhardt [00:32:49]:
But what drives that? Is it we need to do more with less? Or is it just I've heard that AI could make us more efficient? There's got to be things that we could be doing with AI.

Jessica Hreha [00:32:59]:
I think it's the latter. We do have some companies that are looking at doing more with less for sure. And I think that's a real issue or challenge for leaders to look at. It's that kind of like forward thinking of how do I enable my workforce to be prepared but also think long term enough to say, like are there roles people are doing right now that could be eliminated and how can I upskill them to do something else? It's kind of that people first, employee first perspective and that more leaders should.

Dave Gerhardt [00:33:30]:
Take in that bucket of eliminating roles and upskilling people specific to marketing. Is there a certain part of marketing that you see a lot of interest in AI around?

Jessica Hreha [00:33:43]:
Yeah, I mean I think brand and content are the first places to start. Kind of low hanging fruit. Brand is the one kind of writing or in the approval workflow. From an editorial perspective, of course content is there, but I think there's a lot field marketers that maybe aren't writers or abmers that aren't writers that are creating content that this can help them get there faster or even help like up level content. They might write and ensure it's on brand and on message. Right. With the kind of knowledge base or context that you can give AI. I think the other stuff is you would never think a marketing ops team could use AI, but everyone's using it.

Jessica Hreha [00:34:25]:
You can either let them keep going with Shadow AI or you can give them the tools and the guidelines across your company. From a marketing ops technology perspective, maybe creating decision frameworks, prepping for meetings. Even saw employees last year where English was their second language and AI gave them confidence in their emails and in their communications. It's like there's so much more beyond kind of the hard content and results, but you've got to make the business cases first in order to get there.

Dave Gerhardt [00:34:52]:
I really like the marketing one about. For me, big marketing team is like 30 to 50 people. I was at a company where I was basically like the copy approver. It was like, oh, Dave's got to look at this. It's got to be in that brand tone of voice. Like he's the one that gets the brand tone and then it's okay. Now all of a sudden I'm like helping the event marketer write emails, I'm helping the product marketer write emails, I'm helping the demand gen team write emails. And that is crazy and not scalable in a world where like you have a tool like a Jasper as an example, right? You have a system and you have a tool that can do that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:35:24]:
You kind of bless the brand voice, right? And then each subject matter expert or area elite function or whatever can then go and do that. I think that is a huge, that's a huge opportunity to scale the brand voice. That's a really important one.

Jessica Hreha [00:35:38]:
Yeah. Or people aren't coming to you or are like complaining about coming to you because it takes so long, right?

Dave Gerhardt [00:35:44]:
And just like what are we doing? Why does it take an hour to write this? Webinar invite email? Like someone should write this in 1 minute, please.

Jessica Hreha [00:35:54]:
In a lot of companies there's like, oh, I have to go to the brand team. They take so long so they try to circumvent the process. Well, if I don't change, if I use website copy and I don't make any changes or it's really minor, then I don't have to send it to brand and then I can get out faster. But you're still watering down the message potentially right, compared to what you could be doing. So there's just a lot of things that work around. So people are going to than actually putting the editorial oversight you need. I'm hoping that AI as a process will help people get to the right content, but then give enough time to have that editorial oversight to get better things out the door and better outcomes.

Dave Gerhardt [00:36:33]:
All right, so people are asking about writing. Marketing Ops is a good one, whether there's definitely a lot with data and understanding business performance that AI could help with. But I liked yours even just as, man, there's so much internal marketing, internal presentations and updates, and to have a way to make that AI enabled. How much have we argued about which format the weekly metrics update should be in? Right.

Jessica Hreha [00:37:02]:
My magic bullet that I feel like we need to get to is the QBR. How much time do we spend prepping for qbrs? And then we're always a quarter or two behind because it takes so long to pull the data and put, I mean, and so many people are involved. It was a huge process at VMware. That's the one where if we can figure out that that would be just a huge time saver and efficiency, quality, stakeholder improvement.

Dave Gerhardt [00:37:31]:
Before we wrap up, I want to give you a minute or to get out of here, but anything we didn't cover that I should have asked you or that you want to talk about?

Jessica Hreha [00:37:38]:
Well, I was just looking at, I have a slide on AI applied global marketing. So we talked about marketing ops and content, but pr and comms is a big side of it as well. Right. I guess that's content, but speech writing, of course, news releases, anyone that's touching. Ad campaigns, a b testing, performance analysis, partner enablement. So you've got verticalization, right. But also partner personalization. And then, yeah, the events team, I'm glad you brought that up because that was something my team was getting a lot of requests from.

Jessica Hreha [00:38:10]:
Because if people aren't, feel like they're not writers and feel like they have a writer to go to, they'll start going to you for everything. Right. So what, uh, what tools are you guys experiencing experimenting with and kind of what upsides are you seeing?

Dave Gerhardt [00:38:23]:
There's a lot on the content distribution side of things where we have three people on the team and we like to record one thing that can be many things. And so this will be a podcast, but it's also going to be video clips, and it's also going to be an article, and it's also going to be a newsletter, and it's also going to be another email. And there's a lot. And so something that I like to do is take the transcript from this conversation and that is gold. And I can say, like, let's write an email based on this. Let's summarize the five takeaways that Jess and I had from this conversation. And. Okay, cool.

Dave Gerhardt [00:38:58]:
I got five ideas for newsletters now. I got five ideas from blog posts. Let's take the transcript, let's edit that, let's cut up everything into clips. So there's a lot there. I am really just liking using AI more, so behind the scenes more than I thought. And so I've totally bought in. I think a year ago I was much more like, yeah, it's a content tool. It's a content tool.

Dave Gerhardt [00:39:19]:
I kind of see it as like my assistant in some way who is a lot more efficient and effective as I am. And so I try to use it for lots of different things. Like, hey, I'm, I'm negotiating with this person on compensation. Here's what I propose, here's what they want to make, here's things like that, that it just gives me a resource and I'm training this human and it's one day going to take my job and take over the world. But for now it's very helpful.

Jessica Hreha [00:39:44]:
So meta is working on a tool that has an agent negotiator. So eventually your negotiator and your recruits negotiator negotiate with each other, knowing that each, you each have your own outcomes and then kind of come back to you with the result.

Dave Gerhardt [00:40:00]:
That's super interesting. I've actually thought about that often because I'm never taking a job again, knock on wood. But even just in the process negotiation, having to get a new job offer and negotiate with the company and you don't know, are they screwing you? Are you asking for something that's irrational? I have a family member of mine who got a job, accepted the offer, and then was like, actually, I want 20% more. And they were like, great, here's 20% more.

Jessica Hreha [00:40:27]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:40:27]:
It's like, well, so like, shouldn't you have just done that from the beginning? I've long thought that like, I wish that we, every marketer or whatever your job is, like, had some type of agent, because also the negotiation process gets. It's uncomfortable, it's personal. It can ruin the whole thing on the way in. It's emotional. It's. We don't have any experience navigating it. You don't have all the data. That's really cool.

Dave Gerhardt [00:40:50]:
If there's going to be something that's able to automate that and just be like, nope, here's what I want, and here's how. And talk to my agent. Be great.

Jessica Hreha [00:40:57]:
Yeah, I'm reading the book never split the difference by FBI negotiator Chris Voss.

Dave Gerhardt [00:41:02]:
Oh, yeah, I do have the audio version because he narrates it and it's very badass.

Jessica Hreha [00:41:07]:
I do a lot of audio, but this one I have the. I have. I'm actually reading old school book. I'm big into, like, Jocko's. Yeah, I usually do audio for those types of books, man. Now I'm gonna have to check it out, but to your point, it's emotional. You're trying to get at, like, things that aren't being said. Right.

Jessica Hreha [00:41:25]:
So I don't know. It'll be really interesting.

Dave Gerhardt [00:41:27]:
All right. There's a lot of cool use case. All right, well, thanks for hanging out. This is great. I'm gonna. We'll plug you on LinkedIn, and I want people to. The main call to action on the show is to find Jessica on. On LinkedIn.

Dave Gerhardt [00:41:37]:
Connect with her, tell her that you. You loved her perspective. You thought it was interesting. But if anything, I hope you'll. You'll just understand all of the business implications that there are in AI. It's not just about AI copywriting anymore. There's a lot of. It's great to hang out with you.

Dave Gerhardt [00:41:51]:
I'd love to make you a recurring guest. So maybe half a year now, another half a year learning from customers and everything, we can. We can hang out again. Enjoy your week. Enjoy your travel. Coming up. Get out there, shake hands, kiss the babies, do the whole customer thing, and I'll talk to you soon. All right.

Jessica Hreha [00:42:06]:
I would love that. Yeah. Talk to you soon. Thanks, Dave. Exit.

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