291: Aaron McHugh – Transforming Disengaged Leaders into Hopeful Leaders

291: Aaron McHugh – Transforming Disengaged Leaders into Hopeful Leaders

Aaron McHugh Show Notes Page

Aaron McHugh was experiencing a lot of difficulties in his life, particularly with his career, his kids, and his daughter’s health. During that time, one of his buddies came and said to him, “You might not be able to change your circumstance but you can own your atmosphere.” It completely changed him and made him take this idea of taking ownership of the atmosphere of his life. Aaron learned that it’s about starting small and taking 2° changes that will eventually build up and lead to somewhere else.

Aaron grew up in Southern California, and in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. His dad was a pastor in a small church, and his grandfather worked at Disneyland.

Aaron’s the oldest of three, and early in his childhood, you could find him playing in the creek or chasing lightning bugs in the woods.

Early in his career, he was selling 60-second radio commercials to liquor stores and bars but was becoming elated with how ideas can change the world.

Later in his career in software and technology traveling the globe, he found himself in board rooms with executives not living his fullest and best life. After personal burnout in 2015, you found himself on the sidelines of life personally and professionally.

With one child in a drug recovery program and another who passed away, he and his wife and youngest daughter retreated to the mountains to volunteer at a young life camp for high school kids.

During that time of pause and reflection, they began to imagine what a life would look like it would get them out of bed every day.

Today after their big reboot of selling everything they owned and starting over now, Aaron is doing work he loves working with executives leading transformational reboots in the workplace.

Aaron is a writer, podcaster, adventurer, and author of the best-selling book, Fire Your Boss: Discover Work you Love Without Quitting Your Job. He is mastering the art of living a sustainable work-life balance that constantly interweaves rhythms of play and adventure.

That includes road trips in their 1974 VW Bus, aka The Joy Bus, catapulting them into many father-daughter adventures together.

Aaron works as an Affiliate Advisor to Aberkyn, a division of McKinsey & Co as a facilitator of transformation and executive coach.

He and his wife Leith live in Colorado Springs, CO. They are celebrating twenty-five years of marriage in December. Their marriage survived the death of their twelve-year-old daughter Hadley in 2011. And their twenty-two-year-old son Holden lives in Costa Mesa and is thriving in recovery three years clean and sober. Their youngest daughter lives at home still.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @aarondmchugh get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShowClick to Tweet

“Heretics create a reality in a world they want to live in to. They move beyond conventional wisdom to architect a future and a place they want to go.” – Click to Tweet

“The base premise is how do we delight our customers? What does it look like for us to create and innovate with them in mind?” – Click to Tweet

“Oftentimes hardship is the assignment.” – Click to Tweet

“Every boss I’ve ever had has a lesson to teach me – the good ones, but especially the bad ones.” – Click to Tweet

“The problem with blamers is that they rarely take accountability and responsibility for their own actions. That blame is the projection and assignment of pain on someone else.” – Click to Tweet

“In the wilderness, if you adjust 2° and walk half a mile, it’s not a big deal, but if you walk 50 miles, 2° is a big deal.” – Click to Tweet

“Start with the life you have today. Don’t quit your job. Stay where you are and start the revolution with small increments of try and experimentation and 2 little degree adjustments.” – Click to Tweet

“Just try one thing this week that’s different and over time it will build up.” – Click to Tweet

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Click to Tweet

“If you can win the morning, you can win the day.” – Click to Tweet

“Once you take agency or ownership over what’s in front of you right now, then everything from there becomes much easier.” – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Aaron McHugh was experiencing a lot of difficulties in his life, particularly with his career, his kids, and his daughter’s health. During that time, one of his buddies came and said to him, “You might not be able to change your circumstance but you can own your atmosphere.” It completely changed him and made him take this idea of taking ownership of the atmosphere of his life. Aaron learned that it’s about starting small and taking 2° changes that will eventually build up and lead to somewhere else.

Advice for others

Your wife is right more than she’s wrong.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

I care too much about what other people think.

Best Leadership Advice

Say, “I’m sorry.”

Secret to Success

I believe in God.

Best tools in business or life

I’m eternally optimistic.

Recommended Reading

Fire Your Boss: Discover Work You Love Without Quitting Your Job

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Contacting Aaron McHugh

Aaron’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/aarondmchugh

Aaron’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaronmchugh/

Aaron’s website: https://www.aaronmchugh.com/



Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because we have somebody on the show

Speaker 2 (00:03):

Day who will give you a little bit of a

Jim Rembach (00:05):

Different perspective on finding engagement and happiness at work. Aaron McHugh grew up in Southern California in the mountains of this year in Nevada. His dad was a pastor in a small church and his grandfather worked at Disneyland. Aaron’s the oldest of three and early in his childhood. He could be found playing in a Creek or chasing lightning bugs in the woods early in his career. He was selling 62nd radio commercials to liquor stores and bars, but became elated with how ideas can change the world. Later in his career in software and technology, traveling the globe, he found himself in board rooms with executives, not living their fullest and their best life. After personal burnout. In 2015, he found himself on the sidelines of life personally and professionally with one child in drug recovery program. And another hood passed away. He and his wife and youngest daughter retreated to the mountains to volunteer at a young life camp for high school kids.

Jim Rembach (01:08):

During that time of pause and reflection, they began to imagine what a life would look like if they had the opportunity to get out of bed with passion and fulfillment every single day today, after being after their big reboot of selling everything they owned and starting over now, Aaron’s doing work. He loves working with executives, leading transformational reboots in the workplace. Aaron McHugh is a writer, podcaster, adventurer, and author of the bestselling book. Fire your boss discover work. You love without quitting your job. He’s mastering an art of living a sustainable work life balance that constantly interweaves rhythms of play and adventure. That includes road trips in there. 74 VW bus, AKA the joy bus catapulting them into many father daughter adventures together. Aaron works as an affiliate advisor to African, a division of Mackenzie and company and facilitator of transformation and executive for executive coaching.

Jim Rembach (02:09):

He and his wife, Lief live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They are celebrating 25 years of marriage in December. Their marriage has survived the death of their 12 year old daughter Hadley in 2011, their 21 year old son Holden lives in Costa Mesa and is thriving and recovering three years clean and sober. Their youngest daughter lives at home Aaron McHugh. Are you ready to help us get over the hump? Yeah, man, that was quite quite the intro. I hope I can live up to it. Well, I know you will. Uh, and I’ve really enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to our conversation because it is a little bit of a twist in thinking and mindset. Uh, but before we get into that, I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better? I’m working on a life project climbing. I live

Aaron McHugh (03:00):

In Colorado, we have 58, 14,000 foot peaks and I’m down to 17 left. So I started in my twenties. Um, I’m knocking on the door of 50 and I’ve got a project to knock out a good handful of them this summer. So that’s been really fun, like just a, kind of a figurative like conquests of climbing mountains and literal as well

Jim Rembach (03:22):

As you’re saying that I have to think, is that you alone or is it you and others? Is it you and your daughter? Is it you and your wife is a family.

Aaron McHugh (03:28):

Great question. A lot of buddies, um, my family direct family. They don’t love climbing mountains. They think it’s just too hard. They to look at them. So I have some buddies that I do it with and a number of them. It’s kind of like a trophy, I guess, uh, of a conquest to they’re called the fourteeners and there’s the 58. So I have a couple of buddies who have completed them. So I’m on my last, you know, punch list of being able to knock all these out.

Jim Rembach (03:52):

Interesting. You say that and I can definitely see some parallels drawn with the stories that you share and the pathway and the journey that you have in the book, you know, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a conquest, you know? Uh, and so when I started looking at the book, you know, in the beginning you talk about meaning a conquest that you’ve written this book three times,

Aaron McHugh (04:11):

What do you mean? Yeah, I intentionally, I was talking to my editor and I was trying to write the intro to the book. It was, the book had been written, but now we went to the very beginning to say, okay, now it’s time to write the introduction. And I told them on the phone. I said, you know, actually what I really want to say is, and I just rattled it off. I’m like, I’ve written this book three times. I’ve almost quit. I’m tired of it. So where that came from was about, I don’t even know, 15 years ago, roughly 12 years ago, I sat on my back patio and I started writing what I knew to be longer than a blog post, but shorter than a book at the time. And I basically wrote this kind of like manifesto this fire, your boss core idea.

Aaron McHugh (04:51):

And so I sat down and penned it. Well then a number of years later, I just turned that into like a little ebook number years later. I’m like, you know, I should really put that like in a, in a published self published version in a, uh, what would you call it? Leaflet like size. So I self published it second time I’d written it. And then what had happened is once I actually signed a contract with a publisher, then I’m embarking on the third time to write it. And actually it was really overwhelming when I sat down to write it. It was like, Oh my gosh, how many times am I going to tread over this same story? Which resulted in me writing a brand new book that I hadn’t written before?

Jim Rembach (05:28):

Well, and then I, you know, talking about that journey in that pathway, you know, lends me to believe, you know, and when I, when I, of course, without getting into the book, you look at the cover and the crack, the binding open, um, you start asking yourself the question. I mean, can I really, you know, fire my boss without quitting my job? I mean,

Aaron McHugh (05:48):

How can you do that? Yeah, yeah. In the beginning, what happened, Jim was actually was on a bike ride with a friend. Um, I was much and less wise and I really thought that the way forward was to arrange the circumstances of my life. And so in particular, I had this one boss that I found really challenging to work with, but I needed to keep the job. My family was in full tilt. Our suburban life costs a lot of money. And we had, you know, as you mentioned in the intro, I had a kid that had passed away and one in drug rehab. And so what we looked at was, man, I don’t see any other way around this. Other than I’m going to fire my boss. I just blurted it out on the bike ride to my buddy. And he giggled. And I was like, no, I’m serious. I don’t know how to, but I’m going to find a way to reduce the impact this person is having on me. And so it really began forcing me to then ask some inward questions versus circumstantial questions about the environment or that person’s decisions, whatever it may be.

Jim Rembach (06:53):

Well, I’m part of that leads into something. I think, um, I think all of us might even suffer from a, you talk about it in the book is that we can’t, or we have a very difficult time of articulating what’s inside. Can you provide some insight into that? Yeah.

Aaron McHugh (07:08):

What I find is that for, so, so many of us in life in work, we’re just, I won’t call it autopilot, but we’re just doing life. You know, you wake up, you do a Monday, you wake up and you do a Friday, you wake up, you do a Saturday and then we just rinse and repeat and very infrequently. Do we have the opportunity to, we use a phrase in the consulting work I do about taking a balcony perspective, like getting up on the balcony, looking down and actually, you know, getting an aerial view of what’s happening, what’s going on there. And so what we’ve found is that I realized like part of what my super power is, it’s being able to narrate a story like as a narrator, opens a film and says, here’s what’s happening. Um, I’m not a great character writer. I can’t do any of that, but I do a really good job of like narrating what’s happening in a scene or in a picture or in an environment.

Aaron McHugh (08:02):

And so I found myself like, Oh, okay, I’m going to try and narrate my own experience. And maybe this will help other people. And what I found is that so often it, you have all this churn, um, or mystery, but it’s really hard to get to the bottom of name. And I think there’s two things that compound, that one is very little margin in our life. We’re just always in a go mode. And then secondly is I think leading with questions versus demanding answers. And when we lead with questions with curiosity, then it opens up the possibility of, well, maybe, I don’t know, or maybe this isn’t just a linear equation to be solved. Maybe this is a bigger question to live into.

Jim Rembach (08:47):

Well, as you say that, I start thinking about somebody who talked about some of that issue of being able to articulate it is that oftentimes we’re asking the wrong question. And one of the things that he points out is that we should not be asking why, uh, instead we should be asking what, you know, what do I need to do versus why have I done this? And you know, that those kinds of things are, do you find that similar type of structure that seems to work?

Aaron McHugh (09:13):

Yeah, that’s a great frame. One of the frames that I use a lot is I find, oftentimes we ask destination-based questions, meaning like, um, here I am point X on the map right now where I stand today, but why is where I want to go this other place? And it’s very much, that’s finances, that’s health, that’s marriage, that’s relationships, that’s career. And I think instead that’s super unhelpful very often because the gap between where I am today and where I want to be a better question would be, what would it look like for me to become the kind of person who could thrive at that Y position on the map? And oftentimes I find like that five year plan question, where are you going to be five years from now? What are you going to do? I’ve always been horrible at that question because I’ve always like found by the time five years later, my life has changed. So massively my I’m different, my circumstances are different. The world’s different. So instead of what I’ve learned is like, how can I become an adaptive person where I can thrive in any and all situations. And that to me is a fundamentally different question, which is that kind of reframing is, um, you know, what can I do differently today?

Jim Rembach (10:26):

Well, and for me, what I jokingly say, when somebody says, how you doing or what you’re working on, I’m setting, I’m learning how to master becoming a pivot artist. Nice. I like that.

Aaron McHugh (10:37):

That’s great. Yeah. I often will you say I’m learning to master the art of living, which is an art it’s not a science

Jim Rembach (10:46):

Most definitely. Okay. So when, and I think this is kind of where you get into in the book where you start talking about the, the difference between conventional wisdom and, uh, revolutionary heritable, uh, wisdom. Tell us a little bit about that.

Aaron McHugh (11:04):

Well, it makes me smile, even just the word heretical. What I learned is early on in my life, I was always the person, the kid who asks, um, why do we do it that way? Or how can we, how come it’s this way or, well, who says I was always a challenger in that way and definitely with, uh, not a lot of maturity early on and how I asked those questions. But what I realized is that I was onto something, is that in conventional wisdom, conventional wisdom of our culture today, advertises as it relates to our career, get a good job, make as much money as you can, um, hold onto it for dear life, take two weeks vacations. And that should be enough. It doesn’t matter if you love what you do, you have responsibilities like on and on. So let’s just this. Now we may not be able to actually see them anywhere like a plaque in the office space, but they’re just these, um, conventional wisdom things in the, in the environment.

Aaron McHugh (12:00):

And when I found was that when you research heretics and heretics are revolutionaries, people who caused revolutions, why she just started like making a table of them. And I’m like, you know what? Joan of arc, I remember. Yeah, right. What did she do? Oh, well she’s like 16 years old. And women stay at home and make babies and nurse kids. And she goes to war. I’m like, Oh, look, we’ll Oprah. Like I watched this documentary on Oprah. Well, everyone told Oprah to change her name. And that talk shows are ruled by men back in the day of Phil Donahues. And so I’m like, Oh, heretics create a reality in a world. They want to live into, they, they move beyond conventional wisdom to architect a future and are in a place they want to go. And so I realized like, Oh, well, if you look at statistically right now in our workplace, two thirds of the American workforce, and it’s even worse, globally are disengaged.

Aaron McHugh (13:01):

That’s horrible. One third of the people listening to this actually enjoy what they do every day. So I looked at that and say, hold on, conventional wisdom says, hang tight. Gallup poll says, we’re working on it. We’ll get back to you. When we find a better solution in the meantime, two thirds of people. And we actually have stats that now say how it affects us physiologically our health. Also not only our emotional mental wellbeing, but physical wellbeing, our relationships, our communities we belong to. And so I’m like BS, I’m not, I can’t stand for this. We got to find a way to architect a future that we want to be part of.

Jim Rembach (13:37):

Well, and for me, you know, I come from the customer service and customer experience and contact center world. And, and one of the things that’s so important that talking about studies and the empirical evidence continues to prove out, but yet we still keep fighting it for some darn reason. Is that all of these issues internally affect the customer? Yes, yes, absolutely. It is a Tran it’s a transformative type of, um, and very relational and that if I’m having these issues internally, that they’re going to seep outside. So when you start talking about the work that you’re doing with a lot of these organizations and going through this transformation, how much is the customer in their mind?

Aaron McHugh (14:17):

Oh, I love that question. The work I do is in the context of what they call agile transformations and agile, this methodology rooted back in software. And what’s really cool is it’s super customer centric. It’s the base premise is how do we delight our clients, our customer? What does it look like for us to create and innovate with them in mind and great companies that come to mind like Spotify is one that was early on, real famous for that, um, in how they created their music software. And so there’s lots of that are using agile ideas. So customer is always at the core. And the other thing I think is really important is that the work that I get a chance to do every day is it’s this combination of doing and being. And so often in work, we’re so focused on doing accomplishing back to our conquests word we used earlier and what’s what’s missed.

Aaron McHugh (15:14):

And what I loved about the intro that you worked on together this morning was it’s about being also who am I at an identity level at a human level. And I remember my grandfather, he worked at Disneyland as a kid growing up and he used to say like that people would like leave their brains in their trunks when they would come into Disneyland, the park. And I used to think that was really funny. And so I think I, I just grew up with like a framing of like, you can actually leave parts of you at home. Like you could leave your heart at home. You bring your brain to work, believe your heart at home, leave your mess at home, like lock it up, but make sure when you come to work, you know, bring your brain, get some stuff done and compartmentalize. And when we’ve learned now is that widely that both the human is the human wherever we are. And so it’s learning to bring your whole self to work and which is cool because it unlocks more and unleashes more potential that we can bring with creativity to the solutions that we’re we’re solving for at work.

Jim Rembach (16:20):

Well, and even, um, I don’t know if you’ve followed the work of Susan Fowler, she’s been on the fast leader show a couple of times, and she has really closely followed him, become a domain expert in the science of motivation. And so some of the things that you’re talking about there that’s that that is absolutely true from a scientific perspective and what engages us. So now in the book though, we, when you start talking about this whole boss thing, um, is that worse than you say we’re stuck in a binary way of thinking, what does that mean? Yeah, there’s this great

Aaron McHugh (16:52):

Author that I love, um, Richard Rohr. And he talked about how binary thinking is, um, if then thinking, um, it’s very like, uh, so for instance, for me, when I was looking at some big career changes, when my wife and I, we moved to the mountains and kind of rebooted our life, it was like, well, if I quit my job, I’ll probably be unemployable forever. You know, like, uh, uh, if I, um, let’s see, I don’t think this way anymore. So it’s harder for me to find good examples. There’s some great ones in the book.

Jim Rembach (17:26):

Look you talk specifically about and what I’m referring to, as you say, you know, good boss versus lousy boss, and you’re saying the binary thinking in that is damaged.

Aaron McHugh (17:35):

Yes, that’s great. Um, yeah, in that chapter, thanks Jim, for that, that prompt, um, in that chapter, what I was talking about and it’s called the lessons from the layer, um, and this idea of the hero’s journey of actually going down into where the dragons live so often, um, as it relates to bosses, people put bosses in the category of good and bad. And I did forever until I went to go visit a mentor of mine. And I called him up and said, Hey, can I fly down? It was a business mentor. He was just older, but I asked him, would you be willing to give me some advice? And he was probably 25 years ahead of me on the, uh, you know, on the journey. So I flew down to see him and he was telling me the story about earlier in his career, he had this bad boss. And he told me what he learned was that oftentimes hardship is the assignment. I was like, what, what are you talking about? He’s like, I learned so much from working for this lousy person that now as a CEO in his story, then he’s like, now I lead so differently. And so it really helped me reframe like, Oh, you mean everybody

Jim Rembach (18:47):

I’ve ever had to have

Aaron McHugh (18:49):

To teach me. And he goes, aha. The good ones, but especially the bad ones. So it really helped me say, Oh, so even in my current life today, I work with lots of humans, uh, ones that are, you know, in, uh, side-by-side as colleagues, uh, some that are up, you know, you know, vertically in terms of, uh, where they are in their seniority. And then others are, you know, across the landscaping clients. And I’ve just learned, uh, okay. Everyone has an important lesson to teach me here. Now with that comes my choice. And that was a big piece too, is to learn that I, um, my response and that it’s not, they, if you ever hear the phrase, Oh, they made me feel, or they made me like, Oh, that’s a, that’s a bell ringer, you know, like, Oh yeah, red, red alert. That’s not, Oh, they made me. Oh, interesting. Okay. I used to think that way to you. So learning to become what I talk about learning to lead ourselves. So it’s really taking back the agency and ownership and especially of reframing those stories as it relates to

Jim Rembach (19:53):

Well, and talking about that self component, you talk about your four by five self. What is your four by five? So, yeah, actually I have him

Aaron McHugh (20:01):

Sitting here right next to me. Um, so when I,

Jim Rembach (20:04):

Right, I got out of college, I had this

Aaron McHugh (20:07):

Big dream, like wide-eyed, you know, the world’s my oyster. And we moved to Colorado and I worked for a camp. My wife and I are newly married. We lived in this little, a 10 by 10 log cabin that was built in the twenties. And, you know, it was, uh, it was really, I drove his cattle truck and the cattle truck we use to drop high school kids off at, um, at trailheads to go backpacking. And I, I found this picture a number of years ago and I’m hanging out of the side of the truck. And what was really cool was I looked at him, my younger 21, 22 year old self.

Jim Rembach (20:44):

And I started to have some dialogue with him of like,

Aaron McHugh (20:48):

Hey, can you remind me, what did we intend when we intended our career, like our life? What did, what were we setting out to do here? Like, because in the beginning before the road got steep and Rocky and complicated and complex with 401ks and college savings and braces and all that kind of stuff and mortgage payments,

Jim Rembach (21:09):

There was a through line

Aaron McHugh (21:11):

Of like passion and purpose and impact and people. And I just feel like I needed that four by five version of myself to be friend him again, and to ask him to come back into my life. Like, can we do this together? Cause I feel a little in over my head right now, and this is, uh, less so today, but it’s still, we still have some dialogue. So we have made friends again and I’ve reclaimed a lot of those original, like original design of what we were intending to do.

Jim Rembach (21:43):

And I think this probably links into, um, what you had referenced as being the hardest chapter you wrote in the book. Um, so tell us a little bit about why w which one it was and why it was so difficult.

Aaron McHugh (21:56):

Yeah, probably is. I think about it. I’ll be curious if it’s the one that you’re thinking of too. I wrote a chapter on blame and as I wrote the chapter, I don’t remember at the top of my head, which number it is right now, but it basically is titled what’s wrong with the world. And I didn’t want to write it. I kept attempting to take it out of the outline of the book. And the bottom line is I’m not very proud of this, but I find that I can quickly go to blaming others. And Bernay Brown used this phrase. I actually just found this like in a really small little, like two minute video that she used, what she said, the problem with blamers is that we rarely take accountability and responsibility for our own actions. And that blame is the projection of pain is the projection and assignment of pain on someone else.

Aaron McHugh (22:50):

When I read that, listen to her, say that, I thought, Oh gosh, man. Talk about guilty, like guilty. Yes. I raised my hand that’s me. So the reason it was hard for me to write was not only, I didn’t, I didn’t want to admit it and I didn’t want to be seen as a blamer, but I recognized in vulnerability, like that’s the honest truth that had really gotten me in a lot of pickles in my life and stuck places of my own doing secondly, to that, I really wanted to believe that 99% of the people listening to us right now and watching this don’t struggle with it at all. So I was like, why, why drag ever, you know, the 1% of the people who are, blamers why drag them through it, if it’s an unnecessary chapter for them. And what’s really funny is now I’ve found like, Oh, there’s a lot more blamers than the one that I, I, I thought might be out there. So I’d love to hear from you your thoughts on it.

Jim Rembach (23:50):

First of all, it was your lucky number seven chapter. And I mean, for me, I found that I have some that tendency, but then I also started looking at quite frankly, a struggle that I have with that with my oldest son, um, where he wants to do exactly that it’s, you know, everybody else’s problem. And one of the things that you also talk about it in that particular chapter that I think I see, you know, him and maybe others see this too, is that is their way of actually maintaining control. Um, so if I’m blaming everybody else for the things that aren’t going, right, it’s not my issue, man. Cause I’ve got my stuff under control. Well, so the reality is that you spent three days doing something that should’ve lasted 30 minutes, and now you missed your assignment and you’re late, right? It’s like, why did you lower grade? I mean, it was all your fault, man,

Aaron McHugh (24:38):

Which is, you just proved in that little example, that’s, Bernay Brown’s quote is that rarely do blamers take accountability and responsibility for their actions. And that was me. That was a, I was the, uh, okay,

Jim Rembach (24:51):

Well, and the reality is that when you start talking about this, um, you know, people call it VUCA world, right. You know, volatile, unpredictable, and all of that is that, you know, there’s more unpredictability. That’s going to increase at an ever increasing rate. And so therefore, if I am a blamer, what are you really going to control nothing.

Aaron McHugh (25:08):

Right. And I love that question of control is that, to me, it became really helpful when I retired the blame card, then enabled me to do two things is for one, it enabled for me to look inward and look at what is, what is possibly my contribution to this circumstance, this relationship, this story, this career upset, this personal relationship thing. Secondly, it also enabled me to, once I had greater ownership over my own actions, behaviors, and choices, then it was much easier to be clear about what other people’s choices and actions are. And I can say, listen, there can be a line of delineation between me and them or me in the circumstances or me in this outcome. And so I became much more neutral and much less emotionally charged, um, and much less fixed on outcomes. And more back to that, those kind of small, like we, we call it in my hula hoop. Like if you stay on with inside of hula hoop, like this is mine and this is what I can control. And there’s all kinds of stuff outside of my hula hoop. I don’t have a lot of control over and I can influence it though. So being clear about what’s the difference between control and influence.

Jim Rembach (26:24):

Well, and so I think part of that is also, um, you did it as an experiment and you shared your experiment and you talked about eight magnificent people. So tell us a little bit about that.

Aaron McHugh (26:36):

Yeah. I’d come back from a training in Europe and number of the people that I was there with colleagues, they all these individual coaching practices and they were talking about how much they learned from these coaches coaching clients. And so I’m like, Oh, that’s easy. I think I’ll just, I’m going to fire up and an experiment. I’m going to try something. So I sent out this email, I wrote it in the morning and I just had these like three or four questions. Like, do you think there’s something really important that you’re here to do? And with your life, you don’t know what it is or you know what it is and you get stuck. You really aren’t sure what to do next and how to take the next step. And you’d like help and a guide. And like, it was just super simple. Like that wrote, it, sent it, send it to, you know, 1500 people or something.

Aaron McHugh (27:23):

And I couldn’t believe it was like by far, still the most responded to email I’ve ever sent. And I had all these people coming in. So I said, I’m looking for eight people and I’m going to run an experiment. It’s going to be six weeks long. And we’re going to have some conversations about these kinds of topics. So I ended up through application process selecting these magic eight, magnificent eight. And we embarked on this journey of, uh, you know, I said, it wasn’t, it wasn’t counseling or therapy, but at moments we got deep, you know, it was, but it was asking big questions like, well, how do you know what it is you’re here to do? And we go back to that four by five, you know, the picture of myself, like in the beginning, what did you believe? Because I, what I find is like part of the tragedy for me, and this is like just a human condition.

Aaron McHugh (28:13):

I can’t stand the idea like at a soulful heart level, that 70% of people go to work every day in some degree of despair or apathy. And so to me, it’s like, I’m going to make, I’m going to take a swing at engaging more people. Well, let’s start with, what, what do you love? What do you care about? What do you think the difference is here to make? If we put aside like the cultural, conventional wisdom, like buy as much stuff as you can buy as big a house, you know, like binge watch every TV show, like, hold on, time out, let’s pin those aside. Let’s go back to the beginning. And so it was really cool. We got to do this journey together. And then what I was able to do is then distill back to that narration. I could go back and like narrate, Oh, now here’s eight people, their experiences.

Aaron McHugh (29:03):

And they were everything from like screenwriters in Hollywood to, um, multibillion dollar, um, sales executives in terms of portfolios that they manage in tech to a local, like a local, um, how an executive coach to it was real myriad to a yoga teacher. So it was really cool, like holistic view of these different people’s lives. And I curated that on purpose. And the biggest thing I was looking for was like, who are people are going to be all in? Like they’re going to be authentic, real, transparent, vulnerable. And then how can we then like journey together to like pick our way through this? So it became super fascinating. And for me, it deepened my conviction to see that here’s a sample size of eight, and this is from exact to, you know, a low level engineer. The, everybody wants to actually do better. They want to get out of bed.

Aaron McHugh (30:01):

They want to feel like what they do matters. They want to feel like who they are like with confidence in, you know, from an identity standpoint. And then all of them had some sort of like spiritual life too. They had something that connected them to a deeper purpose, a deeper, you know, I, I just asked the question, like, where do you go when you need help? Um, and I found that these people, they had an answer to that. Oftentimes people when they don’t have an answer to that, I find that that just adds to their struggle.

Jim Rembach (30:34):

Well, even as you’re talking, I’m thinking to myself, we need to do a better job of trying to help our younger generation to accomplish what you were just talking about, you know, and have that discovery and to learn places to go and to be able to understand that they need to find a purpose because if not, then it becomes the whole self absorption knows in a device thing. Um, that’s what they struggle with. But you, so you talk about actually living by degrees and tri what does that mean?

Aaron McHugh (31:02):

Yeah. So Jim, I spend a lot of time in the wilderness, like I mentioned, and a compass is to me is like a literal tool I use. And then it’s a, an analogy based tool. So what’s cool about a compass is that when you adjust it by a degree, so it’s, you know, 180 degrees would be in the opposite direction. Two degrees. I went to this, um, this week long program in a place called, uh, onsite workshops in Nashville years ago. And one of the directors talked about, we’re not attempting to make 90 degree turns 180 degree turns. All we’re trying to do is do two degree adjustments. And I remember thinking like, well, what good would that do? Like that’s so nonsensically small. But then I realized like, Oh, but in the wilderness, if I actually adjust two degrees, now, if I walk half a mile, it’s not a big deal, but you walk 50 miles and two degrees a long way.

Aaron McHugh (32:02):

So I have this friend who was a FedEx pilot during his life, a career life. And he was telling me about, Oh, two degrees is a big deal. As a pilot, you fly from LA to Hawaii. And two degrees. You will miss. If you’re off by two degrees, you will miss the Hawaiian islands by 80 miles. You will be lost at sea. So to me, it was like, Oh, okay. That really helps me shrink back to what can I do every day? What are the micro adjustments? The micro habits, the small tilts in the direction I want to head. And then that try is experimentation. It’s just, you gotta to try something new. Um, there’s a great book out that I’ve been reading, it’s called, uh, designing your work life. And it’s a SQL to designing your life. And these two Stanford professors, they talk a lot about design thinking.

Aaron McHugh (32:58):

And one of the big things is you have to try new things. You have to experiment, you have to prototype. And so for me, like today, I just, before I got on with you, um, one thing I started, I think it’s 105 days ago was running one mile every day as just an eight minute miniature experiment. It’s one mile, it’s a super low bar and it’s something I can do every day. And it’s not 10 miles. It’s not three miles every other day. It’s one mile every day. And my goal is to just sequence this. Like, let’s see how far I can take this. And I don’t have a destination in mind, but what I know is like, I want to be fit. And when I hit 50 years old, like couple of years from now, like, I want to feel like I’m 36. So like, those are the small little incremental things I can do. So that’s that degrees and try.

Jim Rembach (33:44):

Well, and the, I think that the two degrees shift is a heck of a lot easier than, you know, something that’s more significant by far. Um, uh, cause I think also too, one of the issues associated, especially if you go into, you know, backpacking and orienteering is if you increase that you ended up going in circles, right? Yes. Yeah. Yeah. That’s good.

Aaron McHugh (34:04):

Even though those, yeah, those are exactly. And the big thing is that what I want people to feel is I want people to feel empowered, to start with the life that you have today, the career that you have today, the place that you stand today, which is why I say don’t quit your job, stay where you are and start the revolution with small increments of try and experimentation and two little degree adjustments. The same thing you always do, just try one thing this week, that’s different. And over time I can attest and many others can how that builds over time.

Jim Rembach (34:41):

Well, but then you also talk about giving your loyal soldier, the boots. So how does that fit in?

Aaron McHugh (34:46):

Yeah. I love that you have the loyal soldier was another Richard Rohr reference is he told a story about when soldiers, Japanese soldiers came back from world war II. And one of the things that they did culturally was actually had a ceremony and they, they actually said, okay, welcome back. Thank you so much for what you’ve done in your service when you were away at war. And now we’re asking you to retire your loyal soldier. Thank him. Her bless him, her for all the great work they did. And now it’s time for you to take your seat back in your life here with us in our community. So as a school teacher, as a surgeon, as a husband, as a son, as a daughter, and I found that of like, Whoa, so what do you talked about is the challenge is when we have, for each of us, their stories that were installed in, in us along the way that are part of our operating system.

Aaron McHugh (35:51):

So for me, an example is, uh, my parents split up when I was 12 years old. I’m the oldest of three and this really well-intended family friend was at our house. And he put his arm around me and said, you’re the man of the house. Now when I was 12. And what I did with that over the course of my life was I owned that and that became, um, distorted. So that story became no help is coming you’re on your own. And if it’s to be, then it’s up to you. So what I found was that loyal soldier, part of me who was really beautiful, worked really hard, got a lot of stuff done, made a big impact. And it gotten me this far was also contributing to being tired, exhausted, frustrated, alone. So what I realized was, uh, so some people that use the framing of false self and true self there’s, lots of frames that go with this, but the loyal soldier is I actually sat down and wrote a letter to my loyal soldier and included it in the book.

Aaron McHugh (37:00):

And again, very vulnerably of saying like, this is what my loyal soldier has told me in the past to be true. And what I loved was the pivot was, and now I’m going to be led by love. And that was a fundamental different like versus scarcity scarcity is what led a lot of my story, a lot of the way and versus abundance, love, possibility, creativity. So that was where I really just kind of have like a, yeah. A ceremony of thank you very much for your service. Thank you for giving me this, getting me this far and now I’m going to take it from here and it’s going to be great.

Jim Rembach (37:38):

Oh, without a doubt. I mean, you’ve poured a lot of inspiration, you know, even into this episode and it’s all loaded in your book through all these stories and, you know, you’ve found more inspiration as you’ve gone on your journey. And one of the things that we look at on the show to help us hold onto and grab and garner some of that inspiration, our quotes, is there a quote or two that you’d like to

Aaron McHugh (37:56):

Did you can share? Oh yeah, I would love that. Grab it. So one of my favorites is from a author Ann Lamont and she wrote a book, a chicken noodle soup for the soul, I think is what her book is. So she wrote almost everything will work again, if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. So that’s definitely one of my favorites. Um, yeah, that’s the one that’s probably top of mind for me right now.

Jim Rembach (38:32):

Well, thanks for sharing that. Um, uh, there’s so many different to that. That’s what I have.

Aaron McHugh (38:38):

Um, so w w you know, you shared even just hear a whole lot of stories when we talk about getting over the hump on the show, cause people can learn from those. But if you could, if you can just give us some detail on one, uh, instance where you’ve gotten over the hump so that we can learn from it. Yeah. That’s a good question. I think one of the biggest pivots in the beginning, a buddy of mine came over to my house. Um, things were difficult in my career. Things were difficult in our marriage. Things were difficult with our kids, our daughter’s health at the time, and she was still alive. And he said, you know what? You might not be able to change your circumstance, but you can own your atmosphere because yeah, like the atmosphere, the atmosphere of your home, like the atmosphere of you, like your emotional, physical, spiritual, mental health wellness.

Aaron McHugh (39:32):

And that really was perplexing to me because I had no idea what he was talking about at first. And he actually just dropped off some CDs back in, it was a CD era. Uh, the made me some music. He’s like, I really encourage you to marinate, like put these on, listen to these and wake up in the morning, put in the little earphones and start with this. And it really changed everything for me of this idea of what if I own the atmosphere of my life, like my physical, emotional, spiritual wellbeing, um, my attitude, my outlooks. Um, and then how do I expand that into my domain? My areas of influence. So I would say that for me, like getting start small two degree tries, like I meditate. Most days I use Headspace app, you know, it’s 10 minutes. Um, I start my day in quiet, um, prayer and meditation every day I run like, but these are small little things like these don’t take a lot of time. So I just found that if, if I can start there, I think Tim Ferriss uses the phrase. If you can win the morning, you can win the day. So anything like that, where you can take agency ownership over what’s in front of you right now, then everything else from there becomes much easier. So most definitely the fast leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. And even better place

Jim Rembach (41:00):

Is an easy solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement, along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone. Using this award winning solutions guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com forward slash better. Alright, here we go. Fastly to Legion. It’s time for the home. Oh, now, okay. Erin, the hub they hold on is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust, you have rapid responses that are gonna help us move onward and upward faster. Aaron McHugh. Are you ready to go down? Let’s do it. Alright. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Aaron McHugh (41:45):

I care too much about whether people think,

Jim Rembach (41:47):

What is the best leadership advice I’ve ever received

Aaron McHugh (41:51):

Say, I’m sorry.

Jim Rembach (41:52):

What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Aaron McHugh (41:57):

I believe in God.

Jim Rembach (41:58):

And what do you believe is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Aaron McHugh (42:03):

I mean, eternally optimistic

Jim Rembach (42:05):

And what is one book that you’d recommend to our Legion? It could be from any genre. Of course, we’re going to put a link to fire your boss on your show notes page as well,

Aaron McHugh (42:13):

Essentialism by Greg McKeown, disciplined pursuit of less.

Jim Rembach (42:16):

Okay. Fastly Allegion. You can find links to that. And other bonus information from today’s show by going to fast leader.net/aaron and that’s AA McHugh. And that’s M C H U G H. Okay. Aaron, this is my last hook down. Hope they hold on question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only take one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why

Aaron McHugh (42:44):

From today? I get to transport back to 25 and what’s the wisdom I would take. Yep. Great question. I think something about that. My wife is right more than she’s wrong. I think I just believe that like that 25 year old guy didn’t believe it.

Jim Rembach (43:03):

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. How can the fast leader Legion get in touch with you?

Aaron McHugh (43:08):

Yeah. All things. AaronMcHugh.com. You can grab a free chapter of my book there. It’s under keep going as a way to pace yourself and yeah, there’ll be podcasts there and guides, all that good stuff.

Jim Rembach (43:22):

Thank you for sharing that knowledge and wisdom, and we’ll continue to stay in contact with you. And thank you for helping us all get over the hump.

Chloë Thomas: How to Optimize Your B2B Digital Marketing | Episode 009

Chloë Thomas: How to Optimize Your B2B Digital Marketing | Episode 009

Chloë Thomas Show Notes Page

Show Description

Chloë Thomas shares strategies and insights on how you can optimize your B2B digital marketing campaigns. With the current situation of the world, more and more companies are transitioning to a virtual platform. Listen to this episode as Chloë explains how you can do better digitally on virtual summits, LinkedIn outreach, content repurposing, and more!

Best selling Author, International Speaker, and host of the Award-winning eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast.

Chloë is one of the Top 50 UK influencers in eCommerce and Shipping (Scurri 2019), and the podcast is regularly included in lists of the top eCommerce & marketing podcasts in the world.

Chloë Thomas has been in eCommerce since 2003, she’s worked client-side, agency-side, and adviser-side. Working with a wide variety of retailers from high street omnichannel operations, to fresh online only start-ups, covering international launches, subscription, B2B and even dabbling in marketplaces.

Chloë’s speciality is solving eCommerce Marketing Problems from how to increase new customer acquisition, to improving the performance of email marketing newsletters, or finding the right new website provider.



01:34 – How Chloë Thomas started in B2B digital marketing

04:10 – Chloë’s passion in networking and virtual summits

06:52 – How virtual summits are different from traditional conferences or summits

09:24 – Using incentives properly to attract the right customer

12:05 – Examples of bad marketing in LinkedIn

14:56 – Why LinkedIn outreach campaigns are overrated

16:33 – How the quality of a content makes a B2B digital marketer a disruptor

18:01 – The opportunity in content repurposing and podcasting

21:56 – Investing in great email campaigns

25:23 – Having unlimited budget in the business: Investing in good salespeople, creating workflows, and increasing advertising spend

28:03 – The importance of testing in marketing

28:56 – The question every digital marketer should ask themselves

31:32 – Learn more about Chloë Thomas and her new marketing podcast, Keep Optimising


Memorable Quotes

“If you cannot target your target customer with keywords that they might have put in their LinkedIn profile, it’s almost certainly going to fail for you.”

“Whether it’s the quality of a tweet, the quality of a Facebook ad, the quality of a podcast or a book or a report, if it’s something that’s high quality then you’re going to get results from it.”

“We’re entering into a space where less is more.”

“What’s going to disrupt is taking a step back and slowing down the content churn so you can actually make each piece pay and be worth creating in the first place.”

“If you want to get the story out there, podcasts are the way to go.”


Links and Resources

eCommerce Marketing How to Get Traffic that BUYS to Your Website

Chloë’s website: https://eCommerceMasterPlan.com

Chloë’s Podcast: https://ecommercemasterplan.com/podcast

Chloë’s Books: https://ecommercemasterplan.com/books

Chloë’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/chloethomasecom

Chloë’s LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/chloethomasecommerce/

e-Commerce Master Plan Twitter: twitter.com/ecommasterplan

e-Commerce Master Plan Facebook: facebook.com/ecommercemasterplan

e-Commerce Master Plan Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ecommasterplan/


Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, B2B DM gang. I have somebody on the show today who is going to give us some great insight from her gosh, approaching. Well, we don’t want, we don’t want to date her, but many years of experience and B to B marketing, and we’re going to focus in on some digital aspects that are gonna really make a difference for you and give you a different perspective. Now, Chloe Thomas is also a bestselling author. She’s a speaker and a podcaster, and she’s actually getting ready to launch another podcast here, coming up shortly. And we may talk about that at the second. Um, but her book, her most recent book that is most apropos for you is the B2B eCommerce master plan, which is an Amazon bestseller that you can actually pick up a on your Kindle version as well as audio book, as well as, um, you know, just that the solid copy that you want to keep as a desk reference. So, Chloe, thanks for joining us on the B2B DM show. Tell us a little bit about your background and experience in this area and in how it actually can benefit our listeners today.

Chloë Thomas (00:58):

So thanks for that lovely intro, Jim, and you’re more than welcome to date me. Um, uh, in terms of age, uh, we’re far too much ocean in the way it’s date me any other way. I think it’d be 40 difficult distance relationship and in these circumstances over the sea, but it’d be, yes, I’ve been in the world of marketing for over 15 years and I probably it’d be more accurate to say nearly 20 years. Um, I started off on purely on the consumer side. So businesses selling to consumers. I worked for Barclay’s bank, one of the biggest banks here in the UK. Then I worked for a high street retailer doing a mix of digital and offline marketing. And then I set up a marketing agency and that was, that was my first experience of the world of B to B marketing and B2B digital marketing ran that for 10 years, uh, tried all sorts of things.

Chloë Thomas (01:46):

We ran our own events, we spoken about it. So we took stands at events, email, social media. You know, you think about how much happened. I think that was 2007 to 2017, how much development there was in the space. We tried all of it. Um, whilst running Google ads and email marketing and Facebook ads and LinkedIn advertising for businesses, both on the BTC and the B to B side of things. Then before selling that, um, I started the business. I now run, which is called eCommerce master plan, which is all about helping eCommerce business owners improve their businesses. So whilst I spend my life talking about e-commerce and selling to consumers, mostly apart from the book, you mentioned B to B eCommerce plan where that’s helping businesses sell to other businesses via the web. Most of what I do day to day is actually B to B marketing, you know, trying to get other business people, to listen to my podcast, to buy my courses, um, occasionally also to, to, um, you know, to buy my services, although these days I don’t do a lot of that.

Chloë Thomas (02:53):

Um, and then on the other side, I suppose the thing which I do, and I did quite a lot of work for other businesses selling to eCommerce businesses. I know it’s a complex world. I inhabit, I mean, you know, so the likes of the big email, SAS providers and other website providers and the big SAS businesses and helping them to sell to other businesses by speaking at their events, um, taking their sponsorship money and various things like that. So over the last 15 years, I’ve experienced B2B marketing from multiple different angles. And I suspect in this chat, we’re going to hit on quite a few of them and hopefully quite a few bits of pieces of that will be helpful to your audience.

Jim Rembach (03:33):

Well, and I think what you just mentioned is so important is that diversity of background and that what a lot of people may not see from a perspective is that while you’re focusing on one particular niche from a, your solutions that you’re offering perspective, you’re still doing a lot of the work that a lot of our listeners are really interested in is how, how do I attract, how do I build brand? How do I build relationship? You know, how do I convert? I mean, all those things that are important for that longer sales cycle, that most of our listeners are, are having to get over the hump on a, so when I talk about, you know, the passion that you have in this particular space, knowing, you know, who our audience is and what we focus in on, give us a little bit of insight into that.

Chloë Thomas (04:16):

Yeah, this is essentially cause my, my passions tend to change almost from day to day. Um, but I suppose the thing which, you know, in these, in these times where here in the UK, every conference has been canceled for this year and for my own sales process, when I’m, you know, a really important part of my business is selling to those SAS companies who sell to other, other businesses to sponsor the podcast, to sponsor my books, to pay me, to speak at events and webinars. And usually the me, the, um, the relationship with those begins at our biggie commerce, expos, you know, those big shows where I will very respectfully trawl my way around the stands going, Hey, do you need someone to speak at your event? Have you seen my book? Would you like some copies? Do you know what a podcast is that person wants to buy from you?

Chloë Thomas (05:06):

Stop talking to me, you know, very, very respectfully. Um, and the, uh, you know, I, it’s a really big experiment for me. Can I, this year will probably be okay, but will next year be all right if I haven’t got those face to face opportunities to make that first point of contact with people. And that’s, that’s something which I’ve really been mulling over this year and trying to, well, not this year in the last couple of months and trying to work out how I’m, how I’m going to fix it. And it’s what I’m, what I’m finding so far is that LinkedIn is doing great things. I don’t know if they’ve changed the algorithm or something, but there’s some really good engagement going on on LinkedIn. And then the other side of it is attending the big virtual conferences that are happening the big virtual summits, which in my industry, everyone’s a virtual summit now, you know, we seem to move past webinars to virtual summits. And within those, there’s some quite interesting networking going on. Some which I think is working in some, which just seems a bit blast everyone. You can find on the attendee list, but I’m currently trying to work out how those work. So I guess those would be my passions at the moment.

Jim Rembach (06:16):

Well, and I think you bring up some really interesting points in that a lot of organizations are taking what they’ve traditionally been doing and just trying to just force it up into the internet or into the cloud or whatever you want to refer to it as. And that has not worked for a lot of organizations. I mean, I’ve heard more horror stories and scenarios where people said, Oh, that was just a bad experience. Um, because it’s not the same thing. I mean, I did a virtual virtual summit, you know, a year and a half ago. Right. Um, before all of this stuff started happening and even then I know the whole user experience became a vital importance for me. You know, part of that is my background being in customer experience and contact centers and all that. But, um, I, you know, I see that the user experience is yet going to cause a whole lot of dropout in a lot of these companies or even trying to do some of the virtual things.

Chloë Thomas (07:07):

Yeah. And what we’re seeing from some of them that have happened in our industry so far is, um, there’s a few businesses who are trying to create a virtual summit and because they’ve never done one before and like you I’ve done a couple of my own in the past. And there are very different beasts to the offline event. And they’re trying to mirror the offline event, which leads to some quite impressive complexity. I spoke at one the other day and we had to log into one thing to move our slide deck. Another thing to meet up with people before we went live, another thing to be live. And there was like, it was just like, wow, this is quite common. I mean, it created a really pretty video screen for the person watching, but I’m not sure it was worth it for that amount of complexity and that amount of stress for quite frankly, everybody involved.

Chloë Thomas (07:55):

And I think the other side of it is how, you know, these big events, even when they’re virtual, they still take a lot of effort to put on. There’s still a lot of cost involved. You’ve still got people who want to sponsor, you want people to sponsor it. And the people who want to sponsor want people to come to their virtual booth. And you know, we, I’m speaking to one person who’s done one of these recently and they were doing a competition. If you come to our booth, you could win some crazy, really nice prize. And they got five people out of a conference that had 10, a thousand signed up and they were, they were hammering that during the day, you know, it was hard to avoid that message and still people weren’t going there, whether they couldn’t find it on the user experience wise on the screen or not. I don’t know, but it’s, it’s difficult. It’s, it’s a much, you’ve really got to change your head space and you can’t just copy and paste it on and offline cause it’s a very different beast. Yeah.

Jim Rembach (08:48):

Okay. So that brings up a really interesting point when you start talking about incentivization and incentivizing and a lot of people think, Hey, you give them a bigger prize and you know that we’re going to show up, but then again, who are the ones showing up for the prize? I mean, are they really prospects and easy to say, Hey, just incentivize. I mean, I was having the same issue and you and I, you know, talk about, you know, podcasting and podcast launches and how, um, you know, there’s some things that are important in regards to, you know, getting noticed as far as your podcast is concerned and there’s tactics and strategies and things like that. And you start asking yourself the question of incentivizing it’s like, Hmm. And the fact is, is that’s a very, very slippery slope, which could have a, you know, a negative boomerang.

Chloë Thomas (09:35):

Yeah. It’s something that we talk about in the eCommerce space a lot as well. It’s like, Oh yeah, you come on a competition to get email signups so you can give away, I don’t know, a big gift box to some big gift hamper or something. But when you, what you actually sell is I dunno, a water bottles. It’s not a very relevant prize. Whereas if you’re giving away a water bottle, then you know, the people are signing up at interested in water bottles. And that doesn’t necessarily correlate in the SAS space. If you’re selling email software, you’ve probably already got a free sign up running. So what’s the competition for, um, maybe it should be for, you know, six months free usage of the platform or something, or, or free consulting when you sign up. But it it’s difficult because I mean, you, I guess quite possibly like you, you like me and like many of our listeners, you go to a conference and you find out which piece of tech is invoked because every stand is giving away an iPad. And then they were all giving away an Amazon Alexa and it’s, you know, then it was an Apple watch came after that. And it’s like, Oh really? What? I’m interested in your software, but I don’t want to, when the Apple watch, it’s all a bit, gets a bit too generic.

Jim Rembach (10:42):

Yeah. It’s funny to even say that, um, I went to a large conference several years back and at the time I was, um, you know, um, a provider of services as well, uh, that happened to be there. And I happened to sit in on this short demo for this one, uh, organization, you know, that their did their little, you know, five, 10 minute, you know, here’s our solution, new updates, that kind of thing. And so I was curious, so I sat down, I listened and they did a drawing for the 15 people that were sitting there and I won a a hundred dollars gift card. Um, and I gave it back to him. I said, actually, I’m a solution provider too. He goes, are you, he didn’t, he almost didn’t want to take it back. And I’m like I said, give it to one of your people who are, you know, that are sitting here. That could be a potential customer. I said, because it’s not me. Um, but so I actually gave back money,

Chloë Thomas (11:28):

But it’s, it’s strange how, um, you know, one of the things which I learned early on in my kind of sales and marketing career was that, uh, no is as useful as a yes. Cause you can take that person off. You can stop wasting time and energy on them. Um, and you can just get on with it with other things. And at the moment, I’m fine. I’m pretty easy to find on LinkedIn. I’m quite visible. And because I have the word e-commerce in my, in my piece, I get a lot of communications that should for retailers. And a lot of people are bulk mailing, massive amount of bolt mailing on LinkedIn at the moment, you know, they’ll connect and then they sale and they sell it. They sell so, but I get some really good connections through LinkedIn as well. So I try and keep that inbox clear by going back to them, going look happy to be connected, but I am not your target customer.

Chloë Thomas (12:12):

So there’s no point in selling to me and you’ll be amazed. People who come back going, are you sure you’re not my target customer? And I’m like, wait, right. One, you were a bad marketer in the first place because you hadn’t looked at my profile yet. Cause I’m looking and I’m going well, you’d be a perfect sponsor for my podcast, but I’m not joining the dots for you. You can join the dots because you know, you clearly don’t know who I am. Um, cause you haven’t looked at my profile page and you kinda like, right. So I’ve gone back and I said, I’m not a good connection. You know, why not? You know, you can see certain amount on LinkedIn mail that this is, you know, podcast host, probably not a retailer. And then, you know, you’re like, all right, I’ve gone back and told you, I’m not a prospect. Why don’t you take a look at my site and go, Oh, hold on. You know? And they might go, Oh, maybe you’ve got clients. Maybe we could do something on the podcast. If they come back with a reason, you know, something that shows they’ve actually put some effort in that I’m all up for it. But yeah, it amazes me. How many salespeople, when you say, look, there’s no point in trying to sell to me, just hold on for grip grim. This is not good marketing. Good.

Jim Rembach (13:12):

Well, I think what you’re just stating right. There is an issue with a lot of B2B digital marketers right now is what do I do? You know, how do I spammy? How do I not, you know, create a situation where I get turned off, but I guess I do have to say this, you know, it also, it also not a situation where it’s, um, you know, if you miss once you’re dead, because there are so many things that are coming up people and, and the, the recall and memory, I mean, you know, I don’t think we can remember, you know, who tried to do something like that, you know, two months ago. So have a little bit of pause there.

Chloë Thomas (13:51):

Yeah, yeah, exactly. It’s a, I think that, I think actually the recall of people for me, I find is less when I’m not meeting them in the physical space. Somehow I remember people less when I’m only ever meeting them on line when I’m only ever meeting them via LinkedIn or email or something. So I have to really consciously try and work a bit harder at remembering the important people and forgetting the ones who keep trying to sell me things I’m never going to buy.

Jim Rembach (14:19):

So with that being said, I mean, we’re chasing a lot of different things, right. And you even talked about going to a show and it’s like, Hey, you know, it’s the brand new, you know, Apple something or the brand new, whatever, Alexa something. I mean, so when you start talking about, you know, B2B, digital marketing, what do you think right now is overrated?

Chloë Thomas (14:39):

Oh, that’s a tricky question. Cause at the moment there’s, um, there’s so many things which everyone’s getting used to and making better, you know, um, people, there’s a lot of webinars that are terrible. There’s a lot of, um, uh, virtual summits that are terrible at the moment as well. But I don’t think that necessarily means that overrated, I think, Oh shit, Oh, such a tricky question. This is the one that on which, which, which I find the most difficult, I suppose, I suppose actually for me in my, the worst thing I’ve done in the last 12 months is run one of those LinkedIn, each outreach campaigns that promises the earth and I can see it would work in some spaces, but if you cannot target your target customer with keywords that they might’ve put in their LinkedIn profile, it’s almost certainly going to fail for you. So I think that’s one of the, for me, that’s the worst one I’ve done in the last 12 months.

Jim Rembach (15:37):

Well, and a lot of people talk about the whole expense with LinkedIn and LinkedIn marketing and, but we’re, and then we’re also on the flip side here and a lot of backlash, for example, on Facebook and Facebook ads and, you know, companies pull in big dollars and, and, and, you know, you look at just some of the spend that is currently taking place and how it’s prioritized and things like that. I mean, you know, w what should a, B to B digital marketer do? I mean, so if I start talking about, I want to be someone who stands out, I want to do something different. I want to be the one that they are paying attention to when they have 10 other things that could potentially capture their attention. So how do I become that disruptor?

Chloë Thomas (16:16):

I’m not sure there’s a marketing method that would make you the disruptor. I think it has to be the quality of the content. Um, whether that’s the quality of a tweet, the quality of a Facebook ad, the quality of a podcast or a book or a report. If it’s something that’s high quality, then I think you’re going to get the results from it. And I think we’re entering a space where less is more so it’s no longer a case of, we need to release a report every month, this year in order to get our leads up and all the rest of it. It’s a case of we should release one report per quarter or one report every six months and really work at, you know, work on making sure it’s high quality and then work on making sure we’re promoting it in the right places. So as people hear about it, and they hear the stories that’s going on, podcasts going on, YouTube channels, doing interviews, getting into the press, but having real value to it and then getting it out in front of people. And I think that’s, that’s, what’s going to disrupt is taking a step back and slowing down the content churn. So you could actually make each piece pay and be worth creating in the first place.

Jim Rembach (17:24):

Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. I’ve seen, um, sometimes the whole, um, as they say, hamster wheel starts rolling. When you start talking about content then, and I, I mean, for me, I see all the time, you know, with clients and non-clients, uh, with my agency is that, um, they’ll create something and just deposit it and leave it behind. And I’m like, well, Whoa, wait a minute. Fantastic. Now let’s talk about repurposing. Let’s talk about, you know, actually leveraging this. And in other ways, um, you know, besides just the whole content, you know, repurposing, I mean, there’s so many different things that could happen, um, that I don’t think people just really look at it cause they’re too busy. Hey, I gotta go move on to the next thing. So I think that’s a really valid and important point. So when you start talking about that and that issue where some of the key opportunities that exist. So if I created something, what should I be looking at doing?

Chloë Thomas (18:19):

I think that the repurposing thing, just to add something in that, which, which comes from my, my second ever job, where I was doing catalog mailings. And if you’ve, if anyone who’s ever been a catalog, mailer will know that you release the catalog and then a month later you put a different cover on it and you send the customers exactly the same catalog and you get more sales from the same people because they think it’s new. And 99% of it was exactly the same. It’s really, really cost effective, very, very powerful. And the same thing happens with white papers and reports. Um, I wrote one, a couple of years ago for Trustpilot the reviews company. It was a thing of beauty. It was like 20 different ways to use your reviews. I was really proud of it, and it was based on all their case studies and they were giving it away at one of the big events in the UK.

Chloë Thomas (19:09):

And I, you know, the following year, when do you want me to do another one that no, that’s okay. Turn up to the event. And they just put a new cover on. And I was part of me was like, that’s awesome. He was like, got it lost is they’re never going to buy another one for me. They’re just going to keep recovering it every year. But so you can recover and relaunch as well. But I suppose if you want to get the story out that I’m slightly biased, but I think podcasts are a great way to go. I think at the moment, in particular, on the webinar front in the UK, everyone is wanting to do partnership webinars. You know, I’ll come on, let’s do a webinar together. We’ll both promote it to our list. We’ll get some clients and we’ll get something and we’ll talk about something interesting and we’ll do it with you, you and you, because that’s better.

Chloë Thomas (19:52):

And that’s what everyone’s up to because they are desperate for interesting content. And the clients are getting bored of having to go on webinars every five minutes. So to go to them and go, we’ve got this brilliant report. Can I come on your webinar and talk about it? If it’s high quality, they’ll agree because they want to put something which is targeted to, to the core audience in front of them. So I think that’s, that’s a good opportunity reaching out and asking if you can come and talk about it so people can hear about it.

Jim Rembach (20:20):

Well, and I think for some folks, uh, in the B2B space, I don’t hear it as much. I hear it, uh, definitely in the expert space where part of their core marketing activities is to get on as many podcasts as they possibly can.

Chloë Thomas (20:35):

Yeah. And it seems to be a few of the SAS people I know have started making moves in that direction. Um, a lot of, a lot of SAS business owners, according to the marketing and salespeople I talked to are very excited about podcasts, very excited about podcasts. So a lot of people are now doing it cause the boss has got excited about, which is a good thing because you know, it’s a great way to do it. So there’s there’s um, and I’m getting a lot more from SAS businesses who I, I would never kind of old world SAS businesses rather than new world SAS businesses, if that makes sense, um, who are, who’ve hired people to do the reach out and to try and get on shows. So it’s, um, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of opportunity there, I think.

Jim Rembach (21:18):

No, most definitely. Okay. But with that being said, you know, there’s some constraints that we all have to work through. And one of the constraints is I only have a certain amount of money that I can leverage, uh, and all of our all resources in order to be able to accomplish my goal. And my goal from a B2B digital marketer perspective is to be able to present sales opportunities. So to the sales team. So if I were to say given constraints, I don’t have any more to spend. Where would you potentially look at reallocating some funds, uh, given where we are today?

Chloë Thomas (21:54):

I think, I think this is probably something I would have said before COVID-19 struck. Um, but certainly now when the big events are being canceled, which is a huge chunk of many marketers money, is those face to face events that, and that those, you get huge volume of leads, virtual events, you get much smaller volume of leads for similar amounts of effort, if not similar amounts of money. So the really crucial thing is to have great follow up in place. So I’d be investing in great email campaign sequences, potentially SMS sequences to make sure that both the new data is getting the best possible impression of the business and understanding of how they’re going to move into the sales process and want to move into the sales process. But also so that we’re, we’re, we’re picking the greatness out of the database we’ve already got, you know, it’s not about new, new news.

Chloë Thomas (22:46):

You know, we talk about the longterm sales process, certain alien e-commerce, you could have someone on your list for like two or three years before they decide it’s the right time to buy. You know, there’s only certain windows of the year when they’re going to put in place new software and there’s 20 different types of new software where they could put in place. And they can only put one in once a quarter maybe or one in once a month. So however much they like it if they like something else more. So there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of power in that, that kind of legacy database. So I’d be investing in the followup sequence is the work for that. I might even if the relationship with the sales team is strong enough and that’s where this one comes in, um, would you, could you then build some automations that help support the sales team, so to help their process to make sure that they’re right, they’re better equipped to convert because the marketing is really supporting them at that point. Cause that’s often a bit which, which people never quite get as far as working out because each sales person wants to do it differently and all the rest of it. So it can be, can be challenging to do that, but it can be very powerful if you, if you can make it work with your sales team.

Jim Rembach (23:52):

Yeah. I think that’s a such a vital point because much like we were talking about content that gets deposited and left behind the same thing happens with the contact or lead or a prospect. And, you know, it gets deposited and left behind all that was, that event is over. There is not a consideration of, you know, the fact that they may be a customer, you know, many, many of them months down the road. And I have to put that into my consideration set with whatever I’m doing and you’re right. I think that’s oftentimes the disconnect, you know, between the market sales activities is that there’s no continuation. It’s like, Hey, you know, um, first of all, are they quality leads? You know, that’s one thing, well, if you haven’t done any of that sequencing, if you haven’t done any of those automations, if you haven’t done any of that, how would you really ever know?

Jim Rembach (24:34):

Right. I mean, yeah, ends up happening is sales just says, Oh, you’re not giving me good stuff. Or we’re not going to sponsor that again. Or, and they just move on without actually really doing the work. So when I think about all of your background and experience, I started thinking about, you know, having fun with a lot of that and being able to leverage it. And so therefore let’s take off the blinders, let’s take off their constraints and you have unlimited budgets to do whatever you wanted. What would you love to do with that money?

Chloë Thomas (25:04):

Oh man, unlimited budget in my business. I would pay someone else to do the sales so I could spend more time on the marketing. I am, I’m a very well trained sales person, but I am not a natural salesperson. So, you know, to, to have the money, to be able to go out there and find a good sales person who fit in my business would be awesome. Cause it’s something I’ve never achieved today. So I guess that would be the first one on the list. Cause then, then you’ve got someone who can do the selling. So I can just concentrate on the marketing and generating them great leads to, well, Hey, there we go. Um, so that’s kind of the first thing I do then I would probably create some really good flows. Actually. It’s kind of like the, um, in the UK we say that the cobbler’s children’s shoes are always the worst shoes.

Chloë Thomas (25:53):

I don’t know if you have that same phrase in America. Um, so it would be a case of getting, um, getting my own email sequences up to speed and actually outsourcing that, which is something I can never justify because I should, should’ve done it well and I should have done it myself. So I think that that kind of piece I would definitely go after. And then once you’ve got that in place, it will be all about the advertising spend. Um, you mentioned Facebook ads being, um, an interesting space to be at the moment. Um, I think it’s July, everyone’s pulled back in and being very public about the fact they’re not gonna gonna use Facebook ads in July. I’m due to be launching my new podcast in July, which was about to have a huge spend on Facebook. There’s like, I’m not sure I can have brand new on a Facebook ad without potentially getting some negative repercussions.

Chloë Thomas (26:42):

So shifted that budget, um, into Twitter ads, which is something I’ve wanted to play around with for a long time. And, um, I’ve been playing around with that for about two days now and I’m seeing some quite interesting, I mean, far too early to tell really, but I’m seeing some quite interesting numbers on that. So I think, I think a lot would get spent on advertising on different platforms and working out the right thing to do on each. So if that answers your question, I’m not sure I’ve spent, spent a full million dollars, but um, yeah, that’s, that’s what I, what I do.

Jim Rembach (27:14):

Well, I would dare to say, um, some, one of the things that you’ve mentioned there that was really important and you didn’t carve it out per se, but, um, it’s testing. Yes,

Chloë Thomas (27:25):

It’s definitely. Yeah. It’s definitely not a case of here’s a load of money. Let’s spend it all this month. It would be a case of, you know, cause to go from, from a restricted budget to a massive budget is a dangerous thing. If you allocate all the money a month, one you’ve really got to go, right? We’ve got opportunities here, where would the best place be, and test and test and test and test and know. And the thing, the interesting thing is is your budget’s increasing, you start doing more than each of those things affects the other things more. So the whole, the whole, um, kind of structure changes simply because you’re doing more. So yeah. Yeah. There’d be a lot of testing involved as well.

Jim Rembach (28:01):

Well, and with that, you know, you talking about your background and experience and being so diverse in what you do for clients and what you’ve done in the past and your agency background and experience, and you know what you’re doing now and you’re speaking and I mean, you have all this, you know, diversity, which is, uh, you know, has significant amount of value in a lot of different ways. However, I think when you start looking at an individual digital marketer, you have to start saying, you know, what, what are some of the things that really they should be asking in order to be successful? So what are the, what is a question that a marketer should be asking themselves right now?

Chloë Thomas (28:35):

I think, you know, it should always be about taking a step back and seeing the wider picture, you know, right the way from where we get our leads through to retention at the other end and working at what point in that customer journey, your weakest, cause it’s really easy to go, Oh, Twitter ads. We’ll just keep working on the Twitter ads or all the events have been canceled. We need to generate leads, but actually there might be another point in the chain where you’re actually weakest, but the fact you’re able to pick up a few thousand leads at a big event. Do you spend a huge amount of money on every, every couple of months covered up the holes in the rest of the process. So just take a step back and go, where’s the weak point and then to focus in on improving that and to really focus in on improving that for a month or so before coming back up and taking it, that’s the question we should always be asking ourselves is where are we weakest?

Jim Rembach (29:29):

Yeah. And doing that throughout the year. Right? So it’s, when you start thinking about that, how often do we have to kind of do that review

Chloë Thomas (29:38):

In the old world? I would said about once every three months, I like to work on a quarterly planning process. And I find that gives you enough time to really make a difference. Cause we do it every week. Um, you know, you, you don’t make a difference. You, you know, you, you tweak something, you learn nothing and then you go and forget all about it and work on something else. Um, that’s so I’ll just say quarterly in a normal world, but because at the moment, behavior of the end consumer of whatever you’re doing, be their business will be their consumer of human beings. The way we’re living, the way where we’re adapting is changing so much, it’s gotta be a shorter time span than that. So if you’re going to do a less deep review to work out where you should focus because you can’t do, you know what you would do as a quarterly deep review every month, because you’d spent far too much time reviewing and not enough time doing, but you need to, to every month you should be asking the question is what I thought I should be working on this month, what I should be working on this month.

Chloë Thomas (30:35):

And it’s that speed of reassessment. And that speed of being able to adapt is what’s really, um, I think separating the winners from the losers at the moment.

Jim Rembach (30:45):

Most definitely Chloe I’ve had fun with you today. Um, can you please share with the B2B DM gang, how they can get in touch with you and share some information about that new podcast that you’re doing?

Chloë Thomas (30:54):

Yeah. Cool. So the, uh, the new podcast is called keep optimizing, which, because I’m British, I’m spelling with an ass, which I’m sure in a couple of years, time I would deeply regret. Um, but for now it’s spelled with an S a so keep optimizing. And that’s actually my personal mantra, which is kind of a combination of test, test, test, and a combination of where are you weakest? And it’s all about marketing. I mean, it’s coming at it from an eCommerce perspective, but there’s a lot of good stuff in there for any marketer, to be honest, because as you can tell my interest and a lot wider than just, just e-commerce and what we’re doing on that show, which is a bit different to others is each month we are focusing on a different topic. So our first month is all about email and I’ve got a different email expert every month. Second month is about SEO. And then on we go to, to pastor’s new each month, which is going to keep me interested. And I hope we’re getting the audience interested too. And you can find out everything, you know, how to get in contact with me about my podcast or my books and all the rest of it. Just go to eCommerce, master plan.com and you’ll find links to everything there.

Jim Rembach (31:56):

Chloe Thomas, thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and the B2B D M gang wishes you the very best.

Chloë Thomas (32:01):

Thank you, Jim. It’s been an absolute pleasure to hang out with you too.

288: Louis Carter – Leading Great Companies and Sparking Peak Performance

288: Louis Carter – Leading Great Companies and Sparking Peak Performance

Louis Carter Show Notes Page

Louis Carter was working for a group of people who locked him in an office to do all of their work until three in the morning. He tried to escape, but the door was locked and there was an alarm in the way. He didn’t have a key and didn’t know the code. He was able to get out with a little help from the police. Through that experience, Louis vouched to never work again for somebody like that. He confronted them and left the group and was able to get over the hump.

Louis Carter was born and raised in Waterford, CT, a small suburb of New London, CT, an even smaller city in Southeastern, CT.  He has one sister, and his parents were divorced at age 20.

In his Freshman year at Brown University, Lou’s best friend committed suicide. This experience changed him forever, and he vouched that he never wanted another friend or person to have the same fate as his friend.

As a way to begin this process, Lou transferred to Connecticut College to focus on his long-time studies of Economics and Government with a focus on social systems and how governments form and effect organizational systems and economies.

Lou was always involved as the President of his class, and founder of new organizations on campus at school that fought for the rights of students – to be heard, respected, and understood.  When he was hired by the President of the college, Claire Gaudiani, to lead a professor development program, he knew he could make the most change.

In the program, he focused on helping professors respect differences as well as create and drive a positive vision for the future. His first job out of college in his early career, he worked at Gemini Consulting (now owned by Ernst and Young) as a strategic analyst. He quickly found out that this was not bringing him closer to his purpose of helping leaders understand their immense power to influence the lives of thousands of people for the better.

From there, he became a product development specialist at Linkage, Inc., where he became a product development specialist and later became their VP of Research. It was here that he worked with the leading industry experts to bring their work to life – including the late Warren Bennis, Richard Beckhard, and luminaries such as Edgar Schein, Marshall Goldsmith, John Kotter, and Chris Argyris.

He created one of the first global leadership development competency programs. He was able to work with leaders like Benjamin Netanyahu, Senator George Mitchell, Bhenzair Bhutto, Hunter “Patch” Adams, and others who fought for the rights of their people – with grace, compassion, and respect.

This inspired him to write the best practice book series for John Wiley and Sons – which included all of the best-in-class leadership development, learning, and talent management programs and practices from around the world with Blue Chip and Fortune 500 companies like Pfizer, Volvo, Boeing, Corning, Allstate, GlaxoSmithKline, Bose, Motorola, BP, Colgate, Microsoft, the IRS and 100s more.

It was his lifelong purpose to help others create a culture of respect and positive vision of the future that brought him to write his most recent book: In Great Company: how to spark peak performance by creating an emotionally connected culture.

Lou is a family man – and spends as much time as he can with his family – they are an integral part of his life, and he considers them to be his most important legacy.  In Lou’s opinion, there is no greater purpose or legacy in life than family, and the support system you build around them – community, teachers, coaches and extended network that develops them to become the very best in life.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @louislcarter get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShowClick to Tweet

“Be careful of what you think because it will affect what you say. Be careful of what you say because it will affect what you do.” – Click to Tweet

“The number one way to collaborate systemically is through co-creation.” – Click to Tweet

“Co-creation means that you have a vision for what you want to create inside of your organization.” – Click to Tweet

“When you have a positive vision, you can move forward a lot better and people all know where you’re going and what you’re doing.” – Click to Tweet

“When people know your values, people align with those values.” – Click to Tweet

“Respect is a currency that you give and get back.” – Click to Tweet

“Friendship for engagement. It’s not about friendship, it’s about respect.” – Click to Tweet

“Great leaders have all the great competencies, and when they have clear vision and collaboration, their outcomes are going to be great.” – Click to Tweet

“Affective commitment is about how we feel when we’re committed. If we are affectively committed, then we want to be at our peak performance.” – Click to Tweet

“For resilient organizations, the one rule they adhere to is embracing failure to leverage the learning.” – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Louis Carter was working for a group of people who locked him in an office to do all of their work until three in the morning. He tried to escape, but the door was locked and there was an alarm in the way. He didn’t have a key and didn’t know the code. He was able to get out with a little help from the police. Through that experience, Louis vouched to never work again for somebody like that. He confronted them and left the group and was able to get over the hump.

Advice for others

Invest in stocks and real estate.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Emotion regulation.

Best Leadership Advice

Take it easy, be cool.

Secret to Success

Heart and passion.

Best tools in business or life

Relationships and accountability partners

Recommended Reading

In Great Company: How to Spark Peak Performance By Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace

The Alchemist

Contacting Louis Carter

Lou’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/louislcarter

Lou’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/louiscarter.bpi

Lou’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/louiscarter/

Lou’s website: https://louiscarter.com/

Best Practice Institute: https://www.bestpracticeinstitute.org/

Results-based Culture: https://resultsbasedculture.com/


Lou’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/c/LouisCarterChange

Show Transcript

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Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because I have Lou Carter on the show today and Lou is really going to give us some good perspectives on how we can make it a connection in a, from a, from an organizational perspective, that’s really going to assist in our performance and help us link all that together. Cause oftentimes when we start talking about culture and things like that, we often don’t see how we can actually make it, uh, and how to get those high-performance impacts that we want. Lou Carter was born and raised in Waterford, Connecticut, small suburb of new London, Connecticut, and even smaller city of Southeastern Connecticut. He has one sister and his parents were divorced at age 20, but in his freshman year at Brown university lose breath, boot, best friend actually committed suicide. And it was this experience that changed him forever.

Jim Rembach (00:49):

And he vouched that he never wanted another friend or person to have the same fate as his friend. And as a way to begin this process, Lou transferred to Connecticut college to focus on his longtime studies of economics and government with a focus on social systems and how governments form and affect organizational systems and economies. Lou was always involved as the president of his class and founder of new organizations on campus at school that fought for the rights of students to be heard, respected and understood when he was hired by the president of the college, Claire Gaudium Guardini to lead a professorship development program. He knew he could make a significant change in the program. He focused on helping professors respect differences, as well as create and drive a positive vision for the future. His first job out of college and his early career, he worked at Gemini consulting, which is now owned by Ernst and young as a strategic analyst.

Jim Rembach (01:46):

He quickly found out that this was not bringing him closer to his purpose of helping leaders understand their immense power to influence the lives of thousands of people. For the better. From there, he became a product development specialist at linkage, inc, where he became a product development specialist and later became their VP of research. It was here that he worked with the leading industry experts to bring their work life, including the late Warren Bennis, Richard Becker, and the luminaries shut Edgar Schein, Marshall Goldsmith, John Kotter, and Chris arduous. He created one of the first global leadership development competency programs, and he was able to work with leaders like Benjamin Netanyahu, Senator George Mitchell, Benzir Bhutto Hunter patch, Adams, and others who fought for the rights of their people with grace, compassion and respect. This inspired him to write the best practice book series for John Wiley and sons, which included all of the best in class leadership, development, learning and talent management programs and practices from around the world with blue chip and fortune 500 companies like Pfizer, Volvo, Boeing, Corning, Allstate GlaxoSmithKline, Bose, Motorola, BP Colgate, Microsoft, the IRS and hundreds more.

Jim Rembach (03:01):

It was his lifelong purpose to help others create a culture of respect and positive vision of the future to have brought him to write his most recent book in great company, how to spark peak performance by creating an emotionally connected culture. Lou is a family man and spends much of his time possible with his family and they are an integral part of his life. And he considers them to be as most important legacy and Lou’s opinion. There’s no greater purpose or legacy in life and family and the supporting system you build around them, community coaches, teachers, and extended network that develops them to become the very best in life. Lou Carter, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Louis Carter (03:37):

I love that. I did. Jim. It’s awesome to be here today and thank you so much for having me. I appreciate that. Awesome introduction to it. Thank you.

Jim Rembach (03:45):

Well, thanks for giving me the opportunity and being here on the show. Now I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?

Louis Carter (03:54):

Sure. Yeah. My current pression is working with, um, organizations, especially healthcare clinics and really helping them to, uh, to grow and uh, come from sort of from here to there, right? Because healthcare clinics and healthcare right now today, they are in a very challenging position because patients are coming back and they there’s, uh, elective surgeries that people aren’t don’t feel that comfortable doing. And a there’s also COVID and pandemic that they’re dealing with. And we have to look ahead. So it’s the healthcare clinics that are creating those external collaborations and the leaders at the top. We’re really doing extraordinary things to get those clinics back up and running. So my passion is working with those Todd, the CEO, CFO, COO. I just love it and their board and bringing them to a place where they can create awesome practices to serve patients to their best possible level.

Jim Rembach (04:51):

Well, needless to say, that’s a very important mission that you currently are undertaking. And for me, when I started Lexton going through the book, I didn’t have that context. So thanks you for sharing. And I think that brings things on a very, very different light, um, because oftentimes we have a separation, especially in those environments, you know, because we have the pressures of all the finance elements, you know, with the caring elements and that, that, that oftentimes creates a whole lot of friction that we don’t want to have. But you talk about four very important benefits of emotional connectedness and they are that it fulfills intrinsic needs. It makes emotional intelligence more actionable. It creates psychological safety and it drives discretionary effort. Now, how did you come up with these four?

Louis Carter (05:40):

Yeah, so we, we did a survey and a bunch of primary interviews, a bunch of surveys and ask people, what is it that’s going to make you love your workplace and do even more that’s the voluntary discretionary effort. And then the psychological safety came in because they said, well, how am I to create moral? I’d feel safe talking and why it’s that I’m not harmed or lose my position if I don’t, if I don’t, uh, if I say the wrong things and it wasn’t just about psychological safety, it’s that intrinsic reward system that’s intrinsically what will drive me to do these things. And what we’ve found that drives people to do, things has more to do with practices and behaviors, things that you do and others do around you that enable you to really just skyrocket. And in the absence of these behaviors, you can’t, it doesn’t matter how great of an accountant you are upgrade of a technology technologist. You are strategist just doesn’t matter if you don’t have them, your team suffers your organization suffers

Jim Rembach (06:43):

Well and you, and to give it justice. I mean, in the book, you actually break down all of these particular elements, these four now benefits, and you go into that detail to a greater degree. But here’s the thing that I find quite interesting in what you shared though, is the whole whole self-reporting element of, you know, what I feel. And, and even if why I feel it. So how do you actually prevent people? Just saying things that they may think is the right thing to say without actually connecting with them as an individual?

Louis Carter (07:16):

Hmm. So a lot of people have, they have two responses or two ways of thinking. Some are physical thinkers and others are more cognitive focused and they actually have to think through things before they say them. So physical thinkers just immediately blurt things out and they’re reactive and this kind of self reflection, self reflection, self awareness of how they’re talking and how it has an effect on the others is an enormously, incredibly important competency to have to be emotionally connected because it allows us to take us a breather, a meditative step to download information. And there’s known to be terabytes of information that comes into your brain all at once from you share information terabytes, you think about those no longer can give gigabytes terabytes. And the question is, how do we do, how do we take that information and then give it to you, give it to others that are, that are hearing us in a simple way. So we’re not just reactive thinkers, we’re thinkers who can take a tremendous amount of data and provide it back in a simple way that other people can receive it, just so that it’s not so harmful or hurtful, even

Jim Rembach (08:30):

Really interesting that you say that. Um, because for me I’m like, okay, you’re data driven, right? You’re all about analytics and understanding the analytics and being able to use them in order to be able to affect these drivers. Right. Um, be able to go in and modify certain behaviors. I mean, all of those types of things. So what I was referring to and your response or what I was necessarily looking for. So that’s why I’m asking a different way. And I appreciate you allowing me to do that is I’m asking somebody, these things in regards to what would fulfill your interest. I mean, all of those things and for us as individuals, a lot of times we can’t necessarily, you know, know why, right. We can, we don’t understand that. So how do you make sure that your data isn’t tainted, um, because, and start doing something that really isn’t going to have impact. Yep.

Louis Carter (09:20):

So, so we have something called the ladder of inference. So, uh, and, and, uh, were you in the middle and sort of the bottom of the ladder is, is data. It’s raw data. It’s things that we hear. It could be anything. This is why I’m here. You know, I’m saying something to us and it’s things that we just automatically take. And it just that thousand people in their own mental models can take it different ways. And you walk up the ladder and you suddenly you get to environment, right? That’s some of the things that you believe in sort of environment. And you’ve been talking about and, and judgments and search kinda the judgment portion. If he gets to know how you grow up and what are, what are the things that, uh, affect your perceptions and, um, and your experiences. And, um, those kinds of things have impact and often they’re triggers.

Louis Carter (10:09):

So these are triggers that you’ve had from inside of your life that can trigger a response in your mind. And to calm that response is very important because they affect your judgment, which affects your actions. And one of my good friends, Frances Hesselbein once I was at a meeting with her, she’s a former CEO of girl Scouts of America. She came out to me. I don’t know why she did this, but I was sitting there at the meeting. She says, be careful of what you think, because they’ll affect what you say, be careful what you say, because they affect what you do. And she came in and she’s, she’s 102 years old, by the way. And she sit her in my ear and I went like that. I couldn’t believe it. I said, Oh, she’s talking about the letter of inference. It’s like, I put it in the book and it affected me. It touched me because I know think that when I have experiences, when something, I say, well, maybe this is triggering me. Maybe I need to think of it in a different way. Maybe need to expose her open myself.

Jim Rembach (11:11):

Oh, thank you for sharing that. Okay. So then what we’re, what you’re talking about is by having those four benefits that actually result in five elements that spark a peak performance, and it’s an acronym. So it’s systematic collaboration, positive future alignment of values, respect, and killer achievement. And so again, I have to say that this is probably evidence-based right.

Louis Carter (11:37):

It is evidence-based exactly. And, and one of the things that it, it came from, it was spark from, was an experiment by Arthur Aron’s, um, BA back a long while ago, seventies, it was called the love experiment. And, uh, the love experiment was when two people come together and they basically look at each other, not too long after three minutes, it starts to get kind of freaky. Uh, but, uh, for, for both three or four minutes, really, and then they ask each other a series of questions and those questions largely have to do with these five areas that came up in the survey. When we asked, what’s going to make you feel really comfortable and want to produce even more for your company. So this, these questions, these five areas are very much attributed to work or attribute to life are attributed to any environment that you’re in and I can go through them and explain them for you

Speaker 3 (12:36):

Most definitely.

Louis Carter (12:38):

So, so I’ll start it out. The first part of it is systemic collaboration. And in our lives, we have a family, we have extended family, we have coaches, we have people all around us and that’s part of our system and how we collaborate with them. And we listen and we give, and we form alliances and structures. And we’re very honest and open about what things are, and being also generous with our humor, or even if we need, if we need to in a way, and being kind of just, uh, there for people on a, on a, on a personal level and resonate with them is all as part of systemic collaboration. So if you approach that for your company too, it’s the same, right? So if you’re CEO of a company, you form relationships with other, perhaps even competitors, people who could, uh, who you can help to get even to a higher level because of the reality that they need to, uh, they need to come to terms with, or they should come to terms with.

Louis Carter (13:36):

And that often happens. Um, and also for people who are part of the extension, essentially on the side of the government or local, all these relationships that happen. And then inside the company, how does the board work with the executive team, the executive team with the different divisions, all the way down to the magic middle of the company and to the, and to the customers themselves. So these are, this is the system. This is how we collaborate. And the number one way you collaborate systemically in our, in our world of, in great company, emotional connectedness is co-creation, co-creation means that you have a vision and that’s the second part is his positive future. You have that positive future, that vision for what you want to create inside of your organization or inside your family or your life. And that is very clear. You present it, you create it with others through inquiry, questions, and advocacy, advocating what you want your future to be what that inner diamond is really of what that future should be.

Louis Carter (14:39):

And that becomes what you create within your system, in your strategy for your system. I’ll talk a little bit more about that, and you can go through the five and I can explain it a little more. Um, so you, if you look at that, that inner diamond, that kind of where you’re at, what your vision is, think of a example of a case for it. So Hugh bear Jolie is the CEO of best buy, uh, when Spencer Stewart brought them in, brought him in, uh, that’s my children. Uh, do you want me to pause it for a second? And I, can you hear them? Uh, let me just tell them, tell my wife, Hey, paint a second.

Louis Carter (15:26):

So one of the parts that we were talking about was positive future and Hubert. Julie is the CEO of best, who was a CEO of best buy. He was brought in by Jim Citron, from Spencer Stuart, who is a CEO executive search consultant. And Jim looks for one thing when he brings in new CEO’s vision. If you have a really strong, compelling vision that will bring the company from here to where they want to go, which is essentially a best buy. They wanted to go from being a showcase to being profitable because the best buy people were coming in, they looked like a showcase, a showroom. They were taking pictures and looking at barcodes, and then they were looking up on Amazon and other places and figuring out, I don’t really need these things or buy these seats here. So who bear said, I’ve got a vision for the board.

Louis Carter (16:13):

And he said, this said, I want to make you and everybody here, a community I want to, I want to create a way for us to help our customers and for them to stay in the store as long as we can, so they can make a possible purchase and not leave the store, find a better price, but be with us as a community, created the geek squad, of course, and everybody knows, and the rest is history. They’ve been, become very successful and profitable as result. Same is true of positive vision. When you have this positive vision inches, the key and the spark, you can move forward a lot better, and people all know where you’re going and what you’re on, what you’re doing.

Louis Carter (16:54):

Go to the AA, right? So the alignment of values. So planet value is important because when people know your values, especially at the top, and they know what you respect and what your, your boundaries are and what you want in life and what, and how you, and what, you know, your strengths as well, what your strengths are and areas you can improve on. So you’ve had, self-awareness people align with those values and the right people come as well. And it’s easy to spot people who do not align with those values so that we can help them either develop those values as competencies, actual behaviors, or choose. Maybe it’s not the right place for them. And that’s okay, no guilt, no blame. So always no guilt mode blame. We find places where we should be, and we’re where life is good for everyone. And I would say that you have to create a world of work where everyone wins.

Louis Carter (17:44):

So that’s alignment of values. My values align with your values. We find out a commonality in this, in a spark relationship and a spark conversation. It’s always there, whether it be, this is something I share, this is something you share could come from our background, could come something from your family, my family, something I’ve experienced, you’ve experienced that kind of commonality, same thing for studios, same thing for really anyone in relationships. So the, the R is, is a, is a fun one. Uh, and I get a lot of questions about it because there’s so much controversy over respect, which is funny. It’s, it’s an enormous, it’s like one of the biggest possible subjects. We’re actually, we’re going to call the book respect because we had so much consternation and questioning about it. And here’s why there, we’ve seen so much question about it because people’s definition of it is very different.

Louis Carter (18:38):

So they say, well, I expect respect, right? And I have to have respect before they even give respect. And we found that respect is actually a currency, something you give and then get back of. And we also found it to be there’s reciprocal as a system, you give it, you get it. These aren’t, these are very, uh, you know, complex topics, right? We give respect, get respect here for years, but happening since the beginning of time during, you know, Machiavelli eye for an eye to the right or the history of time has happened. What’s different though about it is that we took the concept of friendship as being needed for engagement, which we don’t. We’re not about engagement in this book. We’re about doing more and feeling more connected and actually creating peak performance friendship for engagement. It’s not about friendship. It’s about respect. And the example is Jackie Robinson was greatest baseball player of all time.

Louis Carter (19:34):

We know you’re a coach too. So you, I believe he was like, we’re created spiteful players all the time. When he was, when he played baseball, people threw tomatoes at him. They booed him. They were disrespectful of him. And he started, he started hitting that ball and making home runs. And he was one of the best baseball players of all time. You know what though? Jackie said to him, I don’t care if you’re my friend, you have to respect me. And that’s the one thing we talk about here is you respect me for who I am and what I, and the fact that I work hard and affect you. You don’t have to go out with me for drinks later or tea, whatever your training, whatever liquid you drink there, just respect me and I’ll go home and I’ll live my life. So that’s what respect means at a deep level for individuals like Jackie was, I like to talk with Jackie in a way to kill her outcomes is really about how, what we do as individuals and what we do as a company, we have to really connect these things.

Louis Carter (20:30):

So as an individual, if I’m the head of accounting, I want to get my numbers in correctly and accurately really it at the end of the day, if that doesn’t happen, there’s gotta be reasons for it. Relationships, collaboration. It’s not a clear vision and understanding of what my values are. All those things are off chance. So that’s why your numbers aren’t coming in well. So that’s, that’s really about outcomes is that it can be misaligned when all those other things are, are not aligned, right? So the same with a COO or CEO, great seat CEO’s, or have all the great competencies and CEOs, and they have that clear vision and collaboration, their outcomes are going to be great. They’re going to get, do great demos. They’re going to get, they get the best possible customer outcomes, same with CEOs, great strategy, great vision, great financial outcomes. That’s it spark.

Jim Rembach (21:23):

And you know, I think you said it several times, so we probably need to hone in on it. And you talk about, you know, leading and being a leader in all of this. And you talked about both individually and collectively, and you mentioned about an emotionally connected leader. They actually have five different elements. Um, they have the systemic collaboration, um, the positive future, the alignment of values, the respect, uh, and then also killer achievement. And, and, you know, you’ve mentioned in sparks some of these things and some of these things, it creates that, uh, or enables, you know, the spark to occur. But, but they’re all important obviously, right. But when I start thinking about, Hey, this one carries heavier weight. I think I know the answer because you kind of talked about it a little bit, but which one is it and why?

Louis Carter (22:12):

Yeah, it’s funny. Like I see it, actually, we always said that there are variables that are all, you know, equally weighted and we equally weighted them in the way that we created the survey. So ideally or scientifically they’re supposed to be all equally weighted. So, so now if you’re going to ask me qual like qualitative me, like which one I think is the most important, that’s a lot different. So I definitely think it’s the respect. And I think it’s about that kind of, that aspect of, you know, what are, what are, what are my values because it runs into everything, right? So the respect is necessary with collaboration with co-creating it’s respect is important for values as well for aligning our values, because we need that established that in order to even get to the second line there. And then, you know, the, the, the aligned values, the positive vision of the future, we still gotta get the respect to get there. And then the outcomes, right? So it’s, it’s really about internal respect, others, respect, group respect, organizational respect, customer respect. It all comes down to that. And respect comes a really is fall usually cause lay, you know, love, appreciation, emotional connectedness, because if I get that very baseline, I can start to formulate deeper, deeper emotions, just like in a relationship.

Jim Rembach (23:37):

Okay. Well, as you’re talking for me, I mean, there are several, you know, light lights that were going off in regards to that. But before I get to that, um, you know, having worked for organika working, worked for an academic for 15 years, you know, the whole multivariate analysis and being remembering what are key drivers and all the becomes important. So even if I have that equal waiting, you know, and I don’t know if you, you, maybe you answered it in a, in a non, uh, analytic way, but there has, there had to be statistically significant, you know, significant impact. And you’re saying, it’s respect.

Louis Carter (24:11):

I am, I really am saying it because if, if we want, we get into the science of it, which is there’s, there’s three things, just psychological safety, organizational, citizenship behaviors, and something called effective commitment. And those are the three scientific concepts with people are interested in the psychology of it that really impacted it. Um, and if you look at those three concepts, there’s one that really kind of blares out, um, psychological safety. You do need respect for it, but the other one is effective commitment. And if you looked up a effective AFF E C T S E effective, the commitment I, uh, to two people admire now, and back in 1991, like, you know, we don’t people who we don’t even know, know who these people are. They’re able one of the most significant studies, I think, in the history of organization development. And they said that effective commitment is how do we feel when we’re committed?

Louis Carter (25:10):

Right? So if we are affectively committed, it means we want to be there. It means we feel respected. We want to be there. We want to be at our peak performance, however, when we have normative. So it’s a three part model it’s effective. Is it the, kind of the best you have normative and commit and continuance normative is this kind of, kind of interesting, it’s kind of a little bit, people have a psychiatric condition to use as normative because it’s the truth. It’s like they’re saying to themselves, they have kind of this ritual thing where it’s like, if I’m not here, something bad will happen to me. That’s what they’re thinking. If I’m not here, something bad will happen to me. And that I, this, I have to keep the norm the status quo and less harm myself. I was going to be harmed. Then there’s continuance, which is continuous is have to cause that’s the only job I have.

Louis Carter (26:06):

I have to continue here. So both our two are forced. And we talked about even, and we talked before about my background, you know, what, how people feel when they’re forced, when they’re coerced into a position. And I think, uh, you know, if you looked at, you know, just depression and we look at people who feel out of control today, they don’t feel like they have control of their lives. It’s largely because they feel forced into something or that they have to be somewhere. And there is chief affective commitment. They have to have a community, or even if it’s three people and they don’t go to other to people, it doesn’t matter that respect them. And if you, and then if you open up into a larger sort of community where respect, isn’t thought of continuously or other things might be on their mind, they may be some other places on the ladder of inference, probably hundreds of places in the letter of inference.

Louis Carter (27:04):

Now we’re in trouble. So the deeper you go into community and you start getting the help from either social help or other help from an external’s. The, the less that, that risk, that the more that respect flattens and lessons can’t happen. It’s one of the most dangerous things for people that can happen today, happens with vets. It happens with people who are, who have severe depression and people who really need deep help and, um, caregivers, uh, people in organizations, leaders need to know the immense power they have. And, um, in, in, in other people’s lives,

Jim Rembach (27:50):

I think that responsibility is quite massive. Um, but, uh, and I think, you know, the whole high performance thing, um, when you start looking at all of this and being able to create this, and you said it early on is, you know, you, you talked about, you know, the customer and the customer experience and the high performance. So how, tell us how all of this actually does impact the customer.

Louis Carter (28:12):

So one of the first people I’ve talked to in this book was, uh, Amar Bose. He, and he, so the, uh, and, uh, Mar I knew him back when I was at linkage. And, um, so, uh, and one of the things Boz really talks about is this feeling that a customer has with their, I have one on this, a Bose headset with their Bose headset. They love it. They feel an emotional connection to boats. People wonder why is this well, the design, the feeling, the values, it’s everything. It’s the respect for brand it’s respect for excellence, whether it’s the best decibels, musical, uh, audio experience in the world. I’m not sure, but something tells me it probably is. I don’t have my ears. Aren’t that trained? I’ve had swimmer’s ear for about it know for a long time. Cause I splint, but I’m not. So I’m not really certain.

Louis Carter (29:08):

These are the best, but I love them. Some people don’t know why. I’m not sure why, but I love them. And, uh, it seems like the best. So I think a lot of us are like that. We go to certain brands, we use certain brands because there’s an emotional connection to those brands and the same thing, really for why we choose to work for companies. There’s an emotional brand for these big names, for Apple, for Google, for, you know, for Twitter. You know, if we can all stay from home, they’re massive brands. I really want to work for them. I have to work for them or even our institutions in our, in our United States and things. We’re working for the army, the Pentagon, Oh, wow. I have, I have further a clout or something of that nature. These are things that define us in as a, as a, as an individual, and then define us in, in who we are, what we buy, where we, where we work. And that’s why the emotional connectedness comes in. It’s hard to, it’s really, it takes a lifetime to create that emotional brand. And, uh, and, and when you do it, um, it has to be done carefully, has to be done with a lot of investment. Um, and you’ll see the biggest brands have the most investments buying them.

Jim Rembach (30:30):

I mean, that’s a very, very key and important point. Um, but if I’m sitting there and I have a small work group right now, I’m in a contact center, I’m a supervisor and I have a team of, you know, 10, 15 people. And gosh, now they all been thrust into being remote, probably. Um, you know, how do I, how do I actually create all of this emotional connectedness and how do I even break through some of the fear and all of those insecurity issues and trust. I know I have trust now issues with all of humanity, right? I mean, I was talking to somebody earlier today and they’re like, you know, I’ve been stuck in my home in New York city for a long time. And she goes, and I hear all this stuff going outside. And she goes, I’ve never been this afraid in my own home. It’s like, how do you,

Louis Carter (31:15):

Yeah, that’s it. So I’ve heard a lot of, uh, ways that we can start to build trust with people. And one is the, your internal confidence, inner confidence. So one of the resonance of our voice, the way that we come through the cadence, the belief in product, the connection you have to your product and your brand has to come first. All of that has to come from you. And if that doesn’t come through, if people can’t hear it right now, they’re not going to believe you. You have to make things very simple for people right now. There’s so much noise. There’s so much noise out there. We have to knock out the noise and begin to say, this is all you need to do. This is the value. Be very distinct about the value and then help them through it, help people. The hardest part of people, both buying and being served today is helping.

Louis Carter (32:19):

So being a servant leader, that leadership style is more important than ever serving people first, putting people first, helping people first, not and giving them your full attention and presence, that it will win every a hundred percent every day. If you focus on that presence, that resonance that value and folk, it really gives your full self. I guarantee you’ll win every day. Take it. It’s a daily practice though. You have to ask yourself, did I do my best today to do that? And if you did not do it again tomorrow and you’ll do your best tomorrow, every single day, that’s what I’d say to context centers.

Jim Rembach (33:04):

Well, I mean, being someone who is certified in emotional intelligence, I mean your emotional intelligence is all wrapped up in your book and it’s vitally important. And one of the things that’s also important for us in order to be, to connect emotionally that we use on the show are quotes. Is there a quote or two that you like that you can share?

Louis Carter (33:23):

One of the things that I love about emotional intelligence in general is that [inaudible], as you know, was built on two things, really, when you come down to it, the emotional regulation and empathy, if you really broke it down, right. And it would so that if I were to say, what emotional connectedness is, is emotional connectedness is emotional regulation, empathy. Plus that added extra connection between individuals in the organization. So you’re going at, beyond the EEI, you’re going beyond empathy and emotional regulation is so important, by the way, I believe it’s one of the most important competencies possible to create psychological safety in the universe. Daniel, Goldman, and Rubin Baran were completely right in that. And they were so important in doing that. And they connected to neuroscience. And one day you have Elon Musk said, and in a recent, in a recent podcast, Joe Rogan, he said, we’re going to have a chip in our brain, literally in five years, that will create new neural networks for us to re to become more regulated and more connected. And we’re able to meditate to before making really important decisions. So, you know, this rewiring of, of our universe of people to beat, to create more emotionally intelligent, emotionally regulated, empathetic, um, connected decisions is what we all really need.

Jim Rembach (35:12):

So he didn’t give me my quotes though. Lou,

Louis Carter (35:17):

Do you want a coat for my book? Okay. Well from the book, hold on a second, let me get it

Jim Rembach (35:23):

Awesome response. And I don’t know if I want a bore hole in my head to put in the probes that Musk is talking about, however, that crazy, you know, and I don’t want to say never, especially with an Elon Musk.

Louis Carter (35:38):

Um, gosh, I think he’s on the road. He just put that he just put that spaceship into orbit there and he, he’s done incredible things with those Teslas. And now he’s going to put a chip in her head crazy. Who’s going to be the first person. I like the neuro renewable bundling. So my favorite quote, I like this one. So, uh, this is actually okay. So this one was from my killer achievement chapter on page one 82. And we’re talking about failure parties that Intuit had, right? So they had, they hosted failure parties and P and G had, it has its, you know, heroic failure award. And, uh, so it’s, it’s the, it’s the courage to fail and learn from our failures. And so, so, uh, and, uh, WL Gore is actually a neat one. Um, cause they have one, this is action is prized.

Louis Carter (36:36):

Ideas are encouraged and making mistakes, his views, if you’re just part of the creative process. So that’s a cool one. So the quote that I said, because you wanted me to quote myself, right? The quote I said is for resilient organizations, the one rule they all adhere to is embracing failure to leverage the learning well, and talking about the embracing, the failure thing, we have to do that a lot. Um, and in order to be able to move forward, when we talk about getting over the hump on the show, is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share time I’ve gotten over the hump? It’s probably been a lot of those times. Uh, let’s think about time I’ve gotten over the hump.

Louis Carter (37:22):

Well, I think if we’re talking work life, especially, I would say it was when I quit my first job and I quit it and I, I remember doing it because of, you know, and, you know, look, I, I have failure too in this because I had failure to communicate and formulate, uh, deep relationships in that company. But, uh, wait. So I want to know they’re all Harvard people, right? So it was not a Harvard guy, so they immediately excluded me. And uh, so they all went out to for drinks one night and, and uh, they locked me in the office to do their work until three in the morning. I had a lot of work to do cause it was everybody’s heart. So I went downstairs and I wanted to, I opened, tried to open up the door was locked and there was the alarm that was in my way. That was one of the humps in my way. So I didn’t know the key. I know the code, I didn’t have a cake. So I had to call up the owner said, Randy, I’m locked in the office and I don’t have the key or code. What do I do? He was a little bit too drunk to answer me. So I had to, I had to stay a while longer and the police had to help to bring me out.

Louis Carter (38:57):

And I’m I vouched at that time that I would never work for somebody like that again. So I was a little reactive, I think in the moment instead of really making friends with them. I said, I went marching into his office and I went over the hump. I tell him how I felt and I left. That was the, and, and I joined another company that was very respectful and he gave me the opportunity to provide products and do them and create products with them. And they made me their VP of research within four years. And I flourished had wonderful people there who were very kind and very, uh, really kind. And I made up all the greatest friends. Y’all from UNH are nice people. It was when I was younger. It was 25 years ago. Now from UNH, some reason I got along with people from people, the people from UNH and not Harvard.

Louis Carter (39:42):

So go figure they’re very down to earth. And I liked that. So that was the major hump in my life career wise. But when I think about, you know, a lot of the things that you have going on in the work from this book and you and I also have talked about some, you know, your, your family dynamic and, um, you know, the focus that you have there and importance of that need and mentioned some of it in your bio, but you’ve have a lot of things going on. But if I was to talk about one goal, you know, what is one goal you can share with us? The one goal that I I’ve always wanted in my life is to, is to get a Lake home and be totally honest. That’s where I’m looking at. And I know many years have said this I’ve been boating since I was a kid and I haven’t had a boat for 25 years and I’ve w and I’m getting older now.

Louis Carter (40:35):

And, uh, so, you know, family grow up and there’ll be, you know, 10, 15, whatever it might be when they get older, probably to get 10, 15 years, I want to have a Lake house. I want to have a boat. So I kinda put together a plan for it. Um, and a boat savings in the boat, um, how I can invest properly. And so I can make that in a 10 year timeframe and I’m very dedicated to it. So that really is my goal. Uh, and I can’t give you anything about, I’m not going to give you anything like about, you know, saving world peace. And, uh, I want to get a boat in a Lake. That’s the honest truth. That’s good man wishes you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

Speaker 4 (41:20):

Even better place to work is an easiest solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement, along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone. Using this award winning solutions, guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work

Louis Carter (41:34):

Relationships with their colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com forward slash better. Alright, here we go. Fast leader Legion. It’s time.

Speaker 5 (41:46):

Oh God.

Louis Carter (41:47):

Okay. The hump day, hold on is the heart of our show. Lou, where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust. The Reverend responses are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Lou Carter, are you ready to it?

Speaker 5 (42:01):

Read out, ready to hold down, get ready. Ready?

Louis Carter (42:04):

What is holding you back from being an even better leader today? It’s probably a motion regulation, not regulation. I work on it every day. What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? Uh, take it easy. Be cool. And what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success? Heart, heart, heart, and passion. What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life relationships and it accountability partners. And what would be one book you could recommend to our Legion? It could be from any genre. Of course, we’re going to put a link to great company.

Louis Carter (42:54):

So everywhere it’s, I can’t say in great company or any of my other books, I can’t say change champions, field guide. I’ll give you, I’ll give you one of my friends. I’ll get you another book. So the book that I think everyone should read, and I think it’s important for every leader to read it because you, everybody, because it, and I’m going to say just why just real quick. And I know it’s, this is the me around it is called the outcomist by Paulo Coelho. I love it because it talks about the fact that we are already home and we don’t need to venture out too much. We can do our work from home and stay focused on our goals here.

Louis Carter (43:35):

Okay. Fast religion. You can find links to that. And other bonus information from today’s show by going to fast leader.net/lou Carter. Okay. Lou, this is my last Humpday. Hold on question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you can take the knowledge and skills that you have no back with you, but you can’t take it all and only choose one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why? By Apple? I would definitely buy Apple. I would buy real estate more real estate. Um, I re I would defend my portfolio would be different 25. I would know about the subprime mortgage crisis. So I would begin to buy out in 2012. It would be, it’d be literally I tell everybody right now. I mean, I don’t, I’m not giving it. I’m not an RIA.

Louis Carter (44:22):

Um, I think right now is the most important time to focus on, you know, if I was telling my 25 year old self, this focus, your real estate, focus on your investments. Um, focus on your tenure plan, because if you let that go, you know, 10 years, it’s, you’re just gonna be focused on your career. Your career is important. And in finances, you gotta, you gotta balance that careers, not enough jobs, not enough. Don’t forget about yourself and the legacy you’re providing to your family and to others, you can do a lot with it too. You can give it away to others to help them do things like philanthropy and has so many. It just has so much possibilities

Jim Rembach (45:04):

I’m with you today. Can you please share with the fast leader Legion, how they can connect with you? Can I save me?

Louis Carter (45:10):

Louiscarter.com. My name is spelled L O U I S. Carter in French version.com. Come to see me there at https://www.bestpracticeinstitute.org/, I own a company called best practices. She checked me out there or https://resultsbasedculture.com/. It’s another one. Throw all three. Thank you for sharing

Jim Rembach (45:27):

Your knowledge and wisdom. The fast leader, Legion honors you, and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

Samantha Stone: Understanding the Buyer's Voice and Why It Matters | Episode 008

Samantha Stone: Understanding the Buyer’s Voice and Why It Matters | Episode 008

Samantha Stone Show Notes Page

Show Description

Majority of B2B companies focus so much on finding huge opportunities that they forget to deliver on their promises and make a positive, lasting impact on their customers.

Samantha Stone shares on this episode why business should focus less on the quantity of leads they get and more on targeting the right customer and delivering deep and meaningful value to them. According to Samantha, everything you do in marketing is all about understanding the buyers and meeting their needs.

Samantha Stone, author of “Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook that Drives Sales”, is a revenue catalyst who helps unleash the possible in organizations that have complex selling processes.

She’s a fast-growth, B2B marketing strategist, researcher, speaker, consultant and persona coach who has also managed to find time to raise four children with her husband, David.

Throughout her career she has launched go-to-market initiatives and led marketing strategies for award-winning, high-growth companies including Netezza, SAP, Ascential Software and Powersoft.

In 2012 she founded The Marketing Advisory Network to help savvy business leaders unleash the possible within their enterprises.



01:01 – About Samantha Stone

01:56 – The test of endurance on long-term sales cycles

03:15 – Samantha’s passion in B2B digital marketing

04:34 – Why your company should deliver on what it promises

05:46 – Building a relationship with the buyer

07:50 – Making things easy for your customers

09:14 – Why the buyer’s journey is overrated

11:02 – Communicating with people who are in survival mode

13:19 – How often we go through the reengagement process

15:32 – Every company needs to know what it stands for.

19:35 – Shifting the budget from physical events to virtual events

21:32 – Quality vs. quantity content

23:09 – Asking your customers what they care about

24:46 – Understanding the buyer’s voice and balancing our point of view

26:57 – Why the buyer may not understand what you understand

28:24 – Where marketers should invest their money

32:15 – The one question every marketer should ask themselves

37:47 – Connect with Samantha Stone


Memorable Quotes

“Customers telling our stories are far more powerful than those product data sheets that we spend a lot of time on.”

“People don’t need 16 blog posts in their life, they need something deep and meaningful that they truly care about.”

“It’s not about a lot of stuff, it’s about the right, meaningful things.”


Links and Resources

Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook That Drives B2B Sales

The Curse of Knowledge by Chip and Dan Heath

Samantha’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthastonemarketing/

Samantha’s website: http://marketingadvisorynetwork.com/


Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, B2B DM gang. I’ve got somebody on the show today. Who’s now you need a hold on because she’s just full of energy. And she’s going to provide us with a lot of insights about many of the projects that she’s working on, both in client based as well as an interesting community service project that we may want to talk about. Cause I think that also may have some benefit and impact when you start thinking about your own digital marketing activities. Samantha Stone is actually also an author of unleash possible, a marketing playbook that drives sales. She is a revenue catalyst that works with fast growth B to B marketing are actually B2B software companies. Uh, and so she helps with both strategy research, persona building, you know, the things that are important and in order to make sure that you’re connecting with your customers in the most effective way, Samantha Stone, thanks for coming to the show.

Samantha Stone (00:54):

Thanks for having me. I always blush when I have somebody reads the formal bio, it sounds so big and, and um, probably more grandiose than it really is. I fundamentally come in and love working with companies to help them reach their growth strategies. And you know, those are often B2B software companies, sometimes services companies, anybody has a complex buying process. Those are the folks that we specialize in

Jim Rembach (01:19):

Well, and you know, and that’s why I want to join the show is because that’s really what, when you start talking about B to B marketing that we most focus in on, on the B2B digital marketer podcast show, because that sales cycle, you know, can be anywhere from, you know, a few months to maybe even sometimes a couple years for certain organisms, for certain organizations and certain solutions. And it’s a different path that you’d have to go down versus just, Hey, you know, I’m purchase my accounting services or something like that, right?

Samantha Stone (01:50):

Yeah. It’s a test and endurance, right.

Jim Rembach (01:53):

That’s a great, great way of explaining it. And I always talk about the whole marathon component. You know, the relationship building, uh, for me, I always joke how, even on the paid side, right, Hey, I’m trying to get more leads and stuff. And then companies, what they’ll do is, you know, put, put an ad out there and then take people straight to the whole, Hey, take a demo. I’m like, what? I mean,

Samantha Stone (02:16):

They forgot all the dating, right? They, you know, the cording part, the, you know, bill getting to know you, right beginning of this process is just getting to know that buyer and what their needs and wants and desires are and how they like to communicate. Then we get to ask you out on a date.

Jim Rembach (02:30):

Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay. So for me, um, you told us a little, but just give us a little bit more about your background and what your real passion is in this space.

Samantha Stone (02:39):

I, you know, I care really deeply about something that is, um, completely foundational and, um, and in some ways we, we know it, but we don’t always act on it. We fundamentally care about understanding the buyer at the end of the day, everything we do in marketing, every ad, we place every piece of collateral. We create every presentation we author, every website, copyright should be about understanding our buyers and communicating there in a way that needs and communicating to the right buyers. A lot of our products and services can serve lots and lots and lots of people. And we spend so much time, particularly software companies showing the biggest market opportunity on the planet, right? We were like, we go to get funding, whether it’s a loan or venture capital money or seed money, and we have to make it this big, big, big, big opportunity.

Samantha Stone (03:31):

But the reality is we can’t go after big, big, big opportunities. We have to narrow it down to the people that we can have the most impact with. And so we spend a lot of our time, are we focused on the right people? What do they care about? How do we serve them? And then of course, once they become customers, how do we turn them into raving fans? And how do we turn them into advocates? Because we all know that customers telling our stories are far more powerful than those product data sheets that we spend a lot, a lot of time on

Jim Rembach (03:58):

Bye, Tiffany. I mean, for me, what you just said there, I also think is very foundational. I often talking about the three very important components that will impact our digital marketing it’s yes, it’s sales, it’s the marketing that we do, but it’s also that client success, you know, and, and Hey, we have them now let’s keep them and turn them into raving fans.

Samantha Stone (04:18):

You know, that’s the fundamental difference for a lot of organizations. We talk with, we, they, they get very good at getting top of funnel and they may even get good at closing business. But if we’re not good at serving business where you hit a wall and you hit a wall around your profitability, right at the end of the day, you know, we’re here to make money. W w this is, you know, I don’t generally work with companies that are nonprofits that are there for some moral things. Hopefully most of the companies that work with have a moral value proposition and they care about the people that they serve. But fundamentally, we want to make money. You cannot make money. If your product or service doesn’t deliver what it promises, and you don’t have customers who help champion it and grow. It’s, it’s an absolute must for what we have to do. And we as marketers spend too much time at the top of the funnel and not enough working and supporting the backend of that.

Jim Rembach (05:08):

I love that because for me, I always talk about that. My job on that front end is to be able to serve up, you know, a lead or an opportunity that makes it very easy for sales to close. And it really is focusing in on that entire, Hey, how do we date? How do we connect? How do we build the rapport? How do we do it? That’s what we have to really focus in on that front end.

Samantha Stone (05:31):

Absolutely. They have to understand what we do. We need to know who they are, and if we can deliver those things and help salespeople have engaged conversations and dialogue, you know, really what we’re trying to create is dialogue, not a lead. I know lead is a term we need to use because that’s how our systems track things and they’re valuable, but I’m not looking to create a lead. I’m looking to create a dialogue with people who can use our product or service. And that is a very different way of thinking. I know Jim, that you think this way, and I know lots of people do, but it’s been a long, hard, um, challenge to bring sort of our industry along to thinking this way. Um, and I’m pleased to start seeing more and more signs of it. I, you know, we have a long way to go and this isn’t easy, but I’m reassured as I start to see, um, the rise of things like account based marketing and the better integration of sales and marketing and those things are really, really important to our customers. They, they, they care a lot about them.

Jim Rembach (06:28):

I think that’s a great point because a lot of times I talk I’ll refer to, and I’ve experienced it myself as the over promising and the under-delivering.

Samantha Stone (06:36):

Yeah. I want to go the other way. Right? I want to, I want to surprise you a little bit. I want to give you what you need and convince you of that, but I also want to make sure that we’re, um, in some ways, exceeding an expectation, whether that expectation is the same level of delivery, but how we do it as different, the relationships that I’m able to build with you as special, because look, we can all build good things that people need, but you don’t create fans by being good. You create fans by doing something that is special and unique, and that may not be the offering. It may be how we deliver that offering to our customers. And that’s really critical to think about

Jim Rembach (07:12):

Most definitely. And I can tell you for me, um, I received something that was extremely gratifying, uh, not too long ago that I didn’t even realize it would be when I received it. And what I received was a, uh, uh, a thank you from a sales person with one of my clients. And I’m like for, you know, why are you thanking me? And she said, you, and the work that you have done have made it significantly easier for me to make a sale.

Samantha Stone (07:44):

Oh, he’s still my heart. That’s right. Because, you know, that’s the sales person’s perspective, but on the other side, the buyer’s also thanking you. They probably didn’t know to reach out to you and send you a note, but it’s easier for the buyer as well, right? When they understand what we do, when they understand how it aligns to their needs, where they clearly can articulate, how are we different than the alternatives they may be considering? Whereas, where are we a good fit? That’s not easy. That’s really hard. We still complex things. Right? We sell things that are hard to explain, and if you can get that right in our marketing, wow. Like that is, that is incredible. And what a, what a lovely things. And by the way, nothing better than a, than a thank you note from anyone. Right? Like my favorite moments are when I wake up and I opened my email or I get my pile of mail. And there’s a thank you note from someone in any context of my life. And, um, it’s a great Testament to making a difference.

Jim Rembach (08:36):

Oh, most definitely. Okay. So when you start talking about, and you kind of, you’ve already hit on the passion that you have for B to B, but what do you think is quite overrated when it comes to B2B digital marketing?

Samantha Stone (08:48):

That’s a really good question. There’s candidly. I think we think of the buying process is linear, right? So we always draw it. Anybody say you, somebody starts here and they do this, and then they do this and then this, and I do it too. Look, I write buyer’s journeys and they do this and they do this and they do this and then do this because we need a framework by which we can act, right. And we need some way to capture the major milestones that people move through. But the reality is nothing is linear. Nothing is precise, things, move back and forth all along the way. And I think this notion of buyer’s journey is really important and we need to do it and we need to not guess it. And you can’t just sit down with salespeople and ask what the buyer’s journey is.

Samantha Stone (09:31):

Cause they don’t see 90% of the buyer’s journey. They only see the part that interacts with them. But I think how we simplify it is overrated. We want to create these, these, um, cursory understanding of it and start looking at it from our own perspective. And that’s not enough. We need to actually dig in there and, and go deep. Um, and we need to do the hard work of understanding all of the stuff, the buyers DOE that does not include me. They’re not visiting my website. They’re not talking to a salesperson. They’re not reading my literature through. They’re having conversations. They’re building requirements, documents, they’re debating with their boss about how much they can spend. Right? All of those things that our buyers do, I’m prioritizing this over the 50 other things on their, to do list. Um, and we need to do a better job of being empathetic to that and trying to serve those other things as much as we can.

Jim Rembach (10:25):

And what you just said right there to me is the biggest friction point that I often find is that, you know, Hey, you’re your number one priority. If you’re sales, right? You have to make that sale. However, you’re not there’s. Yeah.

Samantha Stone (10:41):

Yes. I mean, look, I would love to believe that the most important part of your day to day Jim is talking to me, it’s probably not. I’m hoping you are enjoying our conversation. I certainly am. And I hopefully our listeners and viewers, well as well, but at the end of the day, we all live in this complex context. Every day something’s going right now, it’s gotten, you know, even more right. Everybody is in survival mode. In one point, you know, we’ve never gone through a point in time and the world where this type of additional anxiety and pressure and stress has affected everyone. We’ve gone through moments in time where there was a crisis. There was a floods in Texas, or there were, um, tornadoes in Thailand or tsunamis in Thailand that affected people. Or there were, um, election dis you know, disruptions in another country.

Samantha Stone (11:31):

There are points in times where things happen and we as marketers react to them right now, the thing that is happening is literally impacting every single person in the world in some way. And every single person has had stress. They may be still working. They may not be working. They may be home. They may be in an office or on a manufacturing plant floor, but they are impacted in some way, but it’s happening in the pandemic. And we, as B to B, marketers have to recognize that people have gone into survival mode, right? They may have food, they may have shelter, but mentally our brain space is survival mode. And I’m not gonna, I can’t process 18 months from now. So it has, we’ve had to change how we communicate to people. And it’s an extreme example, but the same thing is true on an individual basis, what might be happening at a company, but be happening with a person, right? We’ve all sold to someone who just had a baby, a happy moment, but guess what? They’re distracted. And no matter how much they care about their job, there’s this outside context that is in fact affecting them. And we can’t pretend that the only thing that matters to them is that job in that moment.

Jim Rembach (12:42):

So I have to ask you, when you start talking about that buyer journey, right, is that, how often are you finding yourself to have to go through a reengagement process? So like, you know, when you start talking about all these different factors and, you know, Hey, we had a reorg, Hey, we had an acquisition, Hey, my job responsibilities change. You now have a new person who you’re interacting with. All of these things happen. I mean, so when you start talking about the buyer journey, how often do you see that come into play?

Samantha Stone (13:11):

Well, more often than not. So two of the most successful, short term revenue campaigns that I, that my clients run or that I was in house for a lot of years before I launched the marketing advisory network, nine years ago, two of the most successful campaigns that consistently perform to drive short term revenue boosts. It’s not necessarily as a closed loss campaign. People that we actually lost to whether they bought someone else or they didn’t buy anything. And we considered them out of our pipeline and pipeline acceleration programs that look at people who might be stalled at a particular stage and try and move them forward. Something has happened in both of those instances where we have lost some level of engagement with folks. And so always there is, um, in these complex buying processes where multiple people are making a decision, we’ve got to reengage and we have to build strategies into our marketing that is constantly reengaging.

Samantha Stone (14:10):

And re-engaging, by the way, isn’t just marketing. How do we help support sales in their reengagement? How do we help customers account management? Re-engage how do we reengage with our executives? In what ways? Sometimes it’s engaging because we’re at, I mean, we’re not at physical events right now, but under normal circumstances, we would be so sometimes an engagement isn’t about us, you know, sending about one where out of physical event, how do we reengage the people we lost touch with that are so happened to be there, right? So how do we create opportunities for people to say yes, to talking with us and dialoguing with us? And that’s absolutely critical to supporting long buying processes that months, weeks, sometimes to your point Jim years.

Jim Rembach (14:56):

Most definitely. So I think when you start talking about everything that is so chaotic at the moment, there are opportunities for some, you know, stability, consistency that are going to add value. So when you start looking at I’m here right now today, and I call this our new reality. I mean, I’m sorry, we’re going to have many cycles closer and closer to the things that we’re experiencing right now. It’s not, you know, I think if you go back to the H one N one that was a few years, a few years ago, you had the Bola issue. That was, and so what’s going to start happening is these events are going to happen more often. Um, we’re getting more globalized. I mean, we’re interacting more as an entire species. Um, we’re doing all kinds of other things as far as even creating radicals that maybe infusing some things. I mean, there’s just a whole lot, that’s not even getting into the whole natural disaster thing. So it’s our new reality, but there’s opportunities for us to stand out. Um, and I talk about, you know, Hey, what do I, what can I do in order to be a disruptor? So in your mind, what do you think a BTB digital marketer can do right now to maybe disrupt things and stand out?

Samantha Stone (16:07):

Yeah. One of the important things we have to do is figure out what we stand for. There’s a lot going on. We haven’t even talked about in America, the call for racial justice and getting rid of racism and the rise of the me too movement and all of these things, right? So we’ve sort of been, I’ve been talking about the pandemic and how sort of health crisis affects things. Talk a little bit about natural disasters could have a similar impact, but we also have these social movements that are happening. Every company doesn’t need to have something to say about a social movement, but every company does need to understand what it stands for and every company needs to live those values. So for me, sure, there’s parts of marketing that are disrupting people writing to get in front of people. So they see my message and we’ve got to be sensitive about how and where and why we do that.

Samantha Stone (16:52):

But none of that matters if we don’t really know our, our bigger meaning, our bigger calling, what are we trying to achieve and what are we trying to do? And how do we live those values in every interaction we have, and right now is the perfect opportunity to take a moment and pause and say, we all have some value chart. That’s on some poster in the cafeteria. And in, you know, in offices, we probably had meetings where we rolled it up, but take a step back. What do they really mean to us? And how do we really interact with that? And how do we take a moment to be real? One of the things that I hope stays after everything that we’ve been going through right now is customers are in fact more empathetic to businesses as well. They actually want to help businesses survive and thrive.

Samantha Stone (17:39):

They understand that we might not be able to deliver an overnight delivery of something like we did before. They know that they might have to leave a voicemail instead of a live person, picking up a phone for a customer support question, because they know that when they talk to somebody, they might have a little kids running around in the background or dogs barking or whatever’s going on. And so empathy goes both ways. Empathy goes to our customers and we as marketers, myself included, spent almost all of our time talking about that. But, you know, you’ve won when your customers and your buyers and your community are empathetic to you. And this is the opportunity. We have to be really clear about who we are, what we stand for and what we are as people. So we can build that kind of bi-directional empathy with our customers, because that’s what this is about building. And yes, they make rational business decisions, but we need an emotional connection to transfer from being a transaction, to being a, a partner and someone that they want to advocate for. And that is really hard, um, and really, really challenging, but completely doable. And we have the opportunity to do that. And we’ve seen lots and lots of companies model that behavior for us, and we have this great chance to stand up and, um, and leverage those models and to do some of that work ourselves.

Jim Rembach (18:58):

So I start thinking about, wow, we’ve had it a lot of different aspects of that buyer journey. Um, and it definitely has to align with how we set up our systems. And certainly it also has to align with where we’re investing in putting all of our effort. Now, when you start thinking about where we are today, um, and looking at maybe the beginning of the year, I have the same budget, maybe even less than I have to work with now because of revenues, numbers have been impacted. But if I was to say, I w I should think about reallocating investments from one place to another, where do you think you’d make that shift? Where do you want to invest more in right now with the same budget?

Samantha Stone (19:37):

That’s a really good question. I do want to, I’m going to answer that. I promise, but I do want to come make one comment on something you said, you know, we have to align around our systems. That is true, but one of the big mistakes I see companies making is if we can’t take all the manual steps out and we can’t, um, and we can’t scale it in an automated way, we tend to be afraid of doing it. There are things that are worth doing that require manual intervention that are imperfect. The system can’t do for us in these, particularly in these complex sales processes. And we have entire groups of people called salespeople to actually execute those manual steps for us. And we, as marketers need to do a better job of being okay with not being able to scale something and being okay with something being manual, because that’s how we built connections.

Samantha Stone (20:23):

So having said that, you know, look, physical events are not going to happen for the rest of the year. So whatever money we were spending on them, we have the opportunity to think about how can I create a better digital experience for someone. Some of that might be an investing in virtual events, which by the way, are not inexpensive to do well. If you want interactivity, if you want to create the proxy for networking, if you want to treat it like as bi-directional and not just to push communication, you have to invest in doing that. But I’m a big believer. This is an opportunity for us to take a moment to do that. I also think there’s an opportunity for us to take a step back and think about content. We often tend to be thinking about content as volume, how much stuff can I get out?

Samantha Stone (21:03):

I want to create a lot of things. I need a steady cadence in theory. That’s true. But actually, if you go back and you look at what matters in buying processes and what matters and changing the trajectory of campaigns, it’s always one or two really meaningful pieces. It’s always like this. There’s a, there’s a couple things that get shared a lot. There’s a couple things that really move the way a reader or watcher thinks. And so we need to take this moment to pause and say, what is that? What can I bring to the world that my buyers care about right now that is deep and important and changes the way somebody thinks about something and kind of throw out that editorial calendar right now, because people don’t need 16 blog posts right now in their life. They just, don’t, they’re busy, they’re exhausted. They’re working from home, or maybe they’re in an office and their anxiety is up because everybody’s wearing a mask and they’ve got barriers.

Samantha Stone (21:56):

And they’re standing far apart with, you know, all these things are affecting us. So we need to take the moment and say, it’s not about a lot of stuff. It’s about the right meaningful things. And it’s, it may take us longer to create those. It may be something we can’t whip out quickly. That’s okay. Now, just to listeners, don’t get confused. I’m not advocating, stopping short form things. I’m not saying don’t have some cadence. I’m just saying this is a perfect moment in time to pause and really think about what you can make a significant and meaningful difference for your community.

Jim Rembach (22:32):

You know, as you were saying that I find, uh, oftentimes what happens is people move on to the next thing. And what I mean by that is, so if I’m talking about just the blog post example, um, you know, I take an, I do that blog post, I move on to the next thing and we don’t think about chunking. And so it’s like, Hey, I had something. It was very impactful. Instead, I need to think about repurposing. And that creates all those little micro, you know, type of content components and elements, but it’s going back to that piece that was impactful. So I find that people oftentimes just spin their wheels, creating content and getting into that spiral of just cranking things out and not really seeing and taking advantage of the things that did have the impact.

Samantha Stone (23:16):

You know, the biggest thing we could do is actually ask people their opinion before we publish something. So I’m not talking about a small blog post or a social post, but when you have a meaningful chunk of content that you’re producing, you know, I don’t know about you, Jim, but I’ve been part of some pretty lengthy internal review cycles where we’d sometimes have eight, 10, 15 people internally reviewing and providing input. I’m not writing for those people. So sure. I get that. We have to have an internal workflow and a process. And some of those people are, but we actually ask the people it’s for go. I don’t care. If you ask to go find two people that you’re creating this content for and tell them, does this meaningful to you, did it answer questions that are important to you? What’s missing? Do you care? Like just go, you know, like even little, little samples of our actual buyers make a big difference on that piece of content ability to actually have an impact.

Jim Rembach (24:09):

I love that you said that one of the things I often find that I want to just say, but I can’t, uh, is when you people do review something internally and they start giving you this feedback, and I want to say, you know what? I don’t care about your opinion.

Samantha Stone (24:24):

I don’t quite say I don’t care, but I do often try and point out. We might make it, you know, we might be suffering from like these common denominator syndrome, right. Where like, you know, that’s not really the buyer’s voice, right? I mean, I’m sure Jim, you do the same thing. We get really good at the proxy for it doesn’t matter what you think, what matters is the person that we’re writing this for. And, um, that is, that is it really channeling thing for us to do as marketers is to balance, you know, our point of view and expressing our point of view to the world and understanding what the person who’s going to be consuming that content needs and wants from that.

Jim Rembach (25:01):

Yeah. It’s like, you’re not your customer.

Samantha Stone (25:04):

Right? Right. And, you know, look, I’ve been fortunate. I’ve worked for one or two companies where we were actually very much the persona of the person that we’re going, but most of us sell stuff that we don’t use. Most of us sell stuff that is, um, purchased from a very different person than ourselves. And we all do it. It is in our nature. You cannot help, but bring yourself to things that you review. Um, no matter how hard we try. So we have to do the research. We have to understand them. Number one. And then we have to practice putting ourselves in that lens. And it’s hard. I know that this is easier said than done.

Jim Rembach (25:37):

Most definitely. That’s one of the most, one of them, to me, it’s one of the most challenging elements, quite frankly. Um, and so chip and Dan Heath, uh, our authors, they wrote a book called made to stick. Um, and they’ve wrote, they’ve written a couple of others, but in that book, they introduced the curse of knowledge. And everybody is impacted by that whole curse of knowledge. It’s lot, especially when you’re starting to talk about a lot of the solution providers and service providers into the B2B space, because they’re experts in what they do and what they know and the products and services they created. However, being able to convey that to your target is, has to be done differently.

Samantha Stone (26:12):

Yeah. You know, it’s funny, you can’t see it. But, um, if I look to my left, there is that book on my shelf. Um, it’s a great book. I actually highly recommend it. Um, we, we have to understand it. And also we have to understand that, like we have to bring people, it took us years of building, whatever it is that we sell. And we, it took us years to get to this level of extra expertise about it. Right. And we have to remember, not only does our audience have a different point of view, they haven’t been there for this whole trail. Right. We also sometimes actually had this conversation yesterday with a client. We were creating a bunch of content. They said, Oh, this is getting boring. I’m like, timeout, you read 15 pieces of our content this week. I promise you not a single person that we’re marketing to has read anywhere near 15 pieces of our content this week.

Samantha Stone (26:57):

Right. So, no, we don’t want to be repetitive for repetitive statements. Think about, have all these pieces fit together. But we also have to recognize that our buyers don’t read our content in the order, by which we produce it. They don’t read it in concentrated times all together. They’re going to forget things we can’t say in paper three. Well, we take that out because we talked about that in paper. One, the people reading papers three don’t remember if they read paper one and often didn’t even see it. So, um, we, those are the things that we have to train ourselves to recognize and to try and take that step back. And it’s hard because the more we do, the more familiar we are with what we’re creating and it’s, it is a interesting step, which is why external people or people outside marketing should be reviewing content because they have a lens that, um, we as content creators can’t provide, we’re just too close to it.

Jim Rembach (27:48):

Most definitely. Okay. So let’s pull off the rains. Okay. Let’s pull off the constraints, right? So you have now a wealth of budget and resources to do whatever the heck you wanted to do. Right. Where would you invest?

Samantha Stone (28:00):

Oh, it’s impossible for me to answer that question because, um, um, well, here’s what I can tell you how I would make the decision about where to invest. So I would, um, look at my marketing, um, metrics at a very detailed level. I would look at three things I would look at, um, of the leads that are coming in. What, how are we converting to the next stage in our buying process, whether that’s a meeting a demo, it could be a variety of things. So what I would look at that, I would look at the length of time, it’s taking to move across the various stages of our buying process. So, you know, from demo to proposal, how long does that take, right? There’s, you know, whatever that process looks like for your product or service, how long between steps. And I would look at our goals as a business and how much, you know, we’re trying to do, whether it’s a profitability, primary goal, whether it’s more revenue growth, whether we’re trying to go after a new segments or whatever that strategic important business value is.

Samantha Stone (28:55):

And I would look at how are we performing? I would look at, um, then how do we, um, where are we stuck? Where are there, where are there places that we are struggling to move people? And I would put a lot of my attention on that. I’ll never tell somebody that, you know, Hey, um, take all your event money and move it to digital advertising. Almost never. Will that be the right thing to do? Is it likely that I’m going to move some shore, right. But we need to look holistically at how we are surrounding customers, you know, and we need to think about that. We also need to think about practical things right now, if you have a heavy, direct mail, um, strategy, um, which I believe in, by the way, I think direct mail can be meaningful and impactful at the right ways in the right places for B2B complex, long sales cycles.

Samantha Stone (29:43):

A lot of our buyers are not in their office. A lot of our buyers are not in wherever it is that they go to work right now. And I don’t where it’s going to send, sit on their desk. Like, so what do we do with that? So for me, I need to better understand the business and what we’re trying to achieve, but we do need to very much understand what we can’t do right now. Physical events, direct mail, the way we were going to do it. We have to reallocate things. And the closer I can get to creating a personalized dialogue with my buyers. That’s what I want to invest in. So maybe I keep doing the same, um, uh, placements for contents indication, for example, but what I might invest in creating some different kind of content, that’s going to be much more impactful and meaningful than what I’ve pushed there before, or maybe I’m going to increase the number of places that my advertisements are performing, or maybe I’m going to invest more heavily and really rethink my website and invest in how my website works.

Samantha Stone (30:41):

Or maybe I don’t really have an effective nurturing strategy. And I need to put some time and money and energy into that. So I can’t say prescriptively, this is the lever to push, but I can tell you, you have to look at that conversions along the way, find your bottlenecks, find the places where your stock and try and unstick those. The other thing is find, what’s working, find the people that you are successful with and look for the patterns. What makes it different? Did they consume certain types of content that others didn’t? Did we, um, are they a different kind of buyer? Do they, do we have clusters of success in one industry or one roll of people we target more than others. So maybe we’d find, Hey, people like this, don’t have double Proverbs in conversion. I’m going to go find more people like that. And I’m going to put that extra investment and finding more people like that. So it’s, um, it’s understanding that process very, very deeply.

Jim Rembach (31:38):

Okay. So one of the questions I ask is what do you think, you know, a digital B to B marketers, um, you know, really have to be asking themselves. And the reality is, I think you just ripped off about 10 questions.

Samantha Stone (31:52):

Yeah. You know, look, this isn’t easy. And, you know, we had to really take a look at our websites, you know, for the most part B to B websites are pretty awful. They’re beautiful these days, right? Because the technology that builds the infrastructure has been, um, much, much better. They’re rich and content because we all believe that it’s rich in content. We’re really lousy at creating dialogue. We throw a forum up all day long in front of people. And I do believe in this conversation of marketing, like drift is just one example of a company that enables it. But they did a really good job of saying like, don’t do forms to have conversations and we really need to do better at that in the B to B world, we need to have interactivity. We need to have a way to engage people. Look, people learn in multiple ways.

Samantha Stone (32:35):

Some people are auditory. Some people are visual. Some people are, have to do, but we were still too much push them through a form, push them, throw a form, push them through a form. And I get it. We want to know who’s consuming our stuff so we can follow up. But really what we want is we want people to come to us and think of us as an expert. So sure. We’ve got to capture some information, but we have a lot of control about how we capture that information and we’re not doing a good job. So if we could invest in technology and we can invest in infrastructure, to me, it would be about those places that we interact with those community and doing a much better job of making it feel like a relationship instead of putting up things that feel like barriers.

Jim Rembach (33:22):

Well, I think that’s a great point. So for me, what I’m finding more success in and more interested in is like interactive video, where it’s not just the push of a video. We’re actually people in a, where are some more of the sophisticated type types of, uh, um, you know, dial dialogue processes where people are actually giving you input and information about what their needs and desires and wants are. And then you’re actually taking that. And you’re automating that process. There’s more and more that that’s becoming available. And where I find a lot of my work going,

Samantha Stone (33:53):

I’m a big fan of video. I’m also a big fan of things like this. Like, why don’t you take a podcast or a video interview series or other things and talk to your buyers, right? Like it doesn’t every touch we have, doesn’t have to be about us and selling something. We’re just trying to build relationships with people. And if you’ve got a multi month or multi-year sales cycle, you’re going to have to talk about something other than yourself, because we’re going to get bored pretty quickly just talking about what we do. So we’ve got to provide those opportunities for people to engage and be real with each other and be human and acknowledge where we are. I also think that we as B2B marketers, don’t use enough of things like review sites that are out there, right? There’s these people who are talking about what their needs are, there’s these rich opportunities to see what they’re searching for.

Samantha Stone (34:36):

And we’re not fully utilizing those mechanisms to try and find people that we can serve. And it’s time for us to get a little bit more creative about that. And I get a little bit, again, it’s not about scale. A lot of the reasons I actually did a research project where I interviewed a whole bunch of people about B2B review sites and as marketers and how they’re using them and where they’re not. And one of the problems that can becoming is it’s not enough volume. The people that I meet are great, but I need six times as many. I’m like, why do you need six times? If these things convert a 10 times the rate of other things, I understand the desire to find things that are big, but we’ve got to stop, always looking for that. How do I scale it and how do I automate it and find the ways to engage. And sometimes that’s at small volume and sometimes that’s with a manual step that doesn’t mean we can’t scale and grow and other things, but we’ve got to find that balance better.

Jim Rembach (35:29):

Well, I think what you bring up though is oftentimes that pressure from outside of other words, you need to bring me more leads, need to bring me more leads, looking at the quality and the conversion aspect. Yeah.

Samantha Stone (35:41):

And whenever somebody says that, I look at them and I tell them, no, I don’t. I need to bring you more opportunities. The number of leads only matters because we have a math formula that we’ve created going down the path. And I could deliver you a thousand leads that generates 10 opportunities are going to do a hundred that generates 10, which do you want? I’d rather spend more and do the a hundred because I’m more efficient through the rest of the process. And I’m focused on the buyers who really really care, but those are hard discussions to have, right? That’s, that’s a, that’s a, um, our inclination is my need my business to grow. I need more at the top, but really what we need to be looking at. Sure. We may need some more at the top, but we also need to do a better job of moving people across the relationship with us.

Samantha Stone (36:22):

Because at the end, if those customers have really cared about us and we’ve moved them all the way through and they, they they’ve known us for months. We think about this. We as B2B, marketers are really lucky because our customers aren’t. We always talk about how hard it is, but think about the benefit of this. They are not impulse buying. We are building a multi month relationship with people that is way stickier than when I go into a store and I grab a cupcake off the shelf because Ooh, that looks good. And I’m hungry. I have no brand. As you know, I have no loyalty to that. It’s got loyalty and I’ve got investment. I’ve put months into deciding the solution that I’m going to choose. I’ve invested a lot. And I care a lot about that. That’s a gift to us as B to B marketers, and we need to do a better job of receiving that gift.

Jim Rembach (37:10):

Now, Samantha, I have, I’ve had a blast with you. Can you let the B to B digital marketing gang know how to get in touch with you?

Samantha Stone (37:18):

Yeah, absolutely. So, um, I’m on LinkedIn and very active there. Um, so please people should feel free to reach out to me there. Um, you can also visit marketing advisory network.com and we’ve got tons of resources. And I think there’s almost nothing that has a form in front of it. I really believe in just sort of, you know, sort of eating my own words and living that. Um, the only time we really do a form is if somebody is registering for an event, because we need to be able to do ongoing communications about logistics, otherwise take it. There’s tons of great stuff there. I hope people use it, go to the resource section and, um, they’ll see lots of things that are the lessons that we’ve learned over the years that we want to make sure help marketers get better and better

Jim Rembach (37:58):

Samantha Stone. We appreciate you sharing your knowledge and wisdom, and we wish you the very best. Thanks for having me.

287: Lolly Daskal – Leading From Within

287: Lolly Daskal – Leading From Within

Lolly Daskal Show Notes Page

Lolly Daskal shares her insights on the many ways a leader can lead from within. Throughout her career, she experienced many humps to overcome, and although leading from within may not be easy, there are certainly many tools and techniques that can help your life more meaningful and memorable.

Lolly Daskal grew up in New York City and she travels around the world on a continuous basis to serve her clients.

From an early age she knew she wanted to learn develop and evolve. And that led to her helping and develop others. In life, we mostly teach what we need to learn.

This has brought her to her journey of who she is. A discovery of self to helping others discover themselves. In life, she studies psychology and philosophy and applies the principles to who she is and what she does.

Lolly is the founder and CEO of Lead From Within, a consulting and coaching company. Lead From Within’s proprietary leadership and coaching programs are engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance their performance and also make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives and the world.

Based on a mix of modern philosophy, science, and nearly 30 years of experience in coaching top executives, Lolly’s perspective on leadership continues to break new ground and produce exceptional results.

She has written several books and is the author of The Leadership Gap: What gets between you and your greatness.

Lolly still lives in New York City and is the proud mother of three grown children.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @LollyDaskal get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShowClick to Tweet

Control is identifying what we need to do by who we are. – Click to Tweet

The more people oppose to what you say, the more you find you have energy to say it. – Click to Tweet

We have to remember where we came from to where we are today. – Click to Tweet

When we look at our customer as a human being instead of wanting to get something from them, you have a much better relationship. – Click to Tweet

We have within us a polarity of character. Learning to navigate and choose who you’re going to be is where the discipline comes in. – Click to Tweet

Every leader has a choice. In every circumstance that leader can choose to be different. – Click to Tweet

If a leader takes the time to develop themselves, then they have to invest in their people. – Click to Tweet

It’s not only about the leader evolving and growing and becoming who they need to be. The people have to know that their development is just as important. – Click to Tweet

It doesn’t matter what title or position a person is in. Every single person matters. – Click to Tweet

Every single person has something that they want to improve. – Click to Tweet

Every single person is here to be their most valuable. – Click to Tweet

Greatness can be and should be embraced by every single person. – Click to Tweet

You’re valuable, and you do have greatness within you. – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Lolly Daskal shares that she experienced many humps to overcome, and although leading from within may not be easy, there are certainly many tools and techniques that can help your life more meaningful and memorable.

Advice for others

Be kind to yourself and stop judging yourself.

Holding her back from being an even better leader


Best Leadership Advice

Lead from within

Secret to Success

Trying to be authentic every moment in everyday

Best tools in business or life


Recommended Reading

The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

Man’s Search for Meaning

Contacting Lolly Daskal

Lolly’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/LollyDaskal

Lolly’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lollydaskal

Lolly’s website: https://www.lollydaskal.com/



Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, fast leader leading today. I’m excited because we have somebody on the show today who has a great depth and great range of things that we need to know, not just today, but for the future and bringing a whole lot of past and understanding and experience along with it. Lolly Daskal grew up in New York city and she travels around the world on a continuous basis to serve her clients from an early age, she knew she wanted to learn, develop, and evolve, and that led to her helping and developing others in life. We mostly teach what we need to learn. This has brought her to her journey of who she is, a discovery of SEL to helping others discover themselves in life. She studies psychology and philosophy and applies the principles to who she is. And what she does Lolly is the founder and CEO of lead from within a consulting and coaching company lead from within his proprietary leadership and coaching programs are engineered to be a catalyst for leaderships who wants to enhance their performance and also make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives and the world based on a mix of modern philosophy science and nearly 30 years of experience and coaching top executives, Lolly’s perspective on leadership continues to break new ground and produce exceptional results.

Jim Rembach (01:12):

She has written several books and is the author of the leadership gap. What gets between you and your greatness while he was born and raised in New York city? Like I said, where she lives today and she is the proud mother of three grown children, Lolly Daskal, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Lolly Daskal (01:27):

Absolutely. So great to be here.

Jim Rembach (01:30):

I’m glad you’re here. And now I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better

Lolly Daskal (01:38):

Currently? I’m actually, I might sound boring because I feel like I’m going to say the same thing. I get the most pleasure and I feel like I’m right on point when I help my clients. And I serve my clients. That to me, I love waking up in the morning because I know I’m going to be making a difference.

Jim Rembach (01:57):

So, but when you start talking about making a difference, I mean, that’s, that’s the very broad, I mean, it’s so when you start looking at specifics and you start looking at impacts and you start looking at efforts and you start looking at constraints and complaints, and I mean, that’s where it gets complex, even talk the mill and to go like, Hey, let me turn my phone off. Cause my clients will call me in emergency. So when you start talking about navigating through all that, especially today, what does that look like?

Lolly Daskal (02:21):

First of all, a couple of things I want to you, to me, you seem to have asked a lot of questions in that one question. So I want to talk about the first thing you said. What does it mean to make a difference? If thinking about myself every single day, I have this ritual that I ask myself, what will you do today? That you were better than yesterday? So I know that I’m always evolving and developing myself. And that’s when I know I’m making a difference because every single client that calls or writes or texts, I always have this mantra and say, leave this person better because they’re talking to you again. I know I’m making a, I know that I’m, I am making a difference, not only my own life, but I’m making a difference in someone else’s. So that’s the first part of your question.

Lolly Daskal (03:07):

How do I know I’m making a difference because I’m very conscious and very deliberate about how I am during the day and who I am. So I know that I am, I can check it off at the end of the night. Secondly is when we are in crisis, when people are feeling panic and anxiety, we tend to get distracted by what’s happening out there instead of what’s going on inside. And you know, my company is called lead from within, and it’s a message that I’ve been saying for over three decades. So there’s a lot of what and who and where and why going on. But if we go back to the hoop, we go back to the core of what we are we can seen not seen, but we can control the outside when we are more controlling of our inside. Meaning when I mean, control is identifying what we need to do by who we are.

Jim Rembach (04:04):

Okay. So there’s one thing that you said in there that I’d like to pull out because I find it very intriguing. When you start talking about, for the past 30 years, I had the opportunity to work for an academic, uh, who was focused in, on the customer experience and worked for her for many years. And she always, uh, sometimes I say, she’d get a little frustrated. She say, I’ve been saying the same thing for 20 years. And I looked at her and said, well, you’ll probably be saying the same for 20 more. So if you start talking about 30 years, right? Um, I’ve been saying the same thing for 30 years. Is there something that you’ve been doing and sang for the same 30?

Lolly Daskal (04:38):

Absolutely. Think of it like a rock star. You know, when you have a hit song and you really love that hit song when it’s meaningful to you, you never get tired of singing it. So at the core of lead from within is so meaningful to me is so purposeful to me that it gives me energy. And the thing is, think about it this way. My message wasn’t very invoked. 10 years ago, 25 years ago, it was almost like crawling up a mountain and saying, you know, you need to think of others. Think about it this way. Leadership in, when I first started out was about authority and it wasn’t about a week. It was about, I do this, you do this. Now the messages let’s do this together. That does not, that has existed for a long time. So even though I’ve been saying from my message for over 30 years, it doesn’t mean it’s been an easy journey. Doesn’t mean that it was people were embracing the message. The more people are opposed to what you say, the more you find your energy to say it. So there’s a think about it this way, the message is old. And the message is something that I say, but the climate within that message is always different. So it’s different the way I show up.

Jim Rembach (05:53):

Well, as you’re talking to, I mean, I deal a lot with the customer experience, customer service, dealing with context centers, and you start talking about how leadership translates, you know, from the inside to the outside. It’s a, permientations, it’s a true, you know, transference. I mean, all of those things that we know are true. So if you start talking to though about those 30 years, how has the whole employee and customer experience come into the leadership communication and mix and context?

Lolly Daskal (06:19):

Absolutely. What a great question. It seemed when I first started out customer service was, was a silo thing. It wasn’t what it is today. It isn’t what it is today. Thank God things have evolved. Thank God people have embraced a different kind of way of customer service. You know, we take for granted that the customer’s always right. It wasn’t always like that. We have to remember where we came from to where we are today. Can we do better? Always. Did we do great from the beginning? Absolutely not. That’s what’s so great about being in your business for, you know, to have longevity because you see how things have evolved. I think today, when we look at our customer as a human being, instead of wanting to get something from them, instead of trying to win them over, but to really embrace them authentically, you have a much better relationship and you actually don’t have to sell as much. You don’t have to proud as much. You find that if I’m showing up authentically, if I’m being there because I want to help you, I want to serve you. Then it’s a much better relationship and you’d get great results.

Jim Rembach (07:29):

Well, even when you say that, though, I start thinking about in today’s climate, where the whole skepticism and lack of trust and all that makes it very difficult. And we also know that there are some perpetrators and some of them in very high offices that are very high profile that may appear, you know, to come across like that. And then when you peel back the little kimono or early on, and you’re like, Oh my gosh, that’s nasty, close it back up. And so it just adds to our whole missing distrust. How do we overcome that?

Lolly Daskal (07:57):

So the great thing is you mentioned earlier, my book, the leadership gap, the leadership gap talks about that we have within us, a polarity of character, every single person has it. It’s based on psychology. It’s actually based on young. We have a part of us that is great and great. Let’s put it in quotes because great means wonderful, authentic, true character, meaning purposeful. And then we all have a side when we are stressed. When we have anxiety, when we’re in crisis, we have a side that comes out that young, used to call a shadow. And I call the gap where we are not at our best, where we say things. We don’t want to say you called it. You know, behind the kimono, there are things that are not that great about each one of us. We’re not perfect human beings. If we go around saying that we are these complete human beings without any flaws, we are a disservice to humanity because we have within us as polarity.

Lolly Daskal (08:59):

We’re good. We’re great. We’re bad. We’re not so great. But it’s learning to navigate and choose who you’re going to be is where the discipline comes in. So with the kimono, yes, it exists. But that leader has a choice. Now think about it this way. In every circumstance that leader can choose to be different. If they don’t for many years, trust me, I know this, I’ve seen this. Something will happen that we’ll have that leader come undone. And then all of a sudden they’re looking at their lives. They’re reflecting on their mistakes. And you know, there is this journey that everybody goes on, maybe the first 30 years of their lives, everything is working out, but it happens to all of us. There is what we call a breakdown in humanity within ourselves, where we start to question ourselves, Oh, I can’t believe that’s what I’m doing. Maybe I need to do something else. You see people later on in life going into charities and philanthropies, but there’s a reason because there’s this ease within themselves. Maybe they got an illness, but it’s really cold. A dis ease, meaning within yourself as a human being.

Jim Rembach (10:10):

Well, so I guess we call that the midlife crisis and some of us have multiples of those. Right.

Lolly Daskal (10:16):

You know, psychology says it’s every seven years we go through that every seven years. So it’s yeah,

Jim Rembach (10:22):

It’s a, it’s definitely, it’s definitely a cycle. Um, so I guess the thing is for me, as you’re talking and I’m thinking about the customer connection and all that, a lot of times they talk about the disconnection between the top and head of an organization in the feet of the organization. And so, you know, I may think I’m delivering this experience up here. And this is the one that we’re actually saying that we’re delivering. And, but when you actually, when all that gets filtered down, you know, and it gets to the frontline, very different things are occurring. And I think that’s a common problem. So think about it from an overall leadership investment perspective. We spend all this money up here for all these executives, but then when we get down to the frontline, it’s none of that is applied. How can we prevent that?

Lolly Daskal (11:02):

I hear this all the time. How do you know there’s so much happening on top? By the time it gets filtered down, either the messages, laws, it’s not felt the way it needs to be. I think, you know, people talk about that. It could be trust, right? But you know what really, I find that the core of that is it’s called communication. I find that if people are talking at people, if you at the top, right, if they have this view, you’re at the top of the mountain and talking at people, then the message, by the time it reaches the bottom, it’s like, what did you say? But if you bring the bottom and the middle to the top, and it’s more of a group, it’s more of we’re in this together. This is what we need to say. This is how we should think about it.

Lolly Daskal (11:50):

It’s not that I’m telling you what to do. My communication, do this, say this, but communication is you’re down there. Right, right. You know, what’s going on in the foxhole. So what is really happening? Tell us to the top. And then we can together create the message because you’re there. You know, even though I have an idea that I think it needs to happen. So when I work in an organization, I usually start with the CEO, right. That’s where the board of directors brings me in. That’s where an HR director brings me in. And I talked to them about their communication is just not filtering down. Well, guess what I do then over time, I start the bottom of the organization. I work from the top of the organization and I work on bringing them together. That’s part of my work. So it becomes a week, not a me. And it becomes a message that’s embraced by them.

Jim Rembach (12:42):

Okay. So for me, I start thinking as someone who does marketing and lead generation and all of those types of things, I started thinking of an overall campaign and process. And of course, something like this as an ongoing campaign that should never end. Right. Um, so I would dare to say that, you know, you’re going and engineering an entire experience for the executive.

Lolly Daskal (13:04):

I am actually, um, not only for the executive, but for the organization as well. This is what I really believe. I believe that if a leader takes the time to develop themselves, then they have to invest in their people. It’s not only that a leader is evolving and growing and becoming who they need to be. Your company. Your people have to know that they’re just as important their development. We have these things that we call master classes that I create these classes within an organization that people can hand choose to take a masterclass of themselves. What do I need to help myself? Just like the CEO, the CEO is not up here and I’m down here. No, we’re in this together. And that’s part of leading from within that every single person matters. It doesn’t matter what position you’re in or title.

Jim Rembach (13:52):

Well, okay. So, but as you’re saying that you often find, um, when you, especially when you start talking about the size of the organization, you have more people who just don’t want to engage in that particular process. And so people will come from different perspectives and lenses about addressing those particular people. But what are you teaching executives for people who don’t want to be part of the group?

Lolly Daskal (14:14):

Oh, trust me. Um, if we’re in video, you know, I’m this blonde woman, I’m very petite. I walk into a room with engineers, every single one of them snares at me the first hour. It’s like, who is this woman? By the time I’m done. It’s like, Oh wow. This is the best day of my life. I go, what about your marriage? No, no. This is the best day of my life. I have testimonials that are so funny. And I go, I know, and I say this and I’m there I go. I know you’re not expecting much from me, but I’m here to surprise you. And in here, this is not about me. It’s about you. And so every CEO will say, you’ll never get to that hardcore group that think this is LA LA. You know, it’s like, we hope this focus. We don’t need this, but this is, I found two things to be true.

Lolly Daskal (15:02):

When you have an organization where some people are very excited, their energy is contagious. They want to know what that person is getting and why they’re so happy and why their workload seems to be more streamlined. And you know, it just seems like everything is more effective than before then you have those that come kicking and screaming. I don’t want to do this. This is not for me. I don’t want to be in therapy. And I go, this isn’t therapy. This is, I always say, do you want to be happier? Do you want to work less? Do you want to be more effective? If the answers are, yes, come on, join me for an hour. You don’t like it. You never have to come back. And in all these decades, listen, if I can win over some engineers, I could win over most of an organization. Sorry, engineers. You know, I love you, but it is true.

Jim Rembach (15:49):

Well, I can understand. I mean, I mean, they’re gonna have certain characteristics and personality types that are amongst that group and, you know, um, and then, so I get what you’re talking about. Um, but when you start doing this, you’re saying that, I mean, I’m getting excited. I’m like, Oh, well, what, what could transform and make that happen? Because here’s the thing. Especially when you start, let’s take all the way down to the frontline. Cause I have a virtual leadership Academy called call center coach, where we focused on the leadership skills for frontline supervisors. And you do, when you start dealing with frontline, you know, contact center agents, you know, you do have some people that are not going to buy, buy in. They’re not going to be part of it. They’re like, I didn’t sign up for this. Even though we may have through our hiring process, tried to scream for all of that. Um, you know, they got through, I mean, what do you advocate? Or you say, Hey, you know what, it’s a coach up or coach out. I mean, what do you actually teach?

Lolly Daskal (16:41):

No, I never say that. So I don’t do that. I don’t want people to feel that they are threatened or anything like this. Let me tell you a little secret about what I do. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this. The thing about it is, think about an organization. Most individuals that are there will tell you if they tell you the truth is that they’re not heard all the time. They’re not listened to all the time. Their words don’t have the kind of importance that they want to have. They feel they can do more, but they’re not being seen. Every single person has something that they want to improve, that they want to do better. And my job, this is, this is a secret. My job is before I make anybody show up, which I never make anybody show up. But before I invite them, I find out what is the core driver of that individual that is saying no. And then I say, if, if there’s one thing that you want and I can get that for you, what would it be? And they tell me, and I go come and I will show you how you get it. Everybody shows up because as human beings we have needs and wants. And most of the time they’re not being met specially in an organization. But if you tell that person, I can give you what you’ve always wanted, they show up, they’re curious. And then it’s my job to keep them there.

Jim Rembach (18:04):

Well, as you say that, I mean, for me, I start quickly reflecting on even things that have happened in the past week where maybe I could have taken that approach and, and failed to do it. So thank you for sharing that.

Lolly Daskal (18:13):

So what was the core of that? The core was not about me. It’s about them, right? That’s what I learned at a very early age that if I am going to truly lead from within, then I have to write con take myself out of the equation and really get connected to the other human being about what their need is, what their want is. Once you tap into that, there’s no, no, it’s always a yes.

Jim Rembach (18:41):

Well, you even mentioned a lot about the whole self discovery and, you know, finding of self and connecting of self. And there are, um, you know, individuals that will just say, well, I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I need. I don’t know. And so how do you connect with that?

Lolly Daskal (18:57):

What does that is so true? And that I would say is 70% of our workforce. They’ll say, I don’t know. You’re asking me these questions. So I have a way of asking the same question in a thousand different ways that doesn’t make people feel uncomfortable. So when someone says, I don’t know what I like, or I don’t know what I want. So I’ll say, give me an example of what you do in a day. And they’ll say, this is what I do. This is my role. This is my position. If you could make that job be more effective, what would one thing that you would like to change? Trust me, there’s a list. They come with like, Oh, what this, I want this, I go, okay. Let’s so you do have wants, you do have needs sometimes. It’s the way, it’s the art of the question, right? So instead of being a bulldozer, what are your needs? What are your wants? No, invest in the person that you’re talking to find out more about them. And then I, this is in my book, the archetype is the navigator navigate through the conversation so you can help serve them.

Jim Rembach (20:00):

Well, I know all of this can be challenging for folks to be able to do the discovery, to be able to apply the changes and, and all of those things. But you know, your, you had mentioned something about it being possibly easy and you having hacks and shortcuts, but what do you mean by that?

Lolly Daskal (20:18):

Okay. What a great question. So nothing in life is easy because the thing is, whatever is really worthwhile. There is there is, has to be a method of what you do, right? So this is the easy part. If I show up at every conversation saying whoever I’m talking to is the most important person in that moment in my life. It makes the conversation with that person easy. Right? That’s the easy part. Then I have to, the second thing is I have to remain curious. It’s not about me. I’m not going to tell you what I ate for lunch. I’m not going to tell you where it was last night. But if I ask open ended questions about you as a human being, who are you, what do you want, what do you want to achieve? How do you want to leave your Mark? Nobody spends the time talking to individuals on that level. And I find the reason why the engineers leave saying that was great is because they felt seen, they felt recognized and appreciated, and that’s where it makes lead from within and this process. So memorable and so meaningful. So is it easy, maybe? Maybe not, but is it memorable and does it leave a Mark? Absolutely. Every time without fail?

Jim Rembach (21:36):

Well, without a doubt, it’s inspirational. And one of the things that we do on the show is we look for quotes to help us hold on, to grab, or maybe ignite some inspiration. Is there a quote or two that you liked that you can share?

Lolly Daskal (21:47):

Um, on there’s so many quotes. Um, but one of the things that I like to say, there are many things I say, because in organizations, they call them lolly isms that I even wrote a book on it, a 500. I called it a hard spoken, you know, things spoken from the heart, but there are two things that I feel that are very important to say, every single person is here to be their most valuable. I really believe that each one of us is here for a reason. What that reason is, is up to you to discover. The second thing is, is that people believe that success and greatness is really for others, right? It’s for them, it’s not for me. And so the thing that I want to say is that greatness can be and should be embraced by every single one. And it’s not only for the privileged it’s for you. It’s for me, it’s for every single person. So those things are very important in my life. You’re valuable. And you do have greatness within you.

Jim Rembach (22:44):

Well, I would dare to say, when you start talking about the evolutionary process and all those books and then volumes and things and all the discovery piece and much like I even share with you before I just reflected on something that, you know, I know I did that I should have done differently and now I can’t take it back. And hopefully I’ll use that as a learning experience and not repeat it. But, you know, we have humps that we’ve gotten over that have caused us to have, you know, learning opportunities that hope hopefully we use as something to better ourselves in than others. Is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?

Lolly Daskal (23:12):

I get over homes every single day. Um, I think about, um, things where I could have shown up better. I think about things that I want the things to go a certain way and it didn’t, and I might get angry about it. And I find that when we get stressed about things, when we get triggered about things, we’re not at our best, there’s so many homes. I mean, at the end of the day, I was go, you could have done better. You could have been, you could have tried harder. You could have been more patient. And so I’m a, I’m an, that does self reflection on an hourly basis. I don’t, I told the client the other day, I said, you live in the past and you live in the future as a leader, but you never live in the present. And what would it be like to be present in the moment?

Lolly Daskal (23:59):

And he said, I don’t know what that is. So I gave him a little, I said, every hour set your Apple watch for 12 o’clock or 1215, or whatever, 1230, whatever it is set every hour, do the same time and stop whatever you’re doing. I don’t care if you’re in a conference, you’re talking to the board members. I don’t care, stop for a minute and say, say what you’re grateful for in that moment. And he did this for 24 hours. Uh, you know, not while he slept, he didn’t do it. And he texted me and he said, I love this because it brings me back to the moment. That’s what I’m talking about lead from within is it’s not easy, but there are tools and techniques that we can do that make our life more memorable and meaningful.

Jim Rembach (24:44):

Well, when you start talking about this and even going in context of the past 30 years of work and start thinking about your next 30 years of work and, uh, Oh yeah, you can never end. You’re not allowed. I start thinking of some, you know, goals that you may have. Is there one that you can share with us?

Lolly Daskal (25:02):

Absolutely. I’ve been in my business for a long time. And especially with the climate of what we have now, the way business was run. I mean, I’m, I’m coaching that there’s a new normal. And so for me, I want to think about it this way. It’s when I always wanted to write a book and then I wrote a book. And the reason why I wanted to write a book is that I felt that if you couldn’t meet me, you couldn’t talk to me. You would get to know me through my work. You would get to learn about what I do with others. And so the next evolution of lolly Daskal is how do I reach others without having to show up, you know, what an organization, without having to run my masterclass in person, that’s something I’m thinking about.

Jim Rembach (25:46):

And the fast leader, Legion wishes you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. And even better place to work is an easy to use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement. Along with integrated activities. They want to improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone. Using this award winning solutions, guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com forward slash better. Alright, here we go. Fastly Allegion. It’s time for the home. Oh, now. Okay. Lolly, the healthy hotel is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet revenue responses that are going to help us move onward and upward, faster lolly Daskal. Are you ready to hoedown? Absolutely. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today? What is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received lead from within? What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Lolly Daskal (26:50):

Trying to be authentic every moment in every day,

Jim Rembach (26:53):

What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life, self reflection and what would be one book? Although you have thousands of behind you, and of course you can recommend a few others, um, that you would recommend to our Legion. It can be from any genre. Of course, we’re gonna put a link to leadership gap. What gets between you and your greatness on your show notes page as well?

Lolly Daskal (27:16):

A book that I’ve read for the past 27 years on my birthday, I read the same book every year is the man’s search for meaning by Viktor Frankl, because it’s a book that every time you read it, depending where you are in life, you’ll have a different meaning. And because each one of us, we talked about people go through struggles. So whatever you’re struggling with, Viktor Frankl teaches us that if you find meaning in it, you’re able to survive it.

Jim Rembach (27:40):

Okay. Fast, literally. And you can find links to that and other bonus different vacation from today’s show by going to fast leader.net/lolly Daskal okay. Lollies is my last hump. They hold on question. Imagine you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, um, to the age of 25. But you know, you can’t take it all. You can only take one. So what skill or knowledge would you take back with you and why

Lolly Daskal (28:04):

Be kind to yourself and stop judging yourself? We’re so quick to judge ourselves when we aren’t on point that sometimes it can cost us from moving forward and making progress.

Jim Rembach (28:18):

Lolly, I had fun with you today. Can you please share with the fast leader Legion, how they can connect with you?

Lolly Daskal (28:22):

Absolutely. You can find me on my website. I write for inc Harvard business view psychology today, but find me on Twitter and LinkedIn under lolly Daskal I don’t think there’s another lolly. So it’s a lolly. Daskal

Jim Rembach (28:34):

Molly Vasco. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The fast leader, Legion honors you, and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

Dr. Cherie Rains: Human Connection is Still Key | Episode 007

Dr. Cherie Rains: Human Connection is Still Key | Episode 007

Dr. Cherie Rains Show Notes Page

Show Description

Dr. Cherie Rains expounds on the vital importance of human connection in today’s hyper-connected digital world. With technology moving forward faster and faster, companies are becoming dehumanized and are losing its human touch. Despite the advances in modern digital marketing, customers still want to connect with real people – the human aspect is still the most important element of any successful digital marketing campaign. According to Dr. Cherie Rains, human connection is still key.

Before joining Lander University, Dr. Rains spent several years working in business and non-profit organizations. This included being the VP of Client Services and Research as well as the Lead Research Director at two customer care consulting firms in Virginia.

There she specialized in diagnosing the customer experience, enhancing customer satisfaction and increasing loyalty, and turning Voice of the Customer data insights into actionable intelligence for organizations.

Similarly, she served as the Senior Research Director for two non-profit organizations, including SOCAP where her focus was bringing research resources to the membership and completing several benchmark studies for customer care centers.

Through her leadership, a landmark research report was conducted to give customer care centers actionable data to improve business strategies. After receiving her Ph.D. from Purdue University, she spent several years teaching and consulting throughout Europe, including serving as a lead researcher in the Academic Center for Services Research in charge of multi-national customer satisfaction studies for Global Fortune 100 companies.

Her focus has always been on bringing the Voice of the Customer into organizations through actionable consumer behavior insights, both quantitatively and qualitatively. She also advises organizations on ensuring their focus remains on the human element of their customers, not just their digital personas. Over her career, she has published over 30 business and academic articles.



01:30 – Dr. Cherie’s background in digital marketing

04:03 – What is exciting in B2B digital marketing?

06:27 – Standing out in a noisy digital environment

08:16 – Leveraging the power of analytics

12:44 – Qualitative vs. quantitative data

14:10 – Getting customers to engage with you

17:06 – Why Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence is overrated in digital marketing

19:03 – The importance of human connection in digital marketing

21:06 – Utilizing digital tools to build a relationship with the customer and becoming a disruptor

24:22 – Telling better stories in digital marketing

25:26 – Allocating limited resources to the right channels

28:21 – Investing in high quality videos to reach your customers

30:39 – The one question every B2B digital marketer must ask themselves


Key Takeaways

“In order to understand the numbers, you have to understand the consumer.”

“People want a connection to other people; people don’t want to talk to technology.”

“Storytelling is a huge piece in data and marketing. People resonate with stories, and it’s all about connections and relationships.”

“You don’t have to do everything. You have to do what’s important really, really well.”

Ask yourself: “Would I respond/use/open the content that I put out there?”


Links and Resources

Dr. Cherie Rains’ email: crains@lander.edu


Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay. B2B DM gang. I have somebody on the show today who I’ve known for a very long time and I just reconnected with, and it’s fantastic because she is actually a professor of marketing at the university level at Lander university, dr. Cherie Rains. And you may find her, if you do some research, um, on dr. Cherie keen, uh, because she has been responsible for writing several research studies on the customer experience, uh, for a number of years with a couple of different associations as well. We were with a former employer called customer relationship metrics. And that’s one of the things that I think that’s really important for us to talk about when we are talking about digital marketing companies. Ultimately it comes down to the customer, right? So Cherie, if you could tell us a little bit about your background and some of the work that you’re doing right now in regards to digital marketing and how we can leverage that in the B2B space.

Dr. Cherie Rains (00:55):

All right. Well, Jim, thank you so much. Um, yeah, I’m thrilled that we have reconnected after quite a lot of time learning that you’re just right up the road there in North Carolina as well. So that’s pretty exciting. Um, yeah, so my background really has all been in the customer experience realm, I would say. And while it’s, it’s hard for me to say, um, when I started this, um, going for my, got my masters in consumer behavior and decided I was going to get my PhD and swore that I would never teach and here I am a professor. Um, but I, I think what happened, um, when I went to Purdue was I really saw, you know, the area of internet was becoming really popular. And so he retailing, this was back when everything was, he, you know, now it’s like digital and no, this was E so there was really an opportunity to see how would people behave in the environment.

Dr. Cherie Rains (01:50):

And so it started off for me really in shopping and the retailing, because at that point, the sky was falling and, Oh my gosh, the malls, nobody would go shopping. Right. I mean, everybody would buy everything online and nobody would do that. Um, so that’s where I started my research and what it showed was no people wouldn’t do that, which has come to fruition, which is great. So thumbs up for dissertation research got me somewhere. Um, but then that really kind of, I mean, Hey, um, so that really got me excited in the consumer realm. And I started really thinking about behaviors and wanted to go into consulting. And I had a great opportunity to go to the Netherlands, um, after my PhD for three years. And I did a program extensively for Mercedes-Benz in contact centers and how people, you know, were using the contact center environment and how we could change that because at the time, you know, the contact center was seen as something way outside the box and something a company had to do, but didn’t realize the satisfaction, right.

Dr. Cherie Rains (02:53):

That research was just starting to come up. So I spent, you know, three years over there doing international research on customer satisfaction and contact centers. And then I brought that back. Like you said, I went to a couple of different, um, nonprofits and then also consulting companies, which brought me back to hi. I reached a point in my life where I said, I’m either going to go into teaching or I’m never going to do it again. And I went back for a year and loved it and came on down here to South Carolina, I’m teaching the young minds all about digital marketing. So it’s been really exciting.

Jim Rembach (03:27):

Well, and I can imagine when you see, you can go back to that whole EA tailing days and thinking about all this transformation and transition, you’ve got, gotten an opportunity to experience what is often referred to as you know, the Omni channel experience. You know, I’ve got some of the brick and mortar, I’ve got some of the tailing and now, like you say, it’s all involved to digital and the whole customer journey. And all of those things are all over the place for a lot of organizations. Now we are sitting here right now and just so kind of date. This is, you know, um, admits of the easing of the lockdown of the COVID-19. Uh, and so we have been forced to do more digital and more [inaudible] than we ever have before. And some of that will go back to the, to the brick and mortar, because there’s just certain products and services that are important to that. But I think marketing now has to play a very different role. And so when you think about B2B digital marketing specifically, and we can, we can take some of the benefits and insights and work that’s being done in the B to C space and leverage it for ours. We just, we can do that. But if you start talking about B2B digital marketing, where do you see excitement?

Dr. Cherie Rains (04:38):

I think the most exciting pieces are kind of intertwined. One is really the mobile environment. You know, again, like you said, w we see it in the BDC zone, but when you think about the applications that would have everybody has their phone, everybody’s using their phone and be cause of COVID, we’re even using it more than we probably ever thought before, or for things we never thought we would do. So at this point now, you know, did we shop a little on our phones? Maybe, did we look for information on our phones maybe, but once COBIT hit and we were forced to be inside. And that goes to all the people who are now working from home. So it translate into the B2B space really easily because that’s where people are going first. Right. You asked me a question, I whip out my phone, I put it in, where does it, where does it go? So I see that really being leveraged. And I really see the video marketing piece of it, you know, not just necessarily on YouTube, but putting, you know, the face to whether it’s the products or services, you know, and, and having that interaction with the consumer, whether it’s B to B or B to C, so that you feel like you have a relationship, it’s still about relationship building. It’s just shifting a little bit at this point.

Jim Rembach (05:51):

Okay. So you bring up a really interesting point, uh, in regards to the whole. Now I’m forced to do some, I didn’t do before, both from a producer perspective, content creator perspective. If we’re talking about B2B, digital marketing, as well as from know one, one that is doing all of that searching, right? So if, if everybody is now cranking out things, items, snippets, you know, and I mean, webinars and it goes on and on and on. And so now there’s significantly more noise online. How do I actually differentiate in that world?

Dr. Cherie Rains (06:27):

Yeah, I think, um, you know, part of it is again trying to build that relationship and it’s also utilizing the tools that we already have. So when you start talking about SEO and SEM, you know, now that I have, I’ll say live content, although it’s, it’s not live, but, you know, you’re trying to get that environment from them. It’s where do I go in terms of analytics to see where my customers are so that I make sure that that is what I’m promoting, you know, in the digital space so that they can find you, it goes back to kind of, it kind of goes backwards to where we’re trying to get people to find us online, you know, on a website, but now we’re moving that to a, more of an interactive fashion and how, you know, how do you do all the phrasing and the language that you use and things like that do, um, get people to those videos. So it’s a little bit different, cause we don’t want it to be static, right? We want it to be able to, you know, have momentum and build on that. So it’s kind of like, you know, two step forwards, one step back, I’ve got to do all this engaging content and then I need to step back and say, Oh, I got to go back to SEO SEM and how to make that work to get them to the right places.

Jim Rembach (07:41):

Okay. So now you bring up things that I am getting more insight into in regards to the opportunity that exists to stand out. Okay. And that is the whole analytics element. So as being, you know, somebody who is a researcher, I mean, lot of data, you know, you have to validate data, you’d have to make sure data is scrubbed. I mean, in the whole integrity piece and then leveraging it. I mean, the data is so vitally important. However, what I see is that a lot of B2B digital marketers really don’t do anything in regards to our very little in regards to data, even so much when we start talking about it from an SEO perspective, is there was one website that I reviewed for a B B2B company. They didn’t, none of their photo photos had all tags. None of them had had meta-tags, none of their pages had any, any information I’m like, how do you expect? And they were yet cranking out a lot of blog posts and articles, which had good thought-leader content, but I’m like, how do you expect anybody to find things? So, I mean, what are, what are you, what are you able to teach people and tell people about leveraging the power of analytics?

Dr. Cherie Rains (08:52):

Well, I think the power of analytics is changing, and this is something where I’m, I’m really outside the box on this. Now my, my background and trainings and marketing research and focus groups. So I’ve always kind of been a qualitative person. The quantum numbers that come with analytics are useful, but as we saw 20 years ago in context center, okay, I’m, I’m scoring my agents on four things and I’m measuring 4,000, well, those 4,000 things, right? We didn’t really look at it. It was just pages that came up. It’s the same concept with big data. And I think what’s going on now is everybody is saying big data is the disruptor and big data is going to solve the problem. Me personally, I don’t believe that. I think that there’s power in smaller analytics, that you can find simple analytics because what happens is people hear that word analytics.

Dr. Cherie Rains (09:46):

It’s just like saying regression in a consulting meeting, your client’s face goes white, right? They’re like, Oh, I don’t know what she’s talking about regression. Oh my gosh. But you want simple things that you can talk about. A lot of times what it is is with the big data who does that really well, Amazon, Amazon was built on big data. Nobody else can harness the fact that I’m purchasing. And again, when we go back to COVID, everything I’m purchasing is now going through Amazon. So they know me better than they, than I know myself. Right? They’re pushing out products to me. Same as that. They can use those analytics and use it. Well companies who are not based off of that, as simple as it sounds, it’s going to very simple analytics that you need to take and talking to your consumers, right? B to B, you have in some ways, a more defined customer.

Dr. Cherie Rains (10:37):

And then you do B to C because in B to C you could go across any demographics. And you know, your, your customer journey is really different. B2B. You have a little bit of a tighter space and it’s all really going back and saying, you know, what? Talk to your customers, where are they? What are they spending their money on? You know, w what are the types of things they want to see? And so when you hear analytics, it’s a little bit jarring because once people hear big data, I already I’m like, Nope, can’t do it. It’s big data. It’s too much. It’s too overwhelming. That’s true. But if you go to simple and I mean, you know, as simple as it sounds like, go to Google, get somebody in your office, certified in Google analytics, you will have all the information that you need to make really good decisions based off of the Google platforms, which most people will do. So that’s, you know, it’s free, it’s easy. And it’s going to give you the information you need to really push your, your data and then make really good decisions about what you want to do with the SEO and SEM.

Jim Rembach (11:38):

Well, but wait a minute, it’s just too easy to pay for certain, right?

Dr. Cherie Rains (11:42):

Right. Yes. That is the other. But, but again, if you’re paying for all the wrong words and you’re paying for all the wrong things, it’s a waste of money. Would it be better if you, you know, we go back to insights, insights used to be a big word for us. That’s kind of deteriorate. We want insights out of the data, not just data. So if we can garner that, yep. We push it forward. We move it more to the digital platform. It makes a lot more sense for the organization,

Jim Rembach (12:08):

But even part, partly of what you explained right. There is the need in order to do some of the qualitative. So he’d get a better understanding of the quantitative. Cause you were talking about talking to your customer, you’re talking about getting engaged and understanding and well, that makes those numbers come to life. So you still need qualitative and quantitative. It’s just how you’re collecting it. Right?

Dr. Cherie Rains (12:29):

Yeah. And I mean, you know, you know, and I teach marketing research. So for me, I see it as a process, right. You go out, you do your secondary research. What’s going on. Then for me, you’re really doing the qualitative piece first. So you’re talking to people and finding out what’s important. And then like you said, then you go to all the data and you say, alright, I know that out of these 20,000 things, if I pay attention to these 20, it’s gonna, you know, make, we’re gonna make way better investments, no matter how we use that, then what we would do if we started out with those 20,000 and tried to make decisions off of not talking to anybody. So, you know, it’s kind of a balancing act. And I think what, what happens is companies don’t see the value in qualitative, right? Because I mean, even you’re saying you got to go back to the numbers, the numbers say everything in my research and what I’ve seen, that’s not necessarily true, but you do need a balance of both. So in order to understand the numbers, you have to understand the consumer. And again, that’s B to B or B to C. So it’s a balancing act for sure.

Jim Rembach (13:35):

So for me, what I, I mean, I, I come to the thinking of customer wisdom in that is if I don’t, if I’m not wise, you know, and we can all talk about avatars and things like that. But what we’re talking about is something, even, whereas we’re talking even about getting an understanding of those avatar now and the B2B world, one of the difficult items of all of this or elements is being to get the opportunity to have people talk to you, to talk to them. So for me, I’m thinking about, I can’t get, you know, 20 observations. I can’t get people to talk to me. I can’t get them to complete surveys. I can’t get, I can’t get that information. And in order to get wise about my customer so that I can leverage for data. So how can I hijack it if I can’t get them to talk?

Dr. Cherie Rains (14:21):

Well, I think it’s, it goes back to, you know, basic research online is really, you know, who you want, you know, you know, who you want your top customers to be. When I take my students through a project, it’s really okay, go out there who are the five or 10 top customers that you wish you had? You know, again, if there was no constraints possible, who are they? You go out, you research them, you research the trends. We are gifted with an internet, like never before, right? I mean the amount of information I type it in, I get an answer. Well, if you leverage something like that in your organization, you talk about learning, you see learning from a different perspective. And what happens is the trends that you see over those 10 websites. I do the same thing for job search for students. It goes hand in hand.

Dr. Cherie Rains (15:09):

It doesn’t sound like it. What job, what is your perfect job? Who is your perfect customer, go out and find 10 or 12 job listings or customers. And you basically do like an analysis of their websites. After that. You see, these are the however many keywords that match up for all of these, either job postings or websites. And those are the keywords, you know, you have to hone in on to get there. And then you’re able to, you know, you say hijack, you know, that’s really easy to do now in, in terms of, you know, in terms of digital marketing and kind of going off that feed, it’s hard to know what the answers are without knowing how your customers are finding it. Because I think what we see in the B2B space, which is really unusual and, you know, everybody’s spending money on is email marketing.

Dr. Cherie Rains (15:58):

They still go back to that know, that’s where we started. If you send somebody an email that says, dear Jim, would you please consider us? You were like, Oh, personalization, this is great. But B to B companies haven’t gotten out of that trend. And I think that’s where some sort of mobile technology, the customer interaction piece, you’re, they’re missing that piece in order to get both data and to get leads and sales, which I think you can convert a lot easier than if you just, you know, again, like you said, randomly you’re out there in space.

Jim Rembach (16:31):

Okay. So that leads me to think about all the things that you’ll see from a promotional perspective of what you need to do. Hey, this is now going to actually increase your lead capture by X percent. This is going to do all of these, you know, we just bang things in, as you especially see it now because so many or B2B organizations, which we’re having to go to shows and events and things like that, and do the face to face for their lead capture on are getting forced to be digital. And so they’re searching for answers in order to be able to fill their sales funnels. So what do you think is really overrated with B2B digital marketing?

Dr. Cherie Rains (17:04):

Um, I think the one thing that’s overrated across the board is really virtual reality and artificial intelligence. You know, again, we go back to a few years ago, everybody was like, people are gonna want this. I really think, you know, for, for lack of a better term, it’s freaking people out. Right. They don’t want that. And, and, and I think we will, it’ll be interesting to see what happens after COVID because after COVID, it’s like, you know what, Jim, I really wanted to see you. So let’s do a zoom call. Cause I don’t feel like I’m connected to people. When you talk about AI and virtual reality, you see you’re taking the people out of all those processes and it may be cheaper, easier for companies, right. With their bots or AI or any of that. They set it up and it’s kind of like, Oh, I set it up, put it on the shelf. And hopefully everything goes great. We’re going back to that human connection that we actually need. So how can you utilize that in a digital environment? And I really think that that launch for AI and, you know, virtual reality, like it’s not really grabbing hold. And even now I think that, you know, we’ll see, I, I think that personal connection that people want is, is something that now we want even more. And that really is probably gonna fall off a lot more than it has right now.

Jim Rembach (18:27):

Okay. So that’s really interesting. And that is that out of box thinking that you were talking about even a moment ago is that, you know, most people would think, Oh gosh, everybody’s gone and now they’re remote. And so therefore now is our time to turn up those things. Um, and, but you’re saying just the opposite. I mean, people are gonna really want more human connection because of what we’re going through.

Dr. Cherie Rains (18:48):

Yeah. I mean, I think that, you know, if, if you even go back to some of the research, you know, AI, if you look, I think, you know, probably you could go back 10 years and it was like, when you go with, you know, you talk about going to the big conferences that we used to go to, you know, 20,000 people, Oh, the new thing, AI VR, you know, and then we saw it the year after, and the year after, and here we are 10 years down the road, nobody’s got it. And I really do think that whether it was COVID or not, I think COVID really brought it to light. People want a connection to other people. People don’t want to talk to technology. And if I’m doing some sort of service interaction, I want somebody to, you know, I want to feel like somebody really cares about me.

Dr. Cherie Rains (19:34):

So if I’m in a chat with somebody I know even from personal experience and some research I’ve done, if you know that the person you’re chatting with is a real person. So let’s say they say something like, Oh, you know, how’s the weather in South Carolina, or today is my birthday. I’m talking to your real person. This is awesome. They understand my problem. They can solve it fast. And Oh, by the way, we can have a nice, nice little chat while we do that. I think people want to see that they don’t want to be like, Jim, I have a problem with my bill collection and something comes back and you’re like, no, it’s just like the cost center tree. Right? No, that’s not what I’m saying. I want to talk to a person. I think we’re still in that frame of mind for our customers, that they want that interaction and they want that relationship. And, and now I think we’re really kind of starving for that with COVID, but you know, again, we’ll see, I still think it’s going to push it out though.

Jim Rembach (20:30):

Well, and maybe that’ll lead to my next, you answering. My next question is I need to be able to stand out. All this noise is happening right now. Everybody’s being forced to do digital marketing that at a much higher percentage than they’ve ever been, have to do it before. So how can I stand? How can I be a disruptor

Speaker 3 (20:48):

In this space?

Dr. Cherie Rains (20:50):

I think going back, you know, the destruction piece of it. Um, in some ways, again, kind of like I said before, it’s almost going back. It’s, it’s getting to be that, um, more direct kind of personalization that we’re seeing. So the disruption to me is really being able to, um, kind of go back to let’s say the live streaming, right? So there’s a lot of noise and a lot of things like that, if we can identify the people we want to be most connected with and where you can have a relationship with them. So again, this goes back to the whole idea of live streaming, even, you know, webinars, the virtual conferences. Okay. So we’re used to doing all these things virtually, how do I build that relationship as with a customer? Right. So how do I utilize that? I think that’ll be the, kind of the key there as well, and then being able to take it, if you can, you know, if you can get your, your customers on phones and be able to, um, I guess kind of swim with the sharks in the mobile environment, you’re, you’re going to be a bigger disruptor than you probably even realize at this point in time, because, you know, apps and everything are really easy to do.

Dr. Cherie Rains (22:04):

And if you think back to going to these shows so that you’re able to, you know, grab information from people as they walk by on their phones, that hasn’t really been implemented very well. And I think we can take kind of that technology and use it in terms of, you know, building things for the mobile technology. And, you know, again, trying to get people excited and involved while you’re doing it. I think what you’ll see from students or what, from what I see from students, you know, at this point in time, they they’ve never been without their phone or very, very rarely been at without their phone. These are the people who are going out into the job environment. And if you think about anything from B to B, B to C, they’re going to have those, you know, kind of entry level jobs. This is what they’re used to.

Dr. Cherie Rains (22:56):

They’re going to force us into the mobile technology. They’re going to force us into live streaming. Hey, I’m not in a, I’m not in an event because we can’t have events, but Hey, here I am at a customer we’re installing our new system, you know, look at this as great. What do you think of this? It’s a building that excitement that they’re used to personally, right? Like, Hey, I’m, you know, I’m at the tennis match, whatever, you know, that we see from our students putting that there, they’re going to drive that change, whether we’re ready for it or not. That’s why I think it’s going to be a huge disrupter, even though it sounds basic, but the people who are coming behind, that’s what they’re used to. And, and they’re, you know, that’s where they get their information. That’s how they communicate with people. And I think, again, going back to COVID, we’re going to see that that’s also going to launch that a lot forward. Well, also

Jim Rembach (23:46):

For me, what you just said right there is that we have to learn how to be better marketing journalists, right?

Dr. Cherie Rains (23:52):

Yes. I’m all about, you know, and it was interesting. I got something right before we came on. I I’m a huge storyteller. Right. And you know, when, when somebody asks me, what do I do for a living? I said, I tell stories. I mean, you are, I go to the data and I say, the data says this, but what does this really look like? Well, these are the types of customers you want. This is the story. This is how they’re going to purchase it. Right. Storytelling is a huge piece of it. And you want to get that story out there. But then I got this thing for a conference and it was like, Oh, the myths of storytelling. It’s not the way you, you know, it’s not the investment you want to make in digital marketing. And I just want to scream and be like, actually it is right. You want to tell the story all the way around. So that’ll be another interesting thing is it’s the journey, it’s the story. Those things are going to resonate with people. And, you know, again, going back to where we’ve been talking, it’s all really about people and connection and relationships.

Jim Rembach (24:50):

Okay. So you and I had the opportunity to talk a little bit about, um, something associated with the whole scarcity element. Um, like students, you know, even when they’re doing their projects, they don’t have funding in order to be able to, you know, test and apply and do all that. And a lot of us are in that position. But if so, if I was sitting there and saying, all right, I’ve got this budget and it’s currently allocated in these places, where would you say I should pull from and apply to where should I reallocate resources to?

Dr. Cherie Rains (25:21):

Yeah, I think so. We’re probably going back to that email. And I don’t know if it’s just something, you know, B to B, it’s like, well, we’ve always done it that way. We’ve always gone to email, or we’ve always gone to talking to people at the trade shows. That’s what we do. It’s really taking that piece of it and saying, you know what, let’s not spend all of our money over there. We really need to go into content creation. We need to go into, you know, the social media realm, but what they need to make sure is that they’re going to the right places. So one of the things, even with the students, right? So yeah, so for their projects, it’s like, you got nothing, you got no money, figure out how to put a campaign together. You can do it. And it’s really, really usually right on the money in terms of that.

Dr. Cherie Rains (26:08):

So even if companies have some sort of resources, they can pull in that, the thing is, you’ve got to figure out where your customers are. So people hear social media and they instantly think I need to go to Twitter. I need to go to Snapchat. I need to go to Instagram. I need to go to Facebook. Now, if you’re allocating, you know, let’s say 50% of your budget to online to social media, but where is it going? You need to make sure that it doesn’t all have to go to Facebook or it doesn’t have to go to everything you need to put it, which makes most sense for your business. So I think you’re going to be moving more towards social media, but I want to put a little asterix on that. That’s like, just, it’s not social media, everything. It’s like, okay, it’s really targeted social media.

Dr. Cherie Rains (26:55):

Again, going back to that storytelling, going back to that relationship building that you can do through social media, you see a lot of companies are really good at doing certain areas, but you don’t have to do every, that’s the thing, you know, you don’t have to do everything you have to do. What’s most important, really, really well. And that’s where you put your money in. Instead of, you know, across the, you know, across the board, let’s just put the money in social media and email management and some content marketing here and there, it doesn’t make sense, you know? And I think that’s what a lot of companies do again, cause it’s overwhelming. And again, because they say social media, I’ve got to be, you know, I’ve got to be on all these platforms. Otherwise, you know, our business will implode. If we’re not there and customers can’t find us, that’s not necessarily true. And I think we’ll see that maturing as we go forward.

Jim Rembach (27:46):

Okay. So let’s look at it from another lens. I have unlimited budget. I mean, I, I can spend wherever I want to spend and do whatever I want to do. What would you go after?

Dr. Cherie Rains (27:57):

I think the things that I would go after really, um, would be in terms of, um, trying to do a little bit more and again, in terms of the live streaming and the webinars, you know, if you’re able to put together kind of, um, movie quality videos, those types of things really start to pick up noise. Like you said, not noise. Not always, let me go back to that. So if they really start to pick up, you know, having people view them and go through it, cuts through the noise in order to get people to go there. So I think that if you had, you know, unlimited, you would really be talking about how do I go back to that Omni channel? You know, we go back to the same concept from before, how can I reach my customers through the mobile environment, through the computer environment, you know, through iPads, there really, haven’t been a lot of companies that have figured out this whole internet of things and how they’re connected.

Dr. Cherie Rains (28:52):

How do I connect my customers in every single aspect, right? I mean, you know, some companies again, do that well Google, or if I do a search, all of a sudden I go on my pad and I’m getting advertisements for whatever I searched for. We haven’t harnessed that really well. And B2B, I don’t think from what I’ve seen and from what research has shown. So it’s really, if I had unlimited budget, I want to see where my customers are, how to take that internet of things, put it all together so that I can reach them. However they want to be reached. And at multiple touch points again, that’s something I think B2B is really missed out on.

Jim Rembach (29:32):

Well, Sherry, I’ll tell you, um, you know, I’ve, I’ve had a ton time, uh, I mean really a wealth of influence from you for years and this, this particular episode right here just even takes it over the top. But you know, I have to come back to the person who’s actually listening and who’s that digital marketer. Um, and they have to ask themselves some questions, um, that are important. What is one question you think that all B to B digital marketers need to ask themselves?

Dr. Cherie Rains (30:03):

Okay, this is the simplest of the simple and nobody probably acid would I? Okay. So now we go back to, I’ve spent a million dollars. I’ve done all this now, would I, whether it’s respond, use, open the content that I have just put out there, it’s a simple thing that we never ask. Would you use that? Would you buy that if that content came to you, is that, does that stir enough in you that you’re going to make that purchase? We sometimes forget to go back to the, to me that’s like the core of the simple marketing. Would this marketing work on me? If it’s, yes. You’re probably doing a pretty good job if it’s no, you may want to go back because most likely you’re close to your target market or, you know, your, your customers more than anybody else. So it’s an extremely simple question, but it could probably save companies, a lot of money doing the wrong things.

Jim Rembach (31:01):

Well, thank you so much for meeting with us today and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and wisdom and from the classroom and beyond, but how, how do B2BDM digital marketers get in touch with you?

Dr. Cherie Rains (31:13):

Oh, well, you know, again, now I’m back at the university. So, um, the easiest thing is just, you know, email me, crains@lander.edu. Nice and simple. And I love to have any comments, any feedback, and you know, I’ve got students so we can ask them to do a little work too, if you need it.

Jim Rembach (31:31):

Doctor Cherie Rains, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. We wish you the very best.

Dr. Cherie Rains (31:36):

Thanks, Jim. This has been awesome. I appreciate it.

286: Luis Pedroza – How to Develop a Winning Brand

286: Luis Pedroza – How to Develop a Winning Brand

Luis Pedroza Show Notes Page

Luis Pedroza was in a foreign country facing challenges in growing a product from an established brand. The company he was working with was seeing the competitive environment in an outdated way and growth was not that easy anymore. By showing them a new future or having them look at a new lens, Luis was able to reframe the company’s perspective and eventually lead them to success.

Luis Pedroza was born in Taiwan but grew up living in Southern California.  He completed both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Luis comes from a mixed-race family.  His mother is Chinese, and his father is of Mexican descent. He has one sister.

Being mixed-race, Luis always had a strong interest in learning about foreign countries and their cultures. This curiosity fueled an interest in international marketing.  While earning his MBA at USC, Luis expanded his understanding of global business and took his first trip to China as a student consultant.  Seeing firsthand how global companies were adapting to meet the needs of local Chinese consumers changed the way Luis viewed global brand building and solidified his desire to eventually work in international marketing.

After graduation, Luis accepted a brand marketing job at General Mills in Minneapolis where he managed a portfolio of breakfast cereals. Because of his well-known passion for international marketing, General Mills soon asked Luis if he would move to China to work for a JV between General Mills and Nestle.  Of course, he accepted and ended up launching breakfast cereals into China for General Mills and Nestle and later moved to Russia for a similar role.

As a global marketer, Luis has had the privilege of working in many exciting markets around the world in places like Beijing, Shanghai, Manchester, Moscow, and Singapore.  He has become an expert at taking global brands and platforms and adapting them to meet the needs of local consumers.  A couple of years ago, Luis decided it was time capture what he had learned over the past two decades and share his unique experience with others in his book titled Lean Brands: Catch Customers, Drive Growth & Stand Out in All Markets.

Luis now lives in Silicon Valley and does consulting work and is personally involved in a new foodservice startup that leverages state-of-the-art technology to deliver an enhanced consumer experience.

Luis is married and has two kids.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @BrandNinja get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShowClick to Tweet

“Today is a unique time in our history, businesses and brands are going to have to adapt.” – Click to Tweet

“Even if you have an established brand, you’re going to have to relaunch it to meet the consumers now.” – Click to Tweet

“You can’t take for granted something that worked in the past is automatically going to work again in the future.” – Click to Tweet

“The best way to learn about what consumers want is to get out into the field and side-by-side with real consumers.” – Click to Tweet

“If you’re a new business coming to a new market you’re opportunity is to leverage emerging and disruptive technologies.” – Click to Tweet

“Consumers are expecting more and more customization. Brands must learn to understand them more.” – Click to Tweet

“A strong brand is rooted in strategy.” – Click to Tweet

“If you don’t understand the brand and the value it brings to customers, how do you expect your customers to understand and be happy?” – Click to Tweet

“Look at what the key drivers and needs are in your key markets and connect the dots between those markets.” – Click to Tweet

“It’s about finding balance between adaptation and standardization.” – Click to Tweet 

“The way to continue to grow is to find ways to sell your products and ideas to other markets around the world.” – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Luis Pedroza was in a foreign country facing challenges in growing a product from an established brand. The company he was working with was seeing the competitive environment in an outdated way and growth was not that easy anymore. By showing them a new future or having them look at a new lens, Luis was able to reframe the company’s perspective and eventually lead them to success.

Advice for others

Focus less on myself and build others around me.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Internal perceptions about who I am.

Best Leadership Advice

Leverage someone else’s experience and find mentors.

Secret to Success

I force myself to wear the hat of the competitor or the customer.

Best tools in business or life


Recommended Reading

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Lean Brands: Catch Customers, Drive Growth, and Stand Out in All Markets

Contacting Luis Pedroza

Luis’ Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrandNinja

Luis’ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandninja/

Luis’ website: https://luispedrozaauthor.com/



Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today. Who’s going to give us some global perspectives on how the customer experience can be impacted to help create a brand that stands out and drives growth. Luiz Pedroza was born in Taiwan, but grew up living in Southern California. He completed both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the university of Southern California. In Los Angeles. Lewis comes from a mixed race family. His mother is Chinese and his father is of Mexican descent. He has one sister being mixed race Lewis always had a strong interest in learning about four countries and their cultures. This curiosity fueled an interest in international marketing while earning his MBA at USC Lewis expanded his understanding of global business and took his first trip to China. As a student consultant, seeing firsthand how global companies were adapting to meet the needs of local Chinese consumers change the way Louis viewed global brand building and solidified his desire to eventually work in international marketing.

Jim Rembach (01:05):

After graduation Lewis accepted a brand marketing job at general mills in Minneapolis, where he managed a portfolio of breakfast cereals because of his well-known passion for international marketing general mills soon asked if Louis would move to China to work a JV between general mills and Nestle. Of course, he accepted and ended up launching breakfast cereals into China for general mills and Nestle, and later moved to Russia for a similar role. As a global marketer, Louis has had the privilege of working in many exciting markets around the world in places like Beijing, Shanghai, Manchester, Moscow, and Singapore. He has become an expert at taking global brands and platforms and adapting them to meet the needs of local consumers. Uh, a couple of years ago, Louis decided it was time to capture what he had learned over the past two decades and share his unique experience with others and his book titled lean brands, Katz customers drive growth and stand out in all markets. Louis now lives in Silicon Silicon Valley and does consulting work and is personally involved in a new food service startup that leverages state of the art technology to deliver an enhanced consumer experience. Louis is married and has two kids. His wife has Amy and his kids are Michael and Emily Louis Pedroza. Are you ready to help us get over the hump? I’m ready. I’m glad you’re here now. I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?

Luis Pedroza (02:34):

You know, my, uh, I have a real passion for what you might call mashups. So taking, um, you know, whether it’s it’s music, our fashion, or right now I’m involved in food, um, taking two different cuisines and combining those perspectives and creating something new. Um, so right now I’m working on a food service concept that is inspired by design influences from Japan and Scandinavia.

Jim Rembach (03:10):

Well, that’s really interesting though, but when, when I start thinking about your book, lean brands and you’d have so many, um, experiences and examples and case studies about, you know, major global brands, I start thinking about the, the limitations that may be for, you know, really those that aren’t in those very, very large organizations to find value and all of these experiences you’re sharing, but I know that’s not true. So how can everybody benefit from what you have written in what you have experienced over the past couple of decades?

Luis Pedroza (03:44):

So, you know, what I love doing as a marketer is taking new concepts, new ideas, and adapting them to meet the needs of local consumers are our new markets. And I think today, um, is a unique time in our, in our, in our history. Typically we don’t like to change humans, don’t like to change. Um, so it takes a lot for us to change our behavior, but right now, because the pandemic we’ve all sort of been forced to change. And what we’re going to find is is that, um, businesses and brands are going to have to adapt. So it’s almost like we’re launching, even if you have an established brand, you’re going to have to relaunch it to meet the needs of, of consumers. Now you can’t take for granted that something that worked in the past is going to automatically work again in the future. So we’re all gonna have to, re-examine our assumptions about how we think our businesses run and, uh, throw those assumptions to the side and look at consumer needs all over again from a fresh perspective and kind of relaunch our products to consumers. So I find one of the best ways to do that. And most efficient ways to do that is to use a lean methodology, uh, to quickly get at, at what consumers want and quickly and efficiently develop products to meet those needs.

Jim Rembach (05:19):

Well, then for me, I can understand what you said as far as the passion is concerned, where that mashup comes into play, because I mean, to me, that’s what you were just talking about is the mashup and doing the quick release, doing some testing, seeing what works and what doesn’t work and making some adjustments,

Luis Pedroza (05:36):

Right? Um, you, I find the best way, uh, to, to learn about what consumers want is to get out into the field and side by side with real consumers and distributors and key influencers and on coming up a solution. So sure a lot of us have done ideations before, but the way a lot of companies would do ideations in the past is you might’ve recruit, um, some consumers to come into a central location and, and do an ideation session. What I would propose and what I find works really well is inviting potential customers, inviting people that are high potential customers to come to a central location, invites your, your R and D guys invite some key influencers and all get together and come up with solutions to real problems that those customers are facing. And when you do that, there’s a lot of benefits to that one. You’re, you’re, you know, you’re getting all this rich input from your potential customers and those potential customers actually now have skin in the game. They’ve helped you develop some new ideas and solutions. And when it comes time to finding, uh, customers who want to buy this product, and you can influence others to buy this product, you’ve got built in customer base now because you know, you’ve, they’ve got skin in the game and you’ve worked with them on these solutions.

Jim Rembach (07:16):

Okay. So then looking at the book to me, what I hear you saying is, is that what you define as the Ninja? Yeah, so it’s a Ninja. I found as I

Luis Pedroza (07:27):

Ended up launching brands and working on, on platforms around the world, typically I was under resourced compared to the large companies that I was going up against, even if I worked for a big company, um, when a, when a large Western company launches in a, in a foreign country, a developing country, they treat that business. Um, it typically is not as important as the domestic business. So you’re usually not as well funded. There really, isn’t a lot of research available that you can buy there. Aren’t a lot of places to like, you know, to go and, and get assistance on helping you launch. So that requires being scrappy and agile and, um, you know, being like a Ninja. I mean, that’s the way ninjas fight. Uh, they’re able to fight against, you know, the ancient ninjas were able to fight against these large Royal armies, um, by exploiting their weaknesses.

Luis Pedroza (08:31):

And you know, what I find when you’re dealing with really big companies is, uh, often our established brands is they’ve invested a lot of money into the status quo. So when a, when a company like Starbucks has 3000 stores in China, they don’t want to change. Um, there’s a lot of financial reasons, uh, to, to not want to change quickly. You just think about all the money that’s invested in a one store, as far as equipment and systems and, and legacy, uh, systems and multiply that times 3000. And that’s a huge investment. So if you’re a new, say a new coffee shop, uh, that’s coming into China, your opportunity is to, to not be anchored down by all of those existing, um, systems and infrastructure. Now you can look at emerging technology and disruptive technology, and you can leverage that and create something new because you’re small, but take advantage of those opportunities. And when you want to learn about consumers, get out, you can go and visit stores, get out on the street, talk to potential consumers and pick their brains and, um, and do intercept interviews and one on one interviews. And that’s a lot of rich information that’s available to almost anyone. If you decide that you want to do that

Jim Rembach (10:03):

Well. And one of the things that you and I talked about before we actually started in, um, started the recording is how the context center is a wealth of a lot of, you know, interaction and insight on products that have the already been created. Maybe some of those lugs, the products that could meet and meet, you know, using some uplifting changes, then all new product offerings and competitive insights. So to me, when you start talking about going out on the field, sometimes the field is in a contact center.

Luis Pedroza (10:33):

I totally agree. I I’ve seen too many times in my career where companies are set up functionally and you ended up having these silos. So, you know, I hate to say it, but even my first marketing job after getting my MBA. And when I, when I went to go work on brands at general mills, we very much operated in silos. So I don’t think I actually ever had the opportunity to go and spend much time with real sales guys are talk to real consumers about the products that I was designing and making for them. It wasn’t, it wasn’t until I got to overseas that out of necessity, I had to become more Ninja like and get out and, and, and get my hands dirty and spend time with consumers on the ground and distributors and understand what they want. But I, I have spent time in organizations where I think the call center is not fully utilized.

Luis Pedroza (11:33):

Uh, and I would say from, from two perspectives, one, um, the call center is, you know, the guys in marketing, aren’t necessarily thinking of the call center as an opportunity to, to, to get those rich insights on products. Like, like you said, um, that’s like, um, that’s like a focus group that happens every day. So you can, you can solicit information from your customers. These are real customers, not even hypothetical ones who are using your products, and they can tell you what’s working and what’s not working and what it would take for them to change their behavior. Um, so that’s the thing about humans. And I always tell the teams that I work with is that I can speak for myself. I like to have my coffee at the same time every day at the same store. So, uh, I’m a creature of habit, like so many consumers.

Luis Pedroza (12:33):

So to get me to change my behavior, to try a new drink, or to try a new coffee shop, it’s going to take a lot, you’re going to have to, to wow, me. You’re going to have to understand what I’m not satisfied about. Where’s that opening, um, that you can take advantage of. And so, yeah, you can talk to real customers and find that out. And then I think the other area that’s often missed is that is a contact point where you can reinforce your brand. So the way you answer the call, the way you explain your product benefits, uh, the features and benefits should be consistent with the brand positioning that you have created for your brand. Um, you know, it should be reinforcing that positioning in the mind of the consumer. So when a customer walks away from a call, they have a, uh, a better understanding of what the brand brings, what the value of their brand is. And then hopefully you’ve created a, an advocate for your brand because you did a really good job of explaining why the brand exists and how that brand brings value to the customer. So for me, I see

Jim Rembach (13:48):

You actually have a manual and I’m going to go through the different parts of the manual. And I see a whole lot of opportunity in here for the things that you were just talking about and having that congruence with the context center and really impacting the experience all or all the way around and using it to do, you know, some of the disruptive things that I think we’re just, we don’t realize that we already have those things in our toolbox. So you talk about the Ninja, see the battleground, know yourself, know your enemy, get lean and mean, choose your stamps, adapt to win, set up and disrupt, make it happen and get creative. Now, you say this particular manual came out of going into those, you know, foreign markets that weren’t necessarily core. However, I see that this is something that could be leveraged, especially when you start talking about, you know, in the words of today for everyone,

Luis Pedroza (14:47):

I think that’s right. And I, I think, um, you know, even domestically, we’re not a homogeneous consumers anymore. So I think consumers more and more expecting some kind of customization. They want brands to feel like they really understand them that they’re not just one of a million consumers, but the brand kind of gets me. They understand what I like, what I’m about, what I care about. And so the fact that our country is pretty big and there are regional preferences, um, it to reside in different States, see the world and in different ways. So, uh, it makes sense to, to be able to have a structure, to have tools that help you understand those differences and then be able to, to leverage those differences to your advantage.

Jim Rembach (15:48):

Well, and you talk about having a brand canvas and the brand canvas. I mean, to me, when I reviewed it, I mean, it has a really good, you know, holistic approach and way of looking at the whole product development process. But when I started looking at it at CA I came back to that context center and feeding that information in. So if you could though give people a little bit of understanding of what that brand canvas is all about

Luis Pedroza (16:14):

Grand cam, the brand canvas to me is a blueprint of your brand. So, um, I think the, the term brand, um, gets thrown around a lot and folks think they might have an understanding of what a brand is. It’s a logo, it’s a brand name. Um, but there’s a lot more to building a strong brand and just the logo or the name. In fact, it’s all rooted initially in strategy. Um, so what is the, you know, the positioning of your brand, how does your brand differ from other brands? What are those key equities that tell the story of your brand? What are those core benefits that deliver on that positioning? And one of the problems is, uh, that a lot of companies face is finding a way to communicate the definition of the brand easily to stakeholders like the folks who are working in the call center.

Luis Pedroza (17:24):

And it’s a real problem. If you don’t understand the brand and the value that it brings to, to the folks that you’re talking to that are calling in, how would do, how do you expect your customers to walk away from that understanding the brand or being happy? In fact, I really believe you can have the best product in the world with the best features and the best benefits at the best price. But if your stakeholders at the folks in the call center don’t understand the product, if they don’t understand how to talk about it, and they don’t understand the value that it brings, you’re not going to be successful. There’s no way that you’re going to be successful. So the brand canvas provides a tool for crystallizing what the brand strategy is on one single piece of paper, so that anyone in the organization can, can easily look at that and get a snapshot of what the brand stands for. And it’s not complicated. And in fact, I would argue that the process of putting that down on paper into that one pager helps a brand manager or a leader distill the, his understanding or her understanding of the brand. So going through that process solidifies, you know, helps you make sure that your brand is on strategy. And then, then you’re ready to share it with everyone in the organization.

Jim Rembach (18:53):

Well, and, and for me, when I start thinking about the whole brand canvas, um, I started thinking about that’s part of what creates the overall customer experience. So customer experience for me, and for many years, Eliza at a higher level, and how do we actually execute and create the experience that’s desired, that’s congruent, that’s lean, that’s, you know, has a greater impact that drives growth and the brand canvas is a critical component. And so then we also talk about the whole customer relationship management element of it. And you talk about a four S CRM framework, um, if C speak, sell and service, uh, if you could break those down for us.

Luis Pedroza (19:32):

Yeah. So I think, um, you know, this model came out of, um, putting together a CRM system for a brand that I worked on. And part of, um, you know, developing a CRM system is getting the buy in from other folks in the organization to invest the money that it takes in the resources to develop the system. And, you know, it’s, everyone has heard of CRM. Um, and they kind of understand Salesforce, or it’s a way of keeping track of, um, you know, when my sales guys are talking to customers, but what does that really mean? And what’s the value that, that can provide to an organization. And so the way I broke it out in the way it makes sense for me and the, the organizations that I’ve worked with that I’ve led is a CRM CRM, the forest framework. Um, if you break it down into, see one, you can identify, uh, and connect with end users.

Luis Pedroza (20:40):

So it’s a great opportunity to, to just see your customers and to, to understand what they need. It also provides a platform for speaking to them. So to deliver your targeted content and product information, then it’s also a great opportunity to sell. So once you’ve developed that relationship, you can then, uh, update customers with the newest things that you’ve developed, the newest products that you developed, and you can specifically target customers who have the need that you’re targeting. So you’re not wasting your communication or talking to customers about things that they don’t really need. And then it provides, I find this is a really a valuable piece. It’s an opportunity to, to service your customer, um, provide virtual training and demonstrations. And that, um, I think is becoming more and more important now, especially in this, in this environment where it might not be practical to get in with a customer and demonstrate something with them face to face for, for all the reasons that we’re facing now. Um, but to be able to do it virtually can be very powerful if you’ve developed that system and a way of operating

Jim Rembach (22:07):

Well, when I start thinking about all of this, um, you know, and going through the, the different parts of the manual, going through the brand canvas, talking about the contact center and it’s that the opportunity and leveraging that value and all that, I still come back to one of the things that’s being that is most important is connecting, you know, with, with the human being and, and you have a very important, uh, I would say guiding principle called glocal, tell us what glocal is.

Luis Pedroza (22:38):

Well, I, you know, I, I think a lot of companies initially when they started approaching international marketing, struggled with the idea of, do I create individual products for individual markets, or do I create a global product, a one size fits all product that I can sell everywhere in the world. And I think where most companies have and netted out now is that it’s not practical to develop, uh, individual products for each country, but it’s also not very satisfying for individual consumers to develop one product and try to sell it everywhere where I think companies are finding success. And what I recommend to the companies I work with is to look at what the, the key drivers and needs are in your key markets that you’re trying to sell to, and see if you can connect the dots between those markets and try to develop a global platform, or at least a regional platform that can speak to many of your key markets, but a platform that allows you to make adaptation to meet those specific needs.

Luis Pedroza (24:11):

And a lot of times the adaptation comes around communication. So you develop a product that can satisfy, uh, various regional needs from a product benefit perspective. And then you are able to talk about it, um, in a way that makes sense for, for local consumers. But you have to have that framework. I don’t think you can walk into international marketing anymore and think that you can sell one product to everyone. You have to be aware that local markets have, they have different ways of seeing things. Um, even if you think about something like, I know Asia gets lumped, all the countries in Asia get lumped together often, but if you take a closer look at just some of the large markets in Asia, like China and Japan and India and Indonesia, um, all those countries I just mentioned right now have different primary religions, different, um, primary languages, um, and obviously different, uh, different cultural lenses that they look through. So it’s not realistic to think that you could have really one, one product that satisfies everyone. So not just knowing that and understanding that ahead of time is very helpful because you know, that you have to make some adaptations. And so really it’s finding that balance between adaptation and standardization, and that’s where, that’s where the art comes in. And that’s where I help. You know, if you’re going through my book gives you some tools to help you to find that balance.

Jim Rembach (25:54):

Well, when I start thinking about you talking about many people are referring to the systems and the ideals and the thinking and the frameworks and all that that we have had in the, in the past, meaning we’re sitting here recording this and we’re finally starting to see some relief from this whole lockdown from COVID-19. And a lot of people talk about trashing the model, what you were doing before the systems, you know, need to be broken. Um, so when you start thinking about really what’s going to be different, and what are you doing differently than you have done working with organizations just, you know, a few months ago, where do you see that being different?

Luis Pedroza (26:36):

I think, um, that’s a great question. I think we have to be careful not to have a knee jerk reaction to what’s happening now, what’s happening is, is terrible. Um, and you know, I think it requires it’s going to require change, but I don’t think that it means we have to back off or that we would want to back off from global or international marketing. I just don’t think it’s feasible. Um, I’ll tell you why, if you think about it, um, companies, brands are our government. Our population is going to demand economic growth. We want, we want to grow, but where are we going to get the growth from? Uh, is it going to be a population growth? Um, probably not. Do I don’t think Americans are having more children, uh, and significantly more children and cheer, um, immigration we’re moving in the opposite direction.

Luis Pedroza (27:40):

I don’t see that as being huge lever for, for growth, um, efficiencies. Um, you know, I don’t see any of those levers delivering the kind of growth that America has become used to. So really the way that we’re gonna grow, the way that we’re going to continue to grow is to find ways to sell our products, our ideas to other markets around the world. Um, so that is the way that we’re going to be able to sell to more consumers, to have more people buy American products. And so we have to get our heads around that and accept that and find ways to take advantage of that reality and, uh, you know, knock it out of the park. Um, and we can do that. Um, but I, yeah, I don’t think this, I don’t see us walking away from global business or international business. I just don’t see that happening well, I mean this whole issue and everything that we’re going through and going into international markets and creating new products and all that stuff is just loaded with a lot of emotion. And one of the things that we do to help us focus is we look at quotes on the show. Is there a favorite quote or two that you’d like to share?

Luis Pedroza (29:02):

Wow. Um, I don’t know about a quote, but I, I find a lot of inspiration in, um, Steve jobs now. Um, you know, I live in Silicon Valley and I was drawn to come here because of all the disruptive innovation that happens here. And this is kind of where, you know, all the, all the excitement is as far as new product development and technology. Um, but what, I’m, what I’m sad about sometimes when I, when I look at all of the new startups and new companies that come out of this area is too often, I think they’re focused almost entirely on the technology, on, um, the technical benefits of what they’re working on. And then they come out and build a company around a particular technology. And as an afterthought, they’ll think about, well, okay, my investors or my board has told me now I need to, I need to bring marketing it and I need to develop a brand.

Luis Pedroza (30:16):

And it’s really backward because, um, you know, to me, that’s like putting your foundation in after you’ve built the house and really the best way for them to build a brand would be to try to understand what consumers want, not what consumers are telling you they want, but to do that legwork and talk to consumers and spend time with them and figure out what the gap is or what the unmet needs are and develop a technology, you know, then use your technology to help bring that solution to life. And I think jobs was just fantastic at that, whether it was, you know, attentional or intuitive, the guy was incredible at identifying or seeing those consumer needs and then building the technology to deliver on those needs. Um, yeah.

Jim Rembach (31:08):

Oh, and one of the things that when you start talking about jobs and, um, a lot of the things that he’s had to overcome, um, talking about you doing the lean marketing work and being in those, uh, particular markets where you didn’t have, you know, a lot of sourcing you had to be scrappy is a lot of times you run into situations where you have learnings, we call those getting over the hump. Um, and so is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?

Luis Pedroza (31:37):

Well, I think every time you go into a new market, there is, um, there’s that element of, of getting over the hump. Um, so the last time, uh, I was in a foreign country, uh, our foreign region, uh, developing a new product was I was working for, uh, Kerry foods and we were relaunching a brand called DaVinci gourmet. And, um, really the, the company, um, they had been, um, you know, operating this brand for, you know, over a decade and saw success within the food service community. It’s a food service brand, but, and I find this as true with a lot of companies that become successful. They get to a certain point where, um, growth is not as easy anymore, but they’re unable to break through that barrier and get over the hump because they are seeing the competitive, competitive environment and, um, sort of an outdated way they become complacent.

Luis Pedroza (32:56):

They, um, are looking at, um, the competitive environment through that, that older lens. And so this particular brand that I was working on, um, made average syrups, and they saw themselves primarily as a coffee syrup brand. So they made syrups that you would put into coffee at coffee shops and like the vanilla syrup or hazelnut syrup or chocolate syrup. What they weren’t seeing was that there was tremendous drink, growth, beverage growth happening outside of coffee as well. So whether that was a mixed drinks and, um, you know, non soda beverages, um, all over the world, as people moved away from, from sodas into, into other ready to drink, um, beverages. And, uh, it was hard to, uh, for me as a marketer to get stakeholders excited about growth without having to using that old paradigm. So the way I was able to get them excited about investing in the future was by showing them a new future or having them look through a new lens that said, Hey, uh, we’re not just a, we can be more than just a coffee syrup company. We can be, uh, a beverage syrup company that adds flavor and helps drink makers create their own masterpieces. And so sometimes it’s as simple as that just reframing the reality for the folks that you’re working with so they can see what your vision is. Um, that’s one of the things I talk about in the book as well, uh, trying to reframe your perspective and helping those around you, uh, see your vision.

Jim Rembach (34:59):

Oh, and I started talking about vision and thinking about vision. Um, I started thinking about this book and the goals that you have for it. Again, initially when I looked at it, I’m like, well, this is only for a very, very large brands, but through this dialogue and discussion, um, we could learn we’ve learned otherwise, but what are some of your goals with it?

Luis Pedroza (35:17):

Well, you know, um, I started writing the book a couple of years ago and my goal was really to distill what I had managed to learn over a couple of decades and create a handbook that could be this go to handbook for anybody who’s interested in entering a new market or launching new brand. Um, I think all of us intuitively know that global marketing global brand building international business is important and we see it on TV. We read about it, but I found that, uh, when I enter a company and as I reach out to folks that I know in my network, there, aren’t a lot of people who actually have real on the ground experience, launching new brands and new markets. Um, just those opportunities don’t come around a lot. So it’s natural that a lot of people don’t have that experience. And it’s helpful.

Luis Pedroza (36:22):

It’s helpful when you’re in that position of launching a new product or entering in a new market, what should you be thinking? You know, you want to know, it’s be nice to tap someone’s shoulder and say, Hey, please tell me what I should be thinking about right now. What is really important? What are some of those pitfalls that folks fall into? Um, help me out be my, you know, virtual mentor, if you will give me some great advice, because it’s kind of scary going into a new market and launching a new product. And if you can’t find or a person, then I hope I’m taking out my book helps it. Um, I tried to distill all that knowledge into, into one book for folks to be able to, to learn from

Jim Rembach (37:11):

Fast leader, Legion wishes you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. And even better place to work is an easy solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic and employee engagement along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone using this award winning solutions guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com forward slash better. Alright, here we go. Fastly Allegion. It’s time for the home. Okay. Louis, the hold on is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are gonna help us move onward and upward faster Louis Pedroza. Are you ready to hone down? Yes, no. Right. What is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Luis Pedroza (38:06):

I think I’m like everyone, we all have these internal, uh, perceptions about who we are. There’s that voice inside of you that, um, tells you what you think, what you personally think you can do and can’t do. And I think, um, it’s powerful to be able to talk back to the voice and say, Hey, I hear you. But, um, and this, in this instance, I don’t agree. I think I can do what you’re telling me. I might have problems doing. Um, but that doesn’t sound too schizophrenia, but, uh, yes, you have the power

Jim Rembach (38:47):

And what is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?

Luis Pedroza (38:51):

I think it’s really important to go out there and find, um, mentors or force yourself. It’s, it’s uncomfortable. Um, we’re not used to going out and asking folks to, to help us, but when you can leverage someone else’s experience, um, it becomes very powerful and it’s especially important, you know, being a mixed race. Uh, I want to say it’s especially important for poor folks in minority communities where we don’t often have, um, that available to us. You know, um, the community that we’re in, doesn’t always have a large number of highly, you know, visible, successful folks that we can lean on to be mentors. Um, but it’s important. I mean, that’s a, a big advantage, um, and it’s a great way to change the trajectory of your development

Jim Rembach (39:52):

And what would be one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Luis Pedroza (39:58):

I forced myself to too often wear the hat of the competitor are, uh, the customer. See it’s, um, that helps you change your perspective. Um, and when you’re sitting in the customer’s, uh, you know, in their shoes, in their hat and really looking at the environment through, through their eyes, it changes, um, the way you see the world, it changes the way you look at problems, and then you can go back as a brand builder as a business leader and really, um, develop solutions for those, for those problems.

Jim Rembach (40:40):

And what would be one book you’d recommend to our Legion? It could be from any genre, of course, we’re going to put a link to lean brands on your show notes page as well.

Luis Pedroza (40:48):

Yeah. Um, I think, uh, it’s a classic, um, B the 22 immutable laws of branding of marketing it’s um, I think it’s the 22 beautiful laws. Yeah, it’s a great, I read the book, uh, maybe 20 years ago. I probably reread it every, uh, every few years. It’s a great book. Um, a lot of real common sense, um, advice, but really great advice when you’re going out and building a brand

Jim Rembach (41:20):

Okay. Faster leads. And you can find links to that in other bonus information mation from today’s show, if I, to fast leader.net/lewis for Georgia. Okay. Lewis, this is my last hump day hoedown question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the of 25 and you can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only take one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Luis Pedroza (41:42):

Wow. You know, I think I would focus less on, on me focus less on, um, person, my personal, uh, accomplishments and more on building those around me. So understanding, um, the folks on my team, understanding what success looks like for them and being a facilitator and helping them be successful. Knowing that when I do that as a leader, I am making the organization that I’m working in and my project even stronger and even more successful. And, um, I think that knowledge came with age and experience. And, um, so yeah, if you can manage to develop that skill earlier in your career, it’ll take you far and really help you.

Jim Rembach (42:45):

Louis. I had fun with you today. Can you please share with the fast leader Legion, how they can connect with you?

Luis Pedroza (42:50):

Sure. It’s really simple. Um, you, I have a website, LuisPedrozaauthor.com. You can also find me on LinkedIn. You can find my book on amazon.com as well.

Jim Rembach (43:03):

Luis Pedroza. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The fast leader, Legion honors you, and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

Mike Gospe : Why Marketers Should Be Customer Advocates | Episode 006

Mike Gospe: Why Marketers Should Be Customer Advocates | Episode 006

Mike Gospe Show Notes Page


Show Description

Mike Gospe shares the importance on why marketers should also be leaders and why advocating the customer is important. This episode will surely hit you with a curved ball as Mike shares a lot of insights in building a REAL strategy for your B2B digital marketing.

Mike Gospe is a B2B marketing strategist with 30 years of experience and a passion for inspiring CXOs and leadership teams to become more customer-focused.

He grew up in HP and Sun and advanced to senior marketing leadership positions at several start-ups before co-founding KickStart Alliance, a customer advisory and customer success leadership consulting team in 2002.

Mike follows a key mantra: whoever understands the customer best wins. To achieve this, he’s built a reputation of teaching marketers a variety of best practices, including how to build effective, well-rounded buyer personas, craft-focused positioning statements, and create customer-ready messaging.

He’s also the author of eight marketing best-practices books, including Marketing Campaign Development and The Marketing High Ground. To become a truly market-focused company, executives need to know how to talk with their customers so they can validate that their business strategies are aligned with the ever-changing customer needs and expectations.

Over the past two decades, Mike has become a well-respected facilitator of Customer Advisory Boards and Partner Advisory Councils. He’s helped more than 100 innovative companies harness the power of their advisory boards to define and sustain their competitive advantage. His teachings on advisory boards can be found on his CAB Resource Center. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.



01:25 – Mike’s passion for B2B digital marketing

02:52 – How COVID-19 brought a huge spotlight on digital marketing

05:20 – Having a REAL digital marketing strategy

07:10 – True account-based marketing

08:42 – Aligning sales and marketing objectives

10:43 – Alignment case study: COVID-19

11:44 – Pivoting your marketing program to help customers and becoming customer advocates

13:09 – Putting spotlight on customer experience and customer success

15:37 – Why the shiny object syndrome is overrated

17:43 – The importance of culture and systems in your digital marketing strategy

20:01 – Training marketers to be leaders in the company

23:34 – Investing in a customer advisory board program

28:07 –  Determining where you’re failing in your marketing efforts

30:26 – The one question every b2b digital marketer should ask themselves

34:42 – Connect with Mike Gospe


Key Takeaways

“As a digital marketer, now is the perfect time to reflect on how we can bond with our customers and deliver more value to them.”

“Digital marketers need to be aware of what the landscape is, but they must not lose sight on the larger, integrated marketing strategy.”

“One of the best things a marketing leader can do is hire people who are smarter than they are.”

“What is it that you do and why do you do it? As a digital marketer, what value do you provide to a company?”


Links and Resources

Mike’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikegospe

Mike’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikegospe/

Mike’s website: https://www.kickstartall.com/

The Marketing High Ground: https://amzn.to/308zXMf

Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, B2B DM gang. I have somebody on the show today and we’re going to have a fantastic conversation. And for those of you who are familiar with baseball, um, and if you are not aware, I love the game. Um, I’m actually a certified pitching coach. I coach at the middle school level. Um, for me, that’s my retirement plan. When I don’t have to work anymore, then I’m going to be a college coach. That’s what I want to do. Um, so I don’t, I’m just sharing that with you, but it’s important because that’s a strategy, right? And the person who’s on the show today, who’s going to throw you, they’re going to throw you some curve balls, probably about your B2B DM strategy that you need to be aware of. And Mike Gospe is actually a B2B marketing better and strategist. Uh, he is also the co founder of the kickstart Alliance and he’s an author of eight books. And the one that we’re really gonna be focusing in on today is the marketing high ground. Mike Gospe. Thanks for joining me. And if you could share us a little bit about your passion for B2B DM.

Mike Gospe (00:56):

Yeah. Thank you, Jim. I’m delighted to be here and to be with your audience. Yes. I do have a passion for digital marketing, but I’m going to take a step back to it because I think today all marketing is digital digital marketing in the past. Used to be kind of a, a precise, discreet kind of niche. Nowadays. I struggled to find, well, what element of marketing doesn’t have a digital element to it? Actually, they all do. And they all should. So my passion as a marketing strategist is about forming that integrated marketing strategy that follows the buyer’s journey and their digital elements to all of it.

Jim Rembach (01:36):

You know, it’s interesting that you say that. Um, I would also say that we probably would have even addressed that a little bit differently four or five months ago when we started talking about all of it being digital. Because I think to me, there’s a lot of things that have become more aware of being digital that we probably didn’t think about before. Like somebody was even chatting earlier about the whole LinkedIn messaging type of thing, you know? Well, that’s now a digital strategy. That’s extremely important for a lot of B2B marketers. And so how you go about that is vitally important. So how are some of these things that you’re seeing, you know, become automatically important, forced transformation? Um, you know, I mean, what are you seeing?

Mike Gospe (02:15):

Yeah, so, you know, Jim, you’re raising an excellent point because the COVID-19 and the lockdown has brought a huge spotlight on marketing and digital marketing elements. So from a personal perspective, let me share the short, short story. So we’re maybe, uh, six weeks into lockdown. And I happen to notice, I was looking at all my email that I’m getting, and I’m getting a ton of tone, deaf email marketing. I’m Ben, my company leases cars. So I get these emails from dealerships going, Hey, come on down to the dealership and check out our cars. It’s like really we’re in week four of lockdown and you want me to come? Or I got emails from a company trying to sell me a new payroll systems like, Hey, I run a small business. I have to deal with furloughing for loaning, uh, furloughing employees. And you want me to buy a, a payroll system?

Mike Gospe (03:14):

So, no, it’s not that the marketers were doing something intentionally bad, but what the spotlight’s on as these programs, I’m willing to bet, you know, dollars to donuts. These were automated before the lockdown digitized. And so, and then I go to my spam filter, Oh my God. Over the course of 10 weeks, I probably have a thousand of emails and I’m not talking about the Viagra’s over the Rolex watches. I’m talking about reputable companies from seasoned marketer, sending messages that just are out of touch. And so the, as a strategist, not only do we need to think clearly about what the buyer’s journey is and the right touch points and how to digitize those, but when, and as conditions change and as they change so quickly and they were changing all the time, even before COVID-19, but now with COVID-19, there was this lag of fat leg effect.

Mike Gospe (04:07):

So, and then you mentioned kind of LinkedIn new channels coming up, how people are communicating. Let’s talk about zoom and everybody now on the zoom overload, right? There’s this new dimension to our world, all of its digital, all of it has marketing implications, but we need to rethink what that strategy is. So what, as far as for me, my message to digital marketers is we need to be better. We need to be more attuned to what’s going on. We need to be more reflective and we need to rethink what that strategy is. And there are four dimensions of what the strategy is for today. And I call this about having a marketing program that’s real R E a L real, your strategy must be relevant and timely for the people we’re talking about. It’s the middle of COVID. Do you want to be talking to me about coming into a dealership or, or selling a payroll system?

Mike Gospe (05:04):

That’s not exactly timely. It needs to be empathetic to the situation, the buyer and the companies are going through a right now, there’s a huge lack of empathy in many marketing messages that are going on. Um, it needs to be authentic where we say what we mean, and we mean what we say, and then it needs to be legitimate in that, uh, get rid of the hyperbole. Let’s how use trustworthy evidence to support our claim. So as this marketing strategy in this new digital world, uh, where all the pieces are moving fast, I think marketers need to be driven to be real relevant, uh, empathetic, authentic, legitimate.

Jim Rembach (05:49):

Well, as you’re talking, I started thinking about, um, some of the things that have also changed from a strategy perspective. And I think your examples kind of point out a little bit, and that is we have to be careful about digital and the automation elements, and then therefore causing or creating invisibility. So in other words, I’m sure that those people that set all of those things up, like you’re talking about, yes, it probably I’m sure it was before, um, you know, all of this occurred, but now it was automated and it’s out of sight out of mind and this thing started running. Yeah, you can’t, and now I can’t pull it back. Cause I just went out to, you know, X many or whatever like that. So I think we have to probably do a better job when we start thinking about strategy of having visibility into all of our activities and all of our automations.

Mike Gospe (06:34):

Absolutely. And it’s not. So within a marketing community, boy, there’s huge visibility and emphasis on the whole funnel on the lead generation funnel and that’s and rightly so because companies need to kind of monitor that, but there’s been a lack of visibility about what’s really going on out in the real world. And I take, I take this issue with so many marketing teams that I deal with and I coach where they’re looking at what is driving them as an individual. I need to run 500 new leads per month. And I don’t care where I get them. And if I don’t get my funnel, I’m going to be in trouble. Meanwhile, what’s going on in the rest of the world. And have you addressed the right message by the way, this plays into this whole coach notion of account based marketing. Now account based marketing has been around for 20 years.

Mike Gospe (07:24):

And one of the pet peeves I have is that there are people out there who will say, Oh, it’s a brand new thing. No, it’s not a brand new thing, but the trick, uh, an account based marketing is not target marketing, target account marketing. You build your list and you go, Oh yes, I’m targeting these accounts. True account based marketing is understanding what the true issues are that the people you wanting to sell to are going through and being empathetic and then matching your messaging and your digital elements to them. It takes, you know, serious thought process to sketch those out and flow chose us. That’s the level of vigilance that we’ve not had nearly as much as what we need to have as a marketing community.

Jim Rembach (08:06):

Well, I, okay. So you and I had this discussion about what you do and what I do. And, you know, I work in the contact center and customer experience space with a lot of different solution providers. And one of the things that they always have as a major barrier is that relevance component. So for me, I was actually in operations, in a contact center, uh, you know, I supervised and managed and contact centers. And so I lifted, I know it. Uh, and when you start really talking about a lot of these companies who are trying to sell solutions, they don’t have that context. So relevance for them is really difficult. And so what ends up occurring is that we have marketing message and then a sales activity and in transition or handover that has a huge break and disconnect and a lot of, you know, mayhem for them to be able

Mike Gospe (08:56):

To close their funnel, have conversions. Yeah. And in fact, in, uh, the, the meetings that I’m most enjoyed and valued when in my career as a, either senior marketing director or VP of marketing was when we got together for sales and marketing summits. And these would happen on a, sometimes a quarterly basis at at least once a year, if not twice a year. And these meetings had a specific purpose of aligning with the sales objectives were and what the marketing objectives were to help support kind of sales and making sure that we had that story. We understood what a good qualified lead was. Many companies I had worked with us 10 different people. What do you think a good quality lead is? You get 10 different answers and no wonder that there’s there’s problems with that. But I think alignment and collaboration on this visibility element that I talked about starts there.

Mike Gospe (09:53):

It shouldn’t start before, but that should be a catch. All the saying, you know what? Let’s make sure that we’re, we’re aligned and we’re in sync with the story that we want to tell. We need to tell, especially now let’s, let’s take it now with the whole COVID-19 thing. Now, what so early on, uh, you know, four weeks into lockdown, EV lots of tone, deaf messages, lots of lack of alignment. And then afterwards, everybody started to get onto the obligatory during these difficult times. And now that’s kind of, I don’t want to say it’s backfired, but now it’s kind of, it doesn’t have the same effect as it had before. So instead of trying to play catch up for that, we need to start aligning with what comes next. How do we help the companies come out? And I’ve been delivering a hard message to companies.

Mike Gospe (10:43):

I said, unless you’re Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and a small handful of other companies, you’re not going to make your quarterly numbers. You’re not going to make your year numbers. You’ve lost too much revenue during this shutdown. And so instead of panicking, Oh, let’s throw more energy into marketing and sales and get any lead that, that breathe. We’ll do that. What if we didn’t do that? What if we shifted our marketing programs to be of service to customers, how can we actually help them make the best of the investments that they’ve already made with us? How can we help them solve problems and pivot their own business? What that essentially means is what if we all become customer advocates in marketing and sales, and we align our messages and our value from that, undoubtedly people will still want to buy and we’ll gladly sell to them.

Mike Gospe (11:36):

But I think that has a huge impact on how we treat marketing Kia, digital marketing, the stories that we tell the alignment with sales and marketing, and ultimately it will strengthen the relationships we have with the customers. So when get better, you’ll grow faster. And for anybody who is thinking, maybe I’m making this up, all you have to do is go back to 2008. When we had the great recession where a lot of the same things were happening, completely different situation, but businesses were shutting down marketing and sales. There were stagnation and programs, but those companies that kept a little bit of a lifeline on into understanding the customer journey and being there, if only to listen, help, they learned a ton about their customers that impacted their marketing programs. And they grew faster when times got better. So I think we’re, we’re dealing with a similar kind of opportunity.

Jim Rembach (12:33):

I would agree with that. And it’s a really good point. Uh, one of the things also I run into from a strategy perspective, as I talk to organizations about the, you know, before, during, and the after sale process and what you were talking about there is really what I know is client success customers, right? So you’re talking about taking those marketing people and now having them be part of your client success team. While the downside that I see is there’s a lot of organizations that I’ll talk to and I’m like, okay, let’s talk about your marketing is talk to your sales. And they’re like, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then I say, okay, let’s talk about your client’s success. And they’re like, what? What’s that?

Mike Gospe (13:09):

Yeah, no, that’s, that’s true. I, you know, if anything, again, talk about shining the spotlight on areas in digital marketing is a magnet for that. Cause it’s a hot topic and people are talking about this, but there are implications that go beyond that. And your notion of customer experience and customer success is exactly right. Because what if the future, what if the only customers you win this year are customers you already have? So, and everybody knows the saying is true. It’s lot easier to keep a current customer than to get new ones, but what does that mean for how we operate and where we go? So I, I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek. Uh who’s right. And as a strategist for Apple and many others, one of the things that he says a lot is take time to reflect on what you do and why you do it.

Mike Gospe (14:00):

And I think as marketers, and I don’t mean this as an existential question, although that has value in it of itself. But let’s say as a marketer, as a digital marketer, as a company executive moving to the future, I think now with all that’s going on in our crazy world is a perfect time to reflect on what do we do individually and as a company and why do we do it? And what’s that message. What’s that bond that we can have with our customers that will help them solve their problems, deliver more value to them. And if we can kind of get our finger on the pulse of that, our digital marketing programs are going to be more carefully defined. There’ll be more visible, more, more real right. Relevant, empathetic, authentic, legitimate. And I think that’s where the opportunity for leadership and marketing development is coming out of this pandemic. If that makes sense,

Jim Rembach (15:00):

It does make sense. So then I would dare to say with those types of, uh, you know, philosophies and, and, and opinions and strong emotions associated with all of this is that you probably have a lot of, uh, thoughts around things that are just overrated. So what do you think is B2B digital marketing?

Mike Gospe (15:16):

Yeah. You know what? I think that’s a great, great question. What is overrated? And I’m going to, uh, ne give you a generic reaction. It’s the shiny object syndrome. And I saw this happen when I give you an example, when Marquetto first came out and everybody thought Marquetto was going to be the silver, silver bullet to marketing campaigns, Oh, we’re going to automate all this stuff. It only became clear that if you automate garbage in, you’re going to get garbage out. And the tool in and of itself does not make the difference. So what I think is overrated is whatever is hot in the moment as Oh, Instagram, everybody’s moving to Instagram. It’s like, it’s, it’s a, it’s the hot thing of the day. Or just like Facebook was, or now people are thinking of, Oh, LinkedIn and different capacity. Yes. Digital marketers need to be aware of what the landscape is, but don’t lose sight about what the strategy is that integrated strategy of where do your buyers go to get information?

Mike Gospe (16:14):

What information do they use to make better decisions, purchase decisions, what information do they need? What content all of that plays in. And what I fear, what I’ve seen so often is a marketing organization is segmented. I’ve got somebody who deals with the website and they’re over here. I had somebody working on social media and they’re over here. Somebody is doing something and they’re just not, not connected. And so I think, Oh, those things are great, but they’re only great until they become obsolete. And what doesn’t become obsolete is this strategy. So I think pay attention to the larger landscape, but every marketer, I don’t care if you’re a, you’re a new hire you’re working on social media or website. Everybody needs to have one eye on the larger marketing strategy. That’s where we need the better investment.

Jim Rembach (17:08):

Well, and to add on to that, um, I was just reading something and I can’t recall it off the top of my head. I’m sorry. But, uh, it was, it was saying how, in order to be more resilient in times, you know, of, you know, the volatile and all of that stuff. And by the way, this is how it’s going to be going forward. And I mean, I think it’s, it’s the new reality, right? So we do have to be learn how to be more resilient and be galvanized and, and all of that. And as they talk about, there’s two things that you need to have that are vitally important. And I talked about culture and then systems. And so for me, when you’re talking strategy, I think that falls into both camps. You know, um, I need to have the proper culture, um, strategy, and then I need to have the proper systems. And when they’re saying systems, they’re not talking about tech, you know, they’re, they’re talking about, you know, how things operate in a systematic way, more holistic.

Mike Gospe (18:03):

Exactly. And so I can give you a perfect kid. I totally agree with what you’re saying, Jim, when, uh, I was a VP of marketing and, uh, with my current customers, uh, I’m a big fan of creating playbooks and a playbook covers both. Now, the culture comes out of that, but system realize we’re not talking about how do you, how are you using your salesforce.com system, do your utmost advantage, which has huge issues. Cause everybody’s not, but if you can blueprint out and I literally mean it like, uh, an expanded flow chart of how the pieces fit together and who does what, and what systems are tied in is huge. And so one, one client I worked with, we developed, you know, four or five different playbooks for different elements. And it was amazing because everybody had a fairly large marketing team. They would look at these and immediately they know what role they needed to play. It’s like, Oh, we’re going to go on the football field and play football. What, where do I need to stand? It’s like, Oh, now you know what position you’re going to play. So many companies don’t have this and this really helps. And you’re right. Future is not the past and we’re going to need new playbooks coming out of this.

Jim Rembach (19:14):

That’s a great point. Okay. So then I don’t want to answer this question for you. I want to make sure that it’s your perspective, although I think I know what I’m going to hear. Uh, so if I started talking about, um, you know, areas where a digital marketer can really be a disruptor and today, where is that?

Mike Gospe (19:33):

Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a good question. I’ve given a lot of thought, a lot of thought to this and it ties into what we were talking about earlier in that I don’t, I’m not a big fan of shiny object syndrome as being the, uh, the, the end all be all deal. I think there’s a, a strategy element of that, that people need to embrace a little bit more. So what does that actually look like? How does, how does that happen? I see if you were to ask me, um, where would I spend some additional money to help my marketing marketing team? There’s, there’s two areas that I would have them invest in. When we talked about earlier, was this alignment with sales and marketing. But the other is in training and marketing training of marketers, not only to be better marketers, but to be better leaders across the company.

Mike Gospe (20:22):

And so when there is training and let’s take salesforce.com as an example, and there are tons of resources available out there to get more skilled on how to use salesforce.com and the many plugins and the tying in with this, that, and the other system, many companies, sadly, I think don’t take advantage of that. And either because training is an naughty, it’s like, well, Jim, I hired you to do that. I expect you to go figure that out. It’s like, no, you know what? I think one of the best things a marketing leader can do is hire people who are smarter than they are. So this is what I would do as a VP of marketing. I would hire somebody who’s smarter than I am and website design and SEO and Facebook, and even so, because technology is changing so fast, I would have a little bit better, the budget set aside, so they could go attend a course, get some additional teaching learning so they can become even better at that.

Mike Gospe (21:20):

So that would be number one, but there’s the flip side of that. And this is the longer term side is how do you build marketing bench strength to kind of grow as your business grows? Well, you need to invest not only training in understanding your products and how the products fit into the market landscape, but how to be a good customer, how to be a good corporate leader, a skilled in communications. One of my bosses, old bosses at the time said, it’s ironic that we, as marketers are not better communicators. And this was said in context of internal communications of sharing with sales and the leadership team, what exactly it is that we’re doing, and that doesn’t come naturally, you need some political savviness to figure this out, but you also need to understand the right ways in which to communicate internally or to build leadership skills or to, uh, uh, uh, expand and extend your curiosity.

Mike Gospe (22:26):

And to other parts of the organization, marketing should know what sales is doing, engineering customer service support, and they should know what marketing is done. And I see that as being kind of a, kind of a gap. So to invest in those kinds of areas, I think has not only opportunities to help a company, but to grow better marketers and right. That’s the next generation of leaders. So I, I’m not sure if I answered your question directly, but these are some of the things that I’m thinking about. Uh, you know, when I think about where we invest in and how do we get better.

Jim Rembach (22:58):

So I mean, how you did, I mean, so for me as an individual, if I’m looking at how can I actually make it that big difference, it’s doing the things that you’re talking about. And from an organizational perspective, you were talking about minor shifts. Let’s, let’s take, let’s take all the constraints off. So you’ve been given unlimited budget. You can do whatever you want, where are you going to invest your money?

Mike Gospe (23:18):

Yeah. That’s well, so we’d come back to the, I think in order to answer that, uh, first I would double down on making sure I’m understanding what the company’s value proposition is and where the growth opportunities, where we can provide the most, most value. And if we don’t know that I’d invest to figure that out, and it’s not just about, well, let me take a step back. I’m a big believer in having become the customer advocate and what I mean by the customer advocate, meaning that you’re the resources that actually know the trends and drivers driving your customer’s business better than anybody else. And it’s not that, Oh, what, when my gospel, my gospel knows all the answers I’m therefore Mike is going to dictate the answer. No, that’s not what I’m talking about, but what a customer advocate knows the right questions to ask and the way to bring in some of that knowledge.

Mike Gospe (24:11):

So one of the things that I would invest in, and one of the things that I currently advocate strongly with my customers is, do you have a customer advisory board program? Do you know, can you gather your customers to understand how they’re thinking about how their business is evolving, how their buying process is likely to evolve, uh, and what kind of information they need to solve their problems. All of that then impacts what our marketing engine needs to look like. So the last thing I’m going to do is jump to attack, stick without confirming and understanding completely kind of where we’re going. I’m making sure that we’re in alignment. So some of that money customer advisory board, which are being reshaped now because of COVID-19, that’s a great investment for that. I’ve look at other, I have a voice of the customer model that just briefly there it’s a pyramid model and there are three levels of customer engagement.

Mike Gospe (25:08):

All of this impacts digital marketing hugely at the Y access to the model are tactical topics at the bottom. I had a bad experience on Tuesday. What are you going to do to fix it to strategic at the top, which is how’s, COVID-19 affecting your business. And what is it going to look like by 2023 different questions that get asked to different people at different times at the base of the pyramid, which is the widest. There are many people in your company talking to many customers at any given time on tactical and operational, uh, elements and marketing must have an investment. Digital marketing is huge here to pay attention to customer survey forms, customer sat and PS scores, real time monitoring of social media need to make sure that there’s an investment in that that’s appropriately fit. So that’s part of where I’d spend my money, the middle level, it’s called product direction.

Mike Gospe (26:00):

You want to get feedback, that’s going to impact your medium term roadmaps, uh, six to 18 months out. You know, I’ve got my product here. I want to know if it’s tuned appropriately. Do I need to change some things, but largely the product is baked. You need to have some product, uh, uh, feedback and user groups as a traditional item here at the top of the pyramid is where the customer advisory board fits. This is where you get a dozen of your senior decision maker, customers to meet with your CEO and executive team to talk about the future and how their business is evolving and ultimately how your company tends support that as a marketer, where I make my investment is I need to make sure that every part of that model has an level of investment for both the systems. And you talked about systems and culture earlier, Jim, and you’re exactly right.

Mike Gospe (26:51):

The culture has to be set by the CEO who says, you know what? Understanding customers is really important. I’m dedicated to it. I expect my team to be dedicated to it because the more we know can help us be more empathetic. So there, there are a variety of tactics at each of those three levels, and it would become clear what those investments need to be based on that bit of analysis. So I would take I’d slowed down before I spend anything to take a little bit, to understand this picture and then put together a plan on how to use that money. And I think it’d become clear.

Jim Rembach (27:30):

Well, thanks for sharing that. I mean, for me, there are so many things that came out that are so vitally important, you know, first is the listening element, but there’s also the contextual element, but there’s a whole lot of wisdom that needs to be put in place there that you’re gaining from your customer because Hey, let’s face it. I mean, a lot of people who are in a, in a, you know, marketing position, you know, may not have had the opportunity to have the longterm exposure that I’ve had in my industry. Right. I think that’s really critical.

Mike Gospe (27:59):

So that, there’s, there’s a flip side to the question that you did. So you asked me, what would I do if I had a million bucks suspend, the flip side is, um, what do I think about the investment I’m currently spending? So let’s say I’m spending a million dollars and there’s this old saying that says, I, you know, I know half of my marketing budget is misspent. I just don’t know which half actually I can tell you which half, it’s pretty easy to find out what you have. All you have to do is take your marketing tactic, whatever it is, and take a step back and say, what’s the strategy behind this? Do I know who I’m targeting? Do it? What’s the persona. What’s my positioning statement. What’s the story. I’m trying to tell nine times out of 10, you look at that and it becomes clear, well, you’re wasting money here.

Mike Gospe (28:45):

Cause you don’t know who you’re talking to. You’re trying to be all things to all people, or like we talked about earlier in the episode about all these emails I’m getting that are tone deaf and out of sync with what, you know, no, I don’t want to go to a dealership or buy a payroll system. The timing is wrong. So there is a way, and I think through some gentle self-assessment and reflection, I’ve done this with marketing teams. They say, you know what? Let’s, let’s take over lunch. Let’s get together. Let’s, let’s put up on a wall, all the marketing tactics that are going on right now, let’s kind of look at them and see if they sync up and, and it becomes clear. Do you don’t have a persona? The messaging is all wrong, et cetera. This, by the way, was the reason why I wrote my book, the marketing high ground, because those marketers who understand the customers, Beth, it’s like, you’re climbing a mountain. And your view of market is so much better than if you’re down at the weeds and you don’t understand or see how the pictures pieces fit together.

Jim Rembach (29:50):

Man, I’ll tell you, Mike, I think you foreshadowed a lot of my questions, my friends. So I’ll tell you because ultimately it comes down to you. We have to stop and take some assessment and some inventory and ask ourselves the question, you know, what, what should, what should I be looking at? What is the question I should be asking myself as a B2B digital marketer. And I think you already hit it, but

Mike Gospe (30:11):

Yeah. So let me, let me try to be, um, practical and pragmatic on this for everybody. So I, I think there are, there are a couple of things that all of us are humans, humans are dealing with right now in COVID-19. And I think it’s important to recognize how stressful and the future is not going to be what we thought it was a lot of what we’re taking for granted yesterday. Doesn’t apply. So I’m thinking as a, for anybody, but let’s say as a digital marketer, the first question I think is a good opportunity. Maybe it’s over a glass of wine when the evening, just to reflect on what is it that you do personally and why do you do it? What, what do, what do I, as a digital marketer? What’s the value that I want to provide to a company? What’s the expertise that I want to invest in and to be really clear on that, uh, you know, sometimes we all fall into jobs kind of by chance.

Mike Gospe (31:12):

And I think because so much, you know, what a lot of what’s happening in the world is broken and it needs to be fixed. And I think what a great opportunity for us to kind of say, yeah, you know what I want to, I’m seeing marketing in a new light and I think there’s new value that I can add. So I think number one, personal assessment, no matter where you are. So number two, as a digital marketer, I think it would be good. Not only are you good in your current craft. And I think it’s really important cause we do need specific experts in that. And if you’ve got something you’re passionate about, technology-wise stick with it at the same time, I would say, give yourself a broader awareness of the pieces that surround you now. So I’ll give you, this is not a digital exercise, but this is where I personally was hit in the kidneys several times early in my career.

Mike Gospe (32:10):

And it’s the difference between advertising and press relations. So I worked for a large company, my buddy and colleague manage the advertising programs. I manage press and we had an upcoming launch that was coming new product introduction. We were all very excited about this. And at running the press, I had to drive the editorial community. I had to write the press releases and I wanted to get that great cover shot on you E times or whatever the magazine was to showcase our product. And I had negotiated with the, uh, the editor, this great photo. We were going to be on the cover. And I had told all the executives about this, and we’re going to be super excited about this. The day of the launch comes, the magazine hits. We’re not on the cover. So I’m going, Oh my God, what happened? So I call the editor and he tells me, he says, well, Mike, I thought this was going to be brand new news, but you been advertising this product for the last week and I’m going, Oh my God, what?

Mike Gospe (33:14):

So the ad and the ad guy, he sits bloody right next to me. And yet we didn’t synchronize. So he and I both got taken to the woodshed kind of thing, but it was a great learning experience. So let’s, let’s translate to the digital now and whether it’s search engine optimization, it’s Facebook ads, it’s YouTube channels, it’s LinkedIn, it’s whatever, it’s the salesforce.com apps, whatever you’re working on, make sure you understand how it fits with the broader, you know, landscape of the things pieces that connect together that’s worth taking the time. Not only will you become more attuned yourself, you’ll become a better asset to your company because you’ll be able to understand the implications that ripple throughout the marketing process. That’s my advice.

Jim Rembach (34:06):

As I told you, B2B DM guy gang, you’re going to have somebody who’s going to throw you a curve ball or two in regards to your strategy and Mike, you absolutely delivered. So Mike Gospe, how can the B2B DM gang get in touch with you?

Mike Gospe (34:20):

I, uh, so I run a kickstart Alliance. Uh we’re uh, and I’m available onto the site. We’ve got email. You can email me also directly at mikeg@kickstartall.com. Uh, we’ve got a, a number of blogs. I’m also very, uh, somewhat verbose on LinkedIn. So if you go, I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn. You’ll find out more of the best practices and the articles that I’ve written. And of course you can contact me directly through that as well. I am absolutely happy to answer any questions and even, you know, sit down and just brainstorm freely with my marketing colleagues at any time. So don’t be shy. Send me an email. We’ll set up a little time to chat.

Jim Rembach (35:06):

Mike Gospe, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, and we wish you the very best.

Mike Gospe (35:10):

It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much, Jim.

285: Amy Posey – Why Weirdness Works in Leadership

285: Amy Posey – Why Weirdness Works in Leadership

Amy Posey Show Notes Page

Amy Posey had an opportunity to talk and meet with a tech startup team. In order to spark them up and make them think, Amy experimented working with weird cutouts and novel items that left the people stunned and confused. Coming in with these weird and ridiculous items, the items became memory triggers and anchor points for the listeners. Because of how different and weird it was, it made her more memorable than anyone else and her talk stuck into her listener’s minds.

Amy Posey was born and raised in Oak Lawn, Illinois, six blocks from the south side of Chicago’s city limits.  Her most vivid memories include stuffing the family into a very tiny hatchback and taking road trips east of the Mississippi, which inspired her love of travel and adventure.

The youngest of four children, she has an older brother and sister, and her oldest sister died due to complications from Leukemia when Amy was 17, one month after she started college. It had an undeniable impact on her outlook on life and realization to live life to its fullest.

She was the first in her family to attend college at Purdue University, where she started out as an aviation technology major with hopes of entering an aviation career but shifted gears during her first year to eventually graduate as an English major with a focus on poetry.

While at Purdue, she met her husband of 22 years, Bob, who happens to be a pilot, peripherally fulfilling her interest in aviation and giving her the chance to travel to over 70 countries.

After university, Amy pursued work in teaching high school English, and after 3 years of teaching, transitioned to management consulting for public sector clients, which sparked her interest in business.

After September 11, 2001, a downturn in the aviation market sent her and Bob packing for the middle east, where she spent three years living and working in the Kingdom of Bahrain while pursuing her MBA, making her also the first in her family to attend graduate school.

When she returned from the middle east, she resumed her consulting career, but based in Silicon Valley and focused on technology companies, which has been her focus for the last 15 years of her career.

A decade ago, she transitioned from a large management consulting firm to working for a boutique firm called The AIP Group (adventures inspiring performance), where she facilitated adventure-based leadership sessions and earned her Executive Masters in the Neuroscience of Leadership.

Her last year with AIP was spent leading the company as CEO before she left to launch her own neuroscience-based manager development startup called SUPER*MEGA*BOSS in 2019 and co-wrote Wild Success: 7 Key Lessons Business Leaders Can Learn from Extreme Adventurers with Kevin Vallely.

Amy lives in San Jose, California, with her husband, Bob, and their 22-year-old cat.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @BrainyLeaders get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShowClick to Tweet

“Innovation is all about being uncomfortable.” – Click to Tweet

“The brain loves novelty. We love looking at new stuff.” – Click to Tweet

“When you apply weirdness in different domains, it gives it a fresh light and makes people pay attention to it more.” – Click to Tweet

“If you’re serving up content that’s boring and not memorable, then there’s no way someone’s going to remember how to apply what they’ve been taught.” – Click to Tweet

“Humans like to see something different. Novelty works to get people’s attention.” – Click to Tweet

“Real, intentional development takes time.” – Click to Tweet

“Exposing yourself to things that are different from what you normally do gives opportunity for reflection and innovation.” – Click to Tweet

“It takes time to come up with good ideas and you have to give yourself that time and reflection space to do it.” – Click to Tweet

“A good leader will continuously learn through life.” – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Amy Posey had an opportunity to talk and meet with a tech startup team. In order to spark them up and make them think, Amy experimented working with weird cutouts and novel items that left the people stunned and confused. Coming in with these weird and ridiculous items, the items became memory triggers and anchor points for the listeners. Because of how different and weird it was, it made her more memorable than anyone else and her talk stuck into her listener’s minds.

Advice for others

Be very interested in science.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

The negative voice in my head.

Best Leadership Advice

Be more emotionally intelligent.

Secret to Success

I’m a weirdo.

Best tools in business or life

Microsoft To Do

Recommended Reading

Song of Myself Poem by Walt Whitman‎

Contacting Amy Posey

Amy’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/brainyleaders

Amy’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amyposey/

SUPER MEGA BOSS website: https://supermegaboss.com/

SUPER MEGA BOSS LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/supermegaboss/

SUPER MEGA BOSS Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/super.mega.boss/


Kevin Vallely episode: https://www.fastleader.net/kevin-vallely/

Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because we have somebody on the show today. Who’s going to tap into your weirdness and get you something we’re going to help you to be more innovative, creative, and a better leader. Amy Posey was born and raised in Oaklawn, Illinois, six blocks from the South side of Chicago city limits her most vivid memories include stuffing the family into a very tiny hatchback back and taking tiny and taking road trips East of the Mississippi, which inspired her love of travel and adventure. The youngest of four children. She has an older brother and sister and her oldest sister died due to complications from leukemia. When Amy was 17, one month after starting college, it had an undeniable impact on her outlook on life and realization to live life to its fullest. She was the first in her family to attend college at Purdue university, where she started out as an aviation technology major with hopes of entering an aviation career, but shifted gears after her first year to eventually graduate as an English major with a focus on poetry while it produced.

Jim Rembach (01:08):

She met her husband of 22 years. Bob who happens to be a pilot peripherally, fulfilling her interest in aviation and giving her the chance to travel to over 70 countries after university Amy pursued work in teaching high school English, and after three years of teaching transition to management consulting for public sector clients, which sparked her interest in business after September 11th, 2001, the downturn in the aviation market sent her and Bob packing for the middle East, where she spent three years living and working in the kingdom of Bahrain while pursuing her MBA, making her also the first in her family to attend graduate school. When she returned from the middle East, she resumed her consulting career, but based in Silicon Valley and focused on technology companies, which has been her focus for the last 15 years of her career, a decade ago, she transitioned from a large management consulting firm to working for a boutique firm called AIP group adventures, inspiring performance, where she facilitated and venture based leadership sessions and earn her executive masters in the neuroscience of leadership.

Jim Rembach (02:16):

Her last year with a VIP was spent leading the company as CEO, before she left launch her own neuroscience based management management development startup called super mega boss in 2019. And co-wrote wild success, seven key business leaders, seven key lessons, business leaders can learn from extreme adventures with Kevin validly. Who’s been on the fast leader show and who’s an episode two 79. And we’ll talk about that here in a moment. Amy currently lives in San Jose, California with her husband, Bob and their 22 year old cat, Amy Posey. Are you ready to help us get over the hump? I’m ready. I am ready. Let’s do this. Oh, I’m glad you’re here. And I’ve my Legion a little bit about you, but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?

Amy Posey (03:04):

Yeah, I, that, that last piece around manager training. So just dealing with and thinking about how leaders learn, develop, and grow has been. I I’ve been working in it and with leaders for a long time. And so I noticed a space where particularly new leaders and managers, um, they’re not learning in the way that you and I may have learned who to lead other humans. And I feel like there’s a shift in what they’re consuming outside of work. And so what I’m doing is kind of this grand experiment. So super mega boss, which is the company I’m running now essentially looks at the weirdness of learning to lead others because that in and of itself is really weird sometimes. And so I’m taking a lot of the science that I’ve thought about and developed a way to have people learn in kind of more interesting and weird ways.

Amy Posey (04:01):

Cause we remember it better when it’s weird. We remember things that spark our emotions, um, and weirdness and novelty is one of those things that can miss sticks in her brain. And so I’m developing a new way for people to think about how do they manage others? How do they manage themselves as a boss and a leader? So I’m spending a lot of time creating a really fun content, doing different experiments based in the science then based in frankly, I’m a bit of a weirdo myself. And so I’m combining those things and it’s a, it’s a cool experiment that seems to be sticking. So, um, I’ve been doing that for the last, uh, 18 months, almost two years now, which is, which has been a lot of fun.

Jim Rembach (04:38):

Well, I know it’s listening to you talk about that. I start thinking about the book wild success that you co-wrote with Kevin Valley. And I think it’s really important to talk in regards to foundational elements and the awareness foundational elements, and then where you’re going with all of this in regards to the neuroscience. So in the book you talk about seven key lessons that leaders can learn from extreme adventurers and they are cognitive reappraisal, grit, growth, mindset, purpose, innovation, resilience, and personal sustainability. So once we understand those foundational elements and again, Kevin does an excellent job of explaining that on his episode of the fascinator show. Again, it was episode two 79 and we’ll put a link to that on your show notes page, but what we’re talking about is, okay, now how do we take all of these foundational components and elements, these ingredients, and then now really using it for that, you know, big, bad, you know, you know, that hyper extraordinary, you know, type of scenario so that we can separate ourselves from everyone else. Cause that’s really what’s required today. Uh, well, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Go ahead.

Amy Posey (05:46):

Oh, no. Well, and it’s interesting cause I think about, uh, you know, those fundamental elements that came out in the book, um, the, the science is there behind all of them too. So it’s a cool adventure story. The it’s the science behind it, and this is just kind of taking the science and double clicking on it in a more tactical way. So wild success. I mean, I’m passionate about travel and adventure and the stories that come from that. Um, I want it to even go a little bit deeper and further in, you know, thinking about those are, those are sort of the emotional components of being a leader. I wanted to look at. Okay. There’s also tactics around being a manager and those tactics are things that also require, um, some understanding some of the science and how we operate and how to build habits around all of those sort of tactics.

Amy Posey (06:32):

Cause they’re sort of the highfalutin, like how do I approach leadership in that big sort of capital L um, space and that’s where wild success, I think excels, cause it kinda gets you thinking above your day to day. I also wanted to look at what’s what is the day to day and for a manager and how are they learning and growing. And so, um, particularly around the space of innovation cause, um, you know, you’re supposed to listen to not play favorites, but I gotta say like that part of the book is my favorite. Cause innovation is like my baby. And I’ve been thinking about it for so long. And, and part of it was double clicking and seeing like, how do I, how do I take these leadership and management concepts and boil them down even further to the tactics and make those tactics stickier for people because you just, unless you build those good habits in the foundation, all the research shows that that most managers in the first two years, like 60% of them are so don’t don’t do well because they don’t develop those habits.

Amy Posey (07:28):

And so it’s like, how do you, how do you get into that? How do you unlock the potential to develop those habits? One is talking about it. But number two, I think is talking about it, not in sort of the capital L leaders sort of way, but talking about it in a real tactical habit, forming, um, scientific experiment sort of way to make it a little bit more accessible. Cause that I always remember the new manager, I was sort of terrified like, Oh, kind of a leader now. Oh yikes. So part of it is thinking about it in a more practical way,

Jim Rembach (07:56):

You know, and as you were say that, I start thinking about the differentiation between as a manager, what I have to do, tactically, you know, so Hey, we have to execute, we have to do these things. We have to follow these processes and procedures and workflows and you know, that’s one component, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. What we’re talking about is, you know, how do we now apply the finesse to all of that and figure out maybe better ways of doing it, uh, better ways of, you know, leading the people in the process, not just managing all of the resources and all of that. And so you actually talk about, um, in a, in a previous, um, presentation that I saw of yours, five ingredients that we need to implement. And in order to engineer, better days, part of this goes into being a better leader. It goes into serving the customers better and providing a better customer experience employee experience that men are several different ways that you can do it. And you talk about pausing and revisiting quiet, reframing positivity, and then an extended revisit kind of walk us through what that means.

Amy Posey (08:58):

Yeah. I mean, I, I spent a lot of time with tech companies. I live in Silicon Valley. I, I just, um, I’m a geek. I love to think about how to new ideas happen and you know, what’s, what’s the secret sauce? How are people learning to create these new ideas? Like why are we all coming to this one place and looking at Silicon Valley news, like the heart of it. And I started to uncover like, there’s some elements here that are working, but are they working in the way that were sort of designed to come up with these ideas? So I went deep on research around the space and that’s where I came up with these ingredients because what the science is saying that in order to really come up with these ideas, you’ve got to be deliberate and intentional on how you work. If you expect to come up with these new ideas and there’s tons of good, there’s, there’s more and more good literature out than there was probably five years ago when I started studying it.

Amy Posey (09:52):

But you know, part of it is thinking about the, those elements and how do you infuse every day with more of them because we get into the sort of the control network in the brain. And we’re always just sort of what’s next the tactics of our day getting managed by calendars. And this is an effort to get back into our default network, which is really where the brewery network, where we do more of our innovative thinking. It’s the daydreamy sort of floaty space. And I always ask people like how much time do you actually schedule the daydream during the day? And people are like zero to negative. I’m like, yeah, I know. And part of it is you actually need that. And so the insight ingredients were things that I came up with to just remind people, you actually have to engineer your day a little bit better if you expect to come up with the aha moments because your brain needs that time and space.

Amy Posey (10:40):

So pause, being able to walk away from things and I’ve used these experiments, even in writing wild success, I had to walk away to come up with like, how do I tie all these different ideas together from science, from business, from adventure? Like that’s a weird combination. How do you, how do you do that? And I, it required me to take pause. And so I’d go out and I’d take a walk in the Hills, I’d go out and, you know, even do a run around the block, but taking that pause and stepping away from the challenge that you have. I know so many people were trying to force fit it, get in a room, brainstorm for an hour, come up with the best idea like spoiler, very rarely will that accomplish the best idea. And the next item was quite,

Jim Rembach (11:20):

I’d actually like to add on that to a second, because what I have started implementing when I am having discussion and dialogue with somebody and we do have to figure out, you know, something different, um, what’s, what’s, we’re doing right now, isn’t working. People automatically want to go to start, you know, actually solving the problem right away. So we talk about, um, the different types of thinking that are needed, right? So we have the congruent, you know, type of thinking, you know, and then we have, you know, the creative type of thinking. And so I have been more intentional to say, I don’t want your answer right now. I just want you to think about it and come back to me tomorrow or whatever the case may be, because I want them to, I want them to do what you’re referring to, but you have to, you can’t, it’s not just doing it for yourself. You now have to do it for others, for you to get there better perspectives and ideas.

Amy Posey (12:16):

And, and that’s a really key bit of it is to, to recognize that because people have been very, very habituated into like, Oh, we need a solution immediately. We’re going so fast. And innovation doesn’t have to happen in that speed. And often the best innovations take time and failure. And I’ll be like any, anything you look at in terms of the most innovative things that are out there, it wasn’t, it wasn’t an immediacy. And so I love the idea of just sending someone away, say think about it. And I do that so often, um, and, and have trained myself to, because it’s, it’s, you want to sell people problems. You want to be helpful. You like, there’s a deep desire and the most helpful thing you can do, it’d be like, okay, I’ve got my information. I’m going to take a day or two to think about this.

Amy Posey (13:01):

And then I’m going to get back to you with some ideas so that I can properly give this the attention it deserves. And, and I think the more people can do that and make the time and space to do that. It requires planning, which, you know, I know a lot of people are not great at. And so it requires like you’ve got to build that time back in, if you really do need to do that. And so pause, I think is a really key piece of it. You’ve got to slow down if you really want those answers to come. Um, another kind of interesting it space in these ingredients is the idea of quiet, which is tough for a lot of people. You know, the idea that your brain actually needs to not have as many sensory inputs when you’re in the default sort of thinking time.

Amy Posey (13:46):

And so, um, the open floor plan that most people work in, in a lot of the corporations, especially here in Silicon Valley, people always come to me after I tell them they need quiet or like, but I work here and how am I supposed to do that? I’m like, well, you can’t do all of your work in the same space and that’s kind of a shocker for folks, but it’s like you, these workplaces that we’ve designed and right now it’s all our homes. So it’s actually really difficult if you’re a homeschool parent and you’re trying to get work done. And the leaf blowers are out there. Like it’s hard to innovate unless you can turn off some of those sensory input. And one of the biggest sensory inputs is sound. And so in order to think deeply and do that deep work, you actually need quiet, but the tricky pieces, you can actually also listen to nature sounds and trick your brain by, you know, getting a pastoral like birds chirping, maybe strainful ocean, your brain works better outside sort of in motion thinking about complicated things.

Amy Posey (14:45):

But our workplaces are noisy. You’re thinking about a thousand things at once. Um, you’re usually stationary. And so part of it is that quiet space, like going off for a walk in nature, exposing yourself to greens and blues, that’s, that’s where the magic is. That’s where your brain is going to do its best because that’s sort of the natural soundtrack that your brain can kind of deal with. Um, the mechanical soundtrack of always sort of having a playlist going, or it’s, it’s really tough, um, for your brain to come up with great ideas, so quiet and that, that reflection time to give yourself and, and just like stop some of that sensory input, um, is also really important for your brain to start to combine all these ideas into the aha moments, um, really reframing. So w the book actually talks about cognitive reappraisal, which is a kind of reframing, and that kind of talks about it from more emotional standpoint.

Amy Posey (15:41):

This is more from a, how do I look at my challenge or problem differently? And what I tell people is you have to expose yourself to information and things that aren’t in your domain in order to reframe. And that’s hard for people. So when I tell people, okay, if you are a software engineer, go to an art museum, they could go, wait, what? Like, that’s not my thing. Like, I don’t, I’m like, that’s why you need to go do something, read things that are not in your domain, exposure yourself, and have conversations even. And this is the smallest space that I think people can just sort of step out, go talk to somebody in another business function and ask them how they would solve your problem, make friends across the organization. And you’ll actually get way more innovative responses and approaches to your challenges. But we get stuck in our silos.

Amy Posey (16:29):

We wait to see what’s comfortable innovations all about getting uncomfortable. So like reaching out, talking to people who are not in your domain, talking to them about your challenge in a way that they can understand it and get like brainstorm with them. Um, that’s, I think a really important piece and trying to apply different solutions and different approaches to how you want to think about that challenge. Um, and I’m, I’m trying to do that myself in bringing in, um, the people that I’m working with and super mega boss. I’m, you know, I’m talking to people who create music, videos for artists and, and tick tock videos to infuse into very, what would traditionally be considered dry business learning. Like I’ve got to think about it in a different way. I’ve got artists, I’ve got people who aren’t educators, it’s a different lens. And so they can help you solve your problem in a very different way.

Amy Posey (17:20):

So reframing it, getting different input and insight, I think is huge. Um, positivity. So we naturally are negatively, uh, wired. We, we, and that’s a survival mechanism of our sort of four key emotions. Three are negative. And so you’ve got to bring a spirit of positivity of challenges can be solved and, and be optimistic, realistic, but optimistic when you face the challenge that you can, that you can find an interesting, innovative solution. And that sort of hope, um, kind of outweighs the immediacy of shutting down that voice in her head. But before we even say what our crazy new idea is, like, shuts it down. Like, no, that’s not good enough. That’s never gonna work. You gotta shut that voice down. Um, and I, I think a lot of people don’t do that when they’re trying to be truly innovative, but they’re like, Oh, it’s not going to work.

Amy Posey (18:10):

I’m not even gonna say it. I feel stupid. Like, no, no, no, shut that guy down. Like, get it down on paper, get it out on the whiteboard. Um, that’s huge. And then lastly, uh, revisiting, so stepping away for a while, not just sort of like a pause and reconnect, but a longer term revisit of your challenge and the solution that you’ve come up with because you’ve got a lot of cognitive bias. Once you come up with that great idea, you think it is the best idea in the history of humanity. And it’s really important to come back and say, how might this fail? How, how else could I look at this? Like, is this the best solution possible and trying to be objective and not biased and revisiting it again, um, I think is a great way to kind of relocate your ideas and it’s hard to put in practice.

Amy Posey (19:00):

Cause sometimes you have to get reminded like, Hey, that was a great idea for point in time X, like how have things changed materially that makes me need to look at this differently. And, and even if it just is an exercise and reaffirming your great idea, great, but it’s always good to poke holes at it and continue to enhance, right? Like everything’s always in beta, that’s a real geeky way to look at it, but like everything can be improved ourselves, our products, our ideas, and, and part of it is taking that as a growth growth opportunity to take a look at it. So those are the ingredients I feel like from a science standpoint, help us realize, Oh, okay, I can, I can take the process of coming up with new ways of doing things and apply a little bit of science and probably come up with a better idea than going at it and sort of my automatic, like getting a room, brainstorm it with some people off, we go with an idea.

Jim Rembach (19:50):

Okay. So then we have to do a better job of separating out our divergent and convergent thinking. We have to make sure that we don’t fall victim to biases of ourselves and other hers. Um, and, and there’s, so there’s a whole cacophony of things that are just flying at us. Right. But then you throw in this element with some of the work that you’re doing in regards to weirdness and leadership development and why weirdness works. And I think that’s why you talked about the tick tock, you know, people and all this coming to where you’re going.

Amy Posey (20:22):

Yeah. So, so when I thought about, and I’ve been thinking about innovation for awhile and, and about a year and a half ago, when I was sort of like, okay, I need to pivot like time for me to take a fresh approach on something. I started to dig into the, the land of the manager development space. And I just got really, I mean, personally bored, I kind of empathized. And I put myself in the shoes of if I’m a emerging leader and I’ve never been a boss before, what, what, how do I learn how to do this? And so that sort of design thinking approach to let me, let me empathize with these, this group of humans in the world that we’re in and whatever, whatever space they might be in, I might be as software engineer, new, fresh market here, and someone in manufacturing, like, doesn’t matter, like, let me just put myself and I’ve got to lead a small team and I got to figure out how I’m going to do that.

Amy Posey (21:10):

You know, are the things that are out there right now are going to help me and help me in a way that I’m going to take my very limited attention span and it shrinking. Um, is it as exciting and fun and interesting and useful as the stuff I’m looking at outside of work? And my answer was no, I’m going to go Google how to do my job because the stuff I’m seeing just wasn’t there. And so I started to think about, okay, I’ve been talking to leaders and humans for a long time about some of these things like, well, how does learning need to change and adapt? Like our, our media consumption is changing and adapting and the way people are creating content and doing sort of honestly like weird, ridiculous things of humanity, which I think is it’s fun to scroll through Instagram and find all the weirdness, but then it’s like, Oh, there’s something here.

Amy Posey (21:58):

Like, if this is so compelling, why can’t the way we learn how to do our jobs, have an element of this to make it more engaging and new and different because the brain loves novelty. We love looking at new stuff, it’s it sparks our dopamine receptors. It gets us kind of like, Oh, what is this? And this is weird. And, and so I’m in the process of really establishing, like why does weirdness work and how does it work? And so, um, Superman your boss, if you go on the website, I mean, it’s funny. Cause I, I, I bring it into people and I’m like, here’s what I’m doing. And I, the looks on people’s faces. They’re like, what the heck is this? I’m like, perfect. But that’s the response I want. So I have those going in hypothesis that some weirdness is going to work is going to stand out, is going to be people go, Oh, okay, I’m going to pay attention to this.

Amy Posey (22:47):

I’m going to figure out we’re still having those deep leadership conversations and manage our conversations around what I like to call power skills, not soft skills, but power skills. Like how do I communicate? How do I be emotionally intelligent situations? How do I help people grow and develop? But we’re doing it with this layer on top of it. That makes it much more memorable. And so I’m, I’m essentially going off and doing an experiment, just like I would tell people from an innovation standpoint, like I’ve, I’ve given it some time to marinate to think about it. And it’s, it’s in beta, like it’s in a permanent set of beta and I’m getting feedback from people like, Oh, I like this piece of it. This piece is a little too weird for me. Cause I tell people like, it’s not for everybody if you’re not ready for it.

Amy Posey (23:30):

That’s okay. And I know from cultural, like some of the different corporate cultures I work with, like, it’s not going to be where you want to go. Like, it’s just not your vibe. And that’s cool. But part of me is like, where might this work? Because I think weirdness is sticky. And when you can apply weirdness in different domains, it just gives it a fresh light and makes people pay attention to it more. And so I’m, I’m basically experimenting with ways to create content that is based in science, based in creating great manager habits, but is something that’s stickier for people to pay more attention to because we’ve got, I mean, at this point we’ve got maybe five to 10 minutes of people’s attention. Like eight minutes is the sweet spot. You can’t put somebody in a one day training session and just be hammer content at them anymore. It just isn’t gonna work. And then how to have a long tail behind it. It’s, it’s something that I think has to shift and, and people are not, I mean, that’s why micro learning works. Like people want to customize and personalize. And so I’m going to add that layer of weirdness and see how it goes from a, from a disrupting the space, um, perspective.

Jim Rembach (24:38):

Well, as you’re talking, as I start thinking about, uh, the differences that we need to point out, we’re not talking about T people learning how to, you know, better use, you know, um, uh, you know, an application. That’s not what we’re talking about. What we’re talking about here is developing a competency. That’s a foundational component to them being able to have a skill. Okay. So that’s a journey. I mean, that is something that requires what, what you’re referring to, which is more of that neuroscience habit, forming, you know, bias, re re dejecting separating of the whole, the Virgin convergent, thinking that this is more complex to something that is going to be transformational in nature, not a practice or a T or a tactical activity.

Amy Posey (25:28):

Absolutely. And that’s, that was a conscious choice, um, on my effort, because I do feel like these are the competencies, um, that people need for the longterm and those that you can, you can develop a competency better over time with habit formation, reminders, um, triggers that allow you to respond in certain ways and identifying the process and trigger it’s, it’s a nuanced art and science versus how to learn application, right? Like the brain learns differently. It’s remembering how to behave in certain ways. And those behavior based learnings are much harder to do. And so if you’re serving up content that’s boring and not memorable, there’s no way someone’s going to remember how to do those behaviors. Like they haven’t even caught it the first time because it’s, you know, same old, same old. And, and I see people sort of wanting this, this change in this different way of thinking.

Amy Posey (26:23):

Um, and, and it’s, and it’s sticking in certain places. I mean, I, it was funny because I served up something very different and contrary to one of my customers. And it was, it was very much not there. They’re pretty buttoned up even for a tech company they’re reasonably buttoned up. And then I created kind of this funny sound in class that had a pink with it. And it was, it was kind of goofy, but it definitely drew their attention. It was, uh, the course basically filled up in less than 20 minutes. It had a 50 person waiting list and it was like the fastest they’d ever seen people sign up for things. So I think like if you build it, they’ll come. And if you make it weird, they’re like, what is this? I’ve got to check this out and it’s that, you know, but some of the weird stuff rubs off and then you can still have really deep conversations.

Amy Posey (27:11):

And, and just remember, and, and it’s funny, cause even though I thought like, okay, this is where the emerging manager and leader, and they might be, you know, a millennial, whatever. Maybe they’re in this age bracket, they’ve never managed others before I had someone who was a very experienced leader, say like, Hey, will you come talk to my team of, you know, very much experienced, you know, they each had 25 and above years of service and a tech company. And they’re like, we’re having a meeting and we need some stuff to sort of spark us and to make us think. And I went in with the cardboard, cutouts and weird stuff that I bring to all my sessions. And these guys looked at me like, and it was just, it was a room full of like tech guys who had, I think had seen it all and were looking in and all of them just sort of turned and looked at me.

Amy Posey (27:59):

They’re like, what is going on here? And I’m like, we’re going to get weird. But I explained why I’m like, we’re going to get weird. Cause you’re going to remember this. And like, uh, me coming in with like this, these cardboard cutouts of like lips in business suits and giant pineapple heads, like real weird stuff, but it’s, they were memory triggers. And we walk in, I put all this stuff up. They’re like, God, what is happening? But then I explained, like, here’s the thing, you’re going to remember this. And we’re going to have some good conversations today and I’m going to anchor it with these wacky visuals and sure enough, they’re like at first we thought you were nuts. And then we’re like, okay, no, we’ll give her a chance. And so part of it is then also bringing, like it’s not weirdness for weirdness thing.

Amy Posey (28:40):

It’s weirdness with a purpose to make you remember and to grow and develop. And so, um, it was, it was a funny experiment. Cause one of the people I was with my team, we were just laughing to each other like, all right, well, let’s see how this goes. Like this is, this is a big bet. And we just sort of snickered afterward for like, that was better than expected. They got it. Like we even had like this funny head and one of the guys put the head on and I was like, this is amazing because people, I mean, humans just like to see something different and, and novelty works to kind of get people’s attention. So it was, it was pretty entertaining. And if nothing else, I’m having a good time with this experiment, which I think is, um, where I want to be right now.

Jim Rembach (29:19):

Yeah. Well, I mean, to me, the anchoring that you’re creating as a result of that, it’s pretty powerful and that’s what you and I were chatting off Mike. And I said, that’s why on the call center, coach virtual leadership Academy that we have to develop those frontline leaders. I started mentioning something about senior leaders coming in and how it’s kind of transformed and changed. And that’s what we try to do is do we try to switch it up, try to do things, although I think we need to get a little bit more wacky, so we’re going to have some thoughts. All right. So

Amy Posey (29:51):

Love him. I love those anchors and that’s a, it makes a big difference.

Jim Rembach (29:55):

Yeah, sure does. And I think one of the things, when you start talking about neuroscience, that’s critically important and you kind of have to think about it is what I’m trying to grow. Right. So I think, I think about of it as, you know, plant, um, you know, uh, you know, turning up the soil, you know, I’m planting a seed, you know, the whole cultivation and then the whole nurturing piece. And that you kind of have to think about that from a neuroscience perspective. You can’t just get right into it and say, Hey, this is the fully grown thing. I mean, you have to actually bake things

Amy Posey (30:26):

You do. And I think realizing that this full takes time and a time investment and taking the time and space to do this, and whether you’re developing yourself, developing a team of people who are going to lead others, whether it’s, you know, it’s, it takes time. And, and I think that we’re all in a rush all the time. And I, myself included like, I’m, I’m a fast mover. I’m kind of hyper. I, I like to get things done. I’m accomplished or admin oriented, like a lot of people, you know, but part of it is that real intentional taking a step back and giving things time to marinate, to think about things, your brain needs it. And I feel like right now I’ve been trying to encourage a lot of people with COVID and we’ve got some extra time here and there to like, just take that time to reflect and to do things that like hobbies, you know, like even if it’s a hobby that you have never tried before, like I’m doing a lot of drama lately, but exposing yourself and doing things that are creative, that are tactical with your hands that are different from what you normally do, stepping away from screens, doing puzzles, like just stuff to kind of get the juices, flowing, to get yourself thinking and more reflective and innovative.

Amy Posey (31:45):

Um, it’s, it’s a great time to do that. And, and to make that space to do that. I know, um, I’ve been working at home. I’m either in front of clients or I’m at home. And so I’ve been working at home for a decade plus, and I noticed in that shift, people were literally filling their entire day with work and feeling more tired and more exhausted. And I’m like, Oh, you haven’t figured this out yet. You know, those of us who’ve been working from home, don’t actually work all day. Like we go for a walk, we run an errand, we mix it up during the day we exercise. Like I am unabashed. And I tell anybody like, I’m going out for a hike two hours a day. I have since, since COBIT for sure. But like, I used to sort of hide that like ongoing for a hike from noon to two.

Amy Posey (32:28):

And people were like, what? I’m like, I know it’s terrible. It’s just, wow. How am I not lock to a desk and a computer all day? And I don’t know, like to be really innovative, that balance is absolutely necessary. So I’ve been telling people like, please don’t work from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM straight in front of your computer. You’re going to Wilton die. Part of that to be innovative is to realize that we have all tradie and rhythms and you’ve got to follow those and be really realistic in the fact that it takes time to come up with these good ideas and you have to give yourself that time and that reflection space to do it.

Jim Rembach (33:01):

You know, as we spend time together, I started thinking about something I probably should have done when we first started chatting when we approached, you know, the topic of neuroscience and that is, you know, a lot of people may have misunderstandings about what neuroscience is or isn’t. And so I would love to get your definition and perspective on what is neuroscience.

Amy Posey (33:24):

I mean, it’s, it’s fundamental, right? It’s the study of the nervous system. And at the central part of it is your brain. And so I see a lot of people throw it around like neuroscience, Hey, we all know neuroscience, it’s getting real popular, which is great. Um, but also dangerous. Cause there’s a lot of BS out there too. And so I aren’t like somebody made the mistake of saying I was a neuroscientist the other day. And I’m like, Whoa, Whoa, no, no, no, no, no, no. I like the scientific community. I think like wood poopoo deck. I’m not, I read articles. I curate, I understand the science behind it. And I look at neuroscience research in the context of leadership and I think it’s really helpful, but I also believe that it’s, it’s not, everything can be solved through it. And so it’s essentially looking at it not to get scared by it.

Amy Posey (34:16):

It’s, I’m reading articles about rat brains. Like it’s not like there’s no mystery behind it. It’s experiments. It’s looking at the scientific method. It’s looking for things that we can learn from replicated experiments, whether it’s human, human brains, rat brains, behavioral experiments, and like trying to pull that, that science and to say, what does this mean for us? What does this mean for a leader in their behaviors and how they operate? And that’s really it. And like the, the razzle dazzle, the twinkle, the neuroscience word is all over the place, which kind of cracked me up. And I’m excited that people are learning about their brains and all these fun facts. Like I could go for days and read fun facts about books and fun things about our brains because the science sciences improved the machinery to actually measure what’s happening in our brains is improved.

Amy Posey (35:00):

Drastically. Scientists are asking much more interesting questions. They’re using different contexts. Cause it used to just be like for health and for disease prevention. And now it’s like, Oh, how can we use the science to apply it to different contexts? Whether it’s learning, whether it’s business, whether it’s education, those are wonderful things in my book, but I also don’t want people to get like either super turned off cause I’ve had people go like, Oh, you’re a science chick. Like I don’t want to talk to you. Like that sounds, um, I like, I didn’t grow up thinking like, Oh, I’m going to really be, science-minded like, I’m a nerd. And I took a path and now this stuff really interesting. And it sounds really interesting in the context of work. And so if you can take some additional information from a space that you know is not your usual and apply it in a new way that it’s innovation.

Amy Posey (35:48):

So I’m really interested in it and wanted to go deep because I was like, okay, how is this useful for us day to day? Um, so I want to caution people like learning how to read science is actually super helpful because you can debunk stuff that doesn’t doesn’t work. Doesn’t it mean things or like a sample size and that’s 12 people or 12 rat brains that people are then using to say, Oh, this is, you know, the new awesome thing. And this is how we should all react. And it’s like, no, it’s actually not. It’s a small study. It doesn’t matter. But I also hate the fact that scientists all just slice each other down. And like, if you can’t replicate their studies, like they build a fight each other. It’s kind of a weird space, but I’m glad I’m not in. Um, because as they kind of eat their young and it’s weird, it’s like, no, no, no, no, I get it.

Amy Posey (36:33):

Like we need to have high standards, but like we don’t need to be inhuman about it. And so I’ve just really enjoyed sort of the opportunity to look and learn. Um, and, and a good leader will kind of continuously learn through your life and I’ve just been passionate about it. Cause I think w and I can go deep in it. And it’s funny cause Kevin, when we’re writing the book, he’s like, I think you need to pull it up a layer two. Cause I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. Like you got full geek on that. And I was like, okay, alright, that’s cool. He’s like, people are not going to understand your, you know, superior gyrus and all that. I’m like, okay, maybe I will kind of raise it up a level. So we don’t have to get too technical, but like it’s, it’s useful. It’s useful to know how we operate and how we work because brain’s most complicated thing in our universe. We all have one lucky us, like why not figure out how it works and how to use it better?

Jim Rembach (37:25):

Well, as, as you know, the talking about debunking, a lot of this stuff is, um, you know, the whole social perspective of, uh, rocket science being extremely complicated. And I always tell this story about a colleague that was actually having a conversation with a rocket scientist and said, um, you know, Mack, my job is significantly more difficult than yours. And he was like, what do you mean I’m a rocket scientist. And then she says, well, let me ask you this. Um, if I know the wind and I know my thrust, if I know the gravitational pole, if I know all these things I know within an inch or two, where that rocket’s going to land, he goes, that’s exactly right. And she looks at him and says, try to do that with people.

Amy Posey (38:15):

That’s true. That’s totally true. Um, yeah. And people are weird and hard to figure out and do unexpected things. So you a hundred percent correct. It is, it is much harder. I think that rocket science and I, I think that’s, um, profound, cause it’s realizing that we can then always get better and always get better in how we work with people, communicate, uh, innovate and that’s, to me that’s exciting and the whole world of neuroplasticity and knowing that our brains can kind of grow and grow and grow and we can make new connections like that. That was one of the most exciting things that I had ever heard in my life. And then I tested it. I was like, okay, all right, brain, if you’re so smart, I’m a Japanese, one of the Japanese alphabets and then learn enough. They’re one like, it’s like now I’m like, all right, I’m going to just learn stuff to test it, to see if I can remember this stuff. And it’s, it’s, I mean, I can entertain myself with that, uh, until the cows come home. So that’s, I mean, and I think that’s kind of a core competency of a nerd, like, Oh, I’m going to go deep on this and see if it really works. So, uh, yeah, it’s fun and complicated.

Jim Rembach (39:20):

Well, and talk about that fun and complication piece in order to help us to persevere through that. We need some inspiration. And one of the things that we look at on the show or quotes to help us do that. So is there a quote or two that you like that you can share?

Amy Posey (39:34):

Um, so, so it’s really funny cause I, I think about, um, when we were finishing the book, uh, Kevin and I, I, I thought it was really important and, and we both get to end with sort of a good quote that would talk about sort of the fact that, you know, life. So really creative venture. I mean, when you’re thinking about science, whether you’re thinking about your, your leadership it’s, you should make it into it and venture and just tired of having adventures mindset. And, and one of the, to go back to my, my roots in, um, learning how to teach English and poetry, um, I, and, and my love of nature and transcendental sort of being out in the wilderness, which kind of comes full circle for me, like studying the transcendentals in universities and undergrad. Like I got, I got real hippy and just wanted to be outside all day and just nature was art teacher.

Amy Posey (40:28):

And then coming back to it and realizing from a scientific lens, like yes, nature is our teacher and they were all onto something. So I kind of love the throw quote around, you know, going to going into the woods. And so, um, I’m gonna read it from the book cause we finished with it. I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. So that’s, that’s one that, that sticks here. Kevin, I argued which one and I went out on that one cause I was like, this is, this is the quote that I think defines both of us, for sure. Like going out into the woods to learn and to grow into develop whether that’s from a scientific standpoint or what nature has to offer us and learning through tough, um, tough, extreme adventures or even not so extreme adventures.

Jim Rembach (41:22):

Thanks for sharing that. And you also, we oftentimes ask about a time where you’ve gotten over the hump, but in order to learn something, and I think you’ve already shared that when you talked about going and doing that training session with those tech executives, so you for doing that well, so what I want to know now is when you start looking at, you know, your own expectations, you know, experimentation and where you’re going and, you know, having this book with Kevin and is that you probably have a lot of goals that are sitting in front of you, but could you share one of them with us?

Amy Posey (41:52):

I, um, it was interesting cause I, I just sort of made a decision somewhat recently about super Megabus. Cause it, it, not that it was a hobby, but it was, it was something that I wasn’t sure where I wanted to take it. Like how, how big do I want it to be? And I think that’s a foundational question and understanding purpose for any leader. And I, I sort of had to revisit that and say like, okay, here’s where I’m at right now. Here’s the stage of life that I’m at? Um, what do I want to do here? Like, do I, do I want to just sort of agreement into something that’s lifestyle and niche and interesting, or do I want to grow it? And I made a decision to grow it, which, you know, comes with all kinds of scary entrepreneurial, like, Oh, okay, I’ve made that decision and you have to sort of make that anchor, um, and understand, okay that I need that purpose.

Amy Posey (42:39):

I need that vision to be able to execute against that and, and track my goals on it. And so it was, it was kind of a funny conversation, cause I actually had talked to a couple of people and I said, um, you know, I’m kind of in the midst of making this decision and they’re like, Hmm, no, I think we know what you’re going to do. I was like, yeah, pro probably, but I still need to like explore the potential and the possibility of like, I can go many different directions here. What do I want to do? It’s like, no, I think, I think that there’s a lot to offer here. And I think that it’s a fun experiment to run. Let’s see how it goes. And so I was like, all right, let’s blow it up. Let’s make it, let’s make it cool and big and see where we can take it. So that’s, that’s one of the things that, you know, you have to check in with yourself and what you want. And I think it’s an important thing, um, for, for everyone to think about their purpose. And so I was like, okay, I think right now in my, in my face of life, in my career, like my purpose is to help people who are growing and developing in the world, weird world and managing others.

Jim Rembach (43:36):

And the fast leader, Legion wishes you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

Speaker 3 (43:42):

An even better place to work is an easy solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement, along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone using this award winning solutions guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com four slash better. Alright, here we go. Fastly to Legion. It’s time for the home. Okay. Amy, the hump day hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust, rapid responses that are gonna help us move onward and upward faster. Amy Posey. Are you ready to hoedown? I am. All right. So what is holding you back from being an even better year today of us? It’s

Amy Posey (44:32):

The negative voice in our head. We got to shut that person up. Cause they’re not really our friend. We wouldn’t say the things that come out of our head to other people, but when we say it to ourselves and that’s a bad thing. So you gotta turn that voice. And as corny as it sounds like you got to start being positive with yourself first. Um, cause naturally that bad thing wants to keep you alive. It’s well-intended but you don’t have to listen to it all the time.

Jim Rembach (44:54):

What is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?

Amy Posey (44:59):

Um, be more emotionally intelligent and, and I think that’s a, that’s a good one. And it’s, if you can capture and harness your emotions for positive outcome, you’re going to be a better leader.

Jim Rembach (45:12):

And what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Amy Posey (45:17):

I’m a weirdo. Um, and that’s it like I I’ve been a weirdo and I’ve been, I have worked really hard to be my authentic self. After many years ago, being told I shouldn’t be my authentic self and I threw that advice out the window and it seems to serve me well and I’m having a good time.

Jim Rembach (45:34):

And what is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business online

Amy Posey (45:40):

As tools? Um, I keep a very detailed to do list and checklist and I use, uh, Microsoft to do believe it or not. And it’s, it’s one of the things that just keeps me on track day to day. Cause that’s the thing that I think I need the most help then. So just tracking, tracking, but to do.

Jim Rembach (46:00):

And what would be one book that you’d recommend to our Legion? It could be from any genre.

Amy Posey (46:10):

Uh, I’m gonna, I’m gonna say, uh, get back to get back to looking at, I mean, other than my book, uh, outside,

Speaker 4 (46:19):


Amy Posey (46:21):

Read some poetry, read yourself to Walt Whitman, get yourself into nature, kind of expose yourself to something you maybe haven’t read since high school. Give it another try because there’s some good stuff in, uh, in song of myself. That’s a good one.

Jim Rembach (46:37):

Okay. Fast leader, Legion. You’ll find links to that. And other bonus information and a link to Amy’s book that she co authored with Kevin validly called wild success. Seven key lessons, a business leaders can learn from extreme adventures on her show notes pages as well as well, which you can find@fastleader.net slash Amy Posey. Okay, Amy, this is my last hump. They hold on question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age 25. You can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only choose one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Speaker 4 (47:10):


Amy Posey (47:11):

Um, honestly it’d be the inner science. I mean, I learned it a little later in life and I wish I had it in the beginning of my career to be able to work with people even more effectively and be able to give them reasons why they behave the way they they do. Um, versus just saying like do it this way. Cause I told you so, and that’s what that’s, what a good habit is. It gives people and a reason to try something and experiment with how they operate. So I think that’s, I would definitely put that in my tool kit as a 25 year old.

Jim Rembach (47:37):

Hey Amy, I had fun with you today. Can you, can you please share it the fast leader leads and how they can connect with you?

Amy Posey (47:43):

Um, absolutely. So, uh, super mega boss.com is where I’m doing fun and weird stuff today. Uh, and Amy posey.com. They can also follow me on Instagram at super mega boss. There’s some good stuff there or hit me up on LinkedIn and we can connect

Jim Rembach (47:59):

Amy Posey. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the passing of the Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger: How to Leverage Data in B2B Digital Marketing | Episode 005

Patrick Schwerdtfeger: How to Leverage Data in B2B Digital Marketing | Episode 005

Patrick Schwerdtfeger Show Notes Page

Show Description

Patrick Schwerdtfeger shares his insights on how businesses can leverage data to improve their marketing campaigns. Patrick shares strategies and tactics using exclusion-based marketing, omni-channel opportunities, display ads, and PPC advertising. Listen to the episode and learn more how you can take advantage of the technology trends today to propel your business towards the future.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and is the youngest of 4 kids: 2 older sisters and 1 brother. Parents together throughout, but both have already passed away.

As a young child, Patrick can be found exploring and talking to as many different people as possible, always looking to find a new perspective and a new treasure he had found before okay.

Patrick was never very good at school in grade school and high school meanwhile his sisters and brother were very smart in winning lots of scholarships and awards Patrick always wanted to learn from the real world and real people operating within the real world he only did well in school during his college years and was very happy to be finished with that when it was over.

Patrick’s degree is in finance and spent his early career in that field ranging from banking to real estate. But he became self-employed in 2002 and learned about marketing, and it was that learning process that led him to start teaching others write books and eventually develop a career as a professional speaker.

Patrick is the author of Anarchy, Inc.: Profiting in a Decentralized World with Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain (2018, Authority Publishing) as well as the award-winning Keynote Mastery: The Personal Journey of a Professional Speaker (2016, Authority Publishing), Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, John Wiley & Sons), Webify Your Business: Internet Marketing Secrets for the Self-Employed (2009), and Make Yourself Useful: Marketing in the 21st Century (2008). He has been featured by the New York Times, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN Money, Reader’s Digest, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Associated Press, MONEY Magazine, and Forbes, among others.

Patrick currently lives in Newport Beach, CA, with his girlfriend, Nadia, and her son Luke.



01:25 – Patrick’s experience with B2B Digital Marketing

02:47 – The impact of paid ads and SEO to small organizations

05:37 – Why business plans are a complete waste of time

07:20 – Learning SEO for Amazon

09:11 – Hype in paid advertising, SEO, and the influencer market

11:01 – Virtual influencers

12:02 – 9 trends that exist and are accelerating – Pandemic, Inc. and SALVAGED

15:18 – Leveraging data in B2B digital marketing

16:49 – Exclusion-based marketing

18:36 – Omni-channel opportunities

20:44 – Investing in the right keywords for PPC advertising.

23:36 – Running display ads at scale

28:03 – Where is the conversion the best?

31:56 – Connect with Patrick


Key Takeaways

“The road to being is through doing.”

“As far as B2B advertising goes, analytics is the opportunity.”

“Analyze the data like crazy.”

“There is value in taking small steps and iterating.”


Links and Resources

Patrick’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/g8patrick

Patrick’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/schwerdtfeger

Patrick’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/g8patrick/

Patrick’s website: https://www.patrickschwerdtfeger.com/

Anarchy, Inc.: https://amzn.to/3gwIOOi

Pandemic, Inc.: https://amzn.to/3gwMobd


Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, B2B DM gang. I have somebody on the show who I actually had on my other podcast, the fast leader show, and we had such a great discussion about marketing and digital marketing. Then I had to ask him to become, to come on this show. And Patrick Schwerdtfeger is actually the author of anarchy, inc. And pandemic inc. And both of these books address some of the overall just chaos that is going on, that is going to continue to happen throughout our world. And that’s one reason why it’s so important to really tap into the mind of a person like Patrick and learn about his background and experience in B2B digital marketing and just the overall marketing and impact. So Patrick, if you could tell us a little bit about your experience with B2B digital marketing and the passions that you have for it.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (00:49):

Yeah. I mean, Jim, it’s great to be back. So thank you so much for the invite. Um, you know, my, my experience, uh, with, with paid digital ads came because I was promoting myself. Uh, but, but I learned a lot, uh, you know, along the way and, and paid advertising has completely changed my career. So I’m a huge, a huge fan of it. So along the way, I kind of became a student of, of some of the different techniques that people were using. And, and, and now, you know, I studied technology trends. That’s what I do. So I’m always looking at trends and of course data, you know, data’s the new oil, and then we’ve all heard these axioms now a million times. But, uh, but the reality is the data’s playing a bigger and bigger role and the whole, you know, follow the customer journey, the user experience, all of these other keyword phrases, which are popular as well are all being driven by data. So it’s, it’s, it’s turned into a game where some people are leveraging data that most are not. I mean, it’s incredible. I would say the vast majority of the economy is not effectively using data in their advertising, but some are, and they have a huge advantage going forward. So I’m trying to learn from their experience and incorporate some of those strategies into my own

Jim Rembach (02:00):

Well, but I think you and I, and this is one of the things that I have to be careful about with you. My friend is that you and I have such great discussion that we don’t get recorded. That for me, I’m trying to pull it back in. Right? So you and I about SEO, we talked about paid ads and you said something that was extremely profound in regards to maybe the maturity of an organization, as well as the size and spend capabilities and organization. So if you could please share, you know, really the impact of paid ads and SEO and how that plays out.

Speaker 3 (02:31):


Patrick Schwerdtfeger (02:31):

Well, you know, we’ve talked about a lot of things before we clicked record today, so I’m not even exactly sure what you’re

Jim Rembach (02:37):

Well, you, you said something like when an organization is small and growing the whole.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (02:41):

Okay. Got it. Now. Perfect. Thank you. Um, you know what I was saying before? So, you know, when you start out in business, if you’re self employed or if you’re just starting out as an individual to get started at the beginning, you’ve got no money, but you have time. Uh, and so you can use time. There’s a lot of things you can say. In other words, what’s the best use. What’s the best strategy? Well, it depends on what stage of your business you’re in. If you’re just getting started, you have no money. There’s no point trying to blow what little money you have on paid ads, because you can get a lot more bang for your buck, just doing things that are free, like SEO and optimizing your website. And you can optimize your position on the different social media platforms like Instagram and saw this all kinds of things you can do to even on Amazon.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (03:25):

There’s incredible things you can do to position your book or your other product for free. It doesn’t cost anything, but you’re playing with the keywords, but then later on that’s when you have money, but you no longer have time. Cause now your business has evolved. You’ve got a lot of stuff going on. And so at that point, doing the free stuff is kind of a waste of time. Cause you can buy your way in. You can, you can spend money and get there a lot faster and still have your time available to do all the other things that are required to keep the business going. So the best use the best marketing strategy or advertising strategy really depends on whether it’s kind of those two groups. If you’re an early stage, just getting started, where you have time, that’s one thing. But once you get past that, then it’s an entirely different ball game.

Jim Rembach (04:11):

Well, even when you say that, I start thinking of, you know, a lot of, uh, you know, tech, startups, you know, and a tech startup can last for a couple of years, right? Yeah, that’s for sure. Uh, and so, you know, they have, you know, some of those constraints and they may or may not have some of the money because they’re in between rounds or whatever the case may be. You also may even have a part of an organization that’s maybe more mature. Maybe they have some cash in other parts of the business, you know, and it hasn’t been allocated to you. So you still have to focus in that, Oh, while I may have a brig big brand behind me, I don’t have, you know, the budget behind me. Um, and so you, I think we often find ourselves, um, doing something that you said where it was critically important. And I wrote it, wrote it down is that you iterate, you navigate and you pivot. Tell us a little bit about,

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (05:00):

Well, this, this is a, you know, I have a lot of opinions that might be unique to me, but I think for example, a business client business plans are largely just a complete waste of time. Uh, because you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re mapping out step one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. But the truth is you’ve no idea what step two is going to really be until you finish step one, because your, your, your perception of the marketplace changes every time you do something. So there’s an Axiom I live by, which is the road to being is through doing, you have to do anything, even small things, just take action in the direction of your goals. Because if you take that first step, now you’ve got new insights, right? And so step two reveals itself to you. Step two becomes obvious once you’re finished step one.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (05:46):

And once he finished step two, step three becomes obvious. So you kind of have to, it’s an organic thing. You just have to go on the direction of your goals and then yeah, well, exactly what you said, iterate, pivot, iterate, pivot over and over and over again. And I see this happen in my own life, my own business. I mean, you know, I do think there’s value in kind of taking a long view and maybe putting a tree on the horizon and saying, okay, I want to go towards that tree. But, but aside from that, you got to look down and look at your feet in the ground, right in front of you. And just start taking steps. You as literally, if you’re taking a hike, you take three steps and there’s a big tree or a rock. You gotta go around it. The same thing happens in business, right?

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (06:26):

You, you take steps and all of a sudden you realize, Oh my gosh, that didn’t work the way I expected it to work. And so now I got to change and I got to pivot, but you know, just recently, so my, my recent book, pandemic, ink, it literally went live on Amazon today. So it’s right in the middle of this, but you get, so I’ve, I’ve tried to learn about, you know, essentially SEO, right? Search engine optimization, but not search engine, it’s Amazon optimization. And how do you optimize your listing on Amazon? And I bought a little software for it, and I paid a membership to like a program that was teaching me about it. And I also went to YouTube and just search for videos on how to optimize a product on Amazon. I couldn’t believe that there was a video. I watched gym and they were, it was a guy who was putting a yoga mat.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (07:15):

Imagine how many yoga mats are on Amazon. I mean, there’s probably thousands, right? And he was putting on, on Amazon and he did all this keyword research and picked out which keywords had the largest potential, but the least competition and this information is all available. And he did it. He did the whole thing. And by the end of the video, I think it was a seven minute video. He showed that the end result and how this, this yoga mat was now ranking organically. It wasn’t paid, there was no pay. So even, you know, I’m going to go back and make a caveat to what I said earlier. Cause even when you you’re right, even when you do have money and maybe you don’t have any time, it probably makes sense to hire somebody. You don’t have to pay a lot of money who knows what they’re doing to do that optimization on your behalf. So maybe you’re too busy to do it yourself, but there are such amazing. My own business has literally been driven by SEO, which took an enormous amount of time years ago. But you know, like eight years ago, in 2012, I started trying to optimize my website and those listings that I created back then, those pages, those landing pages continue to bring me business today in 20, 20 that’s eight years later, I never would have imagined that they’d be active and effective for that long.

Jim Rembach (08:34):

Oh, and when you’re saying that, I mean, I start thinking about a lot of the things that we do have come out that says, Whoa, Hey, you need to do this now, Hey, you need to do this now, Hey, you need to do this now. Or, you know, all these things have changed and now you need to do that. And so there’s a lot of hype that just happens. Right. Um, so when I start thinking about B2B digital marketing, what do you think is just like really loaded with hype?

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (08:57):

Well, I mean, I guess if I had to say anything I’d, I mean, we can go back to what I said before that, that, you know, if you’re, if you’re, if you have no money and you have time, then paid advertising is, is overblown. Uh, but meanwhile, if you’re, if you’ve got a lot of money, but no time, then maybe the SEO stuff is a little bit overblown, but I’ll throw one more in the mix, which might be controversial, but it’s, it’s a landscape that’s changed dramatically, literally within the last month. And that’s the influencer market. Uh, and in particular micro influencers, uh, you know, if you have the large influencers, there’s, there’s some opportunity there, but you got to play by their terms and you never know what’s going to come out of their mouth. And it’s a very tricky thing. And now, you know, Joe Rogan just got a hundred million bucks to move this stuff to Spotify.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (09:43):

That completely changed the landscape for him, influencers. And now influencers are going to be charging a lot more money because they think they have more value to bring some of them do some of them do. But you know, like for example, on Instagram, I have like maybe seven or 800 followers on Instagram, nothing, a very small audience. And I get these emails like inviting me to represent some product and try and help sell that product. I think that kind of micro influencer campaign for the most part is not going to deliver much. I might be wrong because I haven’t tested it. But my perception looking in from the outside is that it’s probably overblown. I might add by the way that there is a new trend and I can’t think of the names, but there are virtual influencers now, uh, there’s a number of them that have done quite well, like in it, like having millions of followers, uh, there’s a, uh, a model, a beautiful black model, very dark skin, a model, a woman.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (10:45):

I forget her name. And there’s another one that’s out of Asia. I think out of Japan, that’s done extremely well, but we’re going to see in the years to come, we’re going to see a proliferation of virtual influencers and you’re gonna have an entire team running these influencers, including like a comedic writer, like a humor writer, you know, to, to have personality. It’s all about character development. They have to be funny and clever and entertaining, but you can, you can completely map out. So you, you, you don’t have the risk of having Elon Musk smoke a joint on Joe Rogan’s podcast. And now you’ve got a huge problem on your hands. Like you don’t have that with virtual influencers. So we’re seeing that market pivot as well.

Jim Rembach (11:26):

That’s a very good point. Okay. So now the book that you talked about that was just released is called pandemic ink. And just like many of your other things, there’s always a, an acronym that kind of drives it. And so you talk about salvaged. What is South?

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (11:40):

This whole thing started. I had a client asked me to do a webinar discussing, you know, the, the, the, the pandemic and the quarantine and how businesses could survive. So I started doing the research and I kind of ended up with, uh, nine trends, like ended these trends existed before. Okay. But that they’re accelerating as a result of this. So it’s not like this is anything new. In fact, a lot of the trends I even discussed in my previous book called anarchy. So there’s some overlap in that content, but the point is that they’re, that they’re accelerating as a result of the pandemic. And so I took the first letter of each trend and put it into one of those Scrabble sheet engines that you get online and just to see what it came up with. And it came up eight of the letters, uh, fit into the word salvaged.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (12:23):

And I was like, wow, that’s incredible. So I combined two into one and that’s the acronym. So the assets, these are, I’ll just run through them. But again, these are trends that existed before, but they’re accelerating. So the first one is self-sufficiency, uh, these are the off the grid, survival people. There’s more of them today than there were before. Number two analytics, that’s the, a data analytics is everything. And certainly here in advertising, what we’re talking about today, the Al liquidity priority. Number one right now is liquidity, just survival. Uh, what’s your cash position. For example, we’re going to see an increase in cash balances on company balance sheets, for example, uh, what’s the next one V is virtualization, which is obvious even just these zoom calls. It’s a good example of that. The second day is automation. So robotics and automation, uh, the G is a government.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (13:15):

And whether you like government or hate government, I’m, I’m fine either way, but they’re spending money. They got budgets and they’re spending money. So if you can sell something to support a government program, that could be a growth opportunity. Uh, the E has exponential thinking. Uh, so I mean, we’re living it for the first time. The population truly understands exponential progressions and that’s becoming more important. And then the last one is D for decentralization, which is kind of like the big trend that encompasses all the others, because we’re really going towards a more and more decentralized in so many ways. Open source is probably the best example, but we’re really going from centralized structures to more decentralized structures. The media is a great example. Like you’ve got these channels. We used to have a dozen primary media outlets today. There’s literally millions of blogs and podcasts and so on. So that’s again, centralized to decentralized, tapping into the power industry. We start these centralized power plants. Now we’ve got solar panels on millions of roofs around the entire world. That’s a decentralized power generation mechanism. So we see this all over the place.

Jim Rembach (14:25):

Well, and when you’re talking, I start thinking about that and pulling it back in the hole, you know, B2B, digital marketing world. And to say that, how, how can I take advantage of salvaged and all those elements and really become a disruptor myself?

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (14:39):

Well, you know, so, you know, I love the paid, the paid advertising. Okay. And, and the paid advertising is a, so let me give you an example. And I, I like, I like clothing. I like nice jackets and boots and things like that. That’s something that I like. And of course the, you know, the data shows that. So, um, you know, whoever’s selling marketing like on Instagram, for example, I see these photographs on, on Instagram, these incredible leather jackets, and I just immediately loved them. And I go, I go, I click on it. So that’s the original, the first engagement. And then you end up in this kind of labyrinth and, and this is where the data really comes into play. And this, if you want to talk about B2B advertising, I mean, here it is right here. So you have an initial campaign, which is just designed to figure out who is interested in this space.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (15:29):

You’re not trying to make a sale. You’re not trying to make a sale on that first engagement. You’re trying to get that person to a landing page and then they either engage with it or they don’t. So the original group splits into two. Okay. So now you’ve got two advertising campaigns, one that targets the group that engaged and another campaign that targets the people that didn’t engage. Okay. And so then you’re, you have different offers. So the one goes to two, and then in each case, those people either engage or they don’t. So that splits into four. Okay. And then eight and 16 and 32. And, and the people, you know, we’ve got all these niche, fashion designers now that are thriving and doing well because they’re leveraging this type of exclusion based marketing. So you’ve got your original campaign, you’d get them to a landing page and, you know, group engaged in group B did.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (16:19):

So you exclude B and you do a new campaign to a, and then you do another one to B and you exclude a, so you’ve, it’s an exclusion. Okay. So you’ve segmented that the marketing from one to two, and then you segment further and further and further. So I have a friend of mine who actually called me today. I have to return his call and he is the voice, like the host of a quite successful, a video program. You pay for it. It’s not free. You pay for it, but it’s a video program about medicinal marijuana. And that’s not really a field that I’m passionate about, but he is. And it’s very like, you know, doctors and it’s very medicine oriented. It’s not at all like, you know, the more, you know, different types of genres within that space. But, but the bottom line is he goes into the studio here in Los Angeles from time to time.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (17:08):

And he records dozens and dozens of little short video clips designed for these little segments. Right? And so you ended up for one campaign, you can end up with 60 or 70 different paths. So what, when, when people say follow the customer journey, when people say user experience, this is what they’re talking about, right? They’re the people who engage with that advertising. They feel like they’re being held by the hand and walked through. And at every stage they’re getting a message, which is specifically tailored to what they’ve done so far. And the more intuitive you can make that process, the more trust you’re going to build and trust is an essential precursor to the purchase. So for the sale. So if you, if you want to sell stuff, you gotta use these exclusion based marketing channel and marketing opportunities. And the one last thing I’ll throw in there before just you’ll respond obviously, but is the omni-channel opportunity where, you know, the first advertising can take place on YouTube.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (18:10):

Okay. For example, and then you can send them, send them to a landing page. And now you’ve got a pixel, you’ve got a Facebook pixel on that landing page. So now you can target the same person on Facebook. And of course they own Instagram. So you can tag them there as well. And then you can do remarketing on the Google display network. So they see something on cnn.com or weather.com or something. And it creates this impression that you’re huge. You’re a big player, even though it could be a small team, right? Like I do this myself. I’m a speaker. I earned my living by speaking at conferences. If people go to my website, it puts a pic, it puts a cookie on their machine. I follow them around for 30 days and they see my ad on different websites. And so they’re like, man, and I’ll tell you where this happened, by the way, because my fourth book, uh, I wa I wanted to get a cover quote from, uh, Brian, Tracy, the speaker.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (19:02):

And so I went to his website and I contacted him. He never even returned my email. That’s fine. But for the next two, three, four weeks, I started seeing ads for him all over the place on all these different websites. And I was like, you son of a gun, look what you’re doing. You’re remarketing meat. He looked like a rockstar. And now he kind of is a rockstar. I’m not right. I’m a small player, but now I’m doing the same thing. And people who interact with my website, they see my, my, my ads come up all over the place for the next 30 days. And by the time they, they, they actually connect with me. They’re like, wow, you’re, you’re a big deal. That’s the opportunity. You can be big when you’re small, that’s the opportunity and digital advertising this paves the way.

Jim Rembach (19:47):

Alright. So when I start thinking about, uh, you know, all of the, what you’re talking about, and, and even going back to the whole salvage piece and the way things that are accelerating at an ever increasing pace, the pivot that iterate, I mean, all of these elements, I started looking at what I currently have in front of me and what I have to work with.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (20:05):


Jim Rembach (20:06):

Legit. So if I am in a B to B digital marketing role, and I have to work within the same budget, what would I take away from and put into,

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (20:15):

Um, you know, I would just say that, that, you know, the beauty of the online world is you can throw 500 bucks at something or a thousand bucks at something and get a pretty good data of whether or not it’s going to, and by the way, I never even fully answered your previous question. It’s the first a and salvaged analytics, right? Analytics is the opportunity is as far as B2B advertising goes, leveraging data is the opportunity. And you can present yourself to be huge. But yeah, if you’re, if you’ve got a limited budget, like I’m doing this right now, Amazon, and so I’ve thrown a campaign, I think I’ve spent $600. And I already know that, you know, certain things are working. Like I’ve got one category, uh, where I’ve made five sales in that category. And it’s the most sales I’ve had in any one category, but they’re expensive sales.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (21:07):

I’ve got a whole bunch of other categories where I’m not making as many, but they’re cheaper. And so like right now on Amazon, I’m targeting like over 50,000 keyword phrases. I mean, it’s just an enormous amount of keyword phrases. And so immediately $600. Like that’s what I’ve spent so far. And I’ve already, you know, like I targeted, for example, uh, you know, Tim Ferris, okay. Or Daniel pink or some of these well known authors, Malcolm Gladwell, like you can target the keyword phrase, Malcolm Gladwell, or Tim Ferriss, or the titles of their books, for example. So, and they’ve all written many books, so you can get a lot of keyword phrases very, very quickly. Well, it turns out that everyone’s targeting Tim Ferris’s books. So the clicks are like $3, $3 a click, just so you’re never going to make money selling a book. I’ve only got, you know, four or $5 profit in a book period.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (21:58):

So, but meanwhile, I can target 50,000 other keyword phrases, which are quirky, weird period phrases they’re hardly ever get hit, but when they do, no one else is targeting them and I can get those clicks for 20, 25 cents. So it’s, you know, I can get the same traffic. So the beauty of this is by the way that, uh, that if other people are trying to like reverse engineer, what I’m doing or replicate what I’m doing, it’s highly unlikely that they’re even going to know what I’m doing because the keyword phrases I’m targeting are really like long tail keyword phrases. So, so my, my advice is test like just put $500 towards something, a thousand dollars towards something, and then analyze the data like crazy and figure out what’s the most. Then your step two becomes obvious. So it’s not that you take away from, from Facebook and give it to YouTube. I don’t have that answer. Cause I think they each target different audiences, but there’s, there’s value again in taking small steps and iterating small steps, iterating small steps. Right.

Jim Rembach (22:59):

Well then that leads me to ask the question because I mean, you a big guy thinker, uh, I I’m like, okay, no constraints on you, Patrick. You know, I give you all the money that you, you need, you know, where are you going to invest it as a B2B digital marker?

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (23:14):

Yeah. I mean, this is, this is a great question, actually. So do you know by chance, do you know, Joel Olsteen Reacher is based in Texas. So that guy is on TV for a half hour, every Sunday with no commercials. Do you know what that costs? That’s expensive. I don’t know what it costs, but who pays for it? Joel, Olsteen pays for that. Okay. He pays for that. So, and then he knows, or by experience, he knows that he’s going to get enough in donations to pay for that and have some leftover, which goes to his ministry. Right. And Tony Robbins was on TV in the nineties, right. Who paid for that? Tony Robbins did Susie Orman. She did PBS specials, cost about 120 grand to be a, to do a PBS special Susie. Orman’s done that a couple of times. Wayne Dyer did that too.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (24:03):

So in, in my business, there’s a guy who I follow. Who’s a competitor of mine. His name is Jeremy Gucci’s from candidates. Great guy does an outstanding job as a speaker and as a futurist. But he has a video on YouTube, which is well optimized. And I also have well optimized videos on YouTube and it’s called like innovation, keynote speaker or something like that. And I’ve done that too. I’ve got a lot of videos. I’ve got 700 videos on YouTube. So I know roughly what kind of viewership you’re going to get just from an organic listing. Okay. And he might get 10, 20, 30,000 views, maybe 40,000 views of a video like that. Meanwhile, he has like six or 7 million views. Okay. On that. He bought those views. And I know he did cause I’ve seen the ads myself. So I’ve, I, I do ads on YouTube.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (24:50):

And for any kind of targeting here in the United States, you’re going to pay about 79 cents per view, roughly. Right. So you do the math. If he’s got 7 million views at 8 cents a piece, he spent $560,000 promoting the heck out of that video. So here’s the answer to the question, right? You never, you need to have a business model, which is good enough to pay for what you spent. Right. If you’re just throwing money away, there’s no point is no point in doing that. Okay. But like for example, a what’s that guy’s name grant Cardone, the 10 X rule, right? He has his book on the, on the very front table, in the Hudson bookstores of the airport that costs $70,000 a month to have your book there. Right. Good to great. Jim Collins. His book was there too. Why? Because both of them have big backends that can pay for it.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (25:44):

Right? So you have to find a business model where your conversion rate is enough to pay for the advertising you’re doing and then scale up as far and as fast as you possibly can. So a lot of people fantasize about how much money they want to make. Um, I fantasize about how much money I want to spend. Like I would love to spend a hundred thousand dollars a month profitably. I would love to do that right now. And what would I pick? Well, you just gotta test until you find one where you can scale up higher. So, and that’s what I’m trying to do on Amazon right now. I know a guy who’s spending thousands like five to 10,000 a month on Amazon and it’s not profitable, but it’s breakeven. It’s roughly break even. And his book is selling like crazy. It’s a book about gambling and horse racing and he he’s, he’s absolutely doing spectacularly well and it’s breakeven.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (26:36):

So he’s going to scale up as far as he can, until they won’t, there’s no more clicks left to buy. So that’s, that’s what I fantasize about is to have an advertising campaign that I could just scale and scale and scale. And if I had to pick one, just to answer your question, I would pick display ads, display ads on other websites. Cause you get implied credibility. If you’re running display ads on cnn.com or whatever Fox news or whatever it is, people, they, it creates a certain effect. I’ve heard this so many times in my career that people think it’s a big deal. Little, do they know that you can pay to be there, but to be running display ads at scale? Uh, I think that’s a huge opportunity. That’s what I do.

Jim Rembach (27:25):

Okay. So you, I mean, in order to kind of bring this all back home, because we talked about a lot of different things. I, I have to S I have to say, okay, if self reflection, time talking about it for a B to B digital marker, what is one vitally important question they need to be asking themselves?

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (27:42):

Mmm. I mean, conversion rate. I mean, it’s your conversion? Like where is the conversion the best. I mean, that that’s to, you know, I know that that’s just what I’m telling you is it’s not a question, that’s a destination. It’s a question. That’s the beginning of a journey, right? Because, and that’s always the way it is. Like, I, I don’t think it’s, I don’t think it’s responsible for someone to say, Hey, this is the answer to the problem, because it’s going to be literally different for every single product or service you try to sell. But if you always just look at that conversion rate, like what’s the conversion rate, and if you’re doing it at a loss, like you, you talk about the lifetime value of a customer. That’s another, uh, question that, that really cause, I mean, if you have a long life, so when you need is you need a series of products.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (28:29):

Like you got the front product that you’re selling, which is like your trip wire. It’s like, you’re in your lead magnet. Right. So it’s really good value. It’s cheap. And because the bottom line is like, if someone spends anything with you, $2, $1, $8, they’re eight times more likely to spend a second time than someone who’s never interacted with you at the beginning. So this, they call it a trip wire. So to have some sort of a trip wire where you’ve got a really good, you know, pretty good value, you might be selling it at a loss potentially, but it gets them in the funnel. And now you’ve got other things on the back end where you can get that you get more money from that same customer on average. I mean, not every single one, but on average, you’re going to get more money.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (29:10):

What does that allow you to do? It allows you to spend more for the initial interaction and still be breakeven or profitable, which means you can kill your competition. Like if your competition can spend $55 on a new per, on a new customer, but you can spend $85 on a new customer and still be breakeven or profitable, you’re going to rule the table. Right? So it’s always a question of like how much value can you get out of a customer? And in many times, if you’re, if you’re coming into the space with just one product or one service to sell, stop, don’t start there. Make sure you have at least three right. Three products where you’ve got a menu. You’ve got like, okay, there’s an always pick something more, more, more expensive. You know, like the most expensive gym, this is crazy. The most expensive iPhone that you can, or the Apple phone that you can buy is $114,000.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (30:04):

And it’s like encrusted with diamonds and all this crazy stuff always have a more expensive product. Like in the nineties, I studied marketing and finance when I went to university and that there was a very famous case history from the nineties, it’s in most marketing textbooks. And it talked about the grocery stores that had wine up until the nineties generally had wine in the $10 range and the $25 range in the mid nineties, early to mid nineties, they started carrying the $45 bottles. Nobody buys the $45 bottles, but it dramatically increases the sale of the $25 bottles. Okay. So you get a more expensive product not to sell it, but to have it available because it’s going to increase the sales of the ones lower down on the menu. So you have a menu of products, three, four, or five products in a, in a sliding scale from very cheap to very expensive. Then you go in right and start calculating that lifetime value, follow the data, make sure you maximize your conversion rate. And then you start to see, okay, I can spend $80, $200, a thousand dollars for a new customer, depending on what it is you’re selling. And then you can, you can make decisions that other people don’t even have access to.

Jim Rembach (31:18):

Oh, so Patrick, I’ll tell you your massive information. So his new book is pandemic inc, which was a written after the anarchy ink, and both of them are well worth your rate. So Patrick, I’ve enjoyed my time as usual. So how do B2B DM gang get in touch with you?

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (31:36):

You know, I mean, my website is, you know, I’m a speaker, so I, my website is geared towards that, but, but it’s a great way to get ahold of me if anyone has questions or they want to connect somehow the emails that get sent through the contact form. But my website, they literally come into my own email box and I still can get to most of them. Sometimes I offload a couple if it gets heavy, but for the most part, I reply to all the messages. So if anyone wants to get ahold of me, you know, it’s PatrickSchwerdtfeger.com. I know that’s a disaster, but it will get to me. You can even go to book patrick.com, which is a shorter version, which should forward a, but sometimes that’s glitchy. But yeah, my full name.com. If anyone’s interested, I’d love to connect

Jim Rembach (32:16):

Patrick Schwerdtfeger Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. And we wish you the very best.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (32:20):

Thanks so much, Jim. I appreciate it.