19 min read

Why Does Keysight Have a Resident Geek?

Learn how Keysight connects with engineers through owned and external communities.


 

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Daniel Bogdnoff is a technical content marketing leader best known as the Resident Geek at Keysight. Leveraging his EE education from Texas A&M University (whoop!), innate curiosity for all things electrical, and enthusiastic personality, Daniel turned a small pilot video series into a corporate-wide channel with over 105,000 views.

During the episode, you'll learn the history behind Keysight Labs and how video has helped the company to grow, engage and educate their community through the channel. We also touch on the popularity of webinars and the shift in format, from talking heads with PowerPoint recordings to live streams where attendees can tap an expert in real time. 

Daniel is also the host of Moore's Lobby, a podcast produced by EE Tech. This is one of many ways Keysight gains exposure to communities outside its own. They also successfully partner with creators who have their own YouTube channels and podcasts, and this is especially interesting when pairing a niche application show with a similarly-niched product. 

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Transcript:

 

On today's episode, I've brought on Keysight's resident geek. Oh, yeah, you heard me right. Keysight has a resident geek. So find out what his role is and how he utilizes video to build trust, preference, and loyalty amongst engineers. We also touch on influencer marketing or leveraging external creators to expand their community, the role of webinars in their content marketing strategy, and more. Let's do this.

Welcome to Content Marketing, Engineere., your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey

Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend, challenge, or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You'll meet colleagues, friends, and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories, and I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, TREW Marketing. TREW is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit trewmarketing.com. And now on with our podcast.

Hey, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing, Engineered. Today I have Daniel Bogdnoff. He's the resident geek at Keysight. Welcome to the show, Daniel.

Thank you for having me. I'm really excited to be here.

I'm excited to have you. And I almost wore my Aggie fleece to say Gig 'em to you, my fellow Aggie. Too bad we missed each other, I think just slightly, but nice to have another Aggie in the room, so that's awesome.

Absolutely, yeah.

Well, speaking of your time at Am, I did a little LinkedIn stalking. I always like to do that. And I see that you started off your career with a degree in electrical engineering, but here you are, just way deep in content marketing. So tell me a little bit about your career path and what attracted you to marketing specifically.

Yeah, I think going into the workforce, I didn't really know what marketing was. And when I was in school studying double E, I loved the world of electrical engineering. And it's just something that you don't really see or interact with directly, like mechanical. It's like, okay, there's hinges and joints and levers and bridges and water weight, like all that sort of stuff. But for electricity and magnetism, it's kind of a little bit of like black magic voodoo. So I really enjoy that world. But I knew coming out of school, working in an R Amp D lab probably wasn't going to be fulfilling for me. That's not what I was going to enjoy. And I think you and I think a lot of our listeners are in similar positions. So I started looking for jobs. At the time, I kind of thought sales was like an evil cop out job. In hindsight, sales is great. It's a great career for a lot of people. But I found a job posting at the time, it was agilent. Now Keysight, formerly Hewlett Packard, if you like, chained it all together. And it was for a technical marketing engineer, and I didn't really know what that meant.

I liked the words technical, and I liked the word engineer. I wasn't so sure about marketing, but I thought I'd give it a shot. And through a crazy series of events, I ended up in that type of role. And since then, I've done business development, product management, product marketing, and kind of landed on concept marketing.

Yeah. And that's the great thing about having that engineering background. Going into marketing. There's so many different things you can put your fingers in. So I totally see that. And, of course, this show is all about content marketing. So I'm excited to have you and get into your head a little bit about your strategy for 2023 and some of the things that are working well for keysight that I've observed and I want to kind of validate with you and get more details. So maybe starting just big picture, you know, we're in the middle of planning season for 2023. How is that going for you? What are some of the things you're looking at leaning into or maybe out of when it comes to your content strategy?

Yeah, so our fiscal year actually began on November 1. So we're into our it's great because then it's not New Year's and you're trying to figure out reporting the metrics and all that fun stuff that is just part of being doing business. But I think when I look at our plans for 23 and what I think we should be doing, both as a company and for me personally, it all comes down to finding things that are valuable for engineers and valuable for our target audience. That's really where I focus, tends to be on the actual engineers who are doing the work. I do a little bit of thought leadership type stuff, but that's more because it's, like, interesting and fun for me, and I get to do it for work, so why not? But focusing on the engineer, what is valuable and helpful for them? What sort of things do they want to read, watch, consume, and learn? And how do we bring that to them in a way that is effective and not a waste of anybody's time, my time, or their time? If you're not doing video in 2023, it's time to start doing video for most cases, I think, and that's a big one.

I think it's just looking at a solid video strategy that makes sense across the board. From social to webinars to white papers, there's got to be a video element.

Yeah. Well, let's go a little bit deeper right there and talk about videos. So one of the big things that stood out and how I ran across you and your wonderful content is your Keysight, Labs. So tell me a little bit about what is Keysight Labs and how did it come about?

Yeah, so that is a YouTube channel that I run. It's my baby. That's where I cut my teeth doing video and I've grown it. I think last I checked, we were over 1050 subscribers on YouTube, getting pretty good viewership on every video. When you look at YouTube, there's an element of just because you have a big channel doesn't mean it's a thriving or successful channel. So I really try to look at view counts, organic view counts. Like, how are we doing building an audience on this channel? Originally it was called the channel itself was called Keysight Oscilloscopes. I was the Oscilloscope product manager at the time.

I actually named it for your product. Awesome.

And the channel existed, it had 3000 subscribers, maybe seven, something like that. But I was in charge of the education markets. How do we reach universities to get this equipment into labs? And our sales teams do a really good job of talking to those tier one big universities, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, that sort of thing. But reaching a broad audience is something that is not in the job description of our sales team. But when you look at trying to reach a broad audience, that's not the job of the sales team. So for me as a product marketer, I was looking at the market and thinking how do we reach people at large without having to be a one on one or one to few sort of conversation and video and specifically YouTube for our audience. Massive amount of them consume YouTube on a regular basis, both for SEO and for just community engagement and learning. So I got budget for a little SLR camera. I found a room that I kind of took over and started making videos. They were really bad for a long time, but I've learned a lot and they're much better now.

And that's kind of become a big part of my day to day.

It expanded from Oscilloscopes to be a Keysight wide channel at some point in time.

Yes, I was product manager, product marketing for Oscilloscopes. But as my video work got success and there was a big annual event we would also run that was getting a lot of attention, they basically said, hey, let's expand all of this out to COVID more of the portfolio. And I just kind of have taken on more and more. So we changed the channel to Keysight Labs instead of Keysight Oscilloscopes. And both that channel and our event kind of now explore engineering, test, measurement, design and emulation.

Got it to the Oscilloscopes group. Lost you, but they still have you. Sort of. Something I noticed as I look through several of the videos is the voice and tone takes a bit of a departure from Keysight's norm. So tell me, why did you go in this direction and what do you think the appeal is of having that more casual whimsical thing going on?

No, I like the word whimsical. I like to think that I don't take myself too seriously, but we do take the technical material very seriously. So we have to be accurate. We have have to be respectful of the engineering community and of the products and of the themes that we're talking about. But at the same time, we can still have some fun with it. There's an element again, it's kind of similar where Keysight, as a big enterprise, $5 billion revenue company, does the PR really well, and they do the high polished investor forward videos and VP President C suite level content. They handle that stuff really well. But where I saw an opportunity at the time when I started was, how do we reach engineers at scale? And having that element of fun is really a part of what, for me, keeps it entertaining for both the viewer and me as the creator. So that's kind of my strategy. It's a lane, it's a thing. And for me, it's me putting myself out there on camera.

Oh, yeah.

It's not what everyone should be doing. I think everyone has a lane that they can find for themselves and a tone and a voice that they can develop with practice. And I think there's never been a better time to practice. With short form video being so popular these days, I think with practice, people will find their voice and what works for them and their company and their brand.

Yeah. The corporate powers that beat, if you will. Was there any pushback on that approach on your phone?

Yeah, of course. Some of it was creating in the shadows for a while where I'm a big preacher that you have to do your job really well. If you want to do anything else, you got to do your job. And once you're doing that, you have some wiggle room to take on new projects and new pilots. So there was a little bit of pushback, but a lot of the times that was very much not my main role. And my main responsibility was more classic marketing functions. And I like to think I was a high performer at those functions. So I got some wiggle room to kind of try these things out.

Right. Like with anything, you build trust and credibility and use that as a platform. That's great advice. What are some of the biggest benefits that you and Keysight? Doesn't have to be in that order, but I could see benefits for you personally as a professional as well as just ROI from Psych, investing in this video platform.

Yeah, there's a few things. So, one, on a personal level, I just enjoy the heck out of it. It's a lot of fun and it gives me flexibility in my time and schedule. I have a family. I enjoy mountain biking. So there are days where if it's 02:00 p.m. And I want to go for a bike ride, I can make that happen. And there are other days where I'm working seven to midnight trying to get something out the door. It's a give and or take, which I do enjoy that a lot. Professionally you get recognized in public occasionally. That's a symptom of having a bigger presence online where as an individual that's great. It's never a bad thing for people to like what you're doing and doing videos a very public way to do that for keysight. And I will say Keysights treated me really well and I enjoy the technology with incredible technology that I get to play with everyday and it's all over the place. PCI, gen seven down to ice cream, c buses to RF now the VNA on my desk behind me. Not many people can say that they're marketing, so I get to play with a lot of different things.

From a Keysight perspective, I really work to create a community of engineers and people that I like to create a community of people who are in that Keysight audience that keeps potential audience and it helps that I'm kind of one of those people. So really I'm just kind of creating content for my people. But as a company, that community is really valuable and that brand perception is really valuable. It helps people know like and trusty site. It also has elevated video across the company. So it's given us an avenue to try new things and to build new capabilities. And now I can call up a video professional who works not too far and we can be in the office in 20 minutes and record something in a professional set. And we've had to do that before, where something just doesn't go the way we expect. And we need to do a diving safe, and we can just hop up and do that now. And it looks and sounds and feels great.

How nice to get over that hump. So many technical companies are afraid of the technical side of video production and feeling like everything has to be polished or may and sometimes it does, but not understanding how to turn that on, when to apply it. And so you've gotten past that and past those teenage growing up years where you've been trying it out. So it sounds like you're in a very good place to produce all sorts of video.

Yeah, and there's a time and a place for high polish and there's a time and a place for off the cuff more casual content.

Fair? Yeah. So I know that part of your video strategy also incorporates webinars. Right? So webinars are sort of events have events have video. We know everybody knows webinars. But I know this is another big focus for you at Keysight. So tell me a little bit about your approach.

Yeah, so I will say we have a webinar team and webinar strategies, especially post or in pandemic and post pandemic. I think we're in a new world where before the Pandemic, many webinars, where you call in on a phone and you get phone call quality audio, and there'd be slides up. There'd be no video, just be slides. Someone would talk through it. There'd be questions at the end. Maybe they were seated, maybe they weren't, depending on how many people showed up and what questions got asked. I don't think that flies anymore, especially if you're in a competitive market. I think when the Pandemic started, everyone's budgets went into webinars and web advertising, and the bar got a lot higher and what people want to consume got a lot higher. I think there's a lot of webinar fatigue. So for me, when it comes to webinars, it's basically like live streaming. You look in gaming and internet culture overall, there's just this whole streaming culture. It's kind of like b to be live streaming is really I've never heard.

That comparison, but I really like it. Yeah. Okay, I'm with you.

Yeah. It's appointment viewing. Like, you have sports and you have webinars are kind of the last place for appointment viewing where you have access to experts in that moment. So creating a venue where anyone can ask world leaders in a technology or a product topic like ask them questions in real time, that to me is really valuable. On the presenter side, being able to talk to a webcam and use an actual audio setup instead of phone calling in and not having these sort of things that add a it doesn't have to be super high quality. But it adds that personal touch where you feel like you're sitting in a room with someone who is teaching you something instead of sitting through a product pitch.

There. And I noticed on your website that you guys do a lot of series based or thematic webinars, and then you mention, I think you have something big coming up in the spring. Last time we talked.

Yeah. So part of that video journey for me was also a large virtual event that was kind of our centerpiece of all the marketing plans for the year for me and the folks that I worked with and that started as just, I'll spare the backstory. Folks who are along for the ride will know that we've come a long way, but ultimately it turned into a pretty big virtual event that we ran. It had part live streams, portions where I'd host the whole thing live, like, hey, we're here live in Colorado Springs. Let's get this thing going. We do some giveaways live, we do some Q and A or live demos or examples of things people should know. And then we also had some pre recorded portions where you want that higher polish. You don't want to waste people's time trying to get a demo working live if it's finicky. We ran that every year, and this year I feel like there's a bit of virtual event fatigue. I find myself attending less webinars, less virtual events than I used to. And I think looking forward as a company, as Keysight, we've modeled that virtual event format and techniques and production techniques and writing techniques into a lot of our virtual events.

So for us in the future I'm thinking of it more like a web mini series of sorts, where we'll still have the live component but instead of doing one week, where it's multiple days an hour or 2 hours a day we're instead doing once every other month where we're going to focus on a different topic and really try and get on location. And there's a chance I'll be in like a quantum maybe a couple quantum computing labs and six G labs and all sorts of fun stuff plans. I'm really excited for where that's going.

You know what I love about how you describe that is it goes back to knowing your audience, right. And reading the room. Okay. Obviously without trade shows, everybody, like you said, it's going to webinar set. Now there's all this excitement about getting back together in person, and maybe that event needs to take a new form or a different form to keep it fresh. So important. It's great how it all comes back to the audience and what they need.

And it might flop, but we're going to try something new and see what sticks. And we're not putting all our bets on that. We still have our ongoing marketing activities, of course, still stay alive.

And what I've always loved about Webinars, too, is the cost per lead. The cost to do that versus in person events is way different. So many different investments. So it's easier to experiment, try different things. Stakes are a little lower.

Absolutely.

Yeah. So another thing that I know that you do is look outside your community and you yourself host another I think I believe it's a podcast. You're the host. Morris lobby. Right. I don't think there's any video involved in that one. Right. You can leave the makeup off that.

We're exploring video. The main show is still audio first. There's a big movement, what I'm calling audio first content, where it's designed to be listened to and not watched. But when you look at what's been really successful in the world at large is a video element that's attached to that. So just like this could be a video, it could be audio. You can listen to it however you want, and you're going to get some more value out of it. If it's a video, it's still kind of audio. Audio focused.

Yeah.

So I host that Moore's Lobby podcast with EEC Media Group or All About Circuits, if you're familiar with them. They reach out to me a while back, and they have a producer that helps line up guests. And we talk to executives in the world of electrical engineering and electronics and it is fascinating. It's a dream come TREW to be able to sit down with these folks and sit down for an hour and chat.

Nice. So following more of your passion again, so I sense a theme here. Well, in a way, getting in front of other people's communities. I mean, obviously you're doing that by hosting this and also learning and it just all sorts of benefits come from that. And then you have the TREW influencer marketing right, where you're taking Keysight into other people's communities and having that influencer spread the word and help. Evangelize, what are some of the ways in which you're capitalizing on influencer marketing?

Yeah, so most of the influencers that I work with, they generally don't want to be called influencers. They like to be called more creators.

We're using marketing speak today, not but I hear you right. Industry pundits. What word would you use?

They generally go to the word creator. It's kind of where they like to land because they're making content, making videos. There's also been a big growth of the term creator economy for these folks that are doing content creation full time and then trying to leverage that into a business. So generally creators is where I go. Most of the folks I work with are electronics and electric engineering, YouTube creators. That seems to be where most of the audience is. The kind of step one for me there is just reaching out to folks that are on the rise. It looks like they're a really good fit for our audience. There's a balance of like, if they're really big and generally associated with that audience, great. If they're pretty small but like hyperfocused on something that we care about and topics that we care about as a company, then to me those are often kind of the same level of importance. There's like a continuum there.

Right. Because you can get into really niche applications and find some very quality audience.

Right. If this whole channel is just circuit board layout and I have a circuit board layout product, then that's a one to one match for the audience and it's perfect if I have someone I work with a lot is Electro. Boom. He's really big on YouTube, 5 million subscribers or so. And he's always like, stops blowing up and he's shocking himself and it's entertainment as much as education. And that audience is huge, but there's only a portion of it that is really valuable for Keysight. So finding that balance, that's really important.

Okay. What would you say the crossover is between these creators as you describe them, that have YouTube channels and your traditional writer editor for technical publication?

Yeah, when you look at the world of media at large, the specialty publications are having a hard time. There's a perception of volume that they have to keep putting out and an increased growth. And when you have a need for content and you're kind of like, I don't know that people are desperate for content, but they're hurting for it. And if companies are coming in and say, hey, yeah, we'll provide some content for you, or even pay you to publish some of our content, that's a no brainer for them. The risk is that it turns into purely a content marketing platform and not a technical journal that provides value to a target audience. And when you fall into the world of, I got to click through all these ads to get to the articles, and the articles feel like a sales pitch and there's maybe not a lot of meat there, then they're struggling on the YouTube side. Their number one client is their audience. It's not corporate america. It's not the engineering companies that are trying to sponsor them. So, like, their bread and butter is creating content that is interesting for their audience.

So being able to tap into that, if you can find a way to do it, I think is really valuable as a strategy to supplement, like, a more traditional media PR audience.

Fair and also perhaps a cautionary tale for those creators that are being approached by people with deep pockets and keeping that balance pretty pure to how you started, right?

Yeah. And that's where you look at someone like an all about circuits, where they were born or like a spark fun even. They were born in the Internet era and they're not a legacy from a print magazine that was going out to a mailing list. And the strategies and tactics, I think, look different and the mindsets look different when you're coming at it from being sourced for the Internet and made for the Internet versus legacy media. Brand yeah.

Fair. Okay, well, let's wrap up here with perhaps some parting advice to all those marketers out there working in a highly technical company, trying to sort through content marketing. There's so many things you could be doing, I hear video first and foremost, but what would be advice, maybe for getting started for those people that are a little intimidated by it?

Yeah, well, on the video front I would start by just leveraging what you know and leveraging the expertise of the people around you you don't have to be a deep dive expert, you just have to know enough to get the video out. In the world of short form video, which we have TikTok, we have YouTube shorts, we have Instagram reels. Obviously TikTok is the 800 LB short form gorilla but YouTube is making a pretty strong play for it. You can get a lot of practice in and the pressure is low, so I think you can even do it with your cell phone. It doesn't have to be this high production just stand in front of a window where you have some light coming in, have a couple of bullet points about what you want to say and have a good hook so how are you opening this? Like what's something that's going to keep people from scrolling past it? If you can do that and just do ten or 20 and by the 20th one, you're going to be a lot better than you were the first one. By the one, you're going to be a lot better than you by the one.

And you'll be able to test out topics with your audience and test out formats with your audience to see what they want and what's successful. Then you can build that into like a longer form video type strategy. That would mean that my first advice would be just start doing it. Doesn't have to be good to start doing it and it will get better with time.

Okay.

Yeah, I think that's the big one for me, especially in 2023 is like, get a video strategy going, get some folks in your company or folks that can be can be good on camera and are willing to put in the time to grow that skill set.

Yeah. Pick wisely someone who can connect with your audience. Okay, well, where can people connect with you and learn more about keysight and everything that you're doing over there?

Yeah. For me. LinkedIn and Twitter. Both of them at Dana Bogdanoff. You can find me there. I'm pretty active on both of those platforms. Same thing for Keysight. We have a lot of good stuff on LinkedIn. We're also pretty active on YouTube and Twitter's there as well. But keysight.com of course, is where you can see kind of our tier one marketing initiatives, always front and center on keysight.com. So you can see what we're asking.

Keysight labs on YouTube for sure. Well, I'll add all of this in the Show Notes and direct people your way and I sure do appreciate you coming on today.

Thank you for having me. It's a lot of fun.

Thanks for joining me today on Content Marketing Engineers. For Show Notes, including links to resources, visit TREWmarketing.com podcasts. While there, you can subscribe to our blog and our newsletter and order a copy of my book, Content Marketing Engineers. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast, so please, when you get a chance, subscribe and leave me a review on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks and have a great day.

 

 

Wendy Covey

Wendy Covey is a CEO, a technical marketing leader, author of Content Marketing, Engineered, one of The Wall Street Journal’s 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in America, and she holds a Texas fishing record. She resides in a small Hill Country town southwest of Austin, Texas, where she enjoys outdoor adventures with her family.



About TREW Marketing

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