Season 1 • Episode 4

Inside Marketing Design at Proof

With Brent Palmer

With Brent Palmer and

In the early stages of a startup a designer often has to wear multiple hats and be leading the direction for the brand as well as the design and UX of the product. In this episode you’ll learn about how Brent Palmer manages this by equipping the team at Proof with assets, templates and guides to self-service when possible. You’ll also learn a lot about testing and experimentation, something that many companies only tackle when they get a lot bigger (but can benefit a company at any stage).

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Timestamps

0:00 - Introduction

1:20 - Team structure

5:25 - Responsibilities & metrics

9:00 - Creating templates & guides

12:30 - Design tools

14:00 - The future of the design. Team at Proof

15:45 - Marketing focusses

18:50 - How a project works

27:10 - Interesting experiment results

31:25 - Challenges & areas for growth

35:20 - What Brent loves about his job

36:00 - Wrap up

Read the transcript

Charli: Welcome to a new episode of Inside Marketing Design. This is a show where we take an in depth look at how marketing design functions within different tech companies. If we haven't met before, then hello, I'm Charli. I am the marketing design lead at ConvertKit, and I did a whole episode about how marketing design functions at ConvertKit as the first episode in this series, so you can go back and watch or listen to that if you'd like.

But here on today's show, we're taking a look inside marketing design at Proof. Proof is a website personalization tool that helps their customers to improve the conversion rate on their websites, and full disclaimer here, it's a tool that I have used in my role at ConvertKit. And today I got to talk to Brent Palmer who is the head of design at Proof. Brent, as you'll hear in this episode is actually the only designer at Proof. They're a small company of just 14 people at the moment, and he's been there for about a year now. Brent has spent half his career in the advertising, marketing, branding space, and then the other half working in product design. And so I guess I'm making the perfect fit to be in this role with us across both the product and marketing at Proof. So without further ado, let's get into the episode and hear from Brent, about how marketing design works at Proof.

All right, welcome Brent to Inside Marketing Design. Really excited to have you here and to be learning more about how marketing design works at Proof.

Brent: Thanks, Charli, happy to be here.

Charli: So you are like a little unique in terms of the other people we're talking to as part of the series, and that you're not solely a marketing designer. In fact, I don't think, maybe you wouldn't even describe yourself as that. But you do handle the marketing design at Proof, so you are the person to talk to about this.

Brent: This is accurate.

Charli: Yeah, tell us a little bit about that, and about your role at Proof.

Brent: Yeah, sure. So I joined Proof in 2019 as the lead designer there. So now we're a small company, 14 people, and so I'm just designing all the things. So my role stretches from t-shirts and koozies to everything on the roadmap, to a rebrand and the marketing side. So being the only one there, I kind of have to do it all.

Charli: And what would you say is the general split your time between product and marketing?

Brent: I'd say generally, to where we are right now as a company, at this very moment, my time is kind of 70% product 30% marketing. But that flipped, you know, earlier, around January 2020 when we were launching Experiences, our core product, and going through a rebrand, that was backwards, so that was about 70% brand and marketing, if not 100% at times, and less on product.

Charli: Right, so it just depends on what the company needs, right, and the state that the company is in. How do you find that split doing both? How's that been for you handling both sides of things?

Brent: So it's a lot about making hard choices and trying to identify what's important. A lot of that has to do with picking and choosing the projects, or identifying what I need to be working on and what my design attention, versus what I may need to give a set tools or a set of guidelines, and assets to other people to help kind of build on their own. So I kind of want to automate some of the boring stuff. Austin Distel is the head of marketing, and he is pretty design savvy.

Charli: Great.

Brent: So he can kind of get by and do some things on his own. So part of my role is giving him things like style guide, design system, assets, writing style guide, and then he can go off and build things in Webflow and king of get things done there.

Charli: Nice. Okay, so use Webflow for the side. We're going to talk about tools later. But that's interesting to me, cool. Let's talk about the marketing team at Proof and who makes up the marketing team? Out of those 14 people, how many work on marketing?

Brent: Yeah, so it's led by Dave Rogenmoser, our CEO founder, Austin Distel, he's head of marketing, and I think newly coined director of personalization.

Charli: Okay.

Brent: And then we kind of have sales and marketing rolled up together. So the account people also coordinate and work on the same team as marketing.

Charli: At ConvertKit, when we had sales and marketing combined, we supported a growth team. Would you say they operate as that? Like have have team meetings together with the sales and marketing as part of it, or working on similar projects? Or do they work kind of separately?

Brent: Oh, absolutely. They've called it "smarketing," which is sales and marketing smushed together.

Charli: That is so much better than growth team. I like it.

Brent: So they share, yeah, Slack channels, email threads, daily huddles, it's all together.

Charli: So who do you report to then within the company? Where does your role sit?

Brent: Yeah, great question. It's a bit unusual, maybe not, I don't know. But I report to the other co-founder, CTO, actually. J.P, so he, I guess, as a technical founder, he's kind of on the engineering side.

Charli: And is that because I guess the product connection, right, make sense for you to be reporting in to the CTO.

Brent: Yeah, I think that's more about product development, kind of best practices, and from that vantage point, helping out the experimentation and how we treat the website as product. It was important for the marketing side and the product to be a cohesive experience.

Charli: Right.

Brent: And so coming from the product out, I guess was the way they wanted to structure it, just in the organization.

Charli: Yeah, I love that. I personally think of the website that I work on for ConvertKit as its own product as well. You know, taking users through a journey in that, making reusable and all that. What are the main things that you as the, like in your marketing design capacity, which is what I want to focus on, because this is Inside Marketing Design.

Brent: Of course.

Charli: So we'll just like focus on that side of your work. What are the things you're responsible for as the design lead at Proof in terms of marketing?

Brent: Sure, so my job description is really one sentence: own the quality.

Charli: Oh, I love it.

Brent: So that encompasses a lot. Specifically, like how is it measured or how do we kind of gauge that?

Charli: Yeah, I would love to hear about that.

Brent: I think we may have a unique perspective on how we handle OKRs and metrics.

Charli: Okay, tell me about that.

Brent: Sure, or maybe it's not unique, but we share those OKRs. So the product team has a set of goals, and we define those from grassroots from ground up, so everyone kind of pitches their ideas about what kind of metrics and goals we want to hit. The marketing team has a set of goals they want to hit, and they kind of huddle together and decide, like, do we want to increase conversions here? Or do we want this marketing campaign to deliver this results? And so we kind of all do this together. So it's pretty collaborative, and when we decide those, then it's all shared across the team.

Charli: So you don't end up having individual OKRs that relate to those? Everyone's working on the same team OKRs, sounds like.

Brent: We don't I mean, we have these small kind of pockets of teams within the 14 people at Proof, and those are our OKRs, we share them.

Charli: That is unique. Well, I mean, from what I've heard anyway, that's unique. At ConvertKit, we do OKRs, but we also have our individual ones that talk about how we're going to tie into the team ones. How is your work measured then if you don't have individual like metrics or you know, things that you're going by? Do you have like performance reviews? Is there like, formal discussions like that? Or is it a lot looser being a small company?

Brent: We have performance reviews twice a year. And a lot of that is just done over Typeform, so it's super informal, you know, I meet with my manager J.P. once a week to kind of go over kind of project status, things like that. We use those longer vision, like longer horizon, kind of twice a year kind of meetings and one on ones to have more career conversations. And that's kind of what we talk about, you know, not just from a one week focus, but kind of a three to six month focus, like what should we go after.

Charli: Cool.

Brent: As an individual in design. Because we're a business that operates in increasing conversions, and everything's measured, we really do try and put some lagging and leading indicators on pretty much everything, so.

Charli: That makes sense.

Brent: Yeah. So, you know, as a marketing designer, a lot of things that I do is talk to customers and get out there with a lot of research. So I do a lot of generative search. So for example, well part of the rebrand was get into full story and talk to customers. We can kind of, we put a low bar on the amount of research I did, but the output of that was just needs to inform the work that you do, and be driven by kind of how our customers and visitors are using the website.

Charli: That makes sense. So they're all tying together, right? You're not doing research just to check a box and say you've done research. It's feeding in something else. Yeah.

Brent: Yeah.

Charli: Let's talk about more of the things that make up your role because you mentioned, and I wrote it down as soon as you said it because I was like, oh, that's interesting. You mentioned giving the head of marketing a writing guide. So it sounds like you do a lot of things that aren't just design at Proof. And I don't want to get you to sit here and name them all. But can you give me a rough overview of the types of output and the types of work that you do?

Brent: Oh, sure. Well, I would start by saying that one of the Proof core values is to be scrappy. And so I think that means you can see a place to own, if you something where you want to step up and kind of own that, you have permission to do so, and if you see a gap, then step in to fill it. And so one of the ways that I stepped in, examples is writing guide. So we had kind of different punctuation and uses the word Proof, and how we talked about ourselves was different kinds of everywhere. And I was working on a like style guide slash design system at the time, and I was reading a lot from Jason at Intercom, and how Shopify does their design system style guide with writing component, and what would that mean to kind of include like language, and how to craft sentences, and paragraphs, in Proof. So, it's like, well, I like to write, so let me give us a shot. And I just ask my peers and kind of put it in like, here are our principles when it comes to writing, which also kind of stemmed from our brand pillars, and brand principles, and then I kind of gave, much like you would like a design style guide, like.

Charli: Right.

Brent: Step one is like doing it, step two is iterating on it, because it's not perfect the first time. And then step three was making sure it was just kind of socialized throughout the team and the company, it's like, here's how we wanna talk about ourselves, and just being like a cheerleader for that.

Charli: Yeah, I love that. That's honestly one of my favorite things about being an in house designer at a small tech company, especially, is being able to take ownership of stuff like that, and it being really encouraged and, you know, you're not just there to design things. You're there for the rest of your brain too, which I think is really cool. You also mentioned that sometimes you will hand over assets to the head of marketing for them to build pages themselves in Webflow, which is interesting to me. So, the head of marketing is doing some design stuff, I guess, as well, which frees you up to focus on perhaps the more challenging projects that need a bit more design thinking.

Brent: So anything internal, I get involved as needed. So if it's, it's optional for me to get in. So if it's internal comms, like a T-shirt, or maybe a poster for team off site, as time I can jump in. You know, if it's externally facing, then it's a collaborative discussion between me, Distel, and the founder. Sometimes that could be a landing page that he's working on, or maybe a social media banner, where I just, he'll go in and take the assets in the stock that I've provided and he'll put something together like first draft, and then I think can help kind come in and art direct the consultant, kind of work with them, or even kind of, he'll hand it back to me, and I'll do some maybe cleaning up and then hand it back. So he yeah, at like kind of a tier two, like he'll take the first pass. And then like maybe a tier one would be something like we're releasing or pushing out a case study section to our website, and not only do we need the landing page for our case studies, but we need kind of a template for all of our case studies that we might produce. So something like that where it's like, content strategy, information architecture, kind of general art direction for whole thing, that's something that I might own.

Charli: So Webflow's what the marketing site is built on then, it sounds like.

Brent: It is, it is.

Charli: What other tools are part of your design process at Proof?

Brent: Yeah, Figma, Figma, Figma. Huge Figma advocate. You know, I think we switched to Figma my first week, and then I was getting, like random mock ups from the customer success team like sending this stuff, and a whole organization like got into Figma within like days.

Charli: That's great. Was that a change that you introduced?

Brent: Yeah, I was kind of new to Proof, I wanted to kind of start, you know, J.P., CTO, was open to it. And so like, let's do something new here, heard a lot about Figma and got in.

Charli: Nice.

Brent: I think why we chose to do it was, it was also about where we were as a design culture, like with a capital D. So they had wanted me to come in because my experience like collaborating across teams with marketing, etc, etc, so that they wanted me to become full with a tool that enabled a lot of collaboration and Figma did that. So being able to kind of comment, being able to support files across multiple departments and stuff, so Figma was the tool for us, so, we all got in there, and that was, that's been great. So you know, I kind of own, the like UI kit, or like web kit.

Charli: Yep.

Brent: And anyone, like if Austin opens up a new file, just poof, it's there, fonts, colors, everything.

Charli: Could you imagine, cause it sounds like everything's very collaborative at Proof, and you know, you talked about it starting from the product out, and how product and marketing do you have really close ties, could you imagine as the company grows your role kind of being split in two and having someone focused on product and someone focused on marketing? Or will it kind of always, if there's another designer hired, would they dabble in both as well?

Brent: Charli, I think if we were to grow the design, like muscle, I think we probably hire a brand designer, someone who could really support the marketing side full time, because for two reasons, one, we see design and a strong brand personality as a differentiator against some of our competitors and people in the space that are selling personalization tools.

Charli: As someone who has tried out several, I can attest to that.

Brent: I think the other half that is we do see a link, especially if we have people coming from marketing activities, and maybe signing up for Proof, eventually through the website, wink wink, they can get into proof directly from the website and start a free trial there. So it will be one continuous experience, and I see that, again, like being under one roof and making sure that the user experience and the design is consistent across all touch points. I see that the feature being someone is dedicated to design for the marketing side maybe dedicated designing the product side. I think there will still be some oversight over both.

Charli: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. Cool, it'd be good to maintain those close ties for sure. Let's talk about the marketing team in general and where your focus your efforts, cause I'm gonna make an assumption that like what we do at ConvertKit, your marketing website is one of the main focuses in terms of, you know, conversions and driving new people to sign up. But what other things do the marketing team focus on?

Brent: Yeah, sure. The marketing team does a lot of outbound activities. So the marketing will get involved in Ad spend on advertising, like Google Ad spend, Facebook Ad spend.

Charli: And are you creating assets for those ads?

Brent: I'd say it's a split. I've created some. You know, Austin's created others. We also hire freelance writers to do a lot of blog content.

Charli: Cool.

Brent: Occasionally, we'll put up blog post, and that'll need a graphic asset. We don't do a whole lot of print. We're digital marketers. And so the way we can do lead generation is through Dave, our CEO, will reach out to other kind of Y Combinator co-founders over Twitter and DM them, or just super informal, you know, AZ will kind of send some prospects like a drift video. So it's super like I say, like really scrappy, really organic, kind of like, what Dave likes to say is zigging when everyone else is zagging or something like that. So it's really kind of unorthodox. But, you know, those are kind of things that I'm not involved in. But those are activities, that marketing does.

Charli: And what other things do you get involved in on the marketing side then, aside from the odd image here and there, and the website, is there anything else that comes to mind?

Brent: So we have a set of time where we kind of set our OKRs and plan, it's called a blitz. We do blitz planning.

So we'll have a goal, or a theme for a blitz, it's every six or seven weeks. And those are really fun because they're usually pretty cheeky, and you know, silly kind of witty, clever, and those give me a chance to kind of go full expression on, just make like a really cool poster that's kind of artsy. We had like KickFlip was one, it was really great, kind of got into like graffiti style and how skateboarders do kickflips, and you know, that kind of street style imagery, and typography there, and that was like our theme for the blitz, that was really fun. Just like really wild, kind crazy things, that you don't really get to do in your day to day. But those are the things I carve out and make time for, cause it's a nice kind of release, and it's just kind of fun to kind of do design work that's way off the reservation.

Charli: Yeah, and it's good to flex those creative muscles, I find, especially when you're focusing on like user experience and conversion, it's nice to balance that with a bit of, like, creativity for the sake of creativity, from time to time.

Brent: Yeah and it's for Proof, you know, it's great. I get to go in and make a crazy looking koozies or I'll make time for that so.

Charli: Yeah, that's awesome. Let's get into talking about project work and your process more, because this is like, I'm big nerd, this stuff really interests me, let's imagine that you're starting on a new project for the marketing team, maybe it's a landing page for the website or the rebrand or something like that, where does that project come from? Is it a brief that's given to you? Is it just like a comment someone is like, hey, we need this, and you go do it, tell me about how it starts.

Brent: Yeah, that's a great question, Charli. So I'll answer this way.

Charli: Okay.

Brent: So our tool experiences kind of gives marketers like Dave and Distel kind of the flexibility to make changes and run experiments without engineering and sometimes design help. My job is to give Dave and Distel the kind of framework to run experiments. So when they set something up within Proof to make changes to the website, they can do all that visually without my help. So there's that kind of responsibility versus you know, they pull me in, help to kind craft an experiment, not necessarily so much to create a graphic or image or content for that site. And then, you know, the other piece of that is, you know, if it's a longer, more kind of larger product, like, you know, there's a video being made, or if there's a new section to the website, it may start off with like a notion doc, we try and set a brief. Sometimes I write that and start it out. Because again, like just making sure that the goal is clear. It's like who are we doing this for, what's the outcome we want to achieve, so I like to start with writing it down first. So making sure that everyone's clear. You know, once we kind of have it kind of sketched out, like low fidelity, that might be just in words, in a notion doc, it may be like whimsical, so we may like sketch something out, kind of just boxes and arrows. But I'm not jumping straight into Figma design just because Austin and Dave and others kind of need to see it's important for them to kind of sign off on where the project is going before like getting in and doing the visual design.

Charli: Yeah.

Brent: Which is kind of a, I don't know, actually, it's funny. Sometimes that works, but sometimes I find that they kind of need to see it as well.

Charli: I think that happens sometimes that we can only get so far with with wireframes, and, you know, plans before, like, I don't know, sometimes it just doesn't click until you see it looking more like an actual design. I've definitely had that happen to me. And I'll push forward on, I don't know, perhaps ideas that I feel aren't connecting with people, like people aren't responding quite how I expected but I was like, but this makes sense to me. And like, I firmly believe in it, and so I'm going to go the next step and like, do a design just to show you and get a better sense of what I mean.

Brent: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like it's been, I feel like it depends on the person who's reviewing the work.

Charli: Definitely.

Brent: Cause, like I've been in some situations where a high fidelity mock up kind of scares them, like it feels done, you know what I mean?

Charli: Yes, I definitely know what you mean.

Brent: And they weren't included, so like, you know, I have to kind of roll that back.

Charli: Or that maybe they'll start commenting on like little nitpicky details where I'm like, no, no, no, this is just a first draft, we haven't refined it yet. Like, I purposefully make my wireframes look kind of shitty so that people won't confuse them for real designs.

Brent: Right, right. Or, you know, there's a couple of tactics, like I maybe have a high fidelity mock up, but I don't show it. I actually have a hi fi mockup, and a wireframe. I'll show you the wireframe first.

Charli: There you go.

Brent: Preemptively, if you want to see something a little more polished I have that and I can send it to you. Like I'm thinking about that. I'm just not showing it to you yet.

Charli: Yeah. Sounds like the first stage of a project is to get everyone on the same page, which makes sense. That's a good principle in general for anything, not just a design project. What happens next? Is your design process itself as you're figuring out the high fidelity mock ups very collaborative, or do you sort of go away and then present back for feedback? How does that work?

Brent: Yeah, yeah. I think the asterisk there is things have changed so much with COVID-19, so we're become way more reliant on digital tools like Whimsical and Miro. My preference would be to get around a whiteboard, just holding the marker and standing up something about that physical activity helps get to decision a little bit quicker. So that would be my preference is we would probably start with just at a high level, like where things go on the page, or maybe what the flow is. So a user will go from here to here to here. When we get some agreement on the general kind of structure the page, then I can go off and kind of start my work. And at that point, what I usually do is I'll have my own kind of working Figma file. And again, I think it's kind of good and bad, like I can go from whiteboard to kind of a mock up pretty quickly because of the design system and the UI kit that we have, since it's drag and drop. And so I can have like in my work in Figma file, and then I'll have like a prototype, so I'll make sure I take some time to kind of make a prototype to send to the team. They can just see, you know, it does, Figma does a good enough job to kind of show you click through this and do things. Again, it kind of makes it more real to the stakeholders that kind of get by and understand what my aim and my design decisions are. You know, if it's a larger project that requires a bunch of new visual design, I probably would send out like a grayscale, like wireframe prototype, just to make sure that the content, and we're all the same page there. The prototype for me just needs to get us to the next step in the project.

Charli: Yeah.

Brent: So at that point, I'll send it, I'll link to the prototype. You know, again, it's like, we'll do things asynchronously over Slack right now. It'd be great to kind of get around a laptop or get around in a conference room to kind of talk through it. After leaving comments in Figma or something like that, we might need some clarification or we might hop on a Zoom and I'll walk them through it. So it's a, I think that's just, then it starts to fall into like communication rules, like if your thread gets too long just hop on a call, I think that's fair.

Charli: That's a good call.

Brent: But my responsibility there is I say what state the project is in, so just getting started, exploring, or this is almost done, it's in polish mode, or something that's in between, and then I'll tell them like, what kind of feedback I'm looking for. You know, if you have other feedback, then like, put it in the parking lot, and we can follow up later. So, I have send you the link, but the design team at Mixpanel put out a great Figma file template for sending feedback asynchronously.

Charli: Cool.

Brent: They've got some badges and stuff, that, really cool. So I've kind of taken that and adopted it. It's really helped just my workflow, being, you know, asynchronous all over town, and trying to ping work back and forth, so.

Charli: Love that, yeah, let's definitely get a link to that. And it'll be in the description on YouTube or the show notes you're listening to the audio version. How does the project end then? Who decides when it's done? Is there like an official sign off process? Yeah, how does how does it end?

Brent: Oh, Charli, I'm laughing because it's never done.

Charli: Not as an in house designer, nothing's ever finished. But how do you, how do you decide when to put down this one project then and move on to another one for some time?

Brent: Yeah, fair enough. I think when it goes live, that's when I can kind of step back.

Charli: Yep.

Brent: And as a team, we can step back and just see the results and before we pick up of V2 or make changes to it, you know, we're building these things to again, like the principles we're applying to the site, like Proof is an experimentation tool so Proof runs a lot of experiments and that's just what we do. We're going to build pages, and run experiments to see what we can learn and find out, and so before we even kind of get back to doing any second round, we'll see how the results are coming in, and make improvements based on behavior.

Charli: What's the most, been most interesting experiment result? Something perhaps that you didn't expect to work as well as it did, anything like that come to mind?

Brent: It wasn't necessarily a design thing, but we experimented with different conversational tools on the marketing side. And we ran a couple of tools, and we end up running one, and the experiment through a couple different playbooks and A, versus B, versus C, versus D, didn't really perform as well as just straight up form on a page. So that's more holistically is like a user experience experiment. If that makes sense.

Charli: Yeah that makes sense.

Brent: Say that five times fast. Yeah, and so we were able to kind of do that through the combination of like our tool, Proof experiences, and this other widget. The reason why we did that was because Proof's brand was we wanted to be personal, we're a personalization company. And an extension of being personal is offering like a chat, or some kind of conversational tool on the website.

Charli: Right.

Brent: And that's the brand extension, but we didn't get the results that we wanted. And so maybe, you know, what we assumed was like wow, maybe being personal is being easy. And being personal is just having a form that you can do something simple.

Charli: Yeah, just getting out of the way and letting the user do what they want, makes sense.

Brent: And so that was interesting learning for us.

Charli: Yeah. Can I tell you quickly about a test that we ran once that was a really interesting result for me?

Brent: Yeah.

Charli: This was a couple of years ago like, close when I first joined ConvertKit and were thinking about redoing your homepage. It was like quite long. And we sort of had this feeling that it was a little confusing the way that we had would messaged everything on it. We had a data analyst on the team running tests at the time who had sort of come up against this research. And so we tested just chopping everything off the homepage, just having the header and the footer. So it was just like an image with a headline and a button, and a footer, and it performed better than the long homepage with us trying to explain the information and things like that. That was a funny moment where I was just like what am I doing with my life? You know, if all we need to do is put a header, then boom, we're done. Luckily the story has a happy ending in that then I did do a full redesign of the home page that we tested against that, like, short one it won out by far. So you know, it was the type of content we had on it, not the fact that there was content on it that was the problem, if that makes sense.

Brent: Yeah, I think that's the advantage of a designer. We're curious and we can tinker.

Charli: Yeah.

Brent: And so, you know, back to your original question is it done? You know, we can continue to run, we continue to try different things like versions of the homepage or how we get people to sign up for free trial at Proof, like, those things can be evolved and we can work, because people change, you know, and personas and visitors change their behavior.

Charli: Absolutely.

Brent: A year from now they may want to talk to someone over a chatbot but right now it's very moment, you know, they're more content to fill out a form, so.

Charli: And that's why gotta keep retesting stuff, right, so that we don't like let our assumptions from a year ago apply to now, cause things change. So we've talked about the fact that at Proof you obviously measure a lot of things because that's what you're all about. Are you very close to that data? Like will you be digging in and investigating it yourself, or is it kind of like a report that someone puts up, and like this is how this project done, how close are you to the data?

Brent: I get pretty close to the data. So I guess maybe a bit unusual in the sense that I can write a little bit of SQL, I can get into like Amplitude.

Charli: Nice.

Brent: Or mode or something like that kind of run a query. I think I just have some do with like my background working with data tools, but yeah, I thankfully everyone in the company has access to things like Google Analytics and Amplitude, full story, on and on and on, but we get in there. We're very, we're tooled up, we're instrumented and we can jump in. So if I'm curious, I have kind of the wherewithal to kind of get in, answer some questions myself. But we also have, smarketing has a dashboard for their key metrics. So they have that up on a big TV that's just kind of in the office.

Charli: Right, when everyone else is in the office, that is. Right now it's just the TV by itself.

Brent: Exactly.

Charli: Okay, let's talk about some of the hard stuff. So what are some of the main obstacles that you face in your role? Like, what are some of the challenges that you come across?

Brent: I think it's still a challenge to try and bridge the gap between what we're doing on the website from a design side and trying to make that jive with what we're doing in the app.

Charli: Yeah.

Brent: So I think there'll always be this tension of, like, brand expression versus utility, and the flat footedness of the app, and it needs to be super usable, and then in this little more personality and flare on the brand side. So, I think that's a challenge when it comes to like colors, and like tone of voice. I think when I'm learning a lot is content has much to do with an experiment and things you try on on the website, as it does the, kind of who you're testing it for, or who your segment, or who gets to see this experiment. You know, I think where we could grow is, I think someone with a true data analytics background would be really helpful. Cause I think that would help, just selfishly, that would help me know what changes on a page are effecting behavior. Just another collaborator to kind of help understand like, hey, if we change this sentence and we change this image, and separately, this will have this effect, but we change at same time together, it'll have this effect. So I think some growth there would be good, that's a challenge.

Charli: That's a pretty good challenge to be having though at the company size that you are, because in my experience anyway, and people that I've talked to, usually companies don't start thinking about that level of experimenting and testing until they're a lot bigger. Like it's just not top of mind when they're getting started. And it like, it doesn't have to be a thing that you wait into your big company to do for sure. But obviously the nature of Proof, that's built into your DNA.

Brent: Yeah, yeah which I guess would bring me to my third point was the challenges, our sample size is very limited, we're kind of running out of test to run, or not test run but people to speak with, you know, our web traffic is pretty good, but it's not massive. We can't subdivide that traffic infinitely, we kind of hit a limit of how much traffic we can actually split. So you know when you're a small company, you're kind of getting started unless you have like Airbnb type traffic coming to your website, kind of limits what you can do, both from the quantitative side and a qualitative side, so.

Charli: Yeah, I found that with ConvertKit as well, there's, often tests were run, and we just we just don't get the traffic that we need to be statistically significant because we've like been testing this small like little niche thing on this page. And nowadays we tend to just run tests on our highest traffic pages because we know we're never gonna reach good results on the less visited ones. Yeah, it's tough.

Brent: Which, you know, that's the balance right? Cause now we're back to brand expression piece, and having like a point of view on how this should be, as opposed to proposing a couple, or three or four options and just letting the market decide. So, yeah, it's a balance and I find that just a real challenge just to be, as brand designer, marketing designer, what should we be, versus what works.

Charli: Yeah. And it's is always going to be a balancing, and at some point you got to make compromises, right? Well make the hard choice, make the choice but doesn't actually make sense according to the data, because you know what's best for the brand. Yeah. Okay, let's end on a high and talk about what some of you favorite parts of your job are, what do you love about what you do?

Brent: Well, I love talking to users, and I love talking to customers. I love just getting feedback from people who actually use this stuff, and it's just the joy and delight to see people interact with the website or design and have them, have it change their behavior and have it make a difference in how they're working, and how they're experiencing Proof.

Charli: Yeah, that's really rewarding.

Brent: So I really enjoy that piece.

Charli: Love it. Alright, well thank you for being on the show, Brent. Where should people go if they wanna follow you online? Is there anything you wanna pitch to the people right now?

Brent: No, no, nothing, nothing cooking at the moment. But you can definitely hit me up on Twitter, of course, Brent Palmer, @brentpalmer, you can also ping me at brentpalmer.me, and yeah, useproof.com, come visit me.

Charli: That's great, yeah, gotta get in the pitch for Proof in there. All right, thanks for being here Brent.

Brent: Thanks, Charli.

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