Michael Collins
April 16, 2021

Balancing Brand and Demand

Guest: Michael Collins - CMO, CFA Institute

Which came first, brand or demand? It’s an age-old question in the B2B world, especially for B2B CMOs who understand the delicate balance between growing a powerful, lasting brand and a demand gen engine that delivers results. Enter CFA Institute, a leading association of investment professionals with a global reach and a strong brand identity.

In this episode, CMO Michael Collins shares exactly how CFA balances brand and demand while managing a robust MarTech stack, adjusting strategy where needed, and tracking key metrics to maintain a healthy data-oriented alignment with the C-Suite. Tune in to hear what has worked, what hasn’t, and how CFA has driven growth within its close-knit community of Chartered Financial Analysts.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • How CFA Institute balances brand and demand
  • Why brand consistency matters
  • How CFA Institute optimizes its MarTech stack

Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 236 on YouTube

Resources Mentioned

Time-Stamped Highlights

  • [0:27] How CFA Built its Demand Gen Engine
  • [12:06] Calibrating an Effective MarTech Stack
  • [18:25] CFA’s Key Marketing Metrics
  • [29:00] Behind CFA’s Brand Strategy

Transcript Highlights: Drew Neisser in conversation with Michael Collins

[] How CFA Built its Demand Gen Engine

“You need to build sales overnight and your brand over time.” —@CollinsMichael @CFAinstitute Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Thinkers! In a perfect world, all of you would work for companies headed by CEOs and funded by investors who believe in and understand the power of a purposeful brand story. These enlightened individuals would echo Latané Conant—you may remember her from episode 210—when she said, “There is no brand without demand.” No, that’s not what she said. She said, “There is no demand without brand.”

They would believe in Latané. They would give you the budget and resources to craft a compelling brand purpose that inspires employees, engages customers, motivates partners, and even attracts new customers. They would recognize that building a brand takes time and will pay off huge dividends in a year or more, but at the risk of bursting your bubble, it is not a perfect world. Not even close. It’s a perfectly imperfect world, one measured in months and quarters, not years and decades.

As much as I believe with all my heart that you marketers can change the world, that you marketers can help solve the world’s biggest challenges, here’s a bit of advice. Be patient, young Jedis. Before you can drive brand, you need to prove that you can drive demand. That’s right, to earn a seat at the strategy table, you need to prove that you can put food on that table.

Or to use more practical terms, if you want to be in your job long enough to have a shot at building an enduring brand, a purposeful brand, you need to show that you can drive pipeline, that you can put high-quality leads in the hands of your salespeople. Don’t bother fighting this truth, embrace it, it’s okay. You’ll get your chance to change the world. Just build an epic demand generation engine first.

With that bit of preaching behind us, we can now welcome our guest Michael Collins, the CMO of the CFA Institute. If you’re in money management or have money to be managed, perhaps you’ve heard of CFA, as in Chartered Financial Analyst. These are the folks that certify money managers in 170 countries around the world, a process of education and testing that can take years to complete. In this episode, Michael will share his journey to building a demand gen engine, and how he has more recently turned his energy toward building the brand. Wow, Michael, welcome.

Michael Collins: Hey, Drew. It’s great to be here.

Drew Neisser: Thank you. Let’s talk about you—you got to CFA in 2016. What was your initial mandate?

Michael Collins: Well, in 2016 the organization was listening to our customers, who are the candidates who are taking the exam, and members. CFA is the chartered financial analyst who actually earned the charter that takes over 1,000 hours’ worth of studying. The world’s global gold standard in investment management.

By listening to our customers—and it brings me back to something an old boss said when I was a young Jedi, which was, “Keep your customers front and center, and keep your competition in your peripheral vision.” So always be focused on the customer.  Speaking to our members, they were interested in us building more brand awareness in the markets around the world so that if you’re just earning this charter, this designation, employers would understand the difference between investment managers who had it, investment managers who had earned it, and those who didn’t have it.

That’s what we set about to do at the beginning. It was a little more indirect at the start thinking about building pipeline and it was more around brand, helping our local society chapters and our members in their local markets. Now that, as you mentioned, very quickly evolved. We have a saying, that again, I’ve used throughout my career, which is, “You need to build sales overnight and your brand over time.” That’s really back to putting the food on the table and showing that you can drive profitable revenue growth and today, that’s never been more important.

Drew Neisser: I want to come back to the needs of the business because obviously, my preaching aside, that really does drive what you need to do. If you had sufficient pipeline when you got there, then yeah, you could jump right to brand. The other thing that’s interesting is that yours is a little bit different. In some ways, you’re almost an ingredient brand.

Michael Collins: That’s correct.

Drew Neisser: Ingredient brands have to—if you watch Intel and you think about some of these ingredient brands, you have to invest in that brand all the time. Because if you don’t, the value of someone putting that on their resume, putting it on their website, putting it on their business card diminishes. You have to keep putting equity into it. It’s a little bit of a different situation than some other brands. Again, in my preaching I didn’t say it was right, I just said it was practical and what CMOs need to do.

We can come back to brand. Let’s start with how did you go about building a demand generation engine?

Michael Collins: Sure. If you think about it, we have hundreds of thousands of people who sit for one of the three levels of the CFA program every year. The organization did, in a way, very little direct-to-consumer demand generation when I arrived. They had moved on to doing demand generation through B2B partners, so through the large institutions, through the employers ensuring that those talent leaders, those line of business leaders understood the differentiation between someone with the charter and someone didn’t have the charter. To your point, the three-letter CFA, that the brand. The brand is the product.

That’s a little bit of a longer putt. If you use a golfing analogy. That’s a very long putt. Like you talked about the beginning, that’s months and years and decades. We’ve been around over 70 years and people inside of financial services and investment management definitely understand the value of the CFA program.

We were going down that route on more of a B2B approach trying to drive top-of-mind awareness, unaided awareness, and likelihood to recommend, etc. As we got into the end of 2020 and early 2021—right around the time that we started to all realize what’s happening with the global pandemic—we started to turn our attention back to driving a robust demand generation machine to consumers. Starting as early as juniors in university all the way through to people who are working, that is it a very costly and complicated, not a one size fits all approach.

Drew Neisser: In this highly digital world, what were some of the things that you needed to do? Because you can’t go mass. You simply can’t afford to reach all 4 million students at that level. Maybe you could, but how did you narrow your target initially?

Michael Collins: We’re big proponents of test and learn, so piloting things in a really big way. I have to say—I can give an example we could talk about today, there was one part of this effort that did not work, and we needed to pivot. We talk about the things that work and study the things that don’t work as much as we celebrate the things that are working.

What we set out to do with a modest budget was to target half a dozen US cities, major markets, and several markets outside the US like Singapore and South Africa. We selected those for a number of reasons based on the pool of potential candidates in those markets, markets that have been robust for us in the past that might have experienced the steepest decline. There were a number of things that we wanted to test and learn.

We worked with the WPP’s Ogilvy as a global partner and a media partner, Neo. I wouldn’t call it micro-targeting, but we really focused on a very targeted audience set in those markets. Everything digital, of course.

The biggest thing that we needed to do—as an encouragement to fellow marketers who are out there or maybe folks who haven’t done this before or are new to the CMO seat—you really need to have supported management to invest in analytics and to invest in getting the lead tracking set up all the way through the shopping cart.

Drew, I have to tell you, I learned a lot more and my team learned a lot more about the intricacies of really doing this so that you can show your CEO, your CFO, and your board for sure how you’re really driving attribution, so that your efforts are clear on what the investment is going to drive. I have to say, that costs some money. Most people just want to jump in and like, “Let’s do more creative; let’s do more media.” But boy, we had the support here, and it makes all the difference.

[12:06] Calibrating an Effective MarTech Stack

“We don't do anything unless we can really understand the data and we have those analytics hooked up so that we can use data to drive ongoing changes to the program, to our media buys, and other things.” —@CollinsMichael @CFAinstitute Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: We’ve been talking about building demand and a demand generation engine that you can track and attribute. This is a really tricky part, but a critical part of B2B marketers’ lexicon today. They know and they have agreement with “This is what a lead looks like, this is how we track it, this is our scoring system, etc.” Where did you start with this process?

Michael Collins: We started at ground zero. We have all of the tech stack tricks and tools. We use Salesforce, Marketo, and Sitecore for content engine, etc., but it’s ensuring that you wire all those together in the right way to achieve what you’re trying to do. I have to say, a big part of this is our CIO and I are joined at the hip, so that certainly helps.

Our CFO, I brought her and her team into the mix right at the very beginning in terms of financial planning and analysis—the people who are looking at that effectiveness of spend, not just in marketing, but across the enterprise—so that we could build a platform together that would allow us to attribute every dollar we spent to either building a robust opt-in database and/or then conversion.

There’s just any number of things you have to do to ensure that you’re connecting all of these three, that you can actually view them all the way through the cart. Now I’m sure, for a number of people listening or watching this, they’re like, “Oh, yeah we did that a lot of time ago,” but not every company has done that, because they may be in a more traditional B2B sale, six-month-long cycles, year-long cycles.

You can almost count them by hand. You can just go in and be like, “We have 320 deals in the pipeline, what gate are they at?” You can almost do it by hand. You can’t do it when you’re looking at hundreds of thousands of people who you’re reaching. The biggest thing that we did was revisit exactly how we needed to have the system stitched together.

Drew Neisser: I just wonder, because these days, it’s not uncommon for B2B CMO to have a tech stack with 25 different things. Can you get to a really tight attribution model with those three?

Michael Collins: Absolutely. We use NetSuite as our shopping cart and financial engine. You’ve got Salesforce, NetSuite, Marketo, Sitecore—there’s a few other tools. What our CIO says is, “A lot of organizations are like Noah, they’ve got two of everything.” Or four or five or six of everything.

Especially the larger enterprise, where you have the ability to trial and do different things, one of the things I see people do is they have a proliferation of technology that they only use just a teeny-weeny bit on a lot of things versus really zeroing in on what you really need to do the job and going deep, deep, deep on taking advantage of all that functionality. Because frankly, it’s all there.

I can tell you one place where this didn’t work.

Drew Neisser: Oh, I’d love to hear that. Let’s go there.

Michael Collins: This did not work in China the way we planned. Our pilot was in phase two, so phase one of the pilot for about four and a half months. It totally blew away every target, and we set a lot of these targets for ourselves with insight from our agency partner Ogilvy and Neo, who’ve done this with Fortune 10 brands, Fortune 100 brands, consumer brands, like best in class.

We said, “Listen, help us set what we should expect because you don’t know what you don’t know.” We blew away every metric and every major in terms of efficiency, in terms of cost per opt-in, cost per close, for revenue, etc. Database bill, blew that away.

Where we did not blow that away was in China. There’s a number of reasons for that, including that a lot of the rules changed in terms of what the regulations are that you need to keep an eye on, for sure. Secondly, data is such a big part of what we do. We don’t do anything unless we can really understand the data and we have those analytics hooked up so that we can use data to drive ongoing changes to the program, to our media buys, and other things. To keep what messages are working, what units are working, what channels.

Because data really needs to be kept inside of China, the platforms that we were using in the rest of the world were just not as effective. Through that research, switching over to using the Onex platform, doing WeChat advertising, and other things on the Tencent platform. That’s really where we’re headed.

Like I said, we’d would like to point out, of course, you are marketing, you want to be able to blow your horn and celebrate the team and your team wins. But as important as it is to be able to understand using data when you need to pivot and say, “Hey listen, this isn’t working. Let’s try something different.”

By doing that and keeping the data more contained and using some of these platforms like WeChat, we’re finding much bigger levels of success and are still able to measure and monitor our progress.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. China is different and you just have to acknowledge it and embrace that.

[18:25] CFA’s Key Marketing Metrics

“You need to make sure that you've sold this in as a multi-step effort and not a one-and-done.” —@CollinsMichael @CFAinstitute Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: I’m curious, I love the fact that you’ve kept your tech stack relatively simple. From a metrics that matter standpoint, can you narrow it down? I mean opt-in is great in the sense that now you have a big juicy pipeline, but clearly, not all of those folks are going to close. Closing deals is a good one, but that’s a lagging indicator. As you’re trying to get an assessment of what marketing is doing, what did you learn to live by that really was a metric that mattered?

Michael Collins: Certainly, for us, there’s a few. Cost per opt-in, besides the velocity of how fast we’re growing the pool, cost per opt-in is a measure that we keep a pretty close eye on.

Then we also look at opt-in quality. We look at how fast those opt-ins close because you’re going to age them out over time. We look at how long we want to be investing and retargeting and email marketing and reaching people via social channels practically. It doesn’t mean we give up on it, but you want to know when you probably should stop investing in those. Of course, we look at cost per registration or how much is every dollar of revenue costing us. I mean, everybody does marketing. Those are our key measures.

When I talk about opt-ins, I like to say we’re building a high-quality pool of opted-in candidates. If you’re coming to CFA Institute through one of our campaigns and you want to learn more about it, you’re not confused when you give us your information. You don’t think maybe they’re going to win an iPhone or maybe you think you’re signing up to take, by mistake, you’re going to take the CPA exam to be an accountant. You’re not confused. We ask, not for a lot of data, but we ask for enough data that then we can do what I’m sure many other marketers are doing—we use other third-party data sources to start to learn more about you.

All the other psychographic and demographic and what you like to do, who you are. You’re Drew, you’re at the University of Michigan, so we know that you probably consume ESPN Online and that’s where you’re going to be hearing more from us. I wouldn’t say that it’s anything groundbreaking. I think it’s more really focusing on the fundamentals that aren’t always fun. They’re not sexy, they’re not glitzy, but they are the things that have really allowed us to break through and to drive what I think are some metrics that are just really phenomenal.

Drew Neisser: Right. What’s clear to me, and this is an important part of it, I think,

to wrap a bow around is, in order to get them into your opt-in pool, there’s no bait and switch. It’s a clear conversation. “We know you might be interested in this area. We might be able to help you change your career or increase your revenue or your salary value, we may be able to do these things, if you want to learn more, let’s chat.”

Again, this isn’t “Here’s your coupon for a free trial of something.” One of the things that is so tricky with cost per acquisition when it comes down to an email address is, so often in B2B, that’s a bad number. It’s just an email address that somebody has given you and it doesn’t reflect any kind of pre-interest at all. It’s just, you got them at a weak moment, they said, “Yeah, I’m interested in that white paper that you have on your website or that report,” but they may not be a real true buyer. It sounds like you’re using your media and the content within that media as a pre-qualifier.

Michael Collins: Right. That’s correct.

Drew Neisser: I think that’s a really important insight. It’s not, “Get them to the website at any cost.” It’s, “Get them to the website under the right premises because you have value.” When they give you this information, what is the value exchange? What’s their expectation?

Michael Collins: Well, their expectation, it depends on where they are. Let’s say that you’re a rising senior at university. You’re thinking about how you’re going to stand out when you get a job. Now remember, these aren’t just people who work in investment management who one day will manage money. A CFA program could be great for people who decide they want to go to work for an investment bank in technology. They’re going to be working on building financial systems to facilitate investment managers to manage client money, to manage institutional money.

Part of this is lining up—which again, is fundamental—but it’s taking the time and using the technology to serve it up, to deliver the right compelling message to people. We know based on how people interact with us, for example, one of the lines we have is something like, “The most important letters are not MBA. They’re CFA.”

It’s another way to go, that we believe, in many cases, is a much more meaningful credential to have than having an MBA, and of course, in terms of value for money, it’s a lot more valuable. It’s actually, frankly, a lot more rare in terms of the number of people who start the program, who actually make it through over 1000 hours’ worth the study in those three very difficult levels.

It kind of has this gold standard, like this passport around the world. We’re all gonna be talking about vaccine passport soon, right? All the different private sectors working on various digital wallets and different ways besides the little paper card you get when you get your COVID shot. The same thing is true, if you think about how you’re trusting someone with your money. Is it someone who going to put your needs as an investor first? The CFA designation really stands for that.

Drew Neisser: Interesting. I hope you’re right about the vaccine passport and the value. It’s gotten to be a little crazy out there with some folks. I’m curious on this, and as we wrap this up, is there a portion of this where you realized, “We’re really on track, we’ve got this now. This whole process of getting people into the proverbial funnel and then getting them through it. And then we go, “Yeah, finally.” How long did it take?

Michael Collins: I would say to really be where we wanted to be, it took us about eight months.

Drew Neisser: Eight months, okay.

Michael Collins: That was with the three phases of expanding and evolving tests and learns.  You’re not going to have every single thing hooked up, for example, all the way through the shopping cart. You can run into so many things. That’s why you have to have great partners with your technology team and your CIO. You’ve gotta be a great partner with your CFO and you have to have the support of the CEO and your leadership team, and we do. And our board. They’re a fantastic group of people that really lined up behind this.

Of course, whenever there’s revenue attached to something, it’s a little easier to get people lined up behind it. But again, it’s got to be profitable revenue growth, so you’ve got to be able to do it.

One example—we did not realize how difficult it would be to get all the tagging done correctly, to really be able to not only track people up to the cart and into the cart, but through the cart. Certainly, you want to be able to take advantage and go retarget, remarket to them, but it’s not as easy as it’s advertised on TV.

That’s probably the biggest piece of advice that I would give fellow marketers—you need to make sure that you’ve sold this in as a multi-step effort and not a one-and-done. It’s never going to happen one-and-done. I don’t think if you’re at General Motors or you’re selling Tide, you’re in PNG, wherever you are, it’s never one-and-done.

Of course, bigger companies have bigger budgets, more experience, of course, they’ve got more of this stuff put together. But for many companies, I think I said at the very beginning, “This is going to take us 9 and 12 months to have this running like a machine.” It took us about eight months, but we didn’t try to bite off the whole thing at once, right?

Drew Neisser: Right.

Michael Collins: We said, “This part, let’s learn. Let’s do this part—oops! Why can’t we track it from here? We need to get all the way over, we need to be able to see who’s come back.” Each time you learn a little something new and you get smarter and smarter. Also, in terms of your internal culture and for your team, I think it’s a great opportunity to allow them to have some wins. Then you pull back and you do the next level and get some more wins. You get a lot of micro wins, but you also have some failures and some snags versus trying to go after the one big bite. It may or may not work.

Drew Neisser: Perfect, love it. All right, we’re gonna take a quick break and when we come back, we’re going to switch back to brand and have a conversation about that. Okay, stay with us.

SHOW BREAK

Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew, and I want to take a second to plug CMO Huddles. We launched this in 2020. CMO Huddles is an invitation-only subscription service that brings together an elite group of CMOs to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. We talked about some of the things like we’re talking on this show. We talk about how you build a demand gen engine, we talk about how you build a brand. It’s funny, one CMO described Huddles as timely conversations with smart peers in a trusted environment. Another called them a cross between an executive workshop and a therapy session. If you’re a B2B CMO that can share and care with the best of them, visit cmohuddles.com.

[29:00] Behind CFA’s Brand Strategy

“We spent a lot of time and money on brand protection because, at the end of the day, if those three letters became devalued, what would we have?” —@CollinsMichael @CFAinstitute Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: Let’s swing this around. It’s funny because you actually had a company that really, truly understood the importance of brand, then you built this demand generation engine. Where are you now with brand and how you’re thinking about brand?

Michael Collins: That’s a great question. I’m going to bring it back around to the thing I said at the beginning—we really focus on building sales overnight and the brand over time. You see some of our brand imagery behind me on the backdrop here on the wall in the office. What we’ve done is make sure we always have a consistent visual and verbal identity. When you look at something, you know that’s CFA Institute. When you hear something in a voiceover, you know that’s CFA Institute.

We don’t have a famous celebrity who does our voiceovers, but we use the same talent consistently, and then we provide assets that our local independent member societies around the world can use in their local markets. Whether it’s at their events, whether it’s at their meetups, whether it’s at other networking type sessions that they do, training sessions that they may be running locally on behalf of members so that they can extend those out into nearly 170 local markets around the world where we are.

That’s what we’re doing. The pendulum is always going to swing over periods, over business cycles. “More on brand, less on demand. We’ve got enough demand right now, oh my gosh, where’s the demand machine, where’s the demand engine? We need leads, we need revenue!” I think you just have to be flexible. Where we are right now is definitely with a heavy emphasis on demand generation and revenue build.

Drew Neisser: A couple questions. You mentioned consistency. Obviously, I’m a believer in that, but why does consistency matter?

Michael Collins: The bottom line is why it matters. If you think about pressure on budgets—we’re not public, but pressure on publicly traded companies or if your private equity-backed, pressure on driving as much of the bottom line as you can to service that and also go out and expand. That’s why I think consistency matters.

Any agency would love to have you revisiting, rethinking your positioning line, your campaign creative, your corporate colors. You know, “Let’s use the secondary palette this year.” “No, no let’s use the tertiary palette. That’ll be a lot of fun.” It’s a lot of fun for them because they’re sending you the bill every month.

That’s the other thing we really look at. We have a great relationship with our agency partners around the world. We love them and we love working with them. I have to say, though, we really focus on that percentage mix of how much is working media and how much is [inaudible]. A big way we do that is to ensure that we’re driving consistency. We don’t need to throw out campaign creative if it’s working. If it’s not working, we’re happy to throw a piece out and do something else.

That’s consistency and the other one l like to say is discipline. We talk a lot here about global discipline and local freedom, and I would say that’s probably the other reason why we’ve been really successful in these local markets.

It’s not one size fits all. We had to do a pivot in China. How we were doing it everywhere else was not working. I think being globally consistent, having the right discipline around how you spend money, how you’re thinking about your planning, and brand standards, allows your local offices, your field offices, your regions, to have a pretty free hand.

I am ultimately responsible for our brand and demand gen programs around the world, but I’m not every day trying to steer the ship in China. The local team is doing that. They know the local market the best.

Drew Neisser: And you’ve given them parameters. Describe the brand. What’s its purpose? Why does it exist?

Michael Collins: That’s a great question. Especially for CFA Institute, our charter holders are the brand. You think about companies that sell or give away brand swag. They’ve got their company store and you can buy the golf shirt…

Our people wear our brand every day on their business cards. They wear it on their resume. They wear it on LinkedIn. We have people. Charter holders are the manifestation of the brand, of CFA, those three letters. They stand for leading the profession, they stand for how we have our charter holders shaping the industry and holding up the highest level of standards in investment management. For us, the brand is the product. The product is the brand. We spent a lot of time and money on brand protection because, at the end of the day, if those three letters became devalued, what would we have?

Drew Neisser: It’s interesting—a lot of brands want to build community because they know that community will rally around them and will wear their brand. You’re, by definition, a community, right? I mean you are a tribe. That tribe has a tattoo on it called CFA which is fascinating.

I think a lot of brands wish they had it. I think, even though you have to go through a process, and they get certified, and then you bestow this upon them. They earn this right to share the brand with you, but there’s still some behind the scenes. Even though these people are the brand, you’re defining it, right? There’s got to be some give and take. Help me here, I’ve gone in two different directions at the same time. One is, when other companies talk about building community, do you just smile?

Michael Collins: I do. If you think about communities of passionate members, passionate customers, passionate prospects—in this case candidates who haven’t even earned the designation yet—I don’t think you could buy the passion. Certainly, I’ve been a marketer for a while, so I’m not a young Jedi anymore, I’m an old Jedi trying to do Jedi mind tricks on our customers.

I have to say, the passion is amazing. You look on Reddit, there are tens of thousands of people who are forming their own communities around CFA Institute besides LinkedIn or our member community. When you have several hundred thousand people around the world earn the designation and you have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people who are sitting for these exams, it’s hard, it’s really difficult. I mean, on purpose, because this is holed out to be this gold standard.

That community of people is something that other companies only dream of and is something that we have that we keep growing. I think that is a big part of, I would say, from a marketing point of view, our secret sauce.  Talk about brand ambassadors, we have of hundreds of thousands of people word of mouth. That could cut both ways in terms of thinking about customer experience and having the right experience. If something isn’t going right, that could hurt you the other way. We really focus on our community of candidates and members for sure. 

Drew Neisser: As we approach the close here, it really is true—there is no to demand without brand in your case, right? Without CFA, and those letters meaning something, there’s no demand, no one would buy it. Latané’s right. We’re at a conundrum here. You arrived, it had a history, it already existed and had its own momentum in the marketplace.

I guess as other CMOs are listening to this thing, what are the biggest lessons that you could share with them in terms of your experience? It’s such a unique scenario, but what’s universal based on your experience that would apply to other CMOs?

Michael Collins: I think it’s one key thing. Focus on your customers. Create your brand promise, create your brand story, your narrative, your vision, how you go to market, your identity. Focus on your customers. Your customers are going to tell you. I think too many people start internally and they start with their agency. They start with these ideas, and then they take it out and say, let’s do some testing. Start with your customers. I’ve never gone wrong doing that and we didn’t go wrong here.

Drew Neisser: Interesting. It’s got to be in your case because, if you think about every candidate who is coming into the system, they’re probably only one degree of separation away from someone who has it. It’s not too hard to find out very quickly if they’re there. Very cool. All right, well we’re going to focus on our customer. Whether we’re talking about building brand or building demand, having those insights and bringing them to the table will make a big difference. I think, unless you had something else you wanted to say, we’ve covered a lot of ground and I really appreciate you spending time with us today, Michael.

Michael Collins: I loved doing it. I think we covered everything, and again, I loved that we end the way we began, which is focusing on customers.

Show Credits

Renegade Thinkers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Audio production is by Sam Beck. The show notes are written by Melissa Caffrey. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro voiceover is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about quite possibly the best B2B marketing agency in New York City, visit renegade.com. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.

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