While visiting the Adobe San Francisco campus I sat down with Jackson Palmer, the Product Marketing Specialist for Business Catalyst.
Brent: Hey, this is Brent Weaver from BC Gurus and HotPress Web. I'm here in San Francisco at one of the Adobe offices. I'm here with Jackson Palmer from the BC team. He is the Product Marketing Specialist for Business Catalyst. So, thanks for joining us today.
Jackson: Thanks for coming and visiting us.
Brent: Yeah, it's definitely a beautiful campus. You guys have a pretty awesome office and café. We just finished having some lunch here at Adobe.
Anyway, Jackson, could you tell us a little about who you are and what your background is?
Jackson: Yeah, okay. So, originally I'm trained in business, specifically marketing. I joined the BC team early 2009, about seven or eight months before we were acquired by Adobe. So I was working with the guys in the small office back in north Sydney. Eventually, we came over to Adobe, and now I'm based out of Sydney and doing all the marketing, really, at the moment. So I'm heading up our advertising campaigns that bring us the whole fresh batch of new partners, but also putting together materials for our existing partners, so paid partners, partner success, newsletters, and also the BC Podcast, which I'm sure everybody's heard.
Brent: Gotcha, so that's definitely some good content. So we can finally put a face to who's releasing all that stuff.
Brent: So how has it been now that you're at Adobe versus the small little BC team? Has that been . . .
Jackson: Well, it's been really good for us actually because we've been able to ramp up development on all the features. Like recently, in the past few months, we've really gotten together, and top wish list items, like modules inside modules, so that's really good. Then on the marketing front, it's really given us the power to kind of spread the BC word better than we ever have before. So obviously, prior to Adobe, our advertising was kind of limited in a way, but opening up BC to that whole Adobe user base as well, Dreamweaver users, there's a lot of crossover there. So yeah, it's really been an enabler for BC to grow as a platform.
Brent: Very cool. Now, one of those things that you've been working on, just some of the community initiatives, I know you've got several things in the pipeline as far as trying to help BC partners get more business. So tell us a little bit about that.
Jackson: Okay. So there are a few things I've been working on, and I'm sure if you're a new partner, you've probably seen it, the new signup process. We went back and we revisited that. We freshened up the template, so we've got a new set of templates and that library's growing. That's all about helping the new guys get onboard faster with the platform, guiding them through that initial learning curve almost. There's a new email series as well, that kind of guides them through the first steps of getting up and running, operating their first site. So I've been working on that.
Then also, for our base of existing partners, we're trying to work on some more white label material. So at the moment, we have some inside the partner portal, like sales proposals, checklists that you can get clients to fill out, just to really help you win those deals.
Brent: Okay. Now, on the template front, it sounds like you guys have a little project that's maybe going to help new partners, but also something that existing and more experienced partners can contribute to?
Jackson: Yeah, so there are a couple of things there. If any partners are willing to donate templates for free to the community to use, so really give back to the community, we have a system in place now so we can take those templates and offer them to all the new partners that come along. So that's something that we're really looking into.
But also for experienced partners who really want to push out those projects quickly, we have in the pipeline a bunch of what we're calling "Naked Templates." Some other platforms use this kind of terminology. It really is just a grid template that adheres to best practices. It's multi-screen so it will work on any device, and then you just layer your design on top of that. But it will have all the BC modules correctly implemented for you. So it's a good starting point.
Brent: Okay. Nice, very cool. Then as far as driving business to partners, I know that's kind of something that we had talked about today, something that's coming down the pipeline.
Jackson: Totally. Yeah, as we were discussing earlier today, it's something that a lot of partners face when they first come to BC is getting that first client on board and then keeping up a steady stream of clients. It's something we always wanted to do with Partner Connect, which you can see under the Gallery tab in your partner portal is expand that out so that there is almost a find a partner interface for small business owners. So obviously, we've got a lot of small business owners coming to BC and saying, "I want a website." So how can we connect those business owners with partners in their area that are experienced implementers? So, yeah, in the coming months, that's something we're looking to build out based on the submissions that all the partners have made over the years to Partner Connect. There will be a system in place for reviews of partners, and location and where kind of stuff. So SBOs will be able to show up and just say, "I want a partner within a five mile radius," and we'll suggest them.
Brent: Yeah, I've thought, with BC being a proprietary system, that one of the ways that I would like to get business is more of that demand side creation, where you guys are able to do some more mass marketing, basically use the Adobe resources to get the word out about Business Catalyst so that more customers come through our door already educated on the system.
Jackson: Totally, yeah. I think, obviously, the Adobe name expands BC and its awareness out to a whole bunch of business owners who would want websites created. So when these guys come knocking at our door, it's great to be able to funnel those guys as leads through to our partners.
Brent: Nice, very nice. One thing that I've always been striving to do, as a BC partner, is to really contribute to the community and be very open and share. You guys have some marketing material that you're maybe opening up to allow partners to contribute content to?
Jackson: Yeah, yeah. So as everybody's probably seen in their inbox, we have Business Success and Partner Success newsletters. These go out, Partner Success every two weeks and . . .
Brent: So does Partner Success go to partners and Business Success goes to just users?Jackson: Business Success goes to everyone. So everybody who's ever come to BC and entered their email address and obviously opted in. But Partner Success goes to everybody who's signed up as a premium or a standard partner. I'm really inviting partners, if you've got a series of best practices that you'd like to share with the community, around selling or around building sites with BC, then, yeah, it would be really great to have some community driven content in those newsletters. Obviously, we can also promote it via the BC Blog.
Brent: Very cool. So that's a challenge to all the BC partners out there to start thinking about what's going on in your world, what's going on in your region, what kind of sites you're building, things that other Business Catalyst partners could potentially use to help grow their business. I think that's an excellent idea.
Jackson: Totally, and it's something that we're always looking for with the podcast as well. If you want to be interviewed on the podcast and offer your story and advice about how you grew your business with BC, then, yeah, we're definitely up for that. So just reach out to us in the comment section of the podcast, or just submit the "Contact Us" form to get in touch, and we'll get right back to you.
Brent: Very cool. One thing I want to just close out here today with is there's an event that's coming that I think is pretty important for the folks that are using BC. You want to talk about MAX at all?
Jackson: Yeah. So last year at Adobe MAX, we had a pretty strong presence and it was great to see some of our key partners come out. I think this year it's going to be bigger and better. We've got another lineup of sessions, with yourself obviously, on how to sell BC well. We've got Jason Tinnin from Simple Flame also doing a great session on jQuery. Then we've got some other exclusive sneak peeks that I really think everybody will be excited by around what V3 means and also around what you can do with our new multi-screen functionality, so tablets and mobile devices.
So, yeah, we're really pushing it this year. We have the BC Unconference as well. So any partner can get up and just share their ideas and thoughts about how we can grow this platform and also how partners can work together to build these community driven resources.
Brent: Very cool. Yeah, personally just the partners that I already have reached out to that are definitely coming, it's going to be several days of hardcore collaboration, really getting a chance to not only talk a bunch of shop, but break some bread, have some drinks. I know you guys are probably doing your Sunday night drinks thing again.
Jackson: That's right. Yeah, that'll be fun.
Brent: So I think I might have mentioned to somebody that the first drink was on me, but I think apparently maybe the first drink in on Adobe.
Jackson: Yeah, why not.
Brent: Well, cool. Anything else that you want to share with the BC Gurus fans?
Jackson: I think, guys, it's great to see you getting involved with the community and, yeah, let's grow this thing together. As I said, just reach out to us, and we're always happy to see new members of the community come forward and help us collaborate.
Brent: Very cool. Jackson, it's been a pleasure.
Brent: Well stay tuned for more interviews. We're out here at Adobe for a couple of days, so we're going to be getting several more videos posted out to BCGurus.com. Thank you.