The Marketing Haven Podcast

Episode 4

Pek Pongpaet converses with Arthur Root

Follow the link to listen to the podcast along with a transcript of the podcast below.

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Arthur Root:
Welcome to the Marketing Haven podcast hosted by Nostra. Where discuss what it takes to market in today's climate and how to build a killer marketing strategy.

Hello and welcome to the Marketing Haven podcast. I'm joined today by Pek Pongpaet. Pek, can you give a quick introduction of who you are and you know how you got to start Impekable and get to where you are today. 

Pek Pongpaet:
Sure, so I'm Pek Pongpaet. I'm the founder and CEO of Impekable, Impekable is a product development design studio. With expertise in B to B sass, user experience design, so our customers are typically high tech startups and software industry companies and interprises. So we help companies like and including Google and Adobe and Twilio with some of their SAS products. New initiatives and then we also help enterprises. So we're kind of in their journey of digital transformation, so we help a big industrial firm called Pentair. They if you are a pool owner, you may be familiar with that brand, but like so many companies you've seen the journey of, you know if you're an affluent individual, you may have. Uh, you know a ring doorbell and August Lock a nest thermostat, but your relationship with a pool may be pretty low tech, so they kind of saw that and they wanted to mobilize and Create IOT connections and make their pools equipment smarter, so they engaged us. So those are the examples of how clients work with us. 

Arthur Root:
Awesome and you know the focus of this podcast is marketing and so you know. Can you kind of give us your background in marketing? Whether it's the design aspects or what have you over there. 

Pek Pongpaet:
Sure, uhm. I would say so. A little background by myself. My degree in school was in engineering. I am a software engineer by training and then at some point I realized that that was not as fulfilling as the front end of the stuff. So I became a self taught designer and product person. And not and I found that I enjoyed that more and people actually thought I was a better designer than a coder. So people stopped paying me to write code and start paying me to design software, and then in the latest chapter of my life I became an entrepreneur by starting my own business and I would say I'm not really a marketer. Never been trained or I've never worked in a marketing position in any job that I had prior to starting my company. So my marketing experience has always been tested through trial by fire in terms of experimentation at marketing Impekable, so I wouldn't say I'm a seasoned marketer, but I have some marketing experience, mostly through having to market impekable. 

Arthur Root:
Yeah, and so you know it sounds like you must have gotten scrappy there. Can you talk about kind of those early tactics? Kind of the early days of impekable getting customers. How, how did you go about that? 

Pek Pongpaet:
Yeah, well, you know the biggest thing that I say as sort of a joke half-truth is I don't know how to sell to strangers. I can only sell to people I know, so I really suck at sales. Uhm, that said the hack to that is there for know more people and make more friends. So people trust you more in the early days and actually even to this day most of our business is word of mouth referrals and yeah conversation. So what I'm you know if you can even call what I do marketing I basically keep in touch and check in with a lot of people all the time.My superpower is checkins. You know, I check in with people. So I in fact I constantly think of. Oh, I haven't talked to this person in a while. I haven't talked to this person in a while and maybe it does come up in conversation that they need something. And that's great if not no harm no foul. Uhm, I don't know if that's really constitutes marketing. Some of the marketing stuff, kind of, I guess, is table stakes, right? Like have a website like if you don't even have a website, how do people find you? We post our work where there are people are looking, you know. So if you're a designer. If you're a design agency, you might want to post your work on design agency like design, portfolio, social networks, so there's sites like Dribbble or Behance, which are networks that are niche for designers. So we post our work there so that's, I wouldn't say that that's a huge lead in terms of. drivers in traffic, but it's good to have stuff there so that when people are checking you out. They see stuff, so like if you go to our dribble page or our Behance page you might see some of our case studies from an Apple or Netgear or Twilio or what have you know like oh OK these guys are legit so it's more of a social proof type thing, not necessarily. You know, huge. Kind of driver of traffic, but more, again, social proof. 

Arthur Root:
Absolutely, and so it sounds like you kind of have an expertise here in design and design thinking what, what kind of are the principles that when you're designing a product and you're thinking about product marketing and just the product in general? What are the design principles that you kind of try to drive off of?

Pek Pongpaet:
Right so so in Steve Jobs words, right design is not the vineer design is the way, especially user experience.Design is how it works, and that's why I became fascinated with software design. In the beginning, I graduated at the height of the.com boom. This is kind of like the early days when you had like Hotmail and PayPal and eBay. Google was just popping up. It was a very exciting time and software. The discipline of software design was just emerging and as I think my fate was sealed when Steve Jobs went back to Apple and then he started seeing Apple products. The Apple OS, Mac OS. Being becoming much very user friendly software like Facebook. Online software being very user friendly and I thought thought to myself. You know, if everybody can write good code, the differentiator is how it works. Like the user experience of a product, right? Given that, hey, we're all we can all write decent code, we can all make things work. Why do certain people you know? Why do certain products? People fall in love with them more right?And it's really the user experience because certain things just seem more seamless. You know it seems very usable. It's even more desirable, and that's really appealedd me so in thinking to answering your question, what are some of the design principles? Well you have to solve the problem,So design is not art. It's not just making things pretty, but really. The analogy I use is software designers are more like architects, right? They really help figure out the layout of your software, right? A bad architect. You might walk, you know, if you're not a trained architect and you're just putting a house together, you know you might walk in and the first room you see is a bathroom, right? Like they just don't if they don't know what they're doing right, they just the layout doesn't make sense right? In the same way the layout of software cannot make sense or well, conversely.Well designed software makes sense. It's just usable that way and there. Uh, discipline to that there's there's learnings to that, and there's experience involved in making good design. Putting good software be usable, and that's really what our agency does. We primarily focus on kind of B2B and a price sass that way, but yes, it's about making intuitive user friendly software that gets out of the way and solves people's problems. 
Arthur Root: Fantastic, and so you. You've taught design and you've mentored quite a few startups. Whether it's through 500 startups or Techstars, some of the premier accelerators in the world. What are the mistakes that you often see and what are the, how do you rectify them? 
Pek PongpaetThe mistakes that we often see, and it's not just at a really early-stage startups, you know some companies get very far in spite of themselves. I'll kind of share some stories that that we've seen in the life of our agency. Oftentimes we've seen, especially in the Bay Area. You know you, you have a founding team of probably. All engineers know designers and they've managed to build a product that solves a problem. But it's not very useful, and now at some point the competitors are kicking their butts and they realize this because their software is not usable. People churn people and not using their product or not using their product fully and not discovering the features that they want. You know the features there, but they don't know how to use it. They don't know how to find it, and that's really a user experience. Problem, and that's when they come to us. Uhm, so not having a designer engaged in, it's like not having an architect to design the building and just start building buildings. You know that that would be, that would be a roger, like you, would never think of that, but oftentimes that's how software is built. Often in the case there's it's not unusual to not have any designer involved in the early days where I think you would benefit. Right? Another kind of tent related to that we've seen, Product development where they talk they do a good job of talking to customers and getting understanding the users needs, but as features kind of pop up they just kind of tack on tech on that feature to the product. In the extreme case I saw 11 product and then. Well, somewhat successful, but basically they wereThey were really at the point where they needed design help because anytime they came up with a new feature they just added at the end of the last feature. So they had this trailing menu of basically new features and you could map out what was last developed because that was the last thing. On the list. And what was first? So basically, whenever they came up with a new feature that was just some new menu item, but so, but that doesn't really coincide with how users think, right? Like you want to organize the information right? Like if you think about tools like Photoshop, there's editing tools. There's paintbrushes, there's fonts like you want to group things that make sense together so that people can find stuff. But versus like hey if I made something hey as soon as I new features. Launch, I'm going to just add that extra button. Here's that new feature that just doesn't make sense.

Arthur Root:  
Absolutely, and so what's next now per pack. You've kind of. Built a lot of products. Are you going to continue building products? Are there any kind of businesses that your products that you're excited about working on now? Or is there anything else kind of going on that that would be worth noting here? 

Pek Pongpaet :
Well, I'm I'm still the CEO, founder of impeccable, and this is my company. I have no business partners. Uh, but you know, I really enjoy working and helping startups. As a matter of fact, right before this call, I was giving a presentation on product design for a cohort of Techstars startup. But yeah, I really, you know I love software products in general and I love being helpful to companies who are excited about software products, especially if they care about design. That's my jam is to to be able to love to be able to be involved and be able to help them. Design is my passion, so one of the things that I started. During the pandemic, and this is something that I've always wanted to start. But I think it kind of reached a point where I have to start this. I started a design podcast, so there's a podcast called what is UX that you can find on Apple and Google and Spotify? But we it's a one. It's a selfish endeavor of me wanting to learn from the best and from design. Leaders, so we interview folks. Like a growth designer at Netflix or YouTube first designer or yelps first designer or automotive designers at Tesla and Faraday Future and then also enterprise. So we have designers from work day and teledoc and many other big companies. So yeah, that's sort of my way of keeping my skills sharpened learning what the industry is working on as well as learning from other people's experiences. 

Arthur Root:
Fantastic, Fantastic and so if people want to develop that friendship that you know you've talked about before and that that that's been your business development tool and are interested in learning more about your business and how they reach you. 

Pek Pongpaet:
LinkedIn is probably the best I've been. Well, I try to keep people up to date through my LinkedIn posts and stuff. So I think LinkedIn is a great tool now so please reach out and connect with me through LinkedIn. I am into it. You could pretty easily find me. My name is pretty unique. You can also find me on Twitter, although I'm not as active. I find that if you don't reply fast enough on Twitter, things just pass by and I just don't have time to sit on Twitter all day long. 

Arthur Root:
Awesome.
 
Pek Pongpaet:
But yeah, LinkedIn please. 

Arthur Root:
Well, thank you for joining us. I appreciate the time and you know best of luck with Impekable and the journey that you're on. 

Pek Pongpaet:
Thank you Arthur, and thank you for having me on your show. I very much appreciate it. 

Arthur Root:
Thank you for listening to Marketing Haven please subscribe below. 

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