Justin Nerdrum Podcast Transcript

Headshot of Founder and CEO Justin Nerdrum

Justin Nerdrum Podcast Transcript

Justin Nerdrum joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

[00:00:12] Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Justin Nerdrum. Justin Nerdrum is a seasoned business leader and the founder and CEO of Nerdrums, a premier business consulting firm that has been instrumental in redefining the growth trajectories of various organizations. His unwavering dedication and unique insight stem from an unconventional background that blends 10 years of hard earned experience in the United States Marine Corps with an equally rich tenure in the corporate world.

Well, good afternoon, Justin. Welcome to the show.

[00:00:43] Justin Nerdrum: Thank you. And excited to be here.

[00:00:45] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. This is awesome. Thank you so much. And I’m going to call you brother here for a second because I let our audience know we both served in the Marines. So thank you for your service, sir.

[00:00:55] Justin Nerdrum: I appreciate it. Likewise.

[00:00:57] Brian Thomas: Awesome. Thank you again. Justin, we’re gonna just jump right into the questions here. We’re gonna talk about your career, which is interesting, right? You’ve got a great career in marketing and operations. You were a senior executive and now the owner of Nerdrums. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?

[00:01:15] Justin Nerdrum: Yeah, absolutely. I would say like the biggest thing for my career growth and jumping from like you mentioned earlier the military and then going into more of the corporate world was just having more of that perseverance and knowing that there was. Something better that I could be doing something that would help out my family a lot more than staying in the military with constant deployments.

And I ended up taking a risk coming into the corporate world tech industry to start. and in that started going into more of the the sales as well as the marketing atmosphere starting off in marketing with the demand generation and the operational side of the house ended up landing my first career.

Over at Lynda. com, helped them build out their B2B side of the house and and was able to scale that up to a little over a hundred million. And from there, because of their successful B2C side of the house, and now they’re successful B2B side of the house, they ended up getting acquired by LinkedIn and which is now the LinkedIn learning.

And that’s what propelled me from the marketing side, knowing that. A lot of the stuff that I learned self hand, as well as the education that I got through through schooling and the education that I got through the military and just kind of incorporating it all together and really bringing it into this New career path that I was going really helped get me a standpoint and not necessarily start from the ground up going into a new industry in a new career field.

And so that’s what got me going there. I would say the biggest pieces That really inspired me on that was family. Family is what drove me from continuing to pursue a career in the military, which I loved and everybody who’s in it and going into something that would afford a little more time back for my family, less deployments be able to come home every night and then as well as be able to afford the a little better of a lifestyle than I could have in the military for my children.

And so that would be the biggest inspiration I’d say for me.

[00:02:55] Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. Really is. I love the story. And we talked a little bit before we hit the record button and you’ve made some sacrifices and you took a chance on some things and it worked out thankfully they, I guess the, I don’t know what the saying is, but those that risk or take the risk when and I think that’s what’s exactly what you did.

So, and obviously the family is always a great inspiration. So thank you, Justin. Justin, we’re going to talk a little bit about your company here. We know that Nerdrums is a cutting edge research and advisory firm focused on helping today’s advanced technologies and manufacturing companies grow. Could you tell us what has given you the edge over some of these other firms?

[00:03:35] Justin Nerdrum: Yeah. So with NerdGems we’re broken down into three tiers while some of them kind of combined into themselves and to get into that a little bit, we do have like our agency style tier, which is more of your tactical implementation when it comes to like your sales marketing, as well as your business development.

We have our advisory and consulting, which also branches off into the research, but. With the advisory and consulting, it focuses a lot on your growth aspects as well. So, if we’re looking at your business development, your marketing as well as your sales, but it also branches off into the R and D space.

And that’s where the research comes in when it looks at more of the advanced tech or deep tech, as we call it, looking more into what is going to best benefit, technology wise, some of these different things that are coming to fruition. We recently see the rise of AI coming out and seeing it within ChatGPT Bard, so on, so forth.

Prior to that, we saw the rise of blockchain come out and then here pretty soon, we’re going to start seeing the rise of quantum computing and a lot of those aspects come out as well. And then IOT and so on, so forth. And it’s how do we a combine these things? Where’s it going to go? Who’s going to use it?

What are some of the limitations and so on so forth. So we’ll do a lot of the research to really identify the market, the segment, the technology, what its capabilities are and where because we do a lot of government contracting. Also, when it comes to our research stage, like, where in the government can it fit?

Who’s going to need it? A lot of times it’s. So a lot of the Air Force research lab and so on and so forth that goes into that. But those combined as well. So so while we do have our growth aspect to really help out the manufacturing companies and the aerospace and defense and our traditional software technology style companies, when it comes into more of our advanced technology and deep tech, that’s more of the research and advisory side of the house as well.

Those are the biggest aspects when it comes to how the model is broken down. And what gives us the edge, against a lot of our competitors is one thing that I did notice kind of being in the industry quite a bit working for. Lynda. com like I mentioned earlier and then linked in for a little bit and a couple other companies before rolling into my own company and building this piece out is when we bring on consultants when we bring on agencies and stuff, they bring the tactics to us and we implement the tactics and kind of looking at.

A lot of this aspect, of course, during those times, it worked out well. In some cases, we would get our lead flow. We would measure just our basic KPIs and report those to sales, but sales was always upset because they weren’t getting the leads that they wanted, so on and so forth just on your traditional technology side of the house.

So it’s where the biggest pieces that they were forgetting was more of the strategy and the research that went in behind it. How are these tactics today going to help us overcome? what we need to overcome, like with the economy that we’re seeing in this day and age to still ensure that the company could stay afloat and scale because right now we’re going to end up seeing a lot of companies actually go through a trajectory downhill rather than a trajectory uphill when if we have , that the right research in place, if we have the right strategy in place, then the tactics can change appropriately.

So would it make sense for us to continue digital marketing? Via direct mail, but direct mail kind of went out the door when covid hit because everybody is at home. So we couldn’t necessarily mail it to their houses because direct mail pieces typically on a B to B side of the house would go to the corporation itself.

And just seeing how a lot of these tactics or change, but with the right research behind it, understanding exactly who your audience is exact. Knowing their style of growth, where they’re going to be being able to forecast that as well as understanding kind of the notion and the messaging and how it changes over time and being able to implement that and understand the different tactics that we have at hand that we can use.

In knowing when to adjust and overcome these difficult times and or being able to levy back when it comes into good times and use something that’s more cost effective. That’s really what I would say kind of gives this business more of a heads up when it comes to our competition is we don’t focus on the tactics, we focus on the strategy. We focus on the R and D, and from there the tactics will come with us depending on the nature of the season that we’re in the season that we’re in

[00:07:31] Brian Thomas: Awesome. Thank you for breaking that down. And I appreciate that. Yeah, I know you’ve got different kind of tiers and how you work that, but how you kind of explain that the way you bring on that, tactics and align that with your strategies, just great and I certainly appreciate that. Justin, you talked a little bit about technology, right?

We are a technology platform publication. We want to ask you, are you leveraging any of that new and emerging tech? And if not, maybe you found a cool tool or app you might share with us.

[00:07:59] Justin Nerdrum: Yeah, no, that’s a great question for the primary features or primary section of Nerdrums drums. We actually keep it basic and simple.

A lot of our efforts go out towards our customers and really trying to help them out for us. We just have your basic newsletter, basic sign up if you’re if you want to engage when it comes to our services and or our research and then just a lot of knowledge base. So going on that when it does come into you.

How we do our research there. We do use the chat GPT API quite often. It’s more of a custom built little in house tool that we use because we could pull a lot of the census data as well as government data From data dot gov and be able to put it in there. And that gives us more. We could base out the charts and also be able to find out forecast for what’s happening with the market.

What’s happening with certain technologies, what’s happening with certain sectors of our current economy as well as government as well as nation to really hone down and understand what our strategies are going to be when it comes to, if it’s the marketing side with our targeting, with our audience, with the growth of certain businesses, which could potentially be our customers, customers and that aspects and be able to forecast that out to give us a better understanding of what our tactics will be.

But also, when it does come into more of doing the R and D for a lot of these technology pieces, it lets us understand what’s coming in as trend with what is slowly adapting versus what is dying out. What are the the pieces that are needed in order to get certain pieces to work and being able to really kind of forecast that out?

And a good example, there would be with the use of the current, 8 AI systems like barred and chat GPT and using that for productivity as well as chatbots, et cetera. There’s so much potential that we could use it for. And if we’re looking at like these other technologies that have emerged as well, like blockchain I dove into that for a while and in the little bit of early days of blockchain.

And that’s a fun one. And it still has so much potential to it as we’re starting to see today as it died off with ai, but it’s coming back. But also when we start bringing in IOT and Quantum and it’s really like how do all these connect and how do they all work for something that’s gonna be for the future of what we’re seeing in our current economy and or are the future of our current technology.

So I would say when it comes to new fancy tools that we’re using, it’s really the stuff we’re damping into that. We are doing building out something in the back end that I hope will be more public knowledge here the , within a few months, which encompasses a few of these other technologies as well, like blockchain AI, et cetera.

And but yeah, for the most part, I would say the new one is the AI stuff. And then just basic stuff for our business.

[00:10:29] Brian Thomas: Thank you. I appreciate that. And yeah, there’s been a serious chatter around AI, conversational AI, generative AI, of course, and I appreciate you sharing that.

And you certainly are jumping in with everybody else and exploring that water. So I appreciate it. Justin, last question of the evening. Can you share something from your career experience that might be helpful for those in our audience looking to grow their career in either marketing or entrepreneurship?

[00:10:52] Justin Nerdrum: Yeah, absolutely. I would say that the biggest pieces that really helped me and mentioning before to jumping from one career to the other , there were a couple key pieces that really helped out, especially in the marketing field and absolutely in the entrepreneurial field now.

is understanding business itself having a good understanding of the business acumen and then economics. So my background in and education is more in the economical field and having these two pieces of knowledge really helped propel the way , that I came and combated the the marketing field instead of coming at it in more of An approach of let’s use this channel.

Let’s use that channel. Let’s try to engage your audience here. I would take it down for more of the executive suite, so to speak. What’s the C-Suite going to look for when they’re looking for the outcomes of what marketing is producing? How is marketing going to impact sales and so on so forth?

And how does this trickle down? What’s going to be the overall investment that we need to make versus the the return on that investment? So your ROI. From it. And so having that background in economics as well as just General business really helped out in that aspect, but I would say that the biggest piece is if it’s something that you’re looking into doing is start opening up some good books and get out there and just give it a shot.

If you have a good idea that, or if you think you have a good idea, kind of see how the market takes, make a few phone calls, see if there’s potential people that are interested in it. And that could really. Jumpstart your entrepreneur career because then from there you could build a product or a service and already have a good understanding of what the market’s going to take on it.

And then if it comes into a different field if it’s the growth areas, like your sales, your marketing, your customer success. And then it’s really getting in there and on the job training is big but backing it with some good business knowledge is also the best because it gives you more of a 2020 hindsight rather than just being siloed and focused on a particular area.

[00:12:42] Brian Thomas: Thank you. I appreciate that. We’ve certainly extracted some gems out of that particular answer. And our audience is full of all kinds, but we do have a lot of entrepreneurs in our audience. So thank you, Justin.

[00:12:53] Justin Nerdrum: Yeah, thank you, Brian.

[00:12:55] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. Justin, it was a pleasure having you on today, and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

[00:13:00] Justin Nerdrum: Likewise. Thank you much.

[00:13:02] Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Justin Nerdrum Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.


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