In this thought-provoking interview, we delve into why Russell Brunson’s perspective on sales funnels might not be as foolproof as it seems. We dissect vital points and offer alternative insights to challenge the conventional wisdom surrounding sales funnels.

With Special Guest Georgiana Laudi From Forget The Funnel Agency And The Best Selling Book “Forget The Funnel.”

Main Questions We Cover During The Interview

#1 – Georgiana, what are the most significant misunderstandings companies make connected funnels and their growth strategies?

#2—Can you give a couple of tips on how web design freelancers and agencies can help their clients improve their websites and get better results for clients?

#3 – My most significant criticism of your book is linked to what Steve Jobs is quoted as saying.

“Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they will want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!'” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things not yet on the page.”

How would you respond to this criticism?

#4 – I wonder if you can give us one or two of the most suppressing responses that you have received connected to the launch of the book that you didn’t expect?

#5 – How will AI change funnel-building in the next 18 months?

#6—If you had your time machine (H. G. Wells) and could travel back to the beginning of your career and business journey, what key piece of advice would you give yourself?

This Week Show’s Sponsors

LifterLMS: LifterLMS

Convesio: Convesio

Omnisend: Omnisend

The Show’s Main Transcript And Links

[00:00:00.000] – Jonathan Denwood

Welcome back to the WP-Tonic this week in WordPress and SaaS. This is episode 906. We’ve got a really great guest. I’ve been really looking forward to this discussion. Georgina Laundee from Forget the Funnel also wrote the Forget the Funnel book.

[00:01:33.040] – Jonathan Denwood

She knows everything about funnels, about not using them. It’s going to be a great discussion. I think she’s up for it. She seems to laugh at my jokes, so that’s always I get a lot of… I’m very English, even though I’ve been living in America for almost 18 years. A lot of my guests just don’t get my English, Georgina. Bless their little hearts. So Georgina, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?

[00:02:06.750] – Georgiana Laudi

Sure. I’ll try to do it quickly. I have been in some shape of marketing for over 20 years now, and I have been dedicating my last tool. Maybe it’s like we’re going on 13 years devoted to B2B SaaS. So as a marketer, very customer-focused type of marketer, when I discovered the recurring revenue model of software businesses, I fell in love with it because I knew there was a role for marketing post-acquisition. I knew that marketing played a massive role in generating revenue. And so I thought, these are my people, and I never looked back. I love SaaS, and I love marketing, and I love tech and startups.

[00:02:52.390] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s me—all that good stuff—fantastic. And I’ve also got my fantastic co-host, my patient co-host, Kurt. Kurt, would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?

[00:03:05.210] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah, my name is Kurt von Annen. I own a company called MananaNoMas and work directly with WP-Tonic and the good folks at Lifter LMS for learning.

[00:03:15.490] – Jonathan Denwood

All right. He’s got some really interesting questions for you, Georgina. He seems more up for it than me. I’m not leading him off the hook, actually. But before we go into the meat and potatoes of this great show, I’ve got a couple of messages from our primary We will be back in a few moments, folks. Three, two, one. Coming back, folks. I also want to point out we got some great deals from the sponsors, plus a curated list of the best WordPress plugins and services for the WordPress professional. You can find all these goodies by going over to WP-Tonic/deals. Wp-tonic/deals, and you’ll find all the free goodies there. What more could you ask for? Probably a lot more, but that’s all you’re going to get from that page. I’m sorry to disappoint. I’ve made a career of it, but there we go. So you’re already wondering why you came on this show, aren’t you? But it’s going to get worse as it goes on. It’s going to be memorable though. It’s not going to be one of those interviews that you forget five minutes after it. So you wrote the book, which is only a slight undertaking.

[00:04:39.240] – Jonathan Denwood

I think going to the dentist, in some ways, is better than writing a book, I’ve been told. So, only a quick question: what made you write the book, and what do you think are one or two of the significant misunderstandings that you wanted the book to get across to people around funnels and misconceptions around growth strategies in general? Only a small question.

[00:05:09.310] – Georgiana Laudi

Yeah, the ethos for the book. The philosophy for our business, honestly. So Forget the Funnel started as a content project between Claire Solentrop and I, really, to help tackle the The stress, the misunderstandings, the underrepresentation, undervaluing of marketing in tech, and those marketers in tech. That was really our starting ground. We had both been in-house. We had both experienced it, and we were both heavily… We were both receiving a lot of… After we left our in-house roles, receiving a lot of communication and emails from founders of companies who were like, We need somebody with this marketing experience. My marketing team isn’t cutting it, and they don’t get it, and we need somebody experienced. And what we realized was that marketing and tech is very misunderstood, often seen as a cost center, often seen as the arts and crafts department, not always taken so seriously, a lot of people undervalued, underpaid. And so we went into this with, we’ve got to help these in-house practitioners. One of the most effective ways to help these practitioners gain buy-in with their leadership teams was really to arm them with data and arm them with customer data that these companies could then leverage to build growth strategies around where their ideas or their boss’s ideas, or the board’s ideas weren’t necessarily the…

[00:06:55.880] – Georgiana Laudi

That marketer wasn’t going to be that order taker anymore. That marketer was finally going to be in a position to see things strategically, see things holistically, not have to guess, and not do the spaghetti-at-the-wall type of marketing. Now, I say marketing, but obviously, this also applies to product marketing. It also applies to product growth and growth teams that all think about these aspects of growing companies, particularly SaaS or recurring revenue businesses. A lot of these people, unfortunately, it’s misunderstood what they do. They are underpaid, and they are constantly fighting for their right to be in the room. And so we get into this trap of we just got to prove that we’re doing something. And so we end up marketing for marketing’s sake. It’s tactics over tactics. But we really wanted to help folks get out of the weeds of execution We think strategically and holistically about marketing and the customer experience and conversion rates. And the best way to do that is customer research. And we are then operationalizing that customer research with customer journey maps and KPIs and things. So that was where Forget the Funnel as a brand came from. And then eventually, as Claire and I worked together on mutual projects with companies, we realized there’s a framework here that applies to lots of folks, either that we work with or want to do it themselves.

[00:08:14.090] – Georgiana Laudi

We knew there was a book in here, so that’s what led us to read the book. It’s a very short, practical how-to guide, so it’s not theoretical. There’s a way to go about this. Here are the specific step-by-step instructions. There’s even a 100-page notebook with templates and cheat sheets and templates and all kinds of stuff. So it’s really, really practical.

[00:08:36.290] – Jonathan Denwood

Oh, it sounds fine. I might buy it. I’m a dyslexic, so buying a book is a rarity for me.

[00:08:45.530] – Georgiana Laudi

The audiobook too. Yeah.

[00:08:49.470] – Jonathan Denwood

This is my personal take on it. I think there are many facets to where we find ourselves. I’ve listened to quite a few of your interviews and listened to a few of your podcast episodes. And also you’ve been on Rob Rowland. Rob Rollings is a personal friend of mine, and I really enjoyed your discussions with Rob. But I think it’s a bit of a witches’ brew. I think there’s this element, and in the title of this interview, I’ve had a little pop at Russell Branson, bless his heart, and just get a bit of interest in it. But I think it’s all in the funnel for a lot of people, getting the proper funnel. And then there’s the element of affiliate marketing as well. In WordPress, in the lower SaaS, it’s all about affiliate marketing. And then you throw in PROMATIC marketing, i. E. Facebook or Google Ads, where it’s PROMATIC marketing. You put in so much, and you get so much back. It’s easy, accessible, busy marketing. Why do any market research? That’s just a waste of time, is it? Understanding your customers or needs. You don’t have to bother. The affiliate and the Facebook ads will just do it.


[00:10:27.960] – Jonathan Denwood

I think a lot of people I think in that way, don’t they?


[00:10:33.810] – Georgiana Laudi

That they can just experiment and put something out into the world and get feedback that way?


[00:10:42.530] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, they just leave it to the affiliate manager and the person in charge of the Facebook advert.


[00:10:49.650] – Georgiana Laudi

I am not as close in the affiliate space, I will admit. I have treaded quite lightly there when I was in-house. I’m not a big fan of that strategy for most companies because I think that most companies have an opportunity to go direct to market themselves if they really understand their customers. Not to say that affiliate isn’t a cool way to add fuel onto that, but you have to have the foundation in place first. And that’s really where I would go to the answer for this. And what you’re describing is the same thing as an in-house marketer at a SaaS company who’s desperate to show value and show numbers. And just tries to drive up traffic, right? And prove that the website grew traffic this month over last, regardless of whether or not it actually led to revenue. And sure, you can market that way. And many, many, many do. But it doesn’t last very long, and you will have short stints at whatever companies or brands you’re working with because it rears its ugly head. And it has been rearing its ugly head even more so in the past few years, is the cost to acquire a customer The customer has skyrocketed.


[00:12:01.740] – Georgiana Laudi

Advertising is, I would consider, like affiliate marketing, the thing you do at the end after you’ve got the fundamentals in place and a great way to add fuel to the fire. There are certain situations where I do appreciate paid channels for early stage where you’re trying to validate. So let’s say you’ve done some customer development, you have a hypothesis about the offering, and you want to put it into the market and get that feedback back. Back from the actual market and see if there’s a willingness to pay. That’s a great way to validate any customer development work that you’ve done. But it is not a long term solution for growing your product, not in the most cost effective way. At a certain point, it stops paying off. You can be successful with it in the early days, and then eventually your ROI will drop. The cost to acquire those customers will just keep going up, and you are not not going to get your biggest bang for your buck because you don’t even have the fundamentals in place. So anybody who’s doing spaghetti at the wall style marketing like this, what I always recommend to them is find out what was the situation in the context in which your customers made a decision to switch from what they used to be doing to your solution.


[00:13:20.040] – Georgiana Laudi

What did that day look like? What solution were they firing in order to look for something new? Having that context, that understanding of that pain, that struggle, that previous solution, their anxieties, their motivations, knowing all of this will make not only your positioning and messaging on your website better, your emails better, but your advertising better. You’ll better equip any affiliate marketers that you have in the world. If you have that deep intel about the problem that you’re solving, you’re not selling a vitamin in today’s market, you’re selling a painkiller. And so if you don’t understand what that painkiller is that you’re selling, you are throwing money down the toilet.


[00:13:59.080] – Jonathan Denwood

I totally agree with you, and I think Kirk works with me on my company, and I think he knows that I really sometimes seem to be in pain, don’t I, Kirk? Because I discussed my lack of really understanding our customers. But over to you, Kurt.


[00:14:19.000] – Kurt von Ahnen

Georgiana, as I listen to you talk, my own brain goes between two extremes. And I think of people are listeners and viewers, right? So I think of designers and agencies. Some of these folks are still in a perpetual startup mode, and they’re not even sure who their avatar or customer really even is. They don’t even really understand what their actual offer is to be able to take that leap forward and do that customer-led pathway, right? And then I think about the other extreme where I’ve worked in the corporate world, where marketing and sales hated each other. I mean, they might have gone to the same meetings, but marketing was marketing, and sales blamed marketing because there weren’t enough leads. And then marketing blamed sales because they weren’t closing based on the traffic. And so for these people that are in the middle of my extreme thinking, where What is the traffic even… Because we’re making the assumption that there’s traffic. We’re making the assumption that there’s customers to play with, but we have to get them going first, right? How does all that get started? And then how do we convert to a customer-led modality?


[00:15:33.970] – Georgiana Laudi

So it’s a good question, and a lot of people, I think, struggle with that where they’re like, Well, we’re not getting enough customers. We’re not getting enough traffic. So what is customer research going to do for us given that we don’t have enough right now? We just need more. And then when we get more, we’ll do customer research. That’s a classic. And what I would say to that is, the answer is different depending on your stage of growth. At But the lower end, the earlier stage, the answer is very, very different than the folks that are in the middle. And then it’s very, very different when you get to the higher end of the market. But the answer will always come back to, do you have anybody today that is happy with what you’re doing today? Because if your goal is revenue growth, then that’s the people you tap into because they’re the people who have put money where their mouth is. They’ve made a decision to choose you over all the other options. They should be They should be happy with your solution as it exists today. If you have anybody that falls into that category, they are like liquid gold to you.


[00:16:40.140] – Georgiana Laudi

What is inside of their head is worth so much. Again, even if it’s only, I would say a handful. Sometimes we’re working with companies and we work with B2B SaaS, predominantly. We stray sometimes, but predominantly it’s B2B SaaS. We go from all kinds of extremes. Sometimes we’re working with companies that have hundreds of thousands of low ACV customers. There’s a certain way to tap into that ideal customer to learn. Then we’re also sometimes talking with companies that are more sales-led. They sell into enterprise. They’ve only caught a couple of dozen customers in their book of business, so to speak, which is similar to that early stage that you were describing where somebody is newer to the game. They haven’t even fully wrapped their heads around what they’re doing yet, but they do have a couple of happy customers. If you’re in that situation, you’ve got folks to learn from. It’s going to come down to how do you run that research in a way that gets you the insight that you need to help you figure out what is the value that you bring to them actually? What’s the problem that you help them solve, which we’ve already talked about?


[00:17:46.540] – Georgiana Laudi

What words do they use to describe their pain, your solution? What is that better life that you’ve created for them? Because if you can have that understanding of a few of your customers, you’re going to start to pattern match across those few customers. You’re going to say, oh, that’s the tie that binds these customers together, and that will help you figure out your positioning and messaging. And if you can get your positioning and messaging locked in, everything else becomes a lot easier. All your marketing will work more fluidly. Your team will be better equipped if you’re in a situation where it’s a team and you’ve got customer success folks or sales folks, they will all have a better understanding of what you’re doing. And that greases the wheels for more customers coming in. And then, of course, the obvious thing that I would advocate for is doing it again, not too long later, because things change over time. And this type of research is not necessarily an advocate for stopping everything and doing research every couple of months. But if your product is evolving quickly, if your market is evolving quickly, if your competing landscape is evolving quickly, if your team is evolving, people coming and going, then you’re in a position where you need to democratize this understanding of your best customers so that you How can build experiences that are actually going to resonate with your customers today, with your offering today in the market today.


[00:19:08.760] – Kurt von Ahnen

I’m going to have to ask another follow-up because your answer, your response got something else going. You said identify that common tie between the customers. And what’s jumping in my brain right now is, how often is that common tie just a complete surprise or mystery to your customer, right? They’re like, I didn’t even realize that’s what my offer was. I didn’t even know that was what I was selling.


[00:19:36.260] – Georgiana Laudi

A lot. I would say almost every time. So I mean, I’ve got a bunch of examples I’m trying I’m going through them in my mind thinking which one would be the most helpful to talk through. But we worked with a, I’ll call it a membership site recently, so that might feel like a relevant example here. I won’t name them, but essentially they’ve got what you would expect a hybrid of a membership site and content. And tons of traffic. So they were doing a really great job on top of funnel The founder of the company, tons of thought leadership out there, quite well known. But what they were challenged with was not only signups for their membership, but retention and engagement inside of their membership. So they could get people through the front door, but they couldn’t get people to actually hit that Aha moment and start to really invest. And they were seeing more attrition than they thought they should see. So with this group, they had a small team. They had lots of conversations happening with customers. It’s not like they didn’t talk to customers. They were having regular conversations with customers. The problem was it was disjointed conversations.


[00:20:55.110] – Georgiana Laudi

One person was having a conversation over here about one topic, another one over here about another topic. And though they thought they had a pretty good holistic understanding of their customers, when we actually did it in a more formalized, like conducted real research in a more formalized way, we were able to provide them with insight into the groups that actually are represented within their larger customer base. And we identified three jobs to be done, so to speak. So we really lean on the jobs to be done methodology and approach for the type of research that we do. I can get into why we do that. But the TLDR with this example is that what we helped them identify were these three different segments of customers that come through the front door, use different language, are solving a different problem, are at a different stage in their career. What resonates with them from one to the other is completely different. And so what is really powerful for them to then implement is, yes, they’ve got to come up with a high level messaging and positioning that appeals to all. They decide which one they really want to lean into, which they think represents their future opportunity.


[00:22:04.840] – Georgiana Laudi

But then in addition to that, to take advantage of the revenue opportunity today, they can offer an onboarding that is segmented and more personalized. So they can ask them a question like, which best describes what led you to sign up today? Simple drop down that describes one of these three scenario offers another, of course, in case you capture other situations, and then offer them a much more personalized onboarding so that We make sure we’re hitting the aha moments for the right folks at the right time. We’re using the right language. We’re describing the the appropriate pain that they’re experiencing, the appropriate better life that they’re looking for. So it just fuels this much more resonant messaging, I’m sorry, that obviously will help with conversion rates. And this is true of an onboarding experience, but it’s true of marketing experiences as well. You would want to think about ways, and they will be thinking about ways because this is quite recent, different types of marketing campaigns that would to those different audiences. They had never thought about the different watering holes these three groups of customers might hang out in. They’d only been thinking of the ones that encompassed all.


[00:23:11.640] – Georgiana Laudi

So now they get to think through, Oh, there’s certain podcasts that appeal to one of these groups, or one of them is more offline, and so we should do more offline advertising to that group, or, Oh, actually getting in universities is more appropriate for this group, and they can make much more strategic decisions about their outward marketing as But a really key part here is that you don’t add on that top of funnel marketing until you’ve got your house in order. Once they get their house in order, that’s when they’re going to go out and bring more people through the front door. Otherwise, they’re just bleeding money. You’re just throwing money away, especially if you’re spending on that marketing, you’re throwing that money away if your website and your onboarding experience isn’t actually going to convert. You’re just going to… It’s a leaky bucket.


[00:24:00.000] – Kurt von Ahnen

All right. Well, thank you. Jonathan?


[00:24:02.920] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I totally agree with you there, actually. I’m going to… On to the next question.


[00:24:07.160] – Georgiana Laudi

You sound surprised, actually.


[00:24:09.890] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s just my English. Don’t take any notice of it. I’m surprised where I’ll be here every day. On to the next question, and it’s covered in your book, actually, but I don’t guarantee any originality in this interview. But I thought it was because I know a few people are going to be thinking this, so I think we should discuss it. It’s the famous Steve Jobs quotation. Some people say, give the customer what they want, but that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what’s going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, If I asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse. So basically, the intellectual argument towards your approach is that basically asking a load of people what they want and delving in to their needs and that is great, but you’re just going to end up with a better horse because they don’t know what they’re really looking for. So asking a load of people what they really want is a waste of time because they just I don’t know. So what’s your response? Because I know you have got your response in your book to that argument.


[00:25:38.700] – Georgiana Laudi

So a couple of things. One is that Henry Ford never said that. It was in an ad Week magazine article, I think from 2001. He never actually said it. Actually, he was quoted in by Dale Carnegie as saying the complete opposite. But the other thing is that the premise of that is you’re not asking your customers what they want. And we haven’t talked about this very much, but you’re not asking them, would you rather A or B? You’re not asking them, what do you think this is worth? You’re not asking them, do you like this feature more or that feature more? You’re not asking them what they want. You’re asking them to describe for you what was going on in their world that led them to need a new solution. That has nothing to do with you. What solution were they struggling with before? Nothing to do with you. You’re not asking them what they want. You’re asking what happened. You’re not asking for them to… For their opinion. You’re asking for the documentary, the chronological order of events. Now, if you can have enough conversations with enough customers about this chronological order of events, then you’re going to start to be able to pattern match.


[00:26:52.750] – Georgiana Laudi

But there’s a very distinct difference between asking a leading question like, what do you like more? Or what do you want? Or what is this willing to pay, which are very closed questions and asking open questions, which is, what was going on in your world when you first realized that you needed a solution like ours? What was it that was painful about your previous solution? When you started looking for a new solution, where did you go? Who did you talk to? Once you discovered us, what was it about our solution that convinced you to choose us over the other options? Once you started actually using the product, did you have an aha moment that led you motivated you to keep going? Were there any deal breakers in this decision? Were there any anxieties? Now that you have our solution in your life, what are you able to do now that you weren’t able to do before? Nowhere in there are we asking them what they want. We’re asking them to tell us about their experience. That’s very jobs to be done. That’s why we love that approach. By the way, I will say there’s a lot of really, really, I don’t know if I can swear, there’s a lot of really shit- Oh, I swear all the time, so go ahead.


[00:27:58.630] – Georgiana Laudi

There’s a lot of really, really shitty research going on in the world, and people who don’t know- You don’t say.


[00:28:04.520] – Jonathan Denwood

I’m stunned.


[00:28:06.210] – Georgiana Laudi

And it takes a long time, and it’s super expensive, and it ends up not being helpful because it’s not actionable. This type of research that I’m describing is getting the critical context that your customers were in when they made a purchase decision, and then basically figuring out like, okay, now that we know what these amazing customers, because these are your amazing customers. You’re not talking to customers who churn. You’re not talking to target audience that hasn’t made a purchase decision yet. You’re talking to your customers who have put money where their mouth is and that experience value with your product or your solution today. That is your best source of truth for this. And if you can identify what that experience is for them, you’re going to be able to reflect it back to get more customers like them. It’s like the customers you want to clone are the ones that you want to learn from. So if you can get that intel, it’s got nothing to do with faster horses. It’s completely about what was going on in their lives and that there’s psychographics of how they made decisions. We don’t care about personas, demographic data, don’t care.


[00:29:12.270] – Georgiana Laudi

I don’t care about even company size or industry Although sometimes that will obviously impact the buying experience and vertical and an industry can impact a voice of customer, of course. But fundamentals in place first. What is the problem that we’re solving for our customers? That there’s urgency in their life to solve, that they have a willingness to have it solved for them so that we can reflect it back to them and show them that we can solve this problem for you.


[00:29:39.780] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, my response to what you’re saying is, first of all, I don’t see it as a binary situation, a zero one situation. Number two, it’s funny that Steve, but obviously Steve is an extremely complex individual. Obviously, the iPhone, obviously, you have the history of the Macintosh, but let’s move forward to when he came back, the iPhone. The iPhone wasn’t a revolutionary product in some ways. It was taking certain feature sets, which competitive who were established for some strange reason really didn’t listen to their users. I’m kidding me, and I remember why. The physical keyboard, and these certain feature sets Steve was religious that the product had to meet to its user base. So it was user. But what I think he was talking about is, I think I’m correct about this, but I might be wrong because it’s in my memory, is this… I think it was the Ford Corporation, when they were building a particular model, they did a ton of market research. And when it came out, it wasn’t a very successful launch or product. I forgot which model it was. This whole- Shocker. Pardon?


[00:31:07.040] – Georgiana Laudi



[00:31:07.970] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. Yeah, truly shocking, isn’t it? But that was like They weren’t interpreting. They were just taking feedback, and they were just taking that feedback and mulching it into a thing that wasn’t focused in any way. So what do you think is going to happen?


[00:31:31.300] – Georgiana Laudi

Yeah. By the way, the iPhone Blackberry story is fascinating, and it’s a really great example of this in play. I think it was the new CEO of Blackberry was convinced that people loved the Blackberry keyboard, the actual buttons. It’s such a mark on the Canadian tech industry. So I remember it quite well. There were some hard core Blackberry users, don’t get me wrong. But what Steve Jobs got very right was in interpreting and understanding a barrier to entry and understanding customers very, very well. And there was a ton of customer development that was done on that. And he went the path, the more customer-led path than Blackbury. Blackbury infamously just the CEO just decided this is what customers wanted. They went polar opposite directions. Iphone went, Steve Jobs went the customer our lead route, and Blackbury went the, Nope, we know what’s best route. So that’s classic. The Henry Ford example, I don’t know that much about the Henry Ford market research example. I’ve participated and been in the receiving in, and I’ve been in organizations that have done that style of market research, and it can be very, very valuable for certain types of activities.


[00:32:52.190] – Georgiana Laudi

But when it comes to a fundamental understanding of what value your product or solution provides to your best customers, it’s very, very different style of research that I’m describing.


[00:33:05.040] – Jonathan Denwood

Right. I think it’s been a great discussion. We’re going to go for our mid-break. We will be back in a few moments, folks. Three, two, one. We’re coming back, folks. I just want to point out we do a fantastic newsletter aimed at the WordPress professional and somebody building a SaaS. You can sign up for the newsletter, which I personally write every week. It has the stories of the week that I find interesting, a bit of a commentary about SaaS or WordPress, all mixed up in a delicious little bundle just for you. And you can get this newsletter by going over to WP-Tonic/newsletter, WP-Tonic/newsletter. Com. And sign up for it or make by day. There we are, I’m a sad soul, if that will make my day. But there we go. When you get to my age, that’s all you can look forward to. But there we are. I’m soOh, my God. I’ve had a warning already. On we go. You wrote this book, and I’ve been told You know Rob Rowland? He’s a friend of mine. He came on a few months ago to plug his new book, and he’s wrote a few, and it’s a painful experience.


[00:34:42.420] – Jonathan Denwood

So what’s been one or two of the reactions that you got from people that have surprised you the most about the book that you didn’t envision?


[00:34:57.700] – Georgiana Laudi

It’s a good question. One comes to mind immediately, which is the academic world actually providing feedback, which you almost spit your coffee there.


[00:35:12.310] – Jonathan Denwood

Obviously, my school experience is actually, I’m the most overeducated dyslexic you ever meet. I’ve got a degree, I’ve got a MA, and I’ve also got an American degree as well, and I hated all of it with a passion. I I would never do that again.


[00:35:33.500] – Georgiana Laudi

I haven’t been a student in 20 something years.


[00:35:39.460] – Jonathan Denwood

I’d rather go to the dentist and have four root canals and engage in higher education.


[00:35:45.170] – Georgiana Laudi

I actually loved university, but that was probably because that was my stage in life. That said, that has been the most surprising response because we wrote this book to be a very practical how-to guide for somebody who… An in-house practitioner or a founder to read and then pass on to the rest of the team. It’s really meant to be a share, a book that gets shared or circulated around an organization, or small teams or bigger teams once somebody’s bought in. Ideally, the founder reads it and then passes it on to maybe a head of product marketing or a head of Our product marketing or marketer or product manager reads it and passes it onto the founder or the executive team. That was what we wrote it to address. Was that need. And then, of course, if there’s people in situations where like, this sounds great, we don’t have the resources to do this. Then they call us up. Great. You can DIY it successfully. There’s a whole workbook to do it, or give us a call. What I didn’t expect to happen was universities and schools and colleges with asking for permission to use passages in academic materials and course materials.


[00:37:06.170] – Georgiana Laudi

I am not kidding you. Last night, my sister called me to tell me that her friend who was a librarians at the local college here was talking with the team about the list of books that they’re going to be the new books that they’re introducing to the library at this local college. And she heard my name and recognized my name. She had a complete coincidence at this college that I went to a gajillion years ago is now going to be carrying my book, which is really funny to me that it would be considered something that students would read when really it was written for people who are in the trenches doing the work. So that was surprising for sure. I love it, but it was surprising. I guess the other maybe surprising thing that has happened is I imagined it would be like, Hey, I just read this book. It feels really practical. We should be able to do this. And then they hand off one copy of the book. But what’s actually started to happen is we get emails about a CEO who’s bought 30 copies for the entire team. So that’s another- You will read it, and I want a discussion paper on Monday about- They call us.


[00:38:13.610] – Jonathan Denwood

I hope your conscience can deal with this.


[00:38:19.160] – Georgiana Laudi

But these are the people that we hear from. So who knows what’s happening with the people that we don’t hear from. But these are the people that I’ve actually heard about. And that’s obviously really gratifying as well, because it means it’s resonating and feels helpful, which is… I mean, a big guiding… A big guide in writing this book was Rob Fitzpatrick’s book, How to Write Useful Books. Another big influence for me was April Dun Bird’s Positioning Book, which was written- She’s fab.


[00:38:49.430] – Jonathan Denwood

She’s been on… I’ve had a couple of discussions with April. She’s fab.


[00:38:52.830] – Georgiana Laudi

Yeah, yeah. I am lucky to say that April is a friend of mine. She has been a huge, huge inspiration to me. That book was a huge inspiration, as was Rob Fitzpatrick’s, which was all about being useful. So her Positioning Book, obviously awesome, very useful, short, concise to the point you get what you need from it, very practical. And so that was a big guiding principle for us when writing the book as well.


[00:39:15.670] – Jonathan Denwood

I think Rob Rowland’s book, which he was kind enough to send me a signed copy of, hint, hint, of the SAS- You just said you don’t read it. The SAS playbook is quite good as well. I’ve actually read it. I know Kurt studied it in quite some detail.


[00:39:31.760] – Georgiana Laudi

I have not read it. I should read it. It’s on my list.


[00:39:37.860] – Jonathan Denwood

I had a quick look through it. It’s in front of me, actually. It’s quite good. I religiously listen to Rob’s podcast. It’s always entertaining, isn’t it? Over to you, Kurt.


[00:39:55.520] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, I just want to piggyback on that. I’ve got two books that I’ve put out, and I will tell you, I never thought the first one was ever going to sell, Georgian. I never thought it was going to sell. And then it was in the automotive industry, and Ducati bought the book, and it changed the trajectory of my whole family. I pray the same results for you, right? It was like, and then now I’m just in love with it. And one of my Canadian clients actually has a company that helps people publish their first book, workingwriters. Co. To me, publishing is, regardless of your education level or what academia does with the book, to get those thoughts out and to process it and follow through, the reward is always stacked up.


[00:40:42.090] – Georgiana Laudi

It’s been incredible. I mean, it came out last May, so it’s not quite a year now, and the feedback has been incredible. I am on a lot of calls where the person I’m on a call with physically holds up the book to be like, So I read it now. I need you to do this. And And I’m in, basically. It’s been wild.


[00:41:05.520] – Jonathan Denwood

What you’ve said in your previous interviews recently, I think the synopsis, obviously, I’ll be interested. You wrote the book, but I thought the key message was this, right? You can tinker with your funnel, the wording. You can set up A/B testing on your funnels. Wake up, you’ve got a bigger problem Your funnels tinkering with them might get a temporary improvement. But the reason why your funnels aren’t working is you don’t really understand the buyer’s journey, basically. You don’t have any understanding of why they’re in a normally crowded market. There are the odd situation where your product is so unique or so beneficial, but normally you’re in a semi-competitive market and your product has a certain edge, a certain feature that hopefully appeals more to your target audience. But normally you need a much better understanding of the buyer journey and why your customers or possible customers are choosing your product or not. I think that’s the fundamental message of the book. Am I correct in any way?


[00:42:36.640] – Georgiana Laudi

Yes, it is. I would add to it because you’re 100 % right. Far, far too many folks are guessing when they don’t need to be guessing. They can be designing much better customer experience more highly, converting customer experiences more effective, more scalable customer experiences by better understanding their customers and gathering this type of customer intelligence. The thing that I would add is customer research for the sake of customer research often goes nowhere. And the thing that we want to make sure that we abolish is poorly conducted customer research that gets dusty on a shelf and never actually gets actioned. So that’s the antidote, right? So, yes, doing customer research, wildly important, but actually actioning that customer research is what’s going to make that time investment worth it. And so really operationalizing it for your team, doing that customer experience mapping, identifying those milestones, identifying KPIs to measure your ability to get a customer from one milestone to the next, that is what’s going to mobilize your team to build an actual scale.


[00:43:53.580] – Jonathan Denwood

And that’s why you developed the blueprint part of the book.


[00:43:58.160] – Georgiana Laudi

That’s the framework. Yeah, that’s the… This is the step by step process. You have to… There’s the getting buy in internally. If you’re on a larger team, there’s getting your team together who’s going to be involved in the key stakeholders to make sure that this thing gets championed forward. That’s a bigger company issue. But then there’s actually how to conduct the research, what to ask, how to parse and identify those patterns that I was talking about earlier, and then how to take that understanding of the customer and map it across a customer experience map where you really understand the leaps of faith that your customer takes in their relationship with you. And if you have a software product, you’re at a unique advantage where you can actually measure your ability to help customers get from one step to the next by their meaningful product usage. And that can be wildly helpful for improving your trial to pay conversion rates, your free to pay conversion rates, let alone retention or identifying this is like where… This is like the 201 is like where your customer becomes inactive or stops using your product in a meaningful way, and you can be proactive in reaching out to them to help get them back on track.


[00:45:07.890] – Georgiana Laudi

You can do that during product onboarding, but you can also do that during the continued value stage of your your customers’ experience. So it enables you to do a lot better, more effective customer experience, but also at scale, which obviously is very useful for anybody running a recurring revenue business like SaaS or a membership or things like that.


[00:45:30.370] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, it’s fantastic. Back over to you, Kurt. Let me ask the next question.


[00:45:34.550] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, I’m hoping it’s an easier question or answer, especially after AI has been out for the last couple of years now, but at least at this level. What do you think AI is going to do with funnel building and customer needs research and junk like that for the next 18 months or so?


[00:45:52.170] – Georgiana Laudi

I think what it’s going to do is further polarize the good from the bad. So So the people that are relying on AI too much are just going to float to the bottom, and it’s going to be very obvious, and they’re going to fail. And I say leverage AI too much, obviously, there’s a lot to talk about what that means. But there are a lot of ways to leverage AI in really smart ways, and I think it can go a long way. If we’re talking about building a funnel experience, that’s one thing. If we’re talking about AI for customer research, different discussion. Ai for customer research, I tread very lightly there. The reason being that NLPs are incapable of measuring energy in a conversation. And so these conversations that you have with your customers where you’re asking them about what was going on in your world, and what was hard about that, and what were your anxiety And it takes a human being today. It takes a human being to understand where the different energy sits in that conversation to then after that conversation is over, really think about what was actually meant and what what that experience actually felt like for that person.


[00:47:02.160] – Georgiana Laudi

Ai isn’t capable of doing that today. I have a hard time believing it’s going to happen anytime soon. Nlps are great, but like I said, they’re not capable of that human understanding quite yet. They can do a ton, though, to help with parsing the research after the fact, layering on top of what a human being is capable of understanding. It can help with operational finalizing the voice of customer and pulling voice of customer out of transcripts and things like that. It can help with creating charts and communicating the insights back to teams. There’s a lot that AI can do to support research, but I don’t think it’s going to be anytime soon before it’s replacing the customer interview process just because that is such a human experience that I don’t think it’s capable of. In terms of building funnel experiences, sure, there’s a ton that can be done, especially if you’re building a custom GPT, for example, that can get really familiar with your voice and tone, you can arm it with customer Intel, then maybe using AI or a custom GPT to help you in crafting email copy and things like that. That can be really effective.


[00:48:14.560] – Georgiana Laudi

But you’ve got to arm it with the right intel. But that’s true of anything. You can’t just ask an AI to write a blog post for you and expect it to be good. And that’s what I meant about the polarization between good and bad. That’s going to become more obvious I think over time as more people rely on AI in crappy ways versus smart ways where they’re just tapping into it to facilitate parts of their process versus the strategic level process.


[00:48:44.680] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah. I mean, just in my own experience, I’m getting five to eight spam messages a day about some new fantastic AI platform that I need to say goodbye to ChatGPT for. And it just seems like, to your point, there’s going to be this attraction that pulls lazy people into a pool of mediocrity, right? And then the experts will have a chance to shine.


[00:49:08.050] – Georgiana Laudi

That’s exactly right. We’ve looked into a lot of customer research, because for us, for our internal processes, the customer research is the highest lift. It’s the most intensive, and because it’s the most intensive, it’s the most costly to our business. So we’re always looking for ways to optimize. And there’s a lot of tools that promise the ability to interpret interviews, video and audio or transcripts. I’ve tried all of them, all of them. And I don’t even say I’ve tried all them. My head researcher, my lead strategist, who’s the most experienced researcher that I’ve ever worked with, she’s tried them and she’s like, they do not fulfill their promises. And that’s the case for a lot of different AI tools, and it is the same with research as well, like interviews.


[00:49:55.170] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s fascinating that she must have read my mind, because if you listen to Startup This Week in Startups, Jason, he salivates at the next business to business internal intelligence startup, or you listen to profession-What does that mean? Exactly. But then if you listen to Professor G’s podcast, it’s riddled with IBM adverts for the latest suite of AI tools that will tell you everything about your customer, isn’t it? They’re really pushing this narrative, aren’t they?


[00:50:35.340] – Georgiana Laudi

Hard, aren’t they? Yeah. There was a… Is it IBM? Who created… Somebody created… It was really cool. These avatars of different types of customers. It’s mostly for B2C. And I think it’s four different avatars of individuals that represent four different, again, avatars of what your potential customer might look like. Again, B2C, so very different scenario. Scenario here. But you as a marketer can go to this avatar, this AI, and ask it questions like, What do you think of this? And provide me feedback on this experience. And it’s an AI-created avatar that is not your customer, has not experienced your product or solution at all, is just a generically created avatar that is, especially in a B2C scenario, I could see it being a very low hanging fruit way to collect superficial feedback, which could be very valuable as a starting point. But when we’re talking about B2B and a more complex problems and a scenario where you’re asking somebody to make a pretty significant shift in their work life, let alone budget and things like that, your customer is totally different than the folks that you may be in a mastermind with. You have a completely different target customer.


[00:51:56.220] – Georgiana Laudi

You have a completely different offering. You have a completely different team with a different set skill sets. And so trying to rely on the best practices or the playbooks of others will get you into a lot of trouble. And that’s what AI is basically doing. It’s giving you access to other people’s playbooks instead of looking at your own solution, your own customers, your own team.


[00:52:16.820] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, on the other hand, I think there’s two responses to what you just said that occurred to me. I think when AI, I think pattern recognition and ability to do large data sets. Obviously, Facebook and Meta have utilized that technology to dig themselves out of a big hole with Apple and become highly successful again. So pattern recognition and taking a lot of data and seeing new patterns and that, great. I think the other factor is, this is more based on philosophy, is There’s a big difference between intelligence and wisdom. I think there’s a lot of emphasis on the intelligence, but I’m not the sharpest tool, but I’m not the bluntest tool in the toolbox. But I have mixed with a lot of very highly intelligent people, but a lot of them have absolutely no wisdom about anything. Zero wisdom.


[00:53:30.870] – Georgiana Laudi

I agree with you. Talk to me more about the connection to AI.


[00:53:36.390] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, that might be my dyslexic mind because there isn’t really. But to be fair, I think it gives the impression of the intelligence. That’s why many people, including a few Google engineers, think it’s alive and conscious. As far as I’m concerned, it’s… What’s What’s the name of that? Mechanical Turk? It’s an electronic mechanical Turk, that chess-playing machine in the 17th century, and it was just a tiny person underneath that was playing chess. But it’s got that feel to it. But what it isn’t is that it gives the impression of intelligence, and it can write things, and it does the job. But people, I think it’s conscious. It’s got wisdom. It’s got absolutely no knowledge about anything. I believe there is some connection. Would you agree, or do you think I’m just waffling?

[00:54:41.760] – Georgiana Laudi

No, I think you’re 100 % right. I think it’s a tool, and people should remember that it’s a tool, not a conscience. I think you’re probably spot on. Again, I think AI will be very valuable and helpful as a tool in your toolset. Thinking about how to leverage it is what is going to be the name of the game. Having it, thinking that it can do everything for you or replace a human, I think, is a mistake that some people are making because there are bad actors in space, right? This is why marketers can’t have nice things, because there are people who aren’t out in the world just bastardizing the use of AI to the point of like, well, we’ll just- Well, we’ll We are, no.

[00:55:31.480] – Jonathan Denwood

Totally. I think the big question in the next 18 months, two years, or a little bit longer, maybe five years, who knows, is the whole concept of general intelligence. But even that, which is a different subject to what we’re seeing now, is that even if that happened, it doesn’t mean intelligence, not wisdom. They’re two, in my perspective, two completely different scenarios. So, let’s move on to my last and most favorite question. So if you had your own time machine, H. G. Wells, the great author, and you could go back to the early days of your career, Georgina, are there one or two things you wish you could say to yourself? Little insights, little nudges that you could tell the younger Georgina that help you avoid some of the arrows in the back and some of the painful experiences we all must go from.

[00:56:40.050] – Georgiana Laudi

For sure. The one that comes immediately to mind coming on this podcast? My younger self, much, much younger self from an hour ago. The one that immediately comes to mind was when I was at peak stress in my career in-house and felt like I had to prove myself and in feeling like there was so much at stake and that the success of the company that I was working for was riding on me, which was utterly false but was self-inflicted. I operated, and I say this in the book; this is actually how the book begins: I was operating like a chicken with its head cut off. I was so desperate to prove value. I was in love with my team, and I was in love with the company, our solution, and what we could do to the point where I was desperate to make an impact, underpromise, and overdeliver type. And so all I did was work. And I didn’t have any children at the time, thank goodness. But I worked a lot harder at things I shouldn’t have been working so hard at executing, pumping out campaigns and ideas, brainstorming, and being really…

[00:57:56.570] – Georgiana Laudi

I’m a very strategic person by nature, but I am too tactical for my good because I was desperate to hit my targets and prove that I was doing my job and being as effective as possible. What I later realized was I didn’t have to be doing I didn’t have so much guessing. I should have been relying on where the truth lies in these cases where your amazing best customers, those who are getting value from you today, have a lot of answers inside of their heads that you need to pull out and unlock a lot of opportunities to the test in your customer experience or your product experience. And I wish I had learned sooner that that was a resource available to me. I would have made way better decisions. I would have been much more effective in my role. Don’t get me wrong, we did great. I introduced customer journey mapping in the KPIs, and I had that whole experience, which was I’m not practical, but I wish I’d known that I could arm that customer experience that we were designing with more customer data to inform it.

[00:59:09.520] – Georgiana Laudi

It would have made my job a lot easier, and I would have been able to empower my team to operate without relying on me so much and just to be able to be more effective. So I was too stressed out and thought the world was on my shoulders when I had many more answers at my disposal than I realized. That’s my go-to forever more. That’s one of the easiest regrets to cite when asked this question.

[00:59:38.180] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s a perfect example, glistening with your intelligence and wisdom. There we go. So, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and the book? Oh, yeah, my co-host had to disappear. Okay, no problem. I apologize; he did warn me that he had to go off.

[01:00:00.990] – Georgiana Laudi

No problem. The best way to find the book is really to go to It’s right there at the top now. You’ll see Book, and you can find the link there. It’s also on Amazon. You search Forget the Funnel. We have a podcast. It’s very new, and baby, we’re now in episode 12, which you’d like.

[01:00:19.800] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s just a tiny, decent little podcast. It’s not even a toddler.

[01:00:24.800] – Georgiana Laudi

It’s exactly. A very, very baby. Those podcast episodes are also available on YouTube. But I’m on LinkedIn, so that’s an easy place to contact me. LinkedIn is probably the most direct if anybody wants to ask questions, challenge, or get in touch.

[01:00:42.890] – Jonathan Denwood

I enjoyed the conversation, hopefully maybe sometime later on in the year or in next year, you’ll agree to come back on the show. I’ve enjoyed the discussion. Also, I want to point out WordPress professionals and SaaS people. If you’re looking to host your WordPress, a membership website learning management, or a community website, or you’ve got some websites already, why don’t you look at becoming a partner with WP-Tonic? We have some fabulous packages for you, the WordPress professional. You can learn more about this by going to WP-Tonic/partners, WP-Tonic. Com/partners. You can book a quick chat with me, and we would love you to become a partner with WP Sonic. It’s been a fab interview. We have an excellent roundtable show next week. We have a great couple of special panelists joining the regular crew of panelists, and we will be taking Mickey out of all the monthly text stories and WordPress drama. It’s going to be a fab show. More of my English humor, or I call it humor. Please join us for that. We’ll see you soon, folks. Bye.


WP-Tonic & The Membership Machine Facebook Group

Why don’t you sign up and be part of the Membership Machine Show & WP-Tonic Facebook group, where you can get all the best advice and support connected to building your membership or community website on WordPress?

Facebook Group



906 WP-Tonic Show Why Russell Brunson is Wrong And Why So Many Sales Funnels Are Broken was last modified: by