300 Episodes Later: An Ode to Top CMOs
300 episodes of Renegade Marketers Unite. Thank you for supporting and trusting this incredible community of B2B CMOs and other marketing-obsessed individuals.
We thought long and hard about how to celebrate this milestone, but what better way than to relive some of the most powerful moments and expert insights of the last 100 most downloaded episodes? This 300th episode features interviews with Toni Clayton-Hine of EY, Bill Strawderman of GS1, Johnny Smith Jr. (2x!) of Encompass Health, and Peeyush Dubey of LTI among many others.
Please continue to share your favorite moments and don’t forget – hit me up on LinkedIn with your feedback, comments, or questions. I may just answer it live on the show.
What you’ll learn:
- How to be a renegade marketer!
- Renegade Marketing by Drew Neisser
- CMO Huddles
- The Top 10 episodes
- Putting the Chief in Chief Marketing Officer
- A Play-By-Play for the First 90 Days
- Salesforce CMO on Power of Purpose
- Building a B2B Marketing Behemoth
- One Marketer’s Change Management Playbook
- Univar Solutions CMO on Science of Service
- Growing a B2B Juggernaut
- LTI CMO: The Shoshin of Brand, Demand, and Expand
- B2B Renegade: Meet David Koerner, 75F CMO
- Bold, Creative B2B Marketing
- Amy Messano of Altair
- Toni Clayton-Hine of EY
- Bill Strawderman of GS1 US
- Johnny Smith Jr. of Encompass Health
- Julie Kaplan of CareMetx
- Dave Bornmann of Association Analytics
- Stephanie Buscemi of Confluent
- Archana Agrawal of Airtable
- Rob Whitney of Univar Solutions
- Ran Avrahamy of AppsFlyer
- Peeyush Dubey of LTI
- Dave Koerner of 75F
- Latané Conant of 6sense
- [00:02] Introducing Episode 300
- Best Leadership Advice
- [01:56] Amy Messano: Listen, Reach for stars
- [03:38] Toni Clayton-Hine: Assume positive intent
- [04:30] Bill Strawderman: Leadership is a commission
- First 90 Days
- [06:12] Johnny Smith Jr.: Be patient
- [06:40] Julie Kaplan: Talk to as many new colleagues as you can
- [06:57] Dave Bornmann: Participate in Sales calls
- [08:50] Stephanie Buscemi: Brand purpose is not a luxury
- [13:10] Archana Agrawal: Marketing is the flywheel of time-to-value
- [16:34] Johnny Smith Jr.: Change management for marketing-led growth
- [20:40] Rob Whitney: Measuring marketing value
- [25:53] Ran Avrahamy: Engage employees first
- [31:02] Peeyush Dubey: Building a new product with Shoshin
- [33:51] Dave Koerner: The secret to courageous strategy
- [39:57] Latané Conant: Marketing to marketers
Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 300 on YouTubeFull Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Stephanie Buscemi, Johnny Smith Jr., Ran Avrahamy, David Koerner, Latané Conant, and more
Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers. Welcome to the 300th episode of Renegade Marketers Unite, the top rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing obsessed individuals. What an exciting milestone, it’s been such a privilege and a pleasure to talk to some of the brightest CMOs and B2B thinkers over the last five years. To celebrate, we’re going to be looking back at the top 10 episodes since episode 200. Here’s how we’ll do it. I’ll give a brief introduction of each episode. Then we’ll play an insightful clip from the show itself that you can and should apply to your marketing ASAP. To hear the rest of any of these episodes, we’ve shared links to all of them in the show notes section on Renegade.com. Okay, let’s dive in. First up in our trip down memory lane is episode 265 with Amy Messano of Altair, Toni Clayton-Hine of EY, and Bill Strawderman of GS1 who are putting the “Chief” in Chief Marketing Officer ever every single day at their organizations. This episode is filled with unique insights into the different paths to leadership, and all kinds of tried and true ways to inspire employees and organizations to greatness. Here’s a clip where Amy, Toni, and Bill share the best leadership advice they’ve ever been given. Let’s start with Amy.
Amy Messano: To me, listening is the biggest thing. You don’t have to be loud to be a leader. You don’t have to be an extrovert to be a leader. Be yourself and bet on yourself is a good one, too. If someone else thinks you could do it, you should think you can do it, too.
Drew Neisser: Has there ever been a moment where you didn’t trust yourself? Like you said, “I’m not ready for this job” and you talked yourself into it?
Amy Messano: Of course. Every time I have ever gotten a new job or a promotion, I always have that little self-doubt, bad guy, good guy on my shoulder. Just take the chance. I just go back to what I said. If someone else believes that you can do it, you’ve got to give yourself a chance. And what you learn from failing, the old cliche is true. That very cliche quote, if you don’t reach for the stars or the moon or whatever, you won’t get dirt. I’m messing up that quote, but something about… Just try. What’s the worst that can happen, I guess.
Drew Neisser: It’s funny, that’s a Leo Burnett quote, and it was “If you reach for the stars, you won’t come up with a handful of mud.”
Amy Messano: There you go!
Drew Neisser: I’m inspired by Burnett because he started his agency, I think, in ’60. But the other thing that I wanted to add to this conversation was—and Toni was talking about this—which is the notion of listening.
A famous ad guy, Bill Bernbach, used to carry a little sheet up in his pocket that said, “They might be right.” And it was about input he was getting from the client. He was one of the most creative individuals in the history of advertising and he carried that note just to remind himself. Toni, the best leadership advice you’ve ever been given.
Toni Clayton-Hine: My favorite is always, assume positive intent. Just that idea that, in the marketing world, people are generally trying to help. It may come out in a funny way, in a rude way, in an unbelievably strange way, but if we assume that it’s positive intent both on the people we deal with as well as the teams and the inter-team dynamics, it has served me well for a very, very long time.
Drew Neisser: Assume positive intent. I have to say. I remember a, literally a 7th-grade science teacher who said, “I know you’re going to be great in this class.” And like, I had no idea I was going to be great in this class and I was really not. He happened to have my older brother, who was a really good science student, but I actually did well because he expected it. I love that notion of assuming positive intent. Bill, the best leadership advice you’ve ever had.
Bill Strawderman: Yeah, I think in terms of growing as a leader, leadership is more of a commission than it is a position. If you think about early career, you’re reaching for the stars and a lot of that feels more like the level.
What people often don’t understand is that what comes along with the commission of leadership. That’s all of the people management, the culture building, and the things that are not specific to the function that you’re leading. It’s a lot of the other soft stuff.
Frankly, that was a big learning curve for me from when I was just starting to where I am now. It’s more of a lived piece of advice in addition to just general advice that I’ve gotten over time.
Drew Neisser: Listen, assume positive intent. Leadership is a commission, not a position. These are great guideposts for all current and aspiring leaders. This is especially true for a CMO in their first 90 days. Which brings us to the next on our top 10 list. A Play-by-Play for the First 90 days with CMOs, Johnny Smith Jr. of Encompass Health, Julie Feller of CareMetx LLC., and Dave Bornmann of Association Analytics. This episode is a fantastic deep dive into how to get quick wins while gearing up for the long term success. At the end, I asked each CMO to share their final words of wisdom for fellow CMOs in their first 90 days. So let’s hear what they all have to say, starting with Johnny.
Johnny Smith, Jr: Be patient. I think that’s key. That was for me. To be patient and know that this is a journey. And there’s going to be many victories and wins along that journey. And when you get to those victories and wins, make sure you celebrate those that help you get there. Those are usually the people that you work next to.
Drew Neisser: So even if your boss isn’t patient, you better be. I love that. All right, Julie, one final word.
Julie Feller: I don’t think I can say it better than Johnny. But here’s what I’ll say. Talk to and learn from as many of your new colleagues as you possibly can and external colleagues as well.
Drew Neisser: External, okay, and Dave?
Dave Bornmann: I’m big on the sales channel as a source of information. And what I’d say that I did initially is not just talk to the Sales VP and not just interview or talk to the sales reps. But something that pandemic made much easier is participating in sales calls, even as a silent observer.
Be on as many calls as you can. Not just with the best reps. A lot of times they’ll want you with the best reps to hear what they’re saying, but be on the call with the average reps and even the underperforming reps, because that’s where you can really hear, again, where the rubber hits the road.
How’s the messaging working? How’s that demo going? How’s that sales presentation working? And when you ask the questions, you can’t always get it articulated in a way that’s useful. But when you’re on those calls, and you do, let’s say, 20 of them, you start hearing things that are trends that can really help inform you as you go back and start putting together your plan or adjusting your plan or adjusting your messaging.
Talk to the sales team all the way up and down the ladder.
Drew Neisser: So, there you have it, the first 90 days are so so crucial for CMOs looking to bring about marketing lead growth at their organizations. Now the CMO who joins a purpose led organization – an organization believes in the power of brand has a head start, because one of the most common challenges for CMOs these days is justifying brand spend, as many see it as fluffy and only care about demand generation. For anyone you know who doesn’t believe in brand purpose send them the clip from this episode with Stephanie Buscemi recorded shortly before she left her position at Salesforce.
Stephanie Buscemi: The purpose of the company is that business is a platform for change. Our purpose is that we can be our success is only through our customer success and through our communities in which we serve success. So the overarching is business as a platform for change. And then how that gets expressed across how do we make our employees better? How do we make the communities in which we serve better? How do we provide innovative technologies that make the world a better place across every facet? One of the things that we have as a program, again, it started 21 years ago, was the 111 model, which is 1% of our time 1% of our equity and 1% of our product, every year we give back and that 1% of our product, you know we’re giving to nonprofits to companies to make their businesses successful. Those numbers were really small when we started. Those numbers are really huge now so when you think about one per percent of our time, we have 54,000 employees today, everyone in the company gets one week off of what’s called VTO – volunteer time off. And it’s not optional. It is part your responsibility. And we have a huge ecosystem of things that people can do. And people can bring new things. We don’t prescribe, we want people to feel an affinity for the way they’re giving back. But we create that space that we can give 54,000 people time seven, seven business days, a year, it adds up of their hours back to volunteering, volunteer work. That’s just one example of our commitment of giving back.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, I remember 111. And I—thank you for reminding me that I can hear a lot of CEOs, particularly at say PE driven companies, or private or VC backed companies saying, “Yeah, that’s all like that’s a luxury that a number one market share market leader can afford?” How do we sort of as convinced these are tell them that this isn’t a luxury, this, in fact, drives employee morale, customer loyalty, and pipeline all at the same time?
Stephanie Buscemi: Yeah, one immediate thing that comes to mind is I would start with saying, have they truly looked at the next generation of workers? And have they really—do they deeply understand millennials? Because I could bury them in numerous studies out there that say, millennials are not going to work for nor are they going to buy from companies that don’t have a higher purpose.
Drew Neisser: Right.
And so this next generation expects it. And so it’s not a luxury, and it’s not optional. And I also say, you know, Salesforce didn’t put the 111 model in place years into its success. It did it from day one, when it was very, very small. And it’s grown with the company. So I would appeal to any CEO that says it’s a luxury and say, to, to acquire great to acquire and grow great talent is this next generation of workers. And to acquire and build lasting customer relationships, you’re going to have to have this, it’s not optional, it’s not going to be enough just to have great products and services anymore.
It’s not enough, your brand needs to stand for more than simply the products and services you provide. This brings us to Episode 255 with Airtable CMO Archana Agrawal, who grew her marketing team from 4 to 45. In one year, Airtable was growing just fine without marketing, so why was this a priority for the brand? Here’s Archana.
If the company was growing that well without marketing, what was driving growth?
Archana Agrawal: Very strong word of mouth motion. I’m not saying that that’s enough to maximize the growth that could be had, but it’s certainly something that we would always hope to have as part of our motion and always hope adds fuel to whatever marketing we end up doing.
The idea of actually having people come try out your product, see the value, be able to not only add much more value to what they’re doing, but then enough for them to actually go and champion the product and talk about it to others, is a very large word of mouth flywheel, if you will, that helps propel the business forward.
Drew Neisser: That’s that moment where you get the unaware-of-marketing individual say, “Well, just build a product that’s so good that it will sell itself, and if we have a freemium ability, it’ll even be easier. So why do we need marketing, because we have freemium?” Why did they decide that they needed marketing?
Archana Agrawal: A couple of different reasons, but I’ll also address the idea. Yes, it’s not only a product that’s so good; it’s truly a product that’s remarkable, that someone wanted to remark on it. And so, I chose that word in terms of actually saying that it’s something that adds so much value that a user will feel compelled to share the benefits that they’ve been able to get through the product with their circles.
But it’s also a very horizontal product. I’ve seen so many different use cases for marketers who use Airtable, to product teams, to IT teams, SMBs, large enterprises that use the product.
Being able to help them understand what’s the best way, partnering with them through the entirety of their journey—it’s not just about acquiring a customer, it’s actually about helping them get time-to-value in the quickest possible way. Being able to be their voice back into the product teams, to be able to say, “Hey, we’ve had so much success, this is the blueprint that we’d like to actually productionize,” so that in the future, the next marginal user can actually achieve success that much faster… Those are all the reasons to go and think about “How do we actually be able to do this in a more programmatic way?”
Drew Neisser: Let’s put a punctuation point on that. It’s not just about acquiring a customer, it’s about helping them get time to value in the quickest way possible. That is what marketing lead growth can do for your organization. Now, how can you help shift your organization into this new perspective? We’re going to bring back Johnny Smith Jr. of Encompass Health, who made it on the top 10 list twice. We had a really in depth conversation about change management for episode 233. And in the upcoming clip, you’ll hear Johnny talk about how to show that marketing is essential to success.
Johnny Smith, Jr: As we continue to implement the change, we have to be very deliberate about all of our allies across the organization and being mindful of when is the right time to implement X, when should we implement Y?
Because, as you can imagine, this is the first time that we brought together a strategic marketing department. We as marketers, we’re aggressive, we’re hungry, we’re ready to go, but you have to be deliberate. I spent a lot of my time reflecting, thinking, and engaging with different leaders across the company to ensure we’re making the right moves at the right time. It’s precision, man. This is precision and a precise process because you can easily screw this up if you don’t talk with the right people and be deliberate with your approach.
Drew Neisser: I’m so glad you said that because it just reminds me—a lot of what you described in this process, you can do in isolation, but we all know that marketing doesn’t work in isolation. You have all sorts of dependencies. It only works if the whole organization embraces it and really, the head of marketing has to build those bridges and has to make sure that you’re seen as in-service…
I mean, it’s funny, the transformation that you’re describing, you went from order taking to still being in service of other departments, but the difference is you had a plan, you had the right people in place, and now you could suddenly deliver on a level that could have a material impact on the business.
Johnny Smith, Jr: Exactly. Exactly
Drew Neisser: Well, this is just a brilliant playbook and I feel like we’ve covered tremendous ground. Is there any lesson learned? Besides the fact of reaching out, is there any other lesson learned that you have that this particular experience really drove home?
Johnny Smith, Jr: I will say this. As a part of the change management exercise that we went through, the key to all of this is that you’re focused on the customer, but the second piece is to know your business.
Healthcare is a complicated industry. It’s important to truly understand the business and then, where can marketing make an impact? Where can we make an impact to actually help grow the business? That’s a key element that I think all marketers have to focus on regardless of what B2B space you’re in.
That wasn’t the focus initially with marketing in the past. We started asking different questions, we started getting access to data, we started spending more time with our controllers and financial operators. We started to be a part of those discussions and folks were like, “Wow. Marketing now is contributing to growth. It’s a different conversation now.”
And then from there, then you start to get invited in different circles and then the field and others start to respect what you’re doing because you actually are caring about what the end goal is as opposed to just responding to a tactic and implementing.
Drew Neisser: Marketing is contributing to growth. If you want to earn a seat at the table, you need to be thinking about the shortest distance between you and your contribution to growth. To get non marketers to buy into marketing, you’re going to need to have some numbers to back you up. Next up on our top 10 list, listen to Univar Solutions VP of Global Marketing, Rob Whitney, as he describes what metrics matter most and how he’s locked arm and arm with sales to directly tie value back to marketing.
Rob Whitney: The one thing I did early on when I came into the business was put a bottom-line dollar figure measurement on marketing activity. That is often the hardest thing for us as marketers to do, and to do it with credibility in a manner that the business actually believes the number you’re presenting.
But I realized very quickly, at the time, it was at Nexeo, we were a 4.5% percent even up business. I’m not going to walk in and say, “Give me 10% of sales to drive marketing.” That’s a non-starter of a conversation.
So I had to build measurements in place that directly tied value back. Each of our industry marketing managers actually has a gross profit number they have to deliver to every year. That was number one, to get credibility.
Now, we’re doing it in reverse of what most marketers do. Now, we’re starting to go earlier in the funnel and judge earlier in the funnel behavior more to inform us on how we can get to that gross profit number, but also to educate the company so they understand why getting earlier in the funnel, earlier in the sales cycle matters to help our account managers out there in the marketplace. Most of your typical stuff around engagement scores, conversion rates, those types of things are starting to come into harder measurements for us.
Drew Neisser: I’m going to work backward from gross profit, because gross profit is interesting. It’s, what kind of customer did you sell into? And there are customers that will squeeze every last inch of profit out of you. How long did it take to get that customer? What’s the lifetime value of that customer?
All of these things factor in and marketing is one aspect of it. So how did you zoom in on how does marketing help deliver that? It could take 20… customers just getting in the door.
You had so many proof of concepts and you could have a pilot that went on nine months and by the time you finally got it, everybody’s forgotten about, “Oh, this was a marketing-generated lead. Where do you see marketing play a role in this?” And then I also imagine, correct me if I’m wrong, customer success and customer growth is a huge part of this, too.
Rob Whitney: Yes, very much so. We got there by being very purposeful and taking small bites at a time, right? So really focused in the beginning on what are subsets of customers we think we can convert fast.
And the beauty of our business from a marketing standpoint is I have a big multibillion-dollar commodity business that’s very transactional, got a multibillion-dollar specialty business where some of our sales cycles, especially in food and pharmaceutical are a year and a half, two years long.
The easiest thing to do was go focus on the transactional, build the engine for the transactional. We spent about the first two years doing that and really homing in on a methodology that the sales team believed in and could say, “Yes, marketing helped us deliver that.”
And then I used the sales team to go out there and be the advocates for marketing as a function and organization as we started to build the capability to focus on the more long-term, specialty-driven business cycles for the organization.
Now what we’ve done on the back end, we tag every opportunity that comes in. Existing customer, new customer, so that we can track it. We have some agreed-upon methodology that the business has signed up for. And then when we now present what marketing is going to deliver from a gross profit standpoint, it’s both myself and that business leader, going together to the executive team and saying, “Yes, marketing needs X amount of money for our industry and it’s going to help us deliver Y amount of growth.”
I found by being able to do that, lock arm-and-arm with the sales leaders, I have significantly more success than I ever did walking in on my own going, “This is what marketing can do for you.” Turn them into advocates for you and it becomes much easier.
So insightful. If you the CMO are walking in and representing your budget without sales or somebody on a line of business, you’re making a big mistake, you really are flat out. Because your numbers, what you’re basically saying is, marketing is independent, and it’s not. Marketing is only as successful as sales is successful period. Next up is the most downloaded episode of The Last 200. Episode 229 with Ran Avrahamy, the CMO of AppsFlyer. Ran shared the secrets behind AppsFlyer’s rocket gross success and this one is key. If you want to be successful, you need to put employees first, the power of engaged employees is tenfold. But don’t take my word for it, here’s Ran.
Drew Neisser: I want to zero in on employee pride for a moment. I think in our pre-call we talked about how you really only have one metric in the company, at least from an employee standpoint—do they feel proud of it? How do you actually measure that?
Ran Avrahamy: We have our surveys, right? Our internal surveys. We ask team members twice a year and we measure that, and we do some sort of NPS about that. The numbers we see are outstanding. I think the last one was around 97% of people at the company are proud of working for AppsFlyer. That’s outstanding.
And you ask yourself, “Okay, so 97%. How much higher can you go?” But you can go higher. There’s 100%. There’s always room for improvement.
But I think, again, it’s a lot about the small stuff that you do on an ongoing basis with our employees. For example, there’s a lot of talk about employer branding. We don’t do employer branding; we do employee branding. We spotlight them. We provide them with small, meaningful, personalized, it’s not about gifts or anything like that. It’s about showing them that we care, showing them that we work together.
Every time that we have a big milestone, we celebrate it internally, we do internal training about it, we give people assets to share on their social media. I think it was in the last funding round we had—our entire LinkedIn feed of people in the industry was filled with AppsFlyer people just telling their own personal story and how they are proud of the company.
People were asking me, like, “Do you pay them? Do you incentivize your team members to share that?” And I was like, “No, we provide them with a platform, with content, visuals, talking points, stuff like that, but they do their thing.” You cannot trick that. It must be authentic. You cannot pay for that.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, it’s so true. Most companies think about, from a marketing standpoint, the priority is acquisition then retention then employees if they think about it.
Ran Avrahamy: No, no. It has to start with employees.
Drew Neisser: Talk a little bit about that. Help me because this is like a paragraph in my book. Why is it so important that marketing needs to focus on employees first?
Ran Avrahamy: It’s such a good question. We actually have a person in the marketing team who’s our head of thought leadership. His job is to help everyone who wants to learn become a better storyteller, a better writer, tell their own stories. So specifically, we need to help 60 people this quarter, write at least 5 LinkedIn posts, right?
At the beginning, people were asking, “Why do you this?” It pays off so much. The importance of marketing for being internal first—if your own team members are not your biggest advocates and biggest fans, you won’t be able to make your customers and your prospects and your partners and the external circles your fans.
This fandom sticks. It’s contagious. If people working for the company are so proud of your products, of your social responsibility, of your actions, of your content—it glows outside, and it’s contagious. I don’t have any other word but contagious.
Drew Neisser: Let me repeat that. If your own team members are not your biggest advocates and biggest fans, you won’t be able to make your customers and your prospects and your partners and the external circles your fans. This is why employee culture is so important. LTI CMO, Peeyush Dubey shared in Episode 269 that their employees are all united by Shoshin which means the beginner’s mind in Zen Buddhism. As Peeyush explained, we believe that in a beginner’s mind, anyone with a beginner’s mind will be able to solve many more challenges than someone who was thinking like an expert. Here’s how Shoshin got LTIs 40,000 employees excited about LTI canvas, a new product they released in response to the pandemic.
Drew Neisser: How did you bring this to your employee base and get them excited about it, and frankly, get them trained on it?
Peeyush Dubey: Actually, Drew, this is where I’m glad we started this section or this response with the whole idea of shoshin because that is a philosophy which is deeply ingrained into everybody at LTI.
And the way that we think of it is that… Gone are those days when any one of us could complete graduation and then build a career. As in this is a constant learning process. Every year, every month, we have to keep challenging ourselves to learn something new.
That has kind of helped us in getting new—especially in the area of technology that we are in—introduce new concepts, introduce new offerings, new products, and have our employees also take them. We have several internal communication platforms that we used to share with them a very simple communication of how it will be done.
We have an internal training module, which is also completely digital and is being used on computers and mobile platforms, where we launched training modules for LTI Canvas for all our employees to go through as well.
Equally importantly is sales enablement and sales communication because these are the executives who will be talking to our customers and prospects about LTI Canvas. And so we created a separate series of communications just for our sales team for them to be able to explain this entire thing.
The way we do that is through three things. One is to read everything themselves. That is learn. Then is to present to customers and then to send. So learn, send, and present. Across these three categories, we created the entire sales script for our sales team and for our development teams through our internal learning platform, the small training modules. That is how we executed the entire LTI Canvas.
Drew Neisser: So in case you couldn’t tell already, there’s a lot stacked on the modern CMOs plate, it’s a lot more difficult to be effective if there’s too much going on. Which brings us to, in my opinion, one of the most important lessons of the last few years, it’s time to do less better. Here’s 75F CMO, Dave Koerner, with the framework you need to simplify your marketing.
David Koerner: If you skip past the tactical stuff, which I think is easy, and move up bottom to top on the CATS framework. The other thing we do is we cut.
The only way that this is possible, the only way we have money to spend on an ad is, we cut everything. We cut out a lot of agencies because I think there’s some slack there. There’s a lot of performative work. That’s unfortunate.
We cut our blog almost completely during the pandemic. We had no blog because we decided to launch a webcast. At peak, I think there were 30,000 people that viewed a webcast. That was a huge undertaking. Everyone on the team was involved. Live shows are very painful. We had some spectacular failures figuring out how to run a live show.
And we kept losing desks, of course, during COVID times, so super high stress, wouldn’t recommend that to anyone. Then we shut down all our social pages. I mean, we had a reasonable Facebook page, but we can’t compete with Siemens. They have social media experts, SVPs of Social, so let’s cut that right away. Cut cut cut.
We use a 2×2 framework and it’s pretty straightforward. Just where can we prioritize. And then as a marketer, I think, I have to make sure I have the time and space to make those cuts.
And when I start doing that, by the way—and I’ve done this at a few organizations. You come in, you have this bold vision, and then you say, “The only way we’re going to pay for this is we got to cut a lot of stuff.” They say, “Well, then what’s left? When you cut all of our display and you cut our social and we’re not doing retargeting and we’re not using our agencies anymore, then what are you going to do?”
That’s where you have to have some creative tactical ideas that you’re pretty sure have a reasonable chance of working and move that way.
Drew Neisser: I love this. And you know the first chapter of my book is “Clear Away the Clutter.” It’s a mindset thing, but it is also all the stuff that you do. We see this whether it’s in tactics, “Oh, we have to do that and we have to do this” or we see it in personas, “Oh, we have 12 personas, we need to develop creative for all 12 personas.”
What you have in most marketing plans is peanut butter, just spread all the way up there and nothing that really does cut through. You mentioned 2×2. What do you mean by that?
David Koerner: You know, a 2×2 framework where you are measuring impact versus effort on axes and you’re looking to get in that top right corner. You can’t increase the impact of something while simultaneously reducing the effort of that something.
So, you take your key marketing initiatives, and you drop them based on size, then you… “Our blog’s not working. Are we going to spend more time trying to make this blog good, when across town we can see from LinkedIn they have 23 people in their newsroom producing world-class content?”
Or are we going to say, “Let’s find a way to win with no content.” And maybe customers don’t even need content. And if they do, maybe we shouldn’t be the ones producing it.
Can we have enough humility to recognize that we’re not going to change anybody’s mind on the future of smart cities or the advantages of IoT? That 2×2 framework helps you determine: Do you reduce the effort in something, increase the effort, increase the impact, or reduce the impact of that something?
Drew Neisser: Unbelievable. And I want everybody—I’m going to put a huge thing on this. We spent the last three months of CMO Huddles, so that’s 12-plus huddles, talking in various ways about what I call digital fatigue, which is just that… so many… everybody’s doing exactly the same tactics. Exactly.
You talked about display ads. They’re doing SEO, they’re doing content, they are doing webinars, they are doing virtual events, and often they’re doing the same kind of a virtual event.
As we round out 2021 and really put down stakes, what could we do differently in 2022? The simple answer is, “Less, better.” And that better bar is defined by any number of ways, whether it’s just doing it bigger, but also doing it more creatively and doing it differently.
I think that you’re just way ahead of the curve. Obviously, I mean, the whole roots of guerilla marketing is making up for lack of budget with ingenuity, which is kind of what you’re really thinking about and doing. But I think there’s more to it than simply that, and I think that some big brands are afraid of making big bets.
David Koerner: Most marketers would rather be wrong inside the normal range than right outside of it. You go back to your executive team, your board and you say, “Hey, look, we’re optimized for display. We’re doing everything we can on Facebook. We reproduce three blog posts a week, like what do you want for me? I’ve done everything.” And, of course, Renegade Marketing is not that way.
Drew Neisser: Now last, but certainly not least, let’s look at the 10th most downloaded episode from the last 200 episode with 6sense Latané Conant. In the clip we’re about to play, Latané shares her approach to the unique challenge of marketing to marketers. Let’s listen.
Latané Conant: I think there are two things that we have been very thoughtful about in terms of marketing to marketers. The creativity, which you mentioned, that it is appreciated, and we get to push the envelope on it. We have to because they’ve seen it all. They’ve seen every swag catalog. They’ve seen every event pitch. They know it, so creativity does stand out and it also somewhat attracts marketers because they want to see what you’re going to do to learn for themselves.
What was your customer advisory board like? I’m going to take notes because I want to be part of your CAB, don’t get me wrong, but I also want to maybe pick up some tricks along the way. For sure, that has been an important aspect of 6sense’s brand. Our philosophy is to push the needle and be bold and that’s just who we are.
I would say, though, the other maybe more important aspect is marketers can sniff bull. They know bull because they’re spinning their own stuff, so one of the things that we’ve also been very, very thoughtful about is being very practical, less theory. Very practical about how to get things done—you called it drinking your own champagne—but we’re the “prove it” people. We will prove it to you. I don’t advise doing anything that I haven’t done myself. That’s really important. Most of our thought leadership content originates with something that we have tried and tested.
We’re not going to write about it unless we’ve taught tried and tested it and customers have tried and tested it and it’s really a best practice. That’s a big part of what I would hope you’d experience when you work with 6sense. That no bull, very practical, not theory. We’re in this with you. We’re doing it with you. Testing, learning. And it’s totally fine to admit when things didn’t work because you learn from your mistakes.
Drew Neisser: There you have it, folks, the top 10 episodes since episode 200. It was great to revisit these conversations with some of the coolest CATS of marketing. CATS being the acronym for courageous, thoughtful, artful and scientific. To sum everything up here in a neat little bow, when it comes to your marketing strategy it’s time to be courageous, to prove marketing’s value, to prioritize employees, to bring value to your customers, to develop healthy, thriving brands. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, do me a favor and give us a five star review and hit me up on LinkedIn. Always love to see your comments. And remember, if you have a question you’d like me to answer on this show, send an email to me firstname.lastname@example.org or leave it on my LinkedIn. Stay curious my friends. Stay curious.
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Renegade marketers. Unite is now a production of share your genius. Melissa Caffrey is our content director. The music is by the amazing burns twins and intro. Voiceover is Linda Cornelius to find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about them. And the savvy is B2B marketing boutique in New York city.
Please visit renegade.com. I’m your host Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.