Category Archives: Active Campaign

Auto Added by WPeMatico

How Music Transformed My Business Approach

How Music Transformed My Business Approach written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

 

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Stephanie Sammons, a certified financial planner and accomplished singer-songwriter.

Stephanie always enjoyed songwriting, singing, and guitar-playing and got involved in Nashville performing songwriter workshops. She worked diligently to improve her skills and decided to go ‘pro’ with this career at the encouragement of some of her Nashville-based songwriting mentors. She released her first full-length album ‘Time and Evolution’ on May 3rd, produced by Mary Bragg (highly respected singer-songwriter and one of the only female producers in Nashville). Stephanie was selected as a 2024 Kerrville New Folk Finalist, one of the most coveted competitions in the songwriting world! (they chose 24 songwriters out of 1340).

She shares her unique journey, from a successful career in financial advisory to embracing her passion for music. Her story exemplifies how following one’s passion can lead to unexpected synergies and a more fulfilling professional life.

Key Takeaways

Stephanie Sammons shares her journey of embracing her “passion” (as most people in the industry detest calling it) for music alongside her financial planning career, highlighting the courage needed to pursue dreams at any age. She discusses balancing her dual careers, the transferable skills between financial planning and songwriting, and the importance of community support in both fields. She emphasizes creating space for creativity through daily routines, illustrating how integrating passion into professional life can lead to a more fulfilling and enriched career.

 

Questions I ask Stephanie Sammons:

[01:58] Tell us about your journey from Marketing to Music

[04:37] How did you summon the courage to follow your passion?

[06:29] How do you find funding for all the music production costs?

[11:16] Tell us about the significance behind the song ‘Innocence Lost.’

[13:11] How much life experience is a key part of songwriting?

[15:16] Are any musical mentors or musical influences important to you?

[15:59] How’s balancing music and your advisory firm going

[17:19] “You don’t switch the writing on; it hits you when it hits you,” Do you find that challenging?

[18:19] Is your client base and financial firm influenced by you, “the empath artist”?

[24:44] Is there someplace you want to invite people to connect with you and listen to some of your music?

 

 

 

More About Stephanie Sammons:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

 

Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John Jantsch (00:17): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach.

John Jantsch (00:57): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantz. My guest today is Stephanie Simmons. He’s been a financial advisor and planner for 25 years, launched her own registered investment advisory firm in 2017. She believes in growth at a reasonable pace and is selective about who she takes on as a client. Good lesson in that one. She’s also enjoyed songwriting, singing, guitar playing, and got involved in Nashville performing singer songwriter workshops, and she released her first full length album, time and Evolution of this past May produced by Mary Bragg. She was also selected as a 2024 Kerrville new folk finalist. Kerrville is one of the top ones out there of anybody who makes the circuit. So Stephanie, welcome to the show.

Stephanie Sammons (01:46): Thank you, John. I’m so excited to be here. It’s been a long time.

John Jantsch (01:51): Well, it has been a long time. And that’s a part of my first question. Long time listeners wonder why am I having a musician on a marketing show? You and I actually met in a marketing context, I don’t know, 15 years ago or so. Talk a little bit about your journey to, I just mentioned you recently released a full length album, but talk a little bit about your journey to that point.

Stephanie Sammons (02:15): Yeah, I mean, most of my career I’ve been a financial, I’m a certified financial planner, worked for big firms, left the big corporate thing, got into marketing, I worked, did some marketing services for financial advisors, built websites, all that good stuff. Took a sabbatical from that career and then got back in it started my own firm, like you said, in 2017. So that’s my core career. That’s how I make my living. And I’ve always had this burning passion to do music. And I’ve dabbled in songwriting for probably, I don’t know, 20 years and guitar playing, being a self-taught guitar player. And I started going to these workshops in Nashville starting in 2016. And I got to work with these incredible Grammy nominated artists. One of them is a Grammy winner, and that’s Emily sells from the Indigo Girls. But I learned so much about the art and craft of songwriting, and I just fell in love with it. I was like, oh, I’ve been writing songs, but they are terrible and this is really how you write a good song.

(03:36): So I’ve been to, I just asked the woman who puts these together, their smaller group workshops, I said, how many have I been to since 2016? And she said 26. So I just studied and studied and started really working hard on it, putting my day work down, my day job down, and then starting on songwriting and getting better and improving. And there was just a culmination of whispers that made me decide to about a year ago to go pro with it. And I had to overcome a lot of my own head noise and excuses and those kinds of things. But that’s how I got here.

John Jantsch (04:18): So since I’ve already mentioned that we’ve known each other a long time, it probably is not an insult to say that was kind of a midlife change for you. So how alluded to the idea of that was a big change I felt People talk about all the time, imposter syndrome and those kinds of things. How did you summon the courage? Is that the right word to say, I’m going to go do this thing that seems ludicrous?

Stephanie Sammons (04:44): Yeah, I think courage is the right word. My first excuse was, you’re too darn old. What are you thinking? I’m too old to do this. I have another business where I serve clients day in and day out. What are my clients going to think that I’m running off to Nashville and leaving them in the dust? So I had that to overcome that, which was more in my head. And then I think the third thing was it’s going to be so much hard work because it’s like if you want to be a good golfer, you can’t just go out and start playing 18 holes. You’ve got to hit the driving range. You’ve got to practice your putting. It’s an actively, it’s an active sport that you have to engage in and practice and work at it. And this songwriting thing and performing is an additional layer.

John Jantsch (05:36): Yeah, I was going to say, I’ve always really respect songwriters who are also great performers because it’s two completely different businesses.

Stephanie Sammons (05:45): It is. And I’m introverted. And so that took a different level of courage to get to. So I don’t know. I mean, I think over time it’s just been part of my journey to build and build on the skill sets that are required. And when I reached out to the producer that I really wanted to work with and I had enough songs to make an album when she said yes, that pretty much launched me down the road. I’m like, okay, that is a sign I’m doing this.

John Jantsch (06:20): Okay. And you don’t have to get into specific numbers, but just in practice, how does, okay, you found a producer who said yes, you had the songs, they needed to be musicians, there needed to be studio time, there needed to be the production. How does all that get funded

Stephanie Sammons (06:37): By yours truly?

John Jantsch (06:39): Yeah.

Stephanie Sammons (06:40): I mean, that’s the beauty of, I mean, I’m fortunate that I’m in the position where I can self-fund this passion career. I’m trying not to call it a passion. Songwriters have a problem. The songwriting community has a problem with that if you’re not. But now everybody

John Jantsch (07:02): Has different job because anybody can pick up a pen and say, here are the three chords, but is that songwriters?

Stephanie Sammons (07:08): And so it really is another profession altogether. But I saved for it, and I knew it was going to be expensive, and it is expensive, and you don’t get a return on your investment, very little return financially. It’s more the experience that matters to me. And it’s okay if I’m in the red forever, but that’s what it takes. And everybody does it differently. Some of these songwriters out there where this is their core career, they will start a Kickstarter and get funding that way. So anyway,

John Jantsch (07:50): But the money’s really in the t-shirts, right?

Stephanie Sammons (07:53): Yeah. The money is in the merchandise.

John Jantsch (07:56): I

Stephanie Sammons (07:56): Never thought that would be, but

John Jantsch (07:58): It’s interesting you think of how that model has changed the music industry. You would tour to sell albums, and now the tour is where the money is, right? I mean, it’s really, I’m sure there definitely Taylor Swift making a lot of money on Spotify, but a lot of folks, it’s really changed the whole, it’s almost become more entrepreneurial, that ability to reach your fans directly to hustle and get gigs and do things. I mean, it’s really become a lot more entrepreneurial, hasn’t it?

Stephanie Sammons (08:28): You are correct, and you wear all the hats. You’ve got to be active. Instagram is a pretty strong community of singer songwriters, and we all support each other. But if you’re not active there, that’s really helped the most is just engaging with my community of peers and everybody. We all have different fans, and that’s kind of how you do it, but you wear every one of the hats. And at my age also and with my lifestyle, I’m not going to go get a van and tour the country, but I get to kind of build my own adventure. I’m doing selective festivals and just things that I want to do. I’m putting my name in the hat to try and get on some of those bills to be able to play different festivals and things.

John Jantsch (09:23): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with the must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs. And they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try Active Campaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit activecampaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Listeners who sign up via that link will also receive 15% off an annual plan. That’s activecampaign.com/duct tape. Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today.

John Jantsch (10:36): Well, Curville is probably one you attended a time or two, right? I would think given where it’s located, I have an idea. Why don’t we listen to a bit of a song?

Stephanie Sammons (10:45): Great.

John Jantsch (10:46): That was from Time and Evolution, and it’s called Incense and Lost, and I have to call you out on this. Sold my Soul for a diamond ring. Now, there’s a lot of hope in that lyric, isn’t there?

Stephanie Sammons (10:58): Yes.

John Jantsch (10:59): So maybe talk us through, sorry, I stole your thunder there, but talk us through what that song’s about, what the influence of that song.

Stephanie Sammons (11:07): Yeah, that song came about because I shot a bird when I was 10 years old. My granddaddy gave me a BB gun, and me and my sister were just walking around their land going, what do we do with this? What could we do? And I shot a bird and I ran over to that bird and I literally watched it die in front of me. And I went from being ecstatic that I hid it to completely heartbroken that I killed the bird. And so that song is about, that experience was losing your innocence of time when I lost my innocence. And so that song has several vignettes describe stories of losing your innocence over time. And that was one of them that you mentioned. Yeah, you’ve run off and with the person you think is going to be the person the rest of your life. And you leave home and you don’t listen to your mom and dad, and it ends up being a disaster and you come back home hanging your head and traded your soul for diamond ring. It wasn’t the right person.

John Jantsch (12:14): So I sometimes wonder people laugh about that. I mean, you can’t write the blues unless you’ve just had a really hard life. And so how much of that really comes in, plays the part in songwriting? I mean, I sometimes laugh because I play around with writing songs too. But I mean, I feel sometimes the hardest choice I’ve had to make when I was growing up was like if I wanted chunky peanut butter or smoothie peanut butter, I just have nothing to write about sometimes.

Stephanie Sammons (12:43): I bet you

John Jantsch (12:44): Do. I’m sure it’s not, I’m sure it’s not true. But I wonder how much, not necessarily pain, but just life experience and how you experience life is a key part of songwriting.

Stephanie Sammons (12:54): Yeah, I mean, I would say that I am an empath and I’m always thinking about other people’s suffering, other people’s experiences. Why does some people have such a tough lot in life and others don’t? And things like this just plague me and people who struggle in my family. And so instead of addressing these things or sometimes I get confronted by various folks in my family, for example, and it ends up coming out in a song. I mean, they’re just things that are in my mind that I store up that I really think a lot about. And those are the things that come out through songwriting. It’s really interesting. That’s how I have the conversation.

John Jantsch (13:44): Yeah. Do you find yourself, I often, maybe this is romanticizing the whole process a bit, but you’re sitting in a coffee shop and you hear two people talking over there. That’s like an idea for a song, what they’re talking about.

Stephanie Sammons (13:58): Everything is fo for a new song. It really and truly is. And so are things and things that you see. I’ve seen a lone coyote roaming around out here. It’s not so much anymore because it’s warmer, and I live in Dallas, but I’m like, I’m going to write a song about that lone coyote. But I have to figure out what is the metaphor, what’s the coyote of metaphor for what’s it going to be about? And I keep ideas on my phone, just a running list, and then I marry those two things like, ah, I’ve got it. I’m working on a song called Marathon, and it’s about somebody who’s just had a really hard life and they keep getting up and keep getting up. So I try to find a metaphor that works for the song in general. An image.

John Jantsch (14:47): You mentioned you went to a lot of these workshops, and I’m sure you met folks that you would call mentors. Are there any mentors, musical influences that are important to you?

Stephanie Sammons (14:57): Oh yeah. I grew up listening to the Eagles and a lot of Boston Classic journey, classic rock stuff. And then later in life, I love cold play. I love The Indigo Girls. They were a big influence. Just the gals playing acoustic guitars. I was like, I want to do that.

John Jantsch (15:22): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because I’m trying to think of the seventies. You had Joni, you had, I dunno. Did Stevie Thanks Guitar sound. Thanks Taylor. I was thinking women though. So last question. How is balancing music and your advisory firm going

Stephanie Sammons (15:38): Man, to some extent, it’s definitely two different sides of the brain, but there’s a lot of overlap. Financial planning is kind of formulaic, making the numbers work to meet the goals. And writing a song, you only have so much time. Every word counts. You’ve got to have a rhyming scheme, you’ve got to have a melody and a rhythm. And so I find similarities there. And then my financial firm is really, it’s a relationship business like anything else, like any other business. And I’m mostly helping people make good decisions. That’s what the job is. And so the way I balance them is I can’t do them both in one day. I’ve got my work days for my financial firm, then I’m going to rehearse all day music days, or I’m going to work on songwriting all day. One day. I have to just get in the space for each role that I’m practicing.

John Jantsch (16:46): Are you familiar with Rick Rubin’s recent

Stephanie Sammons (16:49): Work? Oh, I

John Jantsch (16:50): Love it. So one of the things that he talks about repeatedly in there is that you don’t switch the writing on, it hits you when it hits you. Do you find that a challenge? A little bit because it’s like, I have their song today. It’s like,

Stephanie Sammons (17:05): Yeah, if I don’t create space for that, it doesn’t happen. And so that can be, especially trying to juggle both of these careers. So I do things like journaling and I try to walk a couple of miles every day, and that’s the way that I can create space or being in the car is always a good place to capture something on my phone. So I’ve always got my phone nearby to record a melody. I always have melodies in my head, so I’ll record a melody and just sing it into my phone or put words in there and phrases for ideas. So it is kind of always on in the back of my mind, that motor is running.

John Jantsch (17:46): You have one of these little notebooks with all these little snippets in it that you someday will tie into something or go

Stephanie Sammons (17:52): Back to. Right. I have a bunch of those.

John Jantsch (17:53): Do you find sometimes that, I wonder if your client base and your financial firm is a little bit influenced by the empath artist sort of makeup that is you. Are you attracting folks that are opposite of that? Or are you attracting folks that your music is actually, to them is a real side benefit?

Stephanie Sammons (18:12): They’re all very supportive of my music, which has been refreshing. In fact, some of them have come out to a show that I did here in Dallas, which was shocking. I didn’t expect that. I have different types of clients, though. Some are real stoic and not emotional at all. And then others are just, they need nurturing and handholding and they’re just different. They’re different people. And I don’t know what the common thread is. That’s a really great question. I’m going to think about that.

John Jantsch (18:44): Yeah, it’s just an observation. Well, Stephanie, it was awesome catching up with you, spending a few moments on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Where can people find out, I guess if they need a financial advisor, would be one avenue of connecting you, but also find out more about your music and pick up time and evolution?

Stephanie Sammons (19:02): My website is, the best website is stephaniesammons.com is just my name. And I do have a website for my, it’s my wealth management firm. It’s called sammonswealth.com, but my music is everywhere you listen, apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, if anybody still listens there, I know a lot of people do our age, but I also have vinyl and CDs and all that good stuff.

John Jantsch (19:29): That’s all at stephaniesammons.com? Yes. Yeah. Awesome. Well, again, it was great catching up with you and hopefully we’ll run into you someday soon. Come to Colorado and play, and I can see you on the road.

Gain Freedom From the Fear of the Future: How to Thrive in an Uncertain World

Gain Freedom From the Fear of the Future: How to Thrive in an Uncertain World written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

 

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Dr. Frederik Pferdt, the first Chief Innovation Evangelist at Google and a renowned expert on innovation and creativity.  

Frederik Pferdt helped shape one of the most fabled creative cultures in the world. He founded Google’s Innovation Lab, where he trained tens of thousands of Googlers to develop and experiment with cutting-edge ideas and taught ground-breaking classes on innovation and creativity at Stanford University for more than a decade.

He has also worked with dozens of international government agencies, organizations, and businesses ranging from the United Nations to NASA to the NBA. His work has been highlighted in Fast Company, Harvard Business Manager, Der Spiegel, and BBC news, among many other media outlets.

Dr. Pferdt shares his insights on how not just optimism but radical optimism can transform our relationship with the future, helping us create a world we want to live in.

Key Takeaways

The key to thriving in an uncertain world lies in embracing radical optimism. He explains that radical optimism is about more than just seeing the glass as half full; it’s about looking for ways to fill the glass even further. By shifting our perspective (state of mind) to focus on possibilities and opportunities, we can transform challenges into chances for growth.

Dr. Pferdt emphasizes the importance of changing our mindset to a “mind state” – a fluid, adaptable approach to thinking that can be adjusted based on immediate circumstances. This helps individuals become more resilient and proactive in the face of change, rather than being overwhelmed by it.

He also highlights the role of compulsive curiosity in driving business innovation and personal growth. By continuously questioning and seeking to learn more about the world around us, we can stay ahead of changes and better prepare for the future. This curiosity, paired with unreserved openness to new ideas and experiences, can lead to unexpected and rewarding opportunities.

In this episode, Dr. Pferdt offers practical advice on how to cultivate radical optimism and develop a future-ready mindset. He shares personal stories and examples from his work at Google and Stanford University, illustrating how these concepts can be applied in real-world scenarios to achieve remarkable results.

Dr. Pferdt’s insights provide valuable guidance for anyone looking to gain freedom from the fear of the future and thrive in an ever-changing world. By adopting  a proactive approach to the future, we can create a future we desire, rather than waiting passively for it to unfold.

 

Questions I ask Frederik Pferdt:

[02:25] Would you say Ning was ahead of its time?

[03:50] Would you say a platform like Facebook then was another advancement of Ning or completely derivative?

[07:53] How would you define community?

[14:03] How important is having a clear and compelling purpose in designing your community?

[17:13] How do you manage having so many feature requests?

[21:18] Do you have an interesting case study of how someone achieved great financial success starting with a community?

[24:44] Is there someplace you want to invite people to learn more about Mighty and connect with you?

 

 

More About Frederik Pferdt:

    • Connect with Frederik Pferdt on LinkedIn

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

 

Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients, it’s changed my engagement with, it’s the best investment I ever made.

John Jantsch (00:14): What you just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Dr. Frederik Pferdt. He is the first chief innovation that helped shape one of the most fabled creative cultures in the world. He founded Google’s innovation lab where he trained tens of thousands of Googlers to develop and experiment with cutting edge ideas and taught groundbreaking classes on innovation and experiment with cutting edge ideas for more than a decade at Stanford University. He’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today. What’s next is now How to Live Future Ready. So Dr. Fard, welcome to the show.

Frederik Pferdt (01:45): Thank you, John for having me.

John Jantsch (01:47): It’s a pleasure. So let’s maybe kind set a baseline. When a lot of people hear about the future, it seems like people are either excited or they dread it. I don’t think that you’re going to tell people they should dread the future. So how do you get people to think appropriately about what the future means?

Frederik Pferdt (02:06): Yes, that’s a great question. And so I really want to help people to change their relationship with the future. As you just described, we feel sometimes anxious, uncertain about the future, but we also feel excited from time to time about the future. And we all know we live in that world where change is accelerating and it’s happening constantly and this can feel overwhelming for a lot of people. And so the challenge that we all face, I think, is that our minds are looking for certainty. And if we don’t find that certainty, we feel anxiety. So we spend a lot of time worrying about the future because our minds crave that certainty and really our brains are wired to make this feel uncomfortable for me, really about helping people to not think about the future and do predictions, but rather changing their relationship with their own future and saying like, Hey, what future do I want to create? Instead of asking what will the future bring? And I think that’s something that I’m personally very excited about because that changed my relationship with my future. And so taking control of what’s happening next is something very important. I want to help people to do that.

John Jantsch (03:34): So that idea of that’s obviously how to live, future ready, how to live the future you create, I think is obviously a big premise of the book. How do you get people past this idea of creating something that is unknown because it’s five, 10 years from now, entire things that we took for granted will no longer exist. So how do you get that kind of mindset?

Frederik Pferdt (04:00): Exactly. And you are mentioning an important point, which is mostly we talk about these futures that are way out on the horizon. It’s like five years, 10 years, or even like 30 years. That’s what we usually talk about. And for me, I want to bring the future close, which means I want to bring it so close that every choice you make in this moment determines what’s going to happen next. And so you mentioned something that I feel we also need to discuss, which is that notion of a mindset. That word mindset is just around everywhere we have, even in school, it’s taught, which is very important, having a specific mindset. But also we use it in organizations where we talk about we need to have an organizational mindset, for example, or we talk about it even with products, you can now buy products that help you to change your mindset might be like a drink for example, or certain pills and so forth.

(05:10): And I think we need to change that probably because we have mindsets all around. And Carol Dweck did incredible important work around that. But I found that it’s a term that is also overused. And even if you’re typing something into a document or use chat GPT or use Google, whatever it is, it always defaults back to mindset. And for me, the concept of a mindset refers to a stable, long-term collection of beliefs and values and attitudes that we carry with us. And it’s deeply ingrained and often resistant to change having been formed and solidified over years of experiences teaching. So it’s really hard for us to change a mindset. And so what I want to do is I want to change that notion towards a mind state. And for me, a mind state is something different. It’s fluid, it changes based on the immediate situation.

(06:14): It really reflects our real time emotional and mental responses, and it can significantly influence our decisions and actions. And for me, that mind state is our moment to moment perspective really that is influenced by our thoughts and emotions. And that really guides how we interact with the world. And I think for me, if we focus on the mind state, it helps us to actually also take control and how we perceive a situation and how we experience the present moment. And that is really something that is very powerful and I use in the book. And so by focusing on your mindset state, really you can actively shape how you experience and respond to everyday situations and thereby constructing the future you desire. And that’s the whole again, premise of what I want people to do.

John Jantsch (07:07): And I want to get into the dimensions further of that mind state a little bit, but can you give me an example of how somebody, you started to talk about traditional mindset as opposed to this future ready mind state. Do you have examples of how somebody can actually make that shift from one to the other?

Frederik Pferdt (07:28): Yes. So when we talk about one of the dimensions, for example, radical optimism that I put out there, we usually say either you are an optimist or a pessimist. That’s the categories we usually use in our everyday language. And for me, it’s not the usual way of looking at a glass half full or half empty type of person. For me, being a radically optimistic person is somebody who looks at the possibilities and opportunities that you can fill your glass even further. And so a radical, optimistic person transforms really challenges into opportunities and every situation into a chance for something exceptional. And by shifting that view, we find potential in everything. Uncovering those hidden possibilities. And this perspective really encourages us to aim for what I call better, making really every moment an opportunity for growth. I can share an example of how that might look like.

(08:36): So if I look at my desk and I see like, oh, I have a very clever desk, a regular optimistic person might say, Hey, fantastic, at least I have a desk to work at, right? That’s what they usually would say. But for me, a radically optimistic view is what’s better is that I can work on multiple interesting projects simultaneously reflecting my diverse interests and skills. So that’s a more radically view of a cluttered desk. Or you might say, I’m here in a geodesic dome and I have some noises outside where some woodwork is being conducted at the moment, which is great. Or you look outside your window, right, John, and you say, oh, I have a noisy busy street outside your window. So an optimist would already say, at least I live in a lively area. A radically optimistic person actually frames that as what’s better is that I’m part of a vibrant and alive community that offers constant inspiration and connection. So you see that in that language. It’s not just looking for what’s the positive about that, but what’s the better that I can find here in these situations? And that’s something you can train yourself in. That’s something you can practice and work on. And I think that’s something very powerful I want to help people to do.

John Jantsch (10:00): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with a must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs. And they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try Active Campaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit activecampaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Listeners who sign up via that link will also receive 15% off an annual plan. That’s activecampaign.com/duct tape. Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only.

(11:06): So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today. To what extent, and I know all of what we’re talking about is learned, so to what extent is this a generational thing? So I look at a 10-year-old now and they don’t think, oh, the future is something I have to learn. They think this is what I am. Some video game comes along, they don’t think, how do I learn it? It’s like, no, I am it. Whereas somebody like me who might say, for AI for example, this is something now I want to learn, but it’s something that I need to actually figure out or learn. So to what extent are those two ends of the age spectrum play a role in the ability to learn these behaviors?

Frederik Pferdt (11:56): Yes. So I’m a big fan of our next generation. I have to say I am just always tremendously in awe when I see the young generation taking control of their future. They’re going on the streets and telling everyone that we need to do something about climate change. And they’re really proactive in all of those things and how they use AI and new technology is something very powerful because they not just see the downsides, but they start experimenting and trying things out and see how that could work for them or what’s something we need to refine and improve. But there’s one interesting thing that when we grow up is somehow changing, and that’s curiosity. I have one of the dimensions of a future ready mindset is what I say. Compulsive curiosity and curiosity really drives us to explore and understand our world better, which is really crucial in our rapidly changing environment.

(13:00): So we are all born with that curiosity and it’s firing in all cylinders. When we’re children, you probably remember John like crawling around on the floor, you probably not but your parents when you crawl around the floor and you’re trying to put everything in your mouth and you look at everything and you taste everything, and you really explore with all of your senses, the world, every moment. And I think that’s very powerful, that curiosity, because you start to learn a lot, but our natural curiosity goes actually dormant over time. And so the good news is that we can reawaken it by continuously questioning and seeking to learn more about everything around us. And I think that’s probably one of the last frontiers of, for us humans probably is asking better questions. As you mentioned, AI and technology gives us a lot of good answers at the moment. So I think for us, it’s really about practicing the art of framing good questions and trying to just have that compulsive curiosity help us to discover. And so in my book, I give a couple of examples on how you can actually train yourself into asking better questions and really bring that curiosity back to everything you’re doing.

John Jantsch (14:14): Yeah, I wonder if there are people that have these traits more in abundance or naturally or socially, they got those traits. I always tell people, and you talk about this idea of bringing your superpower to things. I feel like curiosity has always been, I started my business 30 years ago. We didn’t have the internet and we’ve still been able to evolve and serve our clients. And I really think that curiosity, I’m always want to know how the new thing works, and I think that has served me abundantly over the years, but there certainly are some people that’s actually hard for them. So my question in this is, are there people that you find that naturally possess some of these traits or dimensions?

Frederik Pferdt (14:56): We all do to a certain degree. So again, I’ve worked with tens of thousands of Googlers over my 12 and a half years at the company, and I’m also involved with students at Stanford, and I work with incredibly talented people all around the world. And I find that these dimensions of that future ready mindset that I talk about can be really found in every human being because they’re deeply human qualities that we have. What I also found is that not all of us are using them to a certain degree. So what I argue for is that we need to dial those things up. We need to be more curious, we need to be more open, we need to experiment more, show more empathy. And if we do that, again, even using optimism in a radical way, if we all do that more, I think we can discover more opportunities in our future. That’s something very powerful, I think, to have to answer your question briefly. Yes, we all have those, but we can probably use those even more. And I’m going to show people how they actually can leverage that.

John Jantsch (16:10): So to that listener that’s thinking, maybe they’re reading the news headlines today and is thinking, especially in the United States, there’s a lot of talk about this divisiveness that’s going on and actually closed, becoming more closed. This is my tribe, this is your tribe, as opposed to what you call unreserved openness. So how do we get that turned around?

Frederik Pferdt (16:35): Yes. First, I recommend not following or not watching the news like minute by minute. We all have that negativity bias built in ourselves, and the news are really taking advantage of that. So the negative news, we want to read the first and watch immediately and so forth. But I would recommend not just consuming news, news, news all the time because it really draws you towards a conclusion where you might believe that the future is controlled by something else or someone else.

(17:11): And again, I said that in the beginning that we shouldn’t ask the question, what will the future bring? Because that’s passive, that’s waiting for the future to unfold, and it’s going to be controlled by someone else. We should ask ourselves, what future do I want to create, which is a proactive approach. And using openness, as you described, is something very powerful because unreserved openness is about really embracing change and the unknown with confidence and curiosity. So it means really being open to new ideas and experiences and even other ways of thinking, which can lead to unexpected and even rewarding opportunities. And so imagine you are in a long corridor lined with numerous doors. So that corridor is just filled with these doors, and each door represents an opportunity or new experience. So I would argue that someone with unserved openness doesn’t just peak cautiously through a slightly opened door and worried what might be on the other side.

(18:17): But instead, they approach each door, I would say, with that eagerness and ready to fling it open without hesitation. And so they’re not deterred by the uncertainty what lies behind the door. Rather they’re motivated to really see the potential for new possibilities and learning that’s behind the door. So every door would be wide open and you open that door and you walk straight through it because there’s always something interesting and new waiting behind that door. And I think that’s what we need to bring as an attitude towards everything instead of just being cautiously, even letting those doors being closed.

John Jantsch (18:55): So while I agree wholeheartedly with the dimensions and the premise, I could see a lot of people, this isn’t not an overnight project. I mean, this is changing attitudes, this is changing beliefs, this is changing habits. So what would be your advice to somebody who says, I want to take this on, but I’ve got work to do?

Frederik Pferdt (19:15): Yes. And again, I fully agree, and that’s why the subtitle is How to Live Future Ready. It’s a Lifestyle. But I also would say it’s not that hard to change because we are talking about a mind state, which is really about the perspective you have in any given moment that determines how you experience the present. And that perspective. We can change, we have control over it. If in one situation we show a little bit more openness or optimism or even empathy, that’s a choice we can make. And I argue that leads always to a better opportunity. It leads to possibilities. And so it’s not that hard to change. And I give people three things. The first one is I give some personal stories and experience I had over the years that could be potentially helpful. The other thing that I offer is I have about 14 people that I’ve personally trained and worked with at Google, just remarkable people.

(20:16): And so they share their own stories and how they changed their perspectives, which led to a remarkable future for themselves as human beings. And then I offer some practices that everybody can try out to see like, Hey, what does that practice help me to do? And how can I use that to shift my perspective? And I think as soon as you either read some of my experiences, you read some of the stories, or you practice some of that, I think you can start slowly to see opportunities for your future, and then again, find even some joy in crafting your own future and choosing your own future. And I think that’s something very exciting to do.

John Jantsch (20:58): Dr. Fayette, I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Is there somewhere that you would invite people to connect with you or find out more about your work?

Frederik Pferdt (21:07): Yeah, everywhere. Reach out, message me, or let’s have a conversation. And I really hope that we all take control of our own futures. I hope that we can now see opportunities in the future as well, so that we can craft a future that is desirable and that we all want to live in.

John Jantsch (21:29): Again, I appreciate you taking a moment, and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Raise Profits with People Magic: Transform Your Business with Engaging Communities

Raise Profits with People Magic: Transform Your Business with Engaging Communities written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

 

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Gina Bianchini, the CEO and founder of Mighty Networks, a community platform that leverages advanced technology and AI to connect people within community courses, events, and paid memberships. She shares her insights on how businesses can transform their approach by fostering engaging online communities, ultimately raising profits and enhancing member experiences.

Key Takeaways

According to Gina Bianchini, it all begins with “people magic” and how leveraging advanced software and AI can revolutionize online communities. She explains that the key to a thriving community is not the size but the quality of member connections. By focusing on building relationships between members, marketing agencies can create a self-sustaining network that becomes more valuable with each new member.

She also emphasizes that an online community should help members achieve progress and build meaningful relationships. She shares that the most successful communities are those that address transitions in members’ lives, such as starting a new job or moving to a new city, and provide support during these pivotal moments. This approach not only enhances member engagement but also boosts retention and revenue.

In this episode, Gina Bianchini shares an enlightening case study for creating and maintaining vibrant online communities that drive growth and profitability. She also mentions the importance of having a clear purpose and using AI to facilitate introductions and interactions among members. This episode offers a unique solutions for businesses looking to harness the power of online communities to elevate their brand and achieve sustainable growth.

 

Questions I ask Gina Bianchini:

[02:25] Would you say Ning was ahead of its time?

[03:50] Would you say a platform like Facebook then was another advancement of Ning or completely derivative?

[07:53] How would you define community?

[14:03] How important is having a clear and compelling purpose in designing your community?

[17:13] How do you manage having so many feature requests?

[21:18] Do you have an interesting case study of how someone achieved great financial success starting with a community?

[24:44] Is there someplace you want to invite people to learn more about Mighty and connect with you?

 

 

More About Gina Bianchini:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

 

Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John Jantsch (00:17): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Gina Bianchini. She’s the CEO and founder of Mighty Networks, a community platform that powers people magic. I want to hear about people magic. It’s an advanced technology and AI that connects the most relevant and interesting people to each other in the context of community courses, events and paid membership. She’s also the author of the Wall Street Journal, bestseller, purpose, design a Community and Change Your Life, A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Purpose and Making It Matter. So Gina, welcome to the show.

Gina Bianchini (01:40): Thank you for having me.

John Jantsch (01:42): So I read in your bio, I didn’t read it on air here, but in doing a little research that you grew up in Cupertino, I didn’t know anybody actually grew up in Cupertino.

Gina Bianchini (01:51): They have many people have grown up in Cupertino, California, which now is very actually starting in the early eighties. It was really well known for Apple.

John Jantsch (02:03): Well, that’s what I mean. That’s what I was going to say. That’s what I thought it was. I thought it was Apple.

Gina Bianchini (02:06): Yeah. No, my grandparents moved there in the fifties. Oh,

John Jantsch (02:10): Wow. I have to tell you, I had a, again, I didn’t put in your bio. I had a Ning community in about 2006.

Gina Bianchini (02:18): Oh, thank you for that

John Jantsch (02:19): Seven. And at that time it was probably the coolest thing ever. Right. What happened to Ning? Were you sort of ahead of its time?

Gina Bianchini (02:29): I think it was a little bit ahead of its time for sure. The other thing is we just didn’t know what the right business model was, so we thought it was an advertising based business. And what’s interesting is if as any entrepreneur want to do, when you look back with sort of the 2020 hindsight, it was the same point in time where Shopify and other platforms that were SaaS-based coming up and we were a SaaS company and we just didn’t know it.

John Jantsch (02:59): Yeah, yeah. I think there were a lot of people that saw it as really, it’s kind of the same thing, didn’t really know what to do with it to get the most out of it. And I don’t think actually online community was quite a thing yet. People were still,

Gina Bianchini (03:15): Oh, I don’t know about that. When you think about forums as really sort of the 1.0 equivalent, what Ning was really the Web 2.0 equivalent of that same desire and that same behavior, and I would say my career has just been what is 3, 4, 5 in the future of that same fundamental goal of how do we use the internet? How do we use connected technologies to bring people together around the things that are most important to ’em?

John Jantsch (03:50): Would you say a platform like Facebook then was another advancement of that or really completely derivative?

Gina Bianchini (03:57): Well, so here’s the thing. I think what Facebook started as and what Facebook is today are two very different things. I would say Facebook groups were really built for college students who already knew each other and remain something that is really designed for people who already know each other. Otherwise, there would be more and more investment in Facebook groups and specifically how do you create value for people who are just meeting for the first time. And that is not something that Facebook has prioritized. A lot of great stuff happening at Meta overall, that’s just not an area that is important to them.

John Jantsch (04:37): And I see a lot of hunger for people wanting to create the kind of groups that you can create, say, with Mighty Network that are moving, actually jumping off of

Gina Bianchini (04:47): Facebook. Funny enough, I see it too. I see it. I see

John Jantsch (04:50): It too. Maybe you saw it a few years ago, actually. I’m thinking maybe. So where are we then? Is there a new state of community today? I mean, obviously technology has advanced it, but it’s also human behavior, right?

Gina Bianchini (05:02): Yeah. So it absolutely, I look at this moment as the beginning days of a community renaissance, and specifically when you think about what is the fullest expression of communities online and ultimately in the real world, because we flipped in many cases how people actually meet new people. They meet them online first and then in real life. And that’s something that we’ve really paid attention to at Mighty Networks. But fundamentally, the things that we can now do to have software play the role of amazing hosts are incredible. I’m having more fun with what I do and what we do at Mighty than I have at any point in time working in this very specific lane of, and it’s not really, I don’t think about it as online communities, it’s really community. It’s how do you help brands and creators and entrepreneurs create their own network effects?

(06:08): Something that gets more valuable with every member who joins. And so specifically what we’re seeing, and this is really what we talk about and think about it mighty as People Magic is how do we use advanced software? And yes, AI to introduce the most relevant people to each other to break the ice, to encourage people to come back or work on things together or really think about it as take quests and go on quests together. And the things that we can now do with software just simply have not been done before. And so when you start to think about the fact that probably when you think of community platforms or online course platforms or digital product platforms, they were all built for an era of people who already knew each other and they have been essentially jerry rigged on some level for communities where the value is in people getting to know each other. That’s really where we start at Mighty, our whole thing is how do we help people who should know each other, meet, build relationships, find value, find comfort, find insights, find joyful experiences with other members, and use the very best of technology to make those things a reality. So that’s what we do in creating people magic. Again, we’re just at a point in time where we are now working on things that haven’t been done before, and that’s really exciting.

John Jantsch (07:53): How do you define community? Is there a specific element, symptom, whatever we want to call it, that actually says this is a community as opposed to a bunch of fans?

Gina Bianchini (08:10): So look, a bunch of fans can be a community. They could also not be a community. And so here is the definition that I use an audience is I talk out at you, you might talk back at me, but no one’s actually talking to each other. No one is meeting or building relationships with each other in the comment section of an Instagram Live. Maybe there’s something in a group dm, but probably not. It is not a platform that is designed for people to build relationships with each other or find value from each other. Community in my definition is a more valuable asset, which is, and I would say more valuable for the members who join the community as well as for the people who host that community. And that is a way for me to bring people together for them to meet and build relationships with each other.

(09:09): So a very sort of simple question you can ask yourself is, am I meeting people here or is it all about one person? And if it’s all about one person, that’s an audience. And what we know to be true is that audiences by definition are less valuable than creating a community where people are actually building relationships with each other. And I’ll share something that was a total shocker to me. I’d kind of known it, but we’d never really had the data before to prove it out. And then we got the data, which is my data science team at Mighty can predict now with 93% accuracy, whether a community and the way I sort of think that is a community. And then there are ways to monetize that community, paid memberships, online courses, challenges, events. So I’ll just use community as that catchall whether that community will succeed or fail, meaning will it survive for long periods of time or will it sort of die on the vine?

(10:15): And it has absolutely nothing to do with who started it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the number of members who are in it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the volume of content or the rate of members joining. It has everything to do with the number of member connections being made, member connections being defined as threaded comments, so people responding to each other, dms. So direct messages, group messages. So what motivated us to really dive into and spend all of our time, all of our resources, all of our expertise around getting even smarter about people. Magic was that insight of your members need to actually build relationships with each other for you to create something that is recurring revenue, that is compounding growth. Because it turns out if you get extraordinary engagement, which is really what is the result or consequence of people actually building relationships with each other, then you’re going to get people coming back.

(11:28): So you have built-in retention, but even better is when they keep coming back, they’re going to get better results. They’re going to build different practices, they’re going to develop different habits. They’re going to have different insights that are going to allow them, for example, in a professional community to go negotiate a raise or find a new job that is a better fit for them, or take on new and become a manager or decide that they don’t want to be a manager and negotiate a phenomenal role for them as an individual contributor. So you look at that well, that then gets people extraordinary results. It gets them things that are nearly impossible to get on our own, certainly a lot harder. And what do people do when they get extraordinary results? They talk about it. They talk about it to people that don’t know about that community and how valuable that community is. And so they bring new people in so you get longer engagement, which equals retention. You get people actually also if they’re sticking around longer, want to go to that next program, want to buy that next thing. And ultimately are your sales force for bringing new people in without you having to do a lot of work.

John Jantsch (12:45): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with the must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs. And they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit activecampaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast listeners who sign up via that link. We’ll also receive 15% off an annual plan. That’s active campaign.com/duct tape. Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today. How important do you think it is in designing, I have a hint that I know the answer this, but how important do you think it is in designing your community from the start that there just be a very clear and compelling purpose of the community?

Gina Bianchini (14:11): So that is the 20% that delivers 80% of the value. So I have what I like to call people magic profit because here’s the thing that we’ve actually, the thing that really took me by surprise was that creating those relationships between members generates millions of dollars in profit, not just revenue but profit. And what I’ve been able to do just because I’m not that interesting, outside of being completely focused on how communities become extremely valuable to their and their hosts. And it turns out that there are really only nine things you need to create a very profitable membership course challenge or event that essentially runs itself. So you can make a lot of money and it runs itself because it turns out if something’s running itself, you can make a lot of money because valuable. And if it’s valuable, it’s likely to run itself. It’s totally the opposite of what we know about content and how do you build a huge audience, and this is the difference between an audience and a community.

(15:25): And so it turns out that the impact of the smallest number of things that you can do and need to do to get this right, it’s really in some decisions that you make around who do you serve? And there’s a total cheat code to it, which I’ll share in a moment. But who you serve or your ideal member and how do you get them progress? And certainly the promise of progress because people pay for progress. And that is what I like to just call their best year ever. So if you take an ideal member, which is all an ideal member, is this is the cheat code, a human being in a transition, people are the most motivated when they are in a transition. They just moved to a new city.

(16:17): They just have their first child. They just start as a engineering manager for the first time. They are a first time CEO. They are doing anything that represents transition. That is when they are most motivated to join something new, meet new people who are on the same path, contribute really valuable experiences, stories, insights, show up at things. This kind of goes on. And so then they’re also the most willing to pay. And I started think about it as there’s bonus points for pain. So if that transition is painful, people have a lot more desire and motivation to get out of pain. So you get those things right. And then there’s just three things you set up and you will literally watch a community run itself

John Jantsch (17:13): Going to switch to the technical side of a SaaS business. In your particular case, you probably get feature requests every single day, multiple times. How do you, I mean, it’s really easy to take a tool, which frankly is pretty complex from the start that you’re doing and really make it way more complex because everybody wants more engagement or they want more of this, or they’ve seen this platform added this and now I want to, how do you control that?

Gina Bianchini (17:41): Well, so I think it’s super important to have a North Star. So why are we here? What are we doing? Because you can’t do everything. And by the way, nor do you want to, unless you’re interested in basically building a product that ultimately becomes Microsoft Word. And so the way that we approach it at Mighty is first and foremost, we are constantly observing and listening. We want to know what all the asks are, and then we start to look at, okay, what is going to be the most important and the most valuable to the most number of people? So what is going to be the thing that will have the biggest impact to the most people? And those are the things that just get real obvious. And then you just kind of move down the list from there. And look, it’s an art and a science, but at the end of the day, for us, everything runs through the filter of does this create people magic?

(18:48): Will this be able to allow a host of a mighty network to invite in 10 people and to have those 10 people be able to build great relationships that are extremely valuable, encourage each member to share stories and experiences and ideas that ultimately move the entire community forward and then bring in the next 10 people and then the next 10 people and the next hundred people and the next thousand people so that it becomes a self-organizing network that gets more valuable to every member with each new person who joins. And then the host of that network, which host can be a creator, it can be an entrepreneur, it can be a brand. It’s somebody who basically has that ability to bring those first 10 people in the value and more and more value accrues to them. And because everything that I’m sharing, it has that goal of self organizing, which is easier now with the breakthroughs of the last year and a half around AI than ever before.

(20:05): Turns out that you can create incredibly valuable assets that generate 99% profit margins and people are happy to pay for it because they’re paying for progress, they’re paying for relationships, they’re also, excuse me, they’re also paying attention to what they pay for. So that’s really, again, our North star. And we want to live in a world where everybody is a member of three to five extraordinarily valuable communities that would be for their professional life and their personal and spiritual practices and travel and adventure and all of the above and everything that we’re doing in terms of making this just undeniably valuable to the people who are creating those mighty networks. Why are we doing that? Because we want more people to create and more people to join and more people who join then turn around and create. And everything that we are doing has got to be fed through that filter. And it’s,

John Jantsch (21:19): Do you have kind of a quick case study that you like to kill? And I mean Tony Robinson is awesome, but something a little quirky or niche?

Gina Bianchini (21:29): Sure. One of my favorite examples is Martinez Evans and what he has built with the slow AF run club. He is now a bestselling author. He is someone who started off kind of listening to all the gurus, well before he met me or met Mighty and did all the things he was supposed to do. He was supposed to build an email list. He built an email list. He was supposed to launch an online course and use Kajabi or Teachable. He did that and he got exactly two people to sign up, and then one of them wanted their money back. And so he realized that path just wasn’t the right path for him. He failed at it. And about six months later, he and I met at the gym. He was working at the gym I worked out at, and we started talking about his vision for Slow AF a community focused on the back of the Pack runners.

(22:28): And his Instagram handle is 300 pounds and running, and he’s amazing. And I said to him, between sets, I was like, this is going to be an incredible opportunity and you should start it as a community and then build your courses, build your programs on top of it. And that’s exactly what he did. He created virtual races during Covid. He has developed training programs that are designed for not just back of the pack runners who are starting off, but then also those that are increasingly taking on bigger and bigger challenges. He wrote an incredible book. He’s been on a year long book tour visiting, running clubs all over the country and setting up an incredible merch business. And the reality is if he would have followed, well, he did. He followed what everybody else was doing and didn’t stand out. And if anything could have just quit at that point and said, well, I guess there aren’t any back of the pack runners. And instead actually the zagged when everybody else was zigging. And by the way, everybody continues to zig, whether it’s like, it’s my content, it’s about me. And what Martinez really figured out was it wasn’t about him, it was about how does he connect slow runners all over the country to know that they are part of a inclusive, supportive, and very focused, not small, but focused community of fellow runners that don’t look like they’re straight out of central casting.

John Jantsch (24:16): Yeah, that’s funny. I have a friend that started years ago, a 0.1 K race. Basically, he owns a bar and it basically goes from one side of the parking lot to the other, and he raises a couple hundred thousand dollars every year for nonprofits. That’s

Gina Bianchini (24:31): Awesome.

John Jantsch (24:31): I’ve been telling him for years he needs to franchise that and get it every city. That is a

Gina Bianchini (24:36): Great idea. That is a fantastic

John Jantsch (24:39): Idea. It’s very funny. Well, Gina, I appreciate you taking a few moments to come and share with the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. And is there someplace you might invite people to connect with you or find out more about Mighty?

Gina Bianchini (24:49): Sure. I probably spend the most time in our mighty community. And short of that, I’m also on LinkedIn and Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter. So that’s certainly a place to find me

John Jantsch (25:06): And it’s mighty pretty easy to find. Mighty networks.com.

Gina Bianchini (25:09): Mighty networks.com.

John Jantsch (25:11): Yep. Awesome. Well again, appreciate you stopping by and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

How to Transform Client Acquisition with Creative Gifting Strategies

How to Transform Client Acquisition with Creative Gifting Strategies written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

 

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Steve Gumm, a marketing consultant and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Gilded Box, a luxury corporate gifting company. He has extensive experience in helping companies break open doors and build lasting relationships through personalized and thoughtful gifting strategies.

Through his experience, he reveals the transformative potential of creative gifting in client acquisition, showcasing how agencies can stand out in a crowded market and foster strong, meaningful connections with their clients.

Key Takeaways

Steve Gumm, CMO of Gilded Box, emphasizes the power of personalized gifting in marketing, demonstrating how businesses can effectively attract and retain clients through thoughtful and unique gift campaigns. The process involves understanding the client’s needs and preferences, designing customized gifts that resonate on a personal level, and leveraging these gifts to build trust and open new opportunities.

He explains that successful gifting campaigns are not about the monetary value of the gifts but the thought and personalization behind them. This approach creates memorable experiences that leave a lasting impact on clients, making them more likely to engage and maintain a long-term relationship with you: the business. This episode offers age-old wisdom for businesses looking to enhance their client acquisition efforts through the classic personalized gifting technique.

 

Questions I ask Steve Gumm:

[01:54] How did you go from being a Marketing Consultant to being a Gifting guru?

[04:18] Is the unavoidable gift strategy a retention tactic or lead generation approach?

[08:31] How do you narrow down your target audience successfully?

[10:59] How do you begin a Gifting Campaign?

[14:45] Do you have some examples where you really surprised a client with a Gift?

[15:47] How has technology improved the effectiveness of Gifting Campaigns?

[18:15] Are there instances where the benefits of a campaign with a particular client immediately but have always remained top of mind?

[19:44] Is there someplace you want to invite people to check out what you’re doing and connect with you?

 

More About Steve Gumm:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

 

Speaker 1 (00:00): Duct Tape Marketing really helped me to shave at least six to eight months off of work that I was dreading after leaving the corporate world. Even before I participated in the agency intensive training, I had already landed in my first customer. This, in essence, more than paid for my investment in Duct Tape Marketing.

John Jantsch (00:18): What you just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Steve Gumm. He is a marketing consultant who started his career running an agency that worked with some of the most recognizable brands, including celebrities and professional athletes using creative outreach to break open doors. After a successful E, he’s taken on the role of A CMO at Gilded Box, a luxury corporate gifting company. The designs builds and delivers extraordinary gifts to help companies open doors, close new deals, motivate employees, and build blasting relationships. So Steve, welcome to the show.

Steve Gumm (01:40): Thanks for having me. It’s more than an honor, John. More than an

John Jantsch (01:43): Honor. Well, so talk a little bit about your marketing journey. I mean, I gave a very brief sketch of it there, but I know in the past we had talked, I think maybe a few years back were just, you were a marketing consultant, had a marketing consulting firm. What’s changed for you maybe in terms of your objectives as well as how those are coming out?

Steve Gumm (02:06): Yeah, like most journeys, I had my own agency and then I went into consulting, and it’s one of those deals. I think even as a consultant, I’ve always gravitated towards some businesses you want to help, but some you want to help. Of course all of them, but some you’re more thrilled about. And so I went through and was basically helping sales and marketing teams doing the whole fractional CMO type of thing. And when Gilded Box came around, it’s just something that I fell in love with. And I think for everybody, you try to find that thing where it’s like, okay, there’s something here that just feels right. And I was just very fortunate. It wasn’t by design, but everything just came together for me. And so why I still do have other clients. They go the boxes at least 80% of my time now, and it is been fun.

(02:48): It’s interesting too, just Russell, the CEO here, we talk about it all the time, how things kind of come full circle because the type of stuff that we do here as a business is very similar to the stuff I was kind of doing on my own for years to try and crack open accounts and get attention and deliver some level of, I used to call it unavoidable, my team, I would say, okay, let’s send ’em something unavoidable. If we really want to work with them and we really know we can help and it would be a good fit, let’s send ’em something that they cannot avoid. And back in the day, we got crazy going after some celebrities and sports teams, et cetera. We went way over the top with some of that stuff. But it works. It takes time, effort, energy. I think it’s more fun, but it definitely works.

John Jantsch (03:36): Yeah, I wrote out about it actually in the first edition of Duct Tape Marketing in 2007, something I called Lumpy Mail. And it was the same idea. I would send things like box that would have a whole bunch of old keys in it or something that’s new. It’s like, what? And then you tie it to the message, and we had one client that was trying to promote their total solution for something. And so we mimicked the total cereal box. I don’t think we asked post, but we did it anyway and we sent it with a gallon of milk, which made it really, like you said, people are like, what in the world is this? It really does open doors. But I can also hear people saying, well, that might’ve cost 40 or 50 bucks a whack. Is that something you can do as a retention thing or do you feel like that’s an approach you can do? Lead generation

Steve Gumm (04:26): Mean both. So for me, the way I look at it is, and part of what we do here at Gilded Boxes is make things scalable. So around budget. Now gifting is different than swag by you really can’t compare the two, and there’s a place for each. I’m cool with both, but I think every business is a little different. I’ve always been in the B2B world, so I’ve been fortunate in that typically lifetime value of a customer. Even the short term value. When you actually talk to a team, and this used to happen to me when I was doing consulting all the time, I’d be like, what is the average client worth? And usually it was a sizable number depending on, I was working a lot of manufacturing, so some of ’em got huge, but then you sit back and you’re, okay, well, what are we doing here? Let’s get a list of the hundred. That would be amazing, and just try to get 20. What if that’s all we did?

(05:13): And it succeeded. And then everyone’s, when you take a step back and really evaluate what you’re trying to accomplish, it just makes those type of decisions a lot easier. If we spend, it doesn’t matter the X dollar amount, you quickly realize that, well man, we could spend all this. If we get one, it’s worth it. So when you break down the math, usually, especially on the acquisition side of things, it works. And once you have a client, that retention side of it, it is all based on value and scenarios, but I don’t think you have to be expensive at all. I mean, what we do here obviously is gifting from design packaging and all that, but I’m also a huge fan of just handwritten letters and anything that shows me that, wait a second, this person actually took the time to think about me, and they’re reaching out. However you do that, it’s just so powerful in a day where with AI and automation, it’s easier to go, okay, 50,000 people click and it sends out. It just seems like that would be, oh, that’s wise. But when you take a step back, it can be very effective in a day where not too many people are doing that type of outreach. It’s just crazy effective.

John Jantsch (06:26): And I think you hit the nail on the head. I mean, I work with a lot of consultants that sell high ticket, high trust is very, very important part of the equation. And when they stop and think about their goals, sometimes onboarding three new clients would actually be hard in a month, but we’re trying to market to 20,000 people. It’s like maybe 10 good ones, 10 good appointments. What would it take to get that? And I think when people start looking at it that way, they probably should start saying, yeah, I guess I better not automate my outreach on LinkedIn.

Steve Gumm (07:01): Right, right, right. Yeah, it’s just too tempting for marketers and salespeople. It’s so tempting just to go for the big numbers because I don’t care, even if it is outreach on LinkedIn to do something legitimately authentic and personal, it takes not a lot of time, but it’s not as easy as just a name and enter. You’ve got to put some effort into it.

John Jantsch (07:22): But I think it really, I, and I know you agree with this, it’s the whole premise here, but I mean, it’s so easy to stand out now doing it because people realize you didn’t automate that. They realize you actually took some time, or heaven forbid, I get these outreach on LinkedIn and people will ask me, somebody literally today asked me, do you still have your agency? I was like, that’s your opener. It’s like, if you don’t know what I had for lunch today, you’re not paying attention. It’s crazy.

Steve Gumm (07:54): Well, you probably get more of ’em than I do, but I get a lot. And so I can only imagine how many you get where they’re just so off base. It’s clearly, I’m just on a database and I’m not a picky either. When I see that stuff, I see people post online all the time and they bash it. I mean, I get it. People are trying to make a living. They think it’s the right solution. I’m not mad at it, but it doesn’t work.

John Jantsch (08:16): Yeah. Well, I tell you, let’s flip it around too, because for that person, and I know you believe in the whole, I want to work with people that we share some beliefs and purpose casting that net to thousands, how are you going to get the client you want to work with, right? I mean, I think that’s as big a part of this as if I take the time to research and look at what they’re doing and look at how we could connect and build trust together, I’m probably going to get the right client. I,

Steve Gumm (08:45): Yeah, and you’re a big phony with a whole book on it about referrals. I think people don’t oftentimes pay attention to the snowball effect of getting the right people initially. If you know that these people are a, you can help ’em. You have a solution that works for what they’re trying to accomplish, their goals, but it’s the perfect where you’re like, man, if we could just work with this person for whatever reason, if you do a good job there, chances are they know people who are aligned a little bit, at least with what they do. And so the referrals not only are, they probably come in more often, but they’re way better.

John Jantsch (09:18): Yeah. Yeah.

Steve Gumm (09:19): Awesome.

John Jantsch (09:21): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with a must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs. And they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try Active Campaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit active campaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Listeners who sign up via that link will also receive 15% off an annual plan. That’s activecampaign.com/duct tape. Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only.

(10:27): So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to Active campaign today. Talk a little bit about, and we can get into the mechanics of how you do it at Gilded Box, but talk a little bit about the concept. Not a matter of sending somebody something really expensive. They’re like, wow, they sent me something really expensive. There’s more to the entire campaign approach to it. Talk about maybe if somebody were thinking about this idea of, okay, I’m going to come up with a Dream 100. What would a campaign that involved gifting look like?

Steve Gumm (11:03): So you could definitely do it in multiple steps, but I think to take a step back for a second, you touched on it has to be something elaborate. Yeah, we do some super high end gifting, but it doesn’t have to be at all. We even say internally, if we do our job, what’s in the box of what you would consider the actual product actually should be an afterthought. The experience that we have done here, and it’s funny, as we were building this, it really was looking at what I had done in the past, what Gil Box was doing currently, and just removing friction. So for example, we handle all of the design because we think that’s critical to the personalization, the entire experience. And we know that is oftentimes a tough spot for a lot of businesses. They don’t have designers, they don’t whatever. So we take that because we want that box.

(11:55): The way we engineer the boxes from the way the products sit inside, it’s all, we have packaging engineers here. That’s what they do. And for us, it’s all about that experience so that when you are doing a gifting campaign, for example, you’re going after your top 100, obviously there’s methods to that. For us, the gifting usually is not out cold. We always recommend build some rapport, share some knowledge, engage on social, give some awareness, and then when you really want to step it up, you can go into a gifting program that obviously once you get a client, then the retention part of that type of effort goes into it. But everything that you would want to do to really wow somebody, we just wanted to make it as easy as possible.

John Jantsch (12:41): So the gift is one component of it. I’ve experienced kind of your process, and one of the things I thought was a brilliant piece, and this is carrying the personalization a step further, is that the box itself had to be completely personal because nobody else, it wouldn’t have made sense to anybody else what you did. But then the note that then had just a QR code that went to a then also personalized video. And I think to me that was a step that took it even farther than just like, oh, wow, I got this nice thing. Now you actually, what was in the box you actually nailed? That’s the brand that I have their grinder and I have their kettle. And so you said you didn’t know that part, or at least I hope you didn’t know that part. That was getting a little too close, but you knew I liked coffee, but that again, I was getting at their components to the whole thing. It’s not just like, oh, send a bunch of boxes out.

Steve Gumm (13:38): Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, the whole process is really who you’re trying to, what message you’re trying to display. So in that instance, in every instance really, it’s about letting people know that they’re being recognized. Now, when you’re doing this at an enterprise level, of course you’re probably going to minimize some of that. A lot of the packaging and what’s inside is very similar, but we personalize them in a way where there’s still that wow factor in that, oh, they were thinking about me as opposed to something that you’re just giving out. And that really is, there’s a method to the madness, and it all starts with design, which requires a little bit of research and homework on our team’s end to actually nail that. Because when you receive it, even before you open it, we want you to be blown away. Our objective, and we believe this to be true based on feedback that we get, is the packaging itself. That box itself is something people keep just like a gift. And that’s when we know we’ve done our job and is fun. It is the most fun business I’ve ever been a part of by a long shot.

John Jantsch (14:42): Do you have any examples, and maybe you’re not at liberty to share ’em, but do you have any examples of some kind of crazy things? And again, I don’t know if you ever see this, the success end of it, if the client comes back to you and says, that was amazing, let’s do it again. Maybe that’s an indicator, but do you have any kind of case study of somebody doing something pretty cool?

Steve Gumm (15:02): Yeah, and to piggyback on that, we get emails all the time, which is the best where our customers telling us, or even forwarding emails from their customers, like, wow, this is great. We’ve done some pretty crazy stuff. We had a company that was agency working with Chanel, and they were doing a groundbreaking, and we actually did a shovel called the Chave, same branding and same everything, and put it in a pretty big box for them and delivering, of course, it was a huge hit. We were joking even this morning, I was talking to Russell, our CEO over here, how we’ve been doing this for so long. Some of the stuff we’re not blown away with anymore. We’re so used to it. But when you get the responses like, man, that really is pretty cool.

John Jantsch (15:45): And the personalization aspect, certainly technology has helped that come along, but you think about the companies that buy a thousand coffee mugs and they give ’em out to clients coffee mug with their logo on it. Sure. I guess I need a coffee mug. I’ll send it over here. But the technology is such that I can have a thousand clients and send a coffee mug with their logo on it, which to me might be a lot cooler to get.

Steve Gumm (16:11): Yeah, I mean, from a gifting standpoint, it’s one of the things that we’re working hard on the marketing side is communicating the difference between swag and gifting. It is totally different. When you think of swag, it’s more of an advertisement for you for promoting your business, and there’s a place for that. We’re fans of that as well. But when it comes to gifting, you really want to make it about them. So if it’s something, if you know something about their family or their hobbies or something where you can make it truly unique to them, that’s a gift. And we always tell our clients, if you’re going to do some promotion or branding of any kind, leverage the packaging. We do an amazing job at that. But what goes inside, it should be very clear that it’s been thoughtful and you put some care into what you’re delivering because it just makes a huge impact.

(17:00): How often do you get something like that? It’s very rare. To your point earlier, a lot of that old school stuff is very effective right now, but because everyone’s been trained on automation technology, it takes a little bit of effort, and I guess you could call it riskier. I mean, it’s more effective, but it takes much more to even send a piece of mail, whatever it is, you got to put the time into it. You got to print, you got to. So I think people just default that we’ll just send these emails, but boy is there an opportunity in creating experiences.

John Jantsch (17:34): Yeah, and I think the unfortunate thing, or at least the leap that a lot of people make, because there isn’t any risk in sending emails. I mean, if the message bombs, if nobody responds, it’s like nobody’s hurt. Whereas I remember the days of you’d spend $10,000 on a direct mail piece or commit to a year long, $3,000 a month yellow page ad, no idea if any of it was ever going to work. You were stuck with it till next year. So I mean, I do see that people kind have that fear of like, oh, I’m going to out. I’m lay out five, 10 grand. What if it doesn’t work? But I do think that, I’m guessing you probably have anecdotal information on this, the impact may not be filled immediately. Do you find that sometimes the shelf life, so to speak, of the gift or of the idea or the promotion might be for months that somebody’s like, I’m not ready right now, but that’s who I’m calling?

Steve Gumm (18:30): Yeah, for sure. I mean, a hundred percent. It just changes the dynamic of the relationship. And so I think an easy way to think about that is when you’ve put that much time and effort and personalization into something, there’s just some reciprocation there on. If you send me something like that, and let’s say I’m even the wrong target, which we wouldn’t recommend, but even so, I’m going to be much more inclined to at least give you feedback and share where we’re at and what opportunities may or may not be here as opposed to responding to one of the 10,000 emails I get any given week. So the longevity and the opportunities and the doors that it opens can’t be understated. I mean, I know I’m in the business, so it’s like, oh, this guy’s what he does for a living. But we see it time and time again, and we eat our own dog food as well, and it works. We’re creating a couple of fun series coming up of content where we’re going to start to share some of this. Nice. Just because it is very effective, and I think anybody that tries it, whatever you’re doing, if you get more personal and outside of the tech world where it’s more human to human, I can’t express the impact that you can have. It really is amazing.

John Jantsch (19:39): Awesome. Well, Steve, I appreciate you taking a few moments to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Is there anywhere you would invite people to connect with you and find out more about your work?

Steve Gumm (19:48): You can find me on LinkedIn. I’m just LinkedIn, wherever Those are Steve Gumm. I’ve got a very uncommon last name, so it’s not hard to find me and then gildedbox.com, so G-I-L-D-E-D-B-O-X.com. We have plenty of resources there. If want to reach out to anybody and you’re looking for stuff, we’d be more than happy to help you create some amazing experiences.

John Jantsch (20:08): Awesome. Well, again, appreciate you taking a moment, and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days soon out there on the road.

The FUD Factor: How Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt Shape Leadership

The FUD Factor: How Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt Shape Leadership written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Brendan Keegan, a seasoned executive with over three decades of experience in leadership and innovation. Brendan is also the author of the book “The FUD Factor: Overcoming Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to Achieve the Impossible.” Our conversation covers the profound impact of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) on leadership and how mastering these emotions can shape the trajectory of businesses and individuals alike.

 

Key Takeaways

Brendan Keegan emphasizes the transformative power of addressing fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) in leadership. By embracing failure as a learning opportunity, fostering a culture of fearless leadership, and developing emotional intelligence, leaders can overcome mindset barriers and drive growth. Strategies for overcoming FUD include encouraging open communication, setting clear goals, and celebrating successes, ultimately empowering individuals and organizations to achieve greater efficiency, effectiveness, and success.

Questions I ask Brendan Keegan:

[02:11] Is there’s a personal story of how you overcame FUD?

[03:30] How does FUD show up in the workplace?

[05:00] What are some best practices to admitting fear and overcoming it?

[06:42] What inspired you to write a book about overcoming fear?

[07:39] Talk about fearless leadership

[10:55] What are some of the key traits that this fearless leader needs to learn or evolve in their arsenal?

[13:16] Would you say a high level of self-awareness is one of them?

[14:41] How does leadership act as a differentiator between good teams and great teams?

[17:32] Why does leadership matter more now than ever?

[19:56] Is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you, and learn more about the FUD Factor?

 

 

More About Brendan Keegan:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John (00:17): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

John (01:04): Hello

John (01:04): And welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Brendan Keegan. With over three decades of experience, he’s known for his practical insights and passion for innovation. Brendan’s focus on leveraging technology to streamline operations has made him a trusted resource for businesses of all sizes. He’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, the FUD Factor, overcoming Fear, uncertainty, and Doubt, to Achieve the Impossible. So Brendan, welcome to the show.

Brendan (01:36): Alright, welcome. Thanks so much. I’m excited to be here. And just talk a little bit about marketing and fud.

John (01:41): So with St. Patrick’s Day, I’m recording this in March with St. Patrick’s Day, not too far behind us. I’ve been watching a couple Irish movies and I’m got to tell you, Brendan Keegan sounds like a character from an Irish movie.

Brendan (01:52): Yeah, well, my middle name’s Patrick, so I got the a hundred percent factor going there.

John (01:59): Awesome. So one of the main premises of the book is this idea of fud, which I think is a term that I’ve heard used by other folks. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt is kind of learn throughout our lives. I’m curious if there’s a personal story of how you overcame your own brand of fud.

Brendan (02:18): Well, it’s interesting. As a kid, your parents kind of put FUD onto, but you don’t realize it until you’re a parent. So I remember when I started realizing it when our daughter was really small, but then when she started playing sports, and I still remember she had a skateboard, and all of a sudden it’s get the helmet on, get the knee pads, get the elbow pads on, and it’s like, Hey, in case you fall now to a 5-year-old, they don’t think they’re going to fall. So I put the idea of falling into her head and with all the equipment, all of a sudden she was thinking, Hey, I’m just going to go down the hill. I’m going to ride it over to my friend’s house, house’s going to have no issues. And all of a sudden I turned what was going to be a fun ride into a very dangerous sport that she had to be very careful of. The same could be said, going downhill, ski, and you get ’em bundled up, put the helmet on and everything. But as parents, we tend to be protective because we know they can fall, but we start to unintentionally with the best of intentions, impart some of our fear, uncertainty and doubt. Fear. What if they fall, they’re going to break their arm. Well, they didn’t plan on falling.

John (03:30): So how does that show up then in the adult version of the workplace?

Brendan (03:36): Well, as you grow up, it manifests where all of a sudden someone wants to play soccer, and it’s like, I’m not sure if I’m going to make the team. Well, do I try out? Do I not try out, who am I going to ask to prom? What if they say no? It’s like, well, what if they say yes? So we start just as human beings to put the doubt inside our own heads, whether it, well, I’m not going to try off this document, I’m not going to make it. Why? Well, I’m not good enough, as opposed to, Hey, if I practice, I’m good enough. And some of that just can be environmental. Did you grow up in a house where your family, your guardian, your uncle, your parents did say, Hey, if you practice 30 minutes a day, you’re going to make the team? Or did they reinforce the, Hey, it’s going to be really tough to make the team. I coached football for a number of years, not here. Parents say, I’m so concerned, I just know if he plays football, he’s going to get hurt. And I’d say, what if I told you there’s three times more injuries in cheerleading than there is football in youth sports, or if that matter, high school sports, but you don’t have a fear of your daughter or son cheerleading. But football has that, and so we’re just programmed.

John (04:47): So you talk about this, some examples of how you’ve worked with team members to push them on because people show up then at the workplace in their twenties, thirties, and forties, still with some of that residual doubt. So what are some of the ways that you’ve found practices, tactics, strategies, whatever you want to call ’em, to get people to move paths that to like, okay, I’m admitting I’m afraid. How do I move past sales?

Brendan (05:10): I think the first thing is talking about you are going to fail, just kind of saying, okay, it’s okay to fail. So on my wall at every office, I have the saying, have the courage to fail and the faith to succeed. So the first thing, best practice is make failure acceptable. So that’s automatically, you’re going to say, well, if this doesn’t succeed, I’m not going to lose my job. I’m not going to be in the penalty box. I’m not going to get in trouble. The next thing I’d say is when you do have failures in your company, don’t hide from ’em. Talk about ’em. So if you do zoom calls, say, Hey, this week we’re going to talk about one of our successes, but we’re going to talk about one of our failures. And when you talk about the failure, talk about what you learned and how you’re a better company because of the failure, because I’ve had lots of failures in my career going into new markets, and you really learn, wow, we thought we were going to do well in this market, and you really learned that you didn’t, by the way, sometimes when you’re successful, you don’t diagnose it as much as to you just kind of keep doing it.

(06:09): So I think the first best practice is let failure be acceptable, let failure be something that’s possible, and then just some very light training on how do you overcome fear. Some of that can be design thinking, some of it can be some innovation courses. And what’s great now is whether it’s LinkedIn learning or just all the free learning online, there’s courses where you can learn how to think and then test your ideas.

John (06:35): I probably should ask this first, but you’re, by all intent and purposes from your bio, you’re an operations guy. What inspired you to write a book about overcoming fear?

Brendan (06:47): I’ve had a chance to be a CEO for the last 23 years, and I’ve gone into six different companies, every one of ’em. We were trying to either do a turnaround or a transformation, so we were trying to go against our natural momentum. And what I found is I had to spend more time internally changing mindsets than externally. Externally, you could see here’s a great market, but internally I’d have people saying, oh, here’s why. Here’s, we’re not going to be successful in that market. We’ve never pursued that market. We’re not prepared for that market. And I’d scratch my head as an outsider, saying, why? And you start to get the, well, we haven’t done that before. And my favorite is, well, we tried that when? Five years ago. Five years ago for

John (07:29): One week, right?

Brendan (07:31): Or five years ago, you might not have had the capability to do it that you have today. And just things change.

John (07:37): You talk a lot in this book about something you call fearless leadership, and I’m curious if you could help to find that, because I mean, there’s certainly lots of fearless leaders that lead people off cliffs as well, so I’m guessing that’s not exactly the same sense in which you mean it.

Brendan (07:52): Yeah, no, in Fearless Leadership is about creating an environment that allows people to fail, allows people to try, allows people to take risks, and then allows those successes to be celebrated. So it’s not reckless leadership. I’m not a fan of, Hey, let’s just pursue any market for any reason. One thing I talk about oftentimes is establish some guardrails like, Hey, we can pursue any market as long as we make 5% margin. So you’re saying, okay, you can’t pursue something that we’re going to lose money or say, Hey, we’re going to start a business, and it’s okay if we lose money in the first year. It’s not okay if we lose money in the third year. Someone might say, well, to start the business, I can’t make it profitable the first month, but I can make it profitable after a year. What I find is set up some parameters, set up some guardrails and say, okay, this, as long as we’re within here, you can operate in any way you see fit.

(08:46): And that can be how fast do we want it to grow? What clients do we want to pursue? How profitable do we want it to be? What’s the time horizon? We’re going to do this for six months, and then we’re going to assess. So it’s not reckless, but it’s creating an environment, setting parameters, and then going after it in a way that you wouldn’t have gone after. Because if you go after it in a very calculated, slow manner, there’s a good chance that the opportunity passes you by. So you do have to go about it in a very intentional way.

John (09:20): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with a must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters, and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs, and they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit active campaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Listeners who sign up via that link will also receive 15% off an annual plan if purchased by March 31st, 2024. That’s activecampaign.com/duct tape. Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today.

John (10:37): So leadership’s one of those things that it’s like sales people are either really good at it or they’re not, right? They, they’re like born salespeople. Same with leadership. I think a lot of people say, oh, that person’s born leader, some people suggest that it can be learned. I know that you fall on the, it can be learned, but what are some of the key traits that this fearless leader really needs to have or really needs to learn or evolve in their arsenal?

Brendan (11:05): So the first is when I look at the best leaders out there that are able to do fearless things that are able to transform businesses, the first thing that they have is they’re good communicators. That’s both in writing and in person in verbal communications, they’re able to articulate their ideas, they’re able to then influence people to follow them, meaning they come up with an idea, like during covid, we said, Hey, e-commerce and last mile is going to take off. More people are receiving things at home. I was running a commercial fleet company, so we said we should pursue that more. Okay, great. Then what you needed to do is then you needed to influence more people. So you needed to create a narrative and be able to communicate so you could influence people. The third thing is people that are good disruptors or transformers or innovative or fearless, tend to be good at relationships because they know I’m asking you to take a risk with me.

(12:01): So what’s our trust level? Do you believe in me? Do we have trust? If you have trust in me and I’m influencing you and I’m keeping you up to date and I’m communicating with you, you’re much more likely to come along with me as opposed to simply just follow. Now, some of the other things are, they’re also good project managers. They’ve got some good project management skills, not, Hey, we’re going to try this anyway. So they’re able to say, we’re going to do phase one, we’re going to do phase two, we’re going to do phase three. By the way, now they don’t individually have to have all these skills. They got to make sure the team

John (12:34): Has these skills. Yeah, I was going to say, I’m terrible at project management, but I have a great number too.

Brendan (12:39): But that’s where you’d read the communications. The next thing is you’d create the vision and then you might bring in somebody that says, okay, you’re going to work in Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Project. You’re going to run the project side of this. And so you don’t have to have the skill, but the team has to have that skill. And that last one I talked about is you have to be able to paint a higher vision of something extraordinary, something that is above the norm so that people can strive for that.

John (13:07): I interview, I’ve been doing this show for 15 years, and I’ve interviewed dozens, probably a hundred folks that have written books on leadership. I’ll tell you the one thing that always comes up when somebody’s talking about becoming a better leader is a pretty high level of self-awareness, like understanding yourself. I’m curious where you would put that one.

Brendan (13:29): Yeah, so I put that under the banner of eq, emotional intelligence. I know at one point in my career, I got told Brendan, you got all the IQ to do anything you want in this world, but if you don’t develop more eq, you’re going nowhere. And tough message to receive In my early twenties, and this is why I believe leadership can be learned, I really learned how to have more e and self-awareness. And oftentimes you get people who are working on a project, especially if it’s a fearless project or a disruptive project, where they get myopic tunnel vision, where it’s all about their project and they don’t realize, no, you’re in a bigger company. There’s a bigger thing going on. The resources you need might be necessary, might be pulled to work on another project. So I know that was something I wrestled with early in my career. It’s like if it was my project, I was like, I was going to run it up the hill. Even if I had to even run over a team member, I have to really learn. And that’s that influence part, and that’s that relationship part where as you ratchet up your eq, most of us have the IQ to do whatever we want. We really do. It’s the emotional intelligence that oftentimes pulls us back.

John (14:37): Kind of the read the room thing. Yeah, you go as far as saying, let me find it. Leadership is the single biggest differentiator between good teams and great teams and organizations. That’s putting a lot up. Some might suggest an outsized amount of impact over product, over marketing, over talent. Helpful. Fill in the blank there.

Brendan (14:58): Yeah. So many times when we look at great products or great companies, they weren’t the first to develop it. Oftentimes they were the second, they were the third. They were the ones though that were willing. They were the ones that were ready, willing and able to go try it. So whether this is video streaming, when Blockbuster had that ahead of Netflix, the digital camera, Kodak had that before the Instagrams, if you will, of the world. How about the Blackberry? The Blackberry had a jump on Apple and Samsung, and then Apple really kind of jumped in there. So when you diagnose a lot of that and you say what held some companies back and what throttled more companies forward? It was those leaders that were able to communicate influence, build a vision, build their relationships, and get their teams to climb the hill, as opposed to at companies that had superior products, the superior product was going to get you so far before somebody fundamentally came up with something that was as good or better. And how do you bring the entire company along? And we can look at the Apples, the Starbucks, the Netflix, the Amazons, the eBays companies that they really, Tesla, their cultures became so vital to their success.

John (16:19): You imagine that meeting an executive at Kodak walks in and says, look, five years from now, nobody’s going to be using film. We have Doug Bo all in on digital cameras. I mean, I’m guessing that probably happened somewhere, and they went, get out of here. We never want to hear from you again. Right?

Brendan (16:35): Well, at that point, a huge part of their profit came from the film, just similar to at one point the HP printer division. All their profit wasn’t from the printers, it was actually from the cartridges. Now, I’m sure some engineers said, Hey, I came up with a cartridge that uses a lot less sync, and they’re probably like, oh, no, that’s not what we want. But that’s where there’s a saying, cannibalize yourself or be cannibalized. If you’re not going to do it, somebody’s going to do it to you.

John (17:01): I use the example all the time. Newspapers wouldn’t give away free classified ads because it was such a profitable part of their business, and then Craigslist came along and all of a sudden they were hurting.

Brendan (17:13): Yeah. Okay, good.

John (17:15): So you talk about six key reasons why leadership matters more than ever today. So it feels like every new, I’ve owned my own business for 30 years, and it seems like every year X matters more than ever. X matters more than ever. Why does leadership matter more now than ever?

Brendan (17:35): Yeah. So right now we’re seeing the baby boomers start to age into retirement. And so if you just look at the generations, you’re seeing baby boomers now, by the way, baby boomers are living longer and working longer. So that’s helping. But literally, when you just look at just pure math demographics at the number of people retiring and the number of people entering the workforce, it suggests that there’s a void being created now as people are entering where the voids being created is in the leadership ranks, in that somebody that’s retiring with 35 years, 40 years experience, that experience has translated into some level of leadership. Now, leadership isn’t always a hierarchy leadership. They could be an individual contributor, but they’re leading an r and d project on a given product because of their experience and what they’ve done. So when you look at the first thing is the math.

(18:29): The second is that void that’s being created, we’re asking people to lead earlier than we ever have. So when I look at companies that I’ve run over the last five and six years, I’ve had people in their late twenties and thirties running significant parts of the business that 15 years ago they would’ve been in their late thirties, early forties. And some of that’s just, you look around and you say, Hey, this is the talent that’s available. Now, what I’ll also tell you is as you look at each generation works differently, thinks differently, learns differently. One thing that when we talk about diversity, going a little off topic, one thing I talk about in leadership that a lot of people don’t is have diversity of age on your leadership teams have somebody in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. And the best example I give is if you hand a 60-year-old, a Rubik’s Cube and a 15-year-old of Rubik’s Cube, they absolutely go about it. Totally different. The 60-year-old starts spinning it around. The 15-year-old goes to YouTube for someone to watch a video on how to do it. As you build leadership, I think it’s great. I think it’s an amazing opportunity to bring younger people into leadership. I think if people that are in their mid to late career are willing to sit in the room and learn from them, I think you’re going to be a more innovative, more disruptive, more transformative company. Yeah,

John (19:50): No question. I concur. So Brendan, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Is there someplace you’d invite people to learn about you, connect with you, and obviously find out more about the fund factor?

Brendan (20:03): Yeah, sure. So F Factor is available online at any of the bookstores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble. I’m on Instagram. That’s probably where I’m quite a bit on at BPK Brennan p Keegan Fearless. I have a LinkedIn newsletter, about 150,000 subscribers. It’s Fearless Leadership. You can hook me up on LinkedIn. I’ve got my email and my mobile phone right there. So if you want to reach out to me right there. And then I also have a website, brendan p keegan.com. If you’re looking to, you can get more information.

John (20:31): Awesome. Well, again, I appreciate you stopping by. Hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Inside Out: Unlearning it all and Building Leadership from Within

Inside Out: Unlearning it all and Building Leadership from Within written by Tosin Jerugba read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Scott Stratten. President of UnMarketing. Scott Stratten has Co-Authored 6 best-selling business books with his business partner and wife Alison and was formerly a music industry marketer, National Sales Training Manager, and a College Professor. They ran one of the most successful viral video agencies in the world for nearly a decade before solely focusing on speaking at events for companies like Walmart, Pepsi, Adobe, IBM, Microsoft, Cirque du Soleil and Saks Fifth Avenue when they need help navigating their way through the landscape of business disruption. UnLeadership: Make Building Relationships Your Business.

 

Key Takeaways

In this riveting episode Scott Stratten discusses the concept of Unleadership. A sequel to their practical and effective ideas on Unmarketing. Drawing from their four-page chapters book, Scott compares leadership to culture as it continues to be made of the unseen “everyday stuff”, as opposed to what you can make a picture out of such as: a person addressing a team of individuals.

Beginning with a dose of self-awareness and the fact that “you don’t know what it’s like to work for you”. Scott challenges leaders to define what a ‘job’ really is and to question what they consider ‘insurbordination’ in the workplace, touching on the other side of the coin: the overused, misused phrase ‘we are a family’ when referring to the business, and many other overlooked yet relatable pointers in building professional and empathetic subordinate relationships required to achieve set company goals and build a culture that is understood even at the very top of the organisational structure.

Questions I ask Scott Stratten:

[01:59] When is the aptly named revised edition of ‘QR codes, kill kittens’ coming out?

[06:16] What is unleadership?

[07:26] Would you say that most leaders need to unlearn what they’ve been taught?

[15:18] Talk about how leadership is a creative act?

[16:26] How do we draw the line between the family concept of the workplace and being cordial?

[20:16] Do you have a story that sets a great leadership example of somebody you profile?

[22:23] Where can people connect with you?

 

 

More About Scott Stratten:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Mar 31,2024. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

Testimonial (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever

John (00:16): Made. What you just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM world slash scale.

(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Scott Stratten. He’s the president of UnMarketing. His co-authored six bestselling business books with his business partner and wife Allison, and was formerly a music industry marketer, national sales training manager and a college professor. If we could just add NBA started, it would be amazing.

Scott (01:29): It just

John (01:29): All how professional speaker for companies like Walmart, Pepsi, Adobe, IBM, Microsoft, and the list goes on. But today we are going to talk about his book, leadership Making, make Building Relationships Your Business. So welcome, Scott.

Scott (01:46): John. If it wasn’t for my height, my endurance, my strength, my shooting ability, my defending ability and rebounding, I would be in the NBA. Thank you for having me on, John. It’s wonderful to see you again

John (01:56): As with all of us.

Scott (01:57): Exactly, exactly.

John (01:58): Here’s what I really want to know. When is the revised edition of QR codes kill kittens coming out?

Scott (02:05): The best part. The best. I know it’s a joke, but the best part about that is when you write a book called QR Codes Kill Kittens, which is a business picture book of business screw ups. When a New York Times reporter during a pandemic, Googles QR codes because they’re doing a story on how crazy they’ve been. Whose name do you think comes up first for them? Every single time I got into New York Times twice, including I have it right here beside me for my mom, an edition of the New York Times just because of that. So it’s like if it didn’t bring me anything and people were every single, I swear John, every time it came up in the news somebody, people would forward it to me. What do you think now? What do you think now? And I’m like, it only took a pandemic. And for Apple to make the iPhones have it natively in the camera. That’s all. That’s all. Congrats. Save the kittens.

John (02:55): Yeah, but they still don’t belong on Billboards on the Highway

Scott (02:58): Though. But they still don’t belong a billboard. They still don’t belong in an email. All the rules still apply. It hasn’t changed. Go back, look, go to the tape. You have me. My about it was a Whataburger conference and I had told them, I said there, I’m like in a closed system, great boarding pass killer concert ticket. Awesome. You walking around in public, not as easy to do. If you’ve ever seen a human being, it just, it doesn’t always work. So yeah, so congrats. The QR codes, they’re the true winner of the pandemic.

John (03:26): That’s right, that’s right. Good point. So one of the things I like about this book is that the chapters are all really short. There are 70 like four page chapters, and I get excited when I finish a chapter.

Scott (03:40): One of the great things with, I’m such a lucky human because Allison is a brilliant writer and I run after squirrels. I just run around and there is a reason why I got so big on Twitter, right? That’s about my length of my focus of time that I can write things for. And so when originally marketing was doing, I was writing it in the way that I thought, which was very short, great chapters. And Allison just ran that with the baton. And when we got to on leadership, one of the really key things, and the reason why there’s 70 smaller chapters in it is because if Allison, and I believe that one of the most important parts of leadership is self-awareness. Meaning knowing what you can and can’t do and knowing your people as well and how you affect them. That we can’t talk about leadership because Allison and I are blessed with the fact that we don’t go into work, that we don’t have a boss, that we don’t have a corporation and we don’t have, it’s easy for me to get on stage and say, just do this and then I get to go home.

(04:38): But for us, we wanted to say, look, if self-awareness was the key, we have to be self-aware. And so we found, we looked up and we just figured out over an extended period of time, as you’re getting a book together, you just ideas start popping and popping. And we came up with 53 UN leaders that we had learned from and either gotten to know or knew from afar over the past 15, 20 years and decided Allison interviewed every single one of them for an hour, boiled all their thoughts down to about 1100 words each and put it and put it all together. And it’s the most diverse group of industries, of levels and of human beings that we think we could find for it. And the best red thread as our Fred Damson would say the best through all of it was almost every single person in the book questioned why they were being asked to be in the book.

(05:29): They didn’t think they were, why would you ask me to be in a leadership book? And the answer was, because you’re asking why? Because you’re not doing these things to be in a leadership book. You’re not doing these things to go trend virally on Instagram or something like that, or LinkedIn or something like that that we got to. It’s one of the wonderful things, not about social media, but being an author and being in this world where we get to go and I get to see so many companies when I go through and talk to so many people and certain things just kind of bubble up to the surface and then we get to go and say, look, here’s our favorite 53 people in leadership. And it is such a joy.

John (06:10): Yeah, that’s amazing. So I guess maybe we better let you define it Al Bite, what is UN leadership?

Scott (06:18): I think leadership is really, it goes with all of our other uns, the unselling, unbranding and on marketing stuff, which is leadership is moments. It’s not in the time where leadership is not a performance review, leadership is not an all hands meeting and you get up and talk to the team, leadership is made up of everyday things because we understand that it’s like the word culture. Okay, and well, what is that? Well, it’s very simple. It’s how the person at the bottom of the org chart feels. Culture is driven top down and felt bottom up. I just did it last week. I was in front of a bunch of leaders in a room and I looked at him, I said, none of the actual culture of your company because you have power. And the culture is felt by that bottom rung. And that’s where leadership is, people looking at the people below them as their inspiration versus the people above them. That’s really what it comes down to me.

John (07:10): So a theme of really all of your books is to somewhat say what we commonly take as marketing or as selling or as leadership maybe is wrong. And that there is, here we go, pun unlearning that we have to do. I mean, would you say that’s true that most leaders or many leaders need to unlearn what they’ve been taught?

Scott (07:31): I think really it really comes, yeah, I think people individually, because the reason why I say people is because you can’t try to figure out or shift or change as a leader and not as a person. So if self-awareness is really huge, and I beg of people to hear that, that self-awareness is such a huge key to not now going forward, but also in the world that I don’t think you put on your professional persona and you can be self-aware and you then take it off and you’re not. And I think one of the things is realizing that we are part of the situation. It’s like saying for me, example, every single relationship that I broke up with somebody, every broken relationship I’ve had in my life, and there’s been many, I’m the only common denominator in those. It was never my fault, but I’m the only common denominator.

(08:25): So starting to realize those things and if you wanted to have a different relationship, maybe look at yourself too. I’ll give you an example of that even though this is right down the personal side of the road, but it’s like the phrase, you ever heard that that phrase John, that old phrase, right? Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? They usually say that line about marriage, and I’d always hear that and I’m like, yeah, that’s a good point, right? What I never thought, what I never thought was there was a third option, I be wrong, possibly wrong. Not just are you right or you’re happy, but maybe also looking at what you could be wrong. And that was never part of that equation. That was never part of that answer. It’s right or happy. No, maybe to submits you’re wrong sometimes.

(09:09): And it’s a fascinating thing in leadership that we don’t take that look at a company, look at a company with let’s say five levels, c, EO, and then we have vp, director, manager. Then the bottom of the org chart, what you drive down is the weight gets heavier and heavier as it goes down. And if you want to know how things are going, do you want to know how to be more efficient? Do you want to know how to hold onto your people they know? They all know The problem is anytime we go against what the upstream is saying, we call it insubordination, except the only way to innovation is through insubordination. Think of every company that’s ever innovated it usually broke into or took away or threatened an existing piece of business or existing way of doing something. But that insubordination, and I want you to hear this, anybody listening right now who is in a leadership position, I don’t care how high up or how down low you are, if anybody reports to you, if that individual is talking to you and you feel they’re being insubordinate, meaning they’re disagreeing with you, which is not insubordinate by the way, but they’re disagreeing with you, giving you feedback and saying, I don’t think this is going to work.

(10:14): Do you understand the risk they’re taking, that they are risking potentially their job or their future placement in the company or their relationship with you to drive this home? That’s how important this point is to them. So instead of trying to think of why I’m right or why this person shouldn’t be saying this or they were told something, we hire people so we can use their brains on top of whatever else they’re doing. And you want to keep people listen to them. You want to keep people ask for their feedback. You can use something simple star, continue the most basic thing that a bunch of people have used in the past. What should we stop doing? What should we start doing? What should we continue doing? But we don’t. You don’t know what it’s like to work for you. I put that on the screen on stage and I let it sit there for about 10 seconds. It’s the juiciest 10 seconds of my day because it makes people just shift a bit in their chair. And then I say to them, this can’t be about you personally because I don’t know you, but if you’re getting a little uncomfortable reading this, take note.

John (11:16): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with the must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs. And they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit activecampaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast listeners who sign up via that link. We’ll also receive 15% off an annual plan if purchased by March 31st, 2024. That’s activecampaign.com/duct tape. Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today. As a side note here, as a speaker, it’s probably was hard to hold on to something for 10 seconds of silence, isn’t it?

Scott (12:42): And it feels like 10 minutes. It’s so great because part of that’s for me is that’s my job. That’s what I do. So doing that type of timing something is really important on impact because also you get on stage and I’m not getting up there saying everybody’s a terrible leader. What I’m saying is we have to shake the entire foundation to say, Hey, because there’s a lot of people right now that are trying to go back to four and a half years ago. There’s a lot of people right now saying, let’s just go back to normal, back to business. And you’re missing the plot, you’re missing everything. People are not going back. Things have shifted. It was the great, we called the bluff. We had resistance to working from home for 20 years. And you know why I say 20 years? Because I asked over 20 years ago to telecommute because we called it telecommuting at the time when my son was about to be born and I traveled to train our distributors in sales and they said, no, we’re not a company that does that.

(13:43): They were also not a company that we were on the internet for a long time. And you look at this stuff and people were just like, I can use that example. And one of the problems, John, is get asked to speak somewhere. They’re like, can you talk to our audience about retaining people nowadays in a younger generation and attracting younger generation, but just don’t bring up two things. Don’t bring up pay and don’t bring up return to office. And I’m like, so the two main things, the two main things, right? It’s like there was a great phrase I saw somebody was speaking at a Davos or something. It’s like having a firefighter convention and not being allowed to talk about water. It’s literally those things. They’re your biggest things or you’re like, Hey, well why don’t we put something on, how do we attract younger people to our industry?

(14:25): And somebody pipes up an intern’s like, why don’t we do something on TikTok? And you’re like, shut up. We don’t do that here. We don’t do that type of stuff. And you’re just like, what are you talking about? What are you talking about? I’m really hoping, I’m trying to get us back to the point of understanding what a job is. A job, somebody working for you is a business agreement. It’s a contractual agreement. I offer you my skills and my intellect. You give me a job description that I’m supposed to follow, including other duties as noted, which is the worst one of the whole job description. And in exchange you give me a compensation package, but we’ve thrown that somehow. It’s just like you work here, you do what I say and you’ll like it. And I’m done with that. And so many people are too. One

John (15:12): Of the early chapters, I think it’s chapter three, chapter four, I don’t have the table here, but you essentially talk about leadership being a creative action or creative act. And I think that is something that so many people miss.

Scott (15:25): You cut out when you said the exact point I was going to talk about, can you repeat it?

John (15:30): The title is, the idea of the chapter is that leadership is a creative act. And that I think that’s a brilliant idea that so many people miss because they think they’re not creative.

Scott (15:42): Well, and that’s part of the point too, right? It’s like when you’re coming together, look, the subtitle is Make building relationships your business. It’s literally about relationship. And when you come together in relationship, the sum of what creates out of that is supposed to be something you can’t do yourself. A leader’s supposed to be able to tap into their people and stuff they didn’t think they had or think that they can come out with. It’s a great one. Jeff Alexander is in one of the chapters, he talks about partnerships even where you’re going into a partnership where you’re supposed to be looking at the other side first when you’re leading, you’re supposed to be what do they need? What do they need versus this is what I’m trying to get out of something. And it’s that same thing as a leadership subordinate relationship as well.

John (16:27): So relationships, connection, group hugs. How do we not make this family? Because I don’t believe it’s a family. I have a family. It’s not

Scott (16:38): Like my business. I agree. I agree with you.

John (16:41): How is this a fine line between when I hear relationship connection, do I start to leap to like, oh, this is a personal thing?

Scott (16:49): Yeah. Well, and that’s the thing. Okay, so there’s a couple of things. So it’s funny is the group that is most against relationships, marketing and connection and leadership are the ones that call their businesses a family. Because what they mean by that is you don’t say anything negative. You don’t bring anything up. You don’t go outside of the house. You don’t go outside. Look, and like you said, I don’t need another one. Allison and I combined have five kids. You can take your own family and do what you need to, but we’re covered here. Okay, we’re covered here. And I’m not rolling the dice again. We got five great ones. I’m not going again for anybody else coming into this. I know the odds. But there’s this thing that the problem is, it’s always the context, right? Because I’ve talked to people privately about it.

(17:31): I brought it up and I said, don’t say we’re a family here it, it’s not good. And nobody, so many people in leadership donors, because they’re the ones saying it and their intent is supposed to be good. But I really want people to go back down to let’s go to, depending on where you’re in school, it could be grade 12 or it could be maybe college. There’s the basic communication model. You just pull that out of a textbook. There’s sender and receiver, and the sender encodes the message they’re going to send and they send it to you. And then in between you there’s noise and then the receiver decodes it and takes it the way they take it. Well, that type of stuff. When you look at somebody who’s about to work here and say, we’re family, you mean one thing, they hear another. It’s just a bad way to put it, first of all.

(18:16): But I really break it down to somebody and say, what do you mean by you mean that you have each other’s back then that is not, we’re a strong team. It’s our wording. Okay, family is, I’m going to feel like I’m going to show up at Thanksgiving. I have to deal with that cousin again. I don’t have to want to see him. I got to see him twice a year. Right? Look, and people use these phrases and stuff too, and we throw them out in leadership without even knowing the context of that. Like the family phrase, blood is thicker than water. You hear that phrase? That’s an old time. And that’s not the saying it’s blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb. It’s actually the opposite of what the phrase means. That created connections can be stronger and better than family connections.

(18:59): It’s actually contradicting what you’re trying to do. And that’s where it creeps me out as well. But relationships aren’t about that. Relationship is simply, you are connected to the other person and you understand them. That’s what relationship is to me. A personal relationship is a whole other thing. I don’t think that you should have to do anything outside of the office for your job. I don’t think you should lose anything because of that. I think that I do my job and I do it well. The problem is people’s definition of, well, a team player comes out for drinks, A team player comes on, does this type of thing, going to chip in for the boss. We’re getting a gift for the boss. Jurgen chip ins, by the way, stop that. Money flows down, not out. There’s no bosses. You don’t buy bosses day stuff. Fundraising is inappropriate to do in the office when it’s directly threatened to somebody saying walk into their cubicle and say, are you going to fundraise? These type of things, no, because they’re like, well, this is professional. You’re not professional. So much of what we say and do is not in these workplaces, but they say, well, we’re this, no, it’s rules for the and not for me a lot of times when it comes to these things.

John (20:08): So you mentioned, and I know this is going to be hard for you, I’m going to do it anyway, there were 53 people you interviewed. Do you have a favorite story? It doesn’t have to be a favorite story. Do you have a story you like to tell as a leadership, a great leadership example of somebody you profiled?

Scott (20:22): Dr. Derek Kayongo. He is one of my favorite people on the planet, and for a few reasons. One, he’s the best dresser I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s the coolest person I’ve ever met in my life. But beyond that, he’s the most genuine, caring person. One of the people I’ve met in my life, Derek, one of the things he noticed when he came over to America when he was stayed at hotels was that they were throwing away the soap. And he came from a country that, well, they didn’t have a lot of soap, and that would be really fricking cool if all the Soapies would throw out would go over to where I’m from. And he created an entire organization and got the entire entire country to get their soap all sent back. And they had a whole thing and disinfected it. And he created an entire soap company, saw a problem.

(21:13): I have a man bun and Derek changed the world in soap. So it’s like I spoke after him at an event and he got up there and then it was like the Kelly Brothers were the day before. So two astronauts, Derek Kayongo, man, who changed the world with soap. And then I walked on stage. I really got to plan these things better because to the moon, saving the world. And I’m just like, man bun. That’s what I do. I love ’em. But honestly, John, to give you now the cop out answer after that, literally just feed through it and then pick one. That’s Aaron Bur Aaron I knew from Twitter in oh nine, we were all Toronto Twitter people. She ended up creating willful because she noticed that Wills were very cumbersome, very kind of expensive. You had to go through lawyers. She’s like, it makes no sense. So she created Willful. Willful is online Wills in Canada. She went and worked with every province, every law board, everything else. And now she’s got a wonderful company that gives a damn. And I got to watch her build it on LinkedIn all through her posts because she wanted to change the way things were done. And that’s one of my favorite parts of people and of startups and of founders that said, it’s one of my favorite parts about disruption is customers who get so pissed off, they create the alternative. And that’s what she did.

John (22:28): I love that too. Well, Scott, it was awesome catching up with you, having you stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast anywhere you want to invite people to connect with you or find obviously a copy of UN Leadership.

Scott (22:40): Yeah, UN Leadership Available wherever good books are sold. And yeah, we’re at unmarketing.com. Come by, say hi, LinkedIn, Instagram, whatever you want, and just enjoy the book.

John (22:51): If I reach out to you on LinkedIn, do you want me to unfollow you? Is that

Scott (22:55): Yeah. Oh yeah. It’s my last place. I think. I’m like, I’m gone off Twitter. I’m gone off Facebook, but LinkedIn is holding on, so I’m still there for the time being. So hurry up. Awesome.

John (23:03): Alright. All right. Again, thanks for stopping. Bye. Hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

From Generalist to Specialist: The Blueprint for Vertical Market Domination

From Generalist to Specialist: The Blueprint for Vertical Market Domination written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Corey Quinn, former CMO of Scorpion and now a dedicated agency coach, Corey specializes in guiding agency founders to scale with vertical market specialization. At Scorpion, he played a pivotal role in growing the agency’s revenue 8x in 5 years to a remarkable $150M. Corey is also the author of ‘Anyone, Not Everyone,’ a comprehensive guide for agency founders looking to move beyond founder-led sales. He is currently on a mission to empower 1,000 agencies to become vertical-market specialists, leveraging his extensive experience and insights.

In this episode Corey provides a comprehensive blueprint for agency founders looking to transition from being generalists to specialists in their field, paving the way for vertical market domination and sustained growth.

Key Takeaways

Corey Quinn underscores the significance of vertical market specialization in transitioning from founder-led sales to scalable growth for agencies. By honing in on a specific vertical, founders can position themselves as experts, differentiate their services, and attract ideal clients. Corey outlines actionable steps for identifying the right market, validating its potential, and building relationships with key influencers. With a focus on long-term success, agencies can leverage vertical market specialization to achieve sustainable growth and dominance within their niche.

Questions I ask Corey Quinn:

[00:57] Explain the concept of anyone, not everyone

[02:52] What is vertical market specialization and how is it different from picking a niche and getting specialized?

[05:45] How does one position themselves as the go-to agency for a specific market?

[10:00] Tell us about the strategic gifting outbound approach

[12:58] What are your favorite platforms or tools for building the ultimate list of who to target?

[15:57] How important is it to network with big names in the target industry and how is it done?

[19:24] Is it advisable to repeat the approach with other markets or stick to one?

[20:37] Where can people connect with you and grab a copy of your book

More About Corey Quinn:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Mar 31,2024. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

John (00:08): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Corey Quinn. He’s a former CEO of Scorpion and now a dedicated agency coach. He specializes in guiding agency founders to scale with vertical market specialization. At Scorpion, he played a pivotal role in growing the agency’s revenue eight x in five years to a remarkable $150 million. He’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, anyone, not everyone, A comprehensive guide for agency founders looking to move beyond founder-led sales. So Corey, welcome to the show.

Corey (00:47): John, it is a real treat to be here.

John (00:51): So let’s start with the title. I find myself always doing that because authors picked every word of a title so carefully. What’s the big picture you’re trying to imply with this idea of anyone? Not everyone.

Corey (01:03): So the big promise or the transformation that I wrote the bill to really help agency founders with is this idea of escaping founder-led sales, which is a challenge that many agency founders will go through in the sort of the lifecycle of their agency. And the way that I’ve personally seen this happen, both in the work that I do as well as in dozens of other agency owners I’ve interviewed, is one way to become sort of independent of sales and also to help scale your agency is to get really clear on who you’re targeting. Not only just get clear but specialized in serving a specific vertical market. And the funny thing is that title did not come day one. It was a much different title, and it wasn’t until I was working back and forth with my editor and I was saying we were using the term, it’s like something around you could do anything but not everything type of thing. And that’s where it was born from.

John (02:07): Well, if you don’t nail this getting out of founder led sales, I mean you’ll never be able to sell the business. I mean, to me, that’s kind of job number one, isn’t it?

Corey (02:16): Correct, absolutely. And there’s a saying that I love somewhere that I think is super interesting, which is that you want to build a business that everyone wants to buy that you don’t want to sell, right? And that’s a business that probably creates the freedoms in your life as a business owners that you want to have. So a hundred percent if an acquirer is looking at your agency and you are instrumental to the growth of it, that is not as interesting of a value proposition versus otherwise.

John (02:48): So I know you go very deep into this idea of you actually, I think I read it in your vertical market specialization. How is that different from the sort of well-worn advice of pick a niche and get specialized?

Corey (03:02): Yeah, I think it’s a good question. The idea of niching down is very common. There’s a great saying, the riches are in the niches, and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. I think the challenge is that it’s today it’s a very vague idea of what does that mean exactly? Does that mean I’m targeting females between 35 and 50, who like donuts or am I targeting flight attendants or what does that exactly mean? It’s very vague. And so what I wanted to do is be much more literal and specific about when you want to scale an agency. One of the great ways to do it, it’s not the only way, but one of the great ways to do it is to specialize in a vertical market. So in a way, vertical specialization is a type of niching down by the way, you can specialize in what you do, like SEO, that’s another type of specialization. But I personally like to help agencies and I’m really obsessed with this idea of taking a vertical market approach and I really care about helping people get there.

John (04:04): So one of the challenges I think is I think a lot of people hear that advice and they’re like, okay, where’s the opportunity lawyers or dentists? And having never worked with those markets, they just charge into ’em. And sometimes it works. Sometimes they realize, I hate working with Dennis. No offense, Dennis, but how do you make sure that you’re making the right sort of decision because it is a decision to send your business down a track

Corey (04:30): A hundred percent John. And there are situations where it makes sense as an agency founder to start down that road on day one, but generally that does not the way it works usually it is an agency owner who opens their doors and does business with their family and their distant family in the local chamber of commerce, and they say yes to a lot of different businesses. And I think that makes a lot of sense. As you’re launching your new business, you want to have revenue and you want to get it off the ground, but it is only until they realize that they can’t get beyond a certain point because they’re serving a wide variety of clients. They’re a jack of all trades, and they lack expertise in any one area, which has a direct impact in their ability to do things like operationally scale, but also their positioning becomes very watered down. The market doesn’t see their true value for what they are. They compete on price and they lose deals to lesser firms. And that all of that results in slow and inconsistent sales and all of those aspects bring the founder right back into sales because when the sales isn’t happening, that’s the founder’s responsibility at the end of the day. Right?

John (05:40): Yeah. So what are some of the key steps? If I’ve decided maybe I’ve been out there, I’ve had some success, I have some ideas about markets that I like, I’ve been able to serve, I’ve been able to add value. What are some of the key steps to really kind of positioning myself as the go-to

Corey (05:55): Absolutely. So in that case of that generalist who’s been around for a while, you have a lot of sets and reps. It’s important as you’re going through this process of verticalizing your agency to look at your current book of business and see who do I like working with? If I was going to fill my business with dentists as your example, what kind of life would I be enjoying at that point? Right? The whole outcome you’re trying to create is you want to fill your practice with a whole bunch of this type of business. And so first thing you want to do is you want to look at your experience. You want to look at, like I said, who you like working with, what problems are you really good at solving for them, and are they willing to pay for those problems? That’s number one. You want to look at your current business.

(06:38): Number two, you want to look at the market because you don’t want to target an audience that is too small or maybe too big. If you’re targeting an audience that says that, let’s say that has a small budget inherently then, and you charge $10,000 a month, and on average the average business owner in that industry makes a hundred thousand dollars a year, you’re going to have a hard time finding clients. And so there’s an aspect of it where number one, you have to feel like you’re good at it and you want to do want to work with these folks. But then number two, that the market that you’re going after is what I call, you have to validate it. You have to validate it’s not only large enough, but that it is a good fit for the kind of business you want to create.

John (07:22): I have people come to me all the time and say that I want to work with X, and I’m like, well, they don’t spend money on marketing at all. That might be a slog for you.

Corey (07:31): Yeah. The number I like to use as sort of a benchmark is when you’re doing the market research, does the average business in this vertical make a million dollars a year? This is specifically in the context of marketing agencies, and the math is if they make a million dollars a year and they spend 10% of that revenue on marketing per year, which is a hundred thousand dollars, you divide that by 12 months, that’s $8,333 per month. And you think about marketing today, you have to have a website, SEO content, PPC book, reputation management, do a podcast. All of a sudden you’re stretching that $8,000 pretty thin. And so depending on the type of service you have and the type of revenue you want to generate per client, a million dollars is a good barometer to make sure that they actually do make enough money for you to justify targeting them.

John (08:27): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with the must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs, and they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try Active Campaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit activecampaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Listeners who sign up via that link will also receive 15% off an annual plan if purchased by March 31st, 2024. That’s active campaign.com/duct tape.

(09:32): Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign. Today, we have worked for years with various agents or various industries and certain industries, certain verticals are just getting hammered by people that have taken this approach. Remodeling contractors, for example. I mean, get 10 pitches a day from somebody that says they’re an expert in their industry. You have an outbound approach that uses gifting as a kind of unique approach to really stand out, right? They get the 10 emails. How are you different? Yeah, talk about that approach.

Corey (10:13): Yeah, absolutely. So the prerequisite is number one, you have a vertical market that you specialize in, that you position your agency around, and then what you do is you want to, and this is based on my direct experience of working at an agency where we sent literally millions of dollars of cookies to attorneys. Another one of these markets that is oversaturated that you could argue, but the way that I teach my clients, what you do is, number one, you build up a 20% lead list. And what I mean by that is out of all the attorneys in the us, let’s say you are targeting personal injury attorneys, you want to take that list and then you want to qualify it to identify what’s the top 20% of this list that if I can get them on the phone, then I have a very high likelihood that they’re going to be a great fit.

(10:59): They’re going to want to work with us. And so you create that list that becomes your lead list for this gift based outbound. The next thing you want to do is you want to identify a gift that would be unique, it would be striking, and it would leave a positive impression. You don’t want to send a ballpoint pen with your logo on it because that’s too easy to ignore. And as a result of this 20% list, it’s not very much of a spray and pray approach. It’s much more of a quality over quantity. I’ve done things, everything from sending gourmet cookies to sending alcohol to attorneys, to sending flowers to dentist office, you name it, video brochures. We’ve sent books. We’ve written books. Lemme share with you the impact of this. When we sent cookies to attorneys, this is again an industry where there are gatekeepers whose primary job is to prevent me from getting in touch, talking to the attorney.

(11:57): So that’s their job is to weed me out, screen me out. And so what we would do is we would send the cookies into the law firm, and these are again, not generic cookies. These are amazing mouthwatering cookies. They would be put in the FedEx box, sent to the law firm, addressed to the lead attorney. Of course it would go right past the mail room. It’s a FedEx box, it’d go right to the attorney’s desk, it’d be sitting there. The attorney would open it up, be this amazing presentation of cookies which would end up in the break room. And then people would be eating these cookies and everyone’s saying, gosh, who brought these amazing cookies? And it was like, oh, this company’s scorpion. And everyone’s like, well, who’s scorpion? There’s this buzz all of a sudden about this company that sent this amazing gift. By the time a salesperson called, which was right after the gift arrived, the gatekeeper would, the energy would be shifted from who are you and who do you want to talk to? Oh, you’re from Scorpion. Let me put you through, he wants to talk to you.

John (12:51): So this may be a little in the weeds, but your research piece, like the list targeting the top 20, and do you have some favorite kind of go-to list sources or platforms or tools?

Corey (13:04): Bring up a really great point, which is that the list is typically thought of as a check the box, go do Apollo or go to ZoomInfo and download a list or just use their interface. The list is the strategy, meaning you have to spend some additional time on the list than you otherwise would. And so what I recommend doing what I teach people to do is to source a list from these third party list vendors like a ZoomInfo or Apollo download leads into your own software like Excel or Google Sheets, and then you want to qualify those leads even further from what they gave you. You want to look for things like what are some objective signals that I could see that would indicate that these businesses can afford my services, that they actually have the pain point that I saw? And you need to go through these on a very manual basis.

(13:59): Unfortunately, I know we all like to go super fast, but if you’re planning on sending cookies, and by the way, it’s not just sending one gift, it’s sending gifts for three years. It’s not a one and done. It’s an ongoing event. Every quarter you send ’em a gift. So that’s even more reason why you want to just slow way down on the list on list build. So that’s kind of how I do it. Another place where you can find a high quality list is every vertical market has associations. They have conferences. And as you begin to target these folks, you’ll be going to these events and you’ll begin to build lists from those experiences where you tend to get really high quality leads from.

John (14:38): And I tell a lot of people, there are a lot of agencies out there, like 10 more clients, good clients that would move the needle significantly, but they’re trying to a list of 5,000 as opposed to that’s list of a hundred. Let’s spend 500 bucks on each of them as opposed to $5 on spray and pray approach. Approach. And

Corey (14:58): That focus, and I think the focus is kind of the thing that helps you to stand out. The fact that you are sending a thoughtful gift, it can be a personalized gift to them. As I said, it’s not just once. They may ghost you on the first gift and that’s okay, but then the next quarter comes, you send ’em a second one and the next quarter comes, you send ’em another one. Eventually you’ve built up all this reciprocity and they’re going to at some point say, okay, I got to talk to John over there at Duct Tape Marketing, because clearly they want to talk to us and they’re being very persistent in a meaningful way. And we also know that people, every attorney, every dentist, they’re going to shop for a new agency once every three years, let’s just call it that. And that’s why the time horizon behind this strategy is it’s a three year program. By the time that every single person on your list has been gifted over a three year period, all of them had an opportunity to go back to market, and you want to be on that list.

John (15:57): So every industry has key people. Everybody knows maybe their authors, they’re big consultants, they’re advisors or accountants or something in the industry. First off, how important is it to get into some relationships with those folks and then second part of how do you do it?

Corey (16:17): Yeah, great question. So the part of the strategy, once you become a vertical market specialist, the benefit of targeting a vertical or one of the unique benefits is every vertical is kind of like a village and everyone kind of knows everybody else. There’s definitely a gossip train and so on and so forth. And in any one of these type of social circles of a vertical, there are going to be people that Malcolm Gladwell calls Mavens, and these mavens are people that everyone else looks to make a decision on who to hire. And so as a vertical market specialist, as you’re trying to build your reputation and visibility in that market, it makes sense to try and build a direct relationship with these mavens versus just going out to market and talking to anyone. I’ll give you an example. One of my clients was focused on the chain restaurant industry, the industry of restaurants that had multiple chains, and there was a maven in that industry.

(17:15): He’s the editor of a magazine called QSR, and he is prolific on LinkedIn and he’s at the keynoting, the conferences on the stages and whatnot. He’s everywhere. Well, as a result of identifying this person as really a maven that people look to as a tastemaker, we made a decision to try and find ways, genuine ways to build a relationship with that person. Of course, we did that over time, and that resulted in a lot of opportunities for my client. That’s number one. And then number two is what I call influential brands. And influential brands are effectively the same as a Maven, but it is sort of a big brand in that vertical that everyone else looks to. If it’s good enough, if this company’s going to hire this agency, well, they’re probably good enough for us. And I saw this firsthand at my last company when we were getting into the franchise world, multi-location businesses, and we landed the biggest, the most well-respected, multi-location franchise business in the industry as really our first client. It was through a relationship. And as a result of that, that led to a lot of really almost frictionless introductions in the franchise space, which ended up being a big growth engine for us.

John (18:29): It’s funny, over the years, I’ve targeted manufacturers that have distribution networks, and the same thing is bring them something, build a relationship, provide value, and they’re very motivated to help their distributors. And so all of a sudden it’s like you’re the person. And as you mentioned, it’s a layup to get the business because in some cases they even had co-op dollars to give them.

Corey (18:53): Yes, yes, exactly. The reason why these things are important is you need to focus first. Once you get clear on who you’re targeting, marketing becomes a whole lot easier. Which keywords to target, which conferences to go to, what associations to get involved in all these things become super clear. It’s those agencies that haven’t made this decision to narrow their focus on this vertical market that are challenged with this things I said, the water down positioning, the ineffective marketing.

John (19:23): So is it safe to say once you get good at one market, you can actually repeat this approach, or should you just stay narrow?

Corey (19:32): It completely depends on the founder and their ambitions. I’ll give you an example. The last agency I worked with where we ran this play, we started off with attorneys, and then it was home services and then franchise. And I think the way that I coach agencies on how to approach this is, number one, you want to get to about 3% of the total addressable market. So if there are a thousand businesses in this market, once you get to 30, that’s a signal that you probably have enough momentum in that vertical that you as the founder, could lift your head and go find another adjacent vertical. What I mean by adjacent is it’s a business that has the same problem that you’re already solving, or it’s a vertical that has the same problem but is not well-served. So the example, my last company was attorneys, local service businesses, and then home services, local service businesses, both depended on Google for new leads, both needed a great website, reputation management, all of those things. That’s what I mean by adjacent.

John (20:32): Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, Corey, it was great having you stop by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Is there someplace you want to invite people to connect with you and obviously find a copy of anyone? Not everyone.

Corey (20:43): Gosh, John. I appreciate that. So the best place to get plugged into more of this type of content is my book, which is called, as you mentioned, anyone, not everyone. I have the website, anyone, not everyone.com, where you can go and learn more about the book. So I invite you to go there.

John (20:59): Awesome. Well, again, appreciate you taking a few moments, and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Boss Beauty Unveiled: Empowering Women Through Inspiring Stories & Strategies

Boss Beauty Unveiled: Empowering Women Through Inspiring Stories & Strategies written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Lisa Mayer, an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and co-founder and CEO of Boss Beauties, a media and entertainment brand with roots in digital collectibles that inspires women and girls to be everything they want to be through impact programs, content, and consumer products.

With a mission to inspire women and girls worldwide, Lisa shares insights into the power of women’s empowerment and the strategies for fostering it in today’s world.

Key Takeaways

Lisa Mayer, CEO of Boss Beauties, shares actionable strategies for women’s empowerment in this episode. Drawing from her book: Boss Beauty: Inspiration to Be Everything You Want, we uncover embracing the fearless pursuit to cultivating confidence and kindness. In this girl powered episode listeners gain insights into the Boss Beauty mindset. Through mentorship and taking proactive steps towards empowerment, women and men can make a meaningful impact in their lives and communities. Join us on this transformative journey towards a brighter, and equal future for all.

Questions I ask Lisa Mayer:

[00:51] Describe this very visual book in your own words?

[03:09] Would you say that men can learn a lot from this book as well?

[03:40] With this book what does Boss Beauty hope to accomplish and bring into the world?

[05:29] What are digital collectibles, how and why are they featured in this book?

[08:14] What was the selection process like for the inspirational women that feature in this book ?

[14:30] Would you say that overcoming adversity is a common characteristic the women featured in this book share?

[16:54] Do you have some advice and strategies for the particular kinds of challenges women face in business as opposed to men?

[18:38] Would you say you have a superpower?

[20:33] How would you define boss beauty?

[22:05] Where can people connect with you and grab a copy of your book?

 

 

More About Lisa Mayer:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Mar 31,2024. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

John (00:08): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Lisa Mayer. She’s an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and co-founder and CEO of Boss Beauties, a media and entertainment brand with roots in digital collectibles that inspires women and girls to be everything they want to be through impact programs, content and consumer products. We’re going to talk about her recently released Book Boss Beauty Inspiration to Be Everything You Want. So Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa (00:43): Thank you so much for having me, John. I’m excited to be here.

John (00:46): So the book, obviously we do video snippets, but most people are listening to this. So describe the book because it’s obviously a very visual book, more so than a lot of books. So describe the book.

Lisa (00:59): Yeah, absolutely, and I’ll show it on screen a little bit. I know you do some clips and so you can see it as well. So Boss Beauty, inspiration to Be Everything you Want. It officially launches on March 12th, just in time for Women’s History Month. We thought if we’re going to have the book launch at a special time, make it happen in Women’s History Month, which is exciting. But the book features inspiration advice, real world wisdom and quotes and inspiration from Incredible Boss Beauties that I’ve met along the way. Just many different role models from a lot of different industries. So we have Olympian, Allison Felix, who has some inspiration and a quote in the book. We have one of our board members, Randy Zuckerberg, so she’s featured in the book. We have a NASCAR race car driver, Julia Landor, who I attended actually one of her races a little over a year ago.

(02:05): And to be a female NASCAR race driver in that industry, it’s very competitive, so we wanted to feature her, but basically the book features a lot of wisdom and advice from incredible women role models in all different industries. The book also features the artwork from our Boss Beauties digital collectible collection. So we have 10,000 unique portraits, our Boss Beauties, and the book artwork is really bold and vibrant and bright, and so the book actually can live on coffee tables, desks, bookshelves, you name it, schools in boardrooms of women and girls of all ages. And I hope that it really inspires them when they’re going into a big meeting or maybe a big pitch or something that they’re a little nervous for. We want that book to be like, it’s cheering them on during those situations.

John (03:09): What about us guys? Don’t you think some men should actually acquire this book as well?

Lisa (03:14): A hundred percent I do. Yeah. And we have a lot of people in the Boss Beauties community that have gotten the book for their daughters, or maybe a woman they mentor, someone that they work with. So a hundred percent we’re building a community of women and men all over the world.

John (03:36): It’s probably self-evident somewhat, but I always like to ask a lot of authors, what would be a perfect accomplishment for this book? What do you want it to actually help bring to the world or do?

Lisa (03:48): Yeah, for me, the book is something where it’s really special to me that this book is getting our digital collectibles artwork that started in the digital realm out there into the world in a physical format. So I love that our digital collectibles will now live in this book and can be in bookstores, on desks all over where women and girls can pick it up physically. So just the fact that we’re getting this book out there is really special and meaningful to me. But my dream is to get this book out there to millions of women and girls all over the world. I dream really big. You never know if you put that dream out there, but I’d love it to be in schools, in businesses, colleges, all over the world and really to reach millions of women and girls. But the stories that I hear even about Boss Beauties reaching various girls in the community, it’s always really special. So even when we reach one woman or girl or motivate them, I love hearing those stories too. So of course any way we can make an impact at a grassroots level too that’s really meaningful,

John (05:13): Just need to get it in the hands of Taylor Swift at this point. I think that’s hundred percent.

Lisa (05:18): Yeah, that’s true. That’s a good point. They called it the Taylor Swift Effect, I think. Right?

John (05:27): It’s the new Oprah Effect. You’ve mentioned digital collectibles a few times. I know what they are, but maybe some people in the audience don’t really understand what that concept is, so maybe talk a little bit about what that actually is, and of course then how and why it’s featured in the book.

Lisa (05:43): Yeah, of course. Absolutely. So Boss Beauties, the way our company originally started, and right now we’re really building a media and entertainment brand. So we’ve branched out of where our roots were in Web3, but for anyone who’s listening that’s not familiar, boss Beauties initially started in the fall of 2021 and my son was about three months old. I’m going to share a little of the story too. That’s perfect. So my son was about three months old. It was not actually the most ideal time at that moment to start a new company, launch a new venture, but I had followed John, I’m sure you saw it’s super interesting to follow what was happening in the Web3 space with NFTs. We are now calling them digital collectibles, but just seeing the rise of digital assets with digital artwork. I mean, people were really buying digital assets. And so at that time, we launched Boss Beauties.

(06:48): We launched 10,000 Digital Collectibles again at that time known as NFTs, and we sold them and we built this global community. And what that really means is that people were able to acquire a digital asset. I mean, we all understand when we’d go to the store or buy something on Amazon maybe, or to buy new clothing, or maybe we buy a new phone or we all understand and really grasp what it means to buy and purchase a physical product that we can hold in our hand. That’s not something that any of us need explaining, right? But digital assets, that has been something that’s been growing over the last few years. And so consumers started to buy digital assets in the form of digital collectibles. And it’s really interesting because you can actually track who owns a particular digital asset on the blockchain. So if you’re looking and if you’re listening and you don’t see this, I’m showing it to John, but I’m showing him one NFT if we can actually see who owns these particular boss beauties because there’s a certificate of ownership, which is really cool.

John (08:14): How did you go about selecting, you mentioned some of the people that were going to meet in the book. Did you have a criteria or a process, or did you just want a lot of diversity in who was represented, or did you have a process because there’s obviously a fair number in the book.

Lisa (08:34): Yeah, the way I first started is thinking about some of the real life Boss beauties in my own life and people that mentored me and just people that I really looked up to. So I had been reading a lot about Allison Felix, who’s actually the most, Alison holds the most medals of any track and field athlete that has competed in the Olympics, I believe of all time. I’d have to look up that stat. But Alison really inspired me with her journey, and Allison in particular, she actually had to hide her pregnancy while she was competing and training for the Olympics, and I just thought there’s a lot to her story that was really inspiring and how she’s spoken out for athletes that are also moms. I mean, anyone who’s listening, you can look up Alison, but just read her story. It’s really inspiring, but that’s just one example. I really wanted to feature Real Life Boss beauties and different role models that have a story to tell and that inspire me personally and a lot of different careers too. I wanted this book to inspire women and girls from all different industries and careers. So even if you don’t want to be a NASCAR race car driver or be an Olympic athlete, you can still learn a lot from the stories of the women that are featured as well.

John (10:09): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with the must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs, and they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit activecampaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast listeners who sign up via that link. We’ll also receive 15% off an annual plan if purchased by March 31st, 2024. That’s activecampaign.com/duct tape. Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue, and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today. You have mentioned mentorship a number of times. I’m guessing you’re a big fan of the practice. Do you believe that that’s an essential development tool for, I mean for anyone, obviously you’re talking about women and girls, but really do you feel like mentorship is something everybody ought to pursue, really from both being mentee and mentored?

Lisa (11:50): A hundred percent. Yeah. I think, and mentorship is something that’s really helped me in my own career and just reaching out to different role models and asking them their advice and asking them for their feedback, and really getting into those rooms where I could meet with mentors that have been further along in my own journey. But I think one of the things I would mention in addition to mentorship is actually just getting access to people in these professions. So let me give you an example. Our company, boss Beauties, recently hosted internship. It was a paid internship for five students that are studying computer science, and it’s actually called the Sprint internship. It’s like a sprint internship. We hosted it in partnership with this nonprofit Breakthrough Tech, which has an incredible mission. But in that internship, what we tried to do is set up ways for those students to get access to people from all different industries and careers.

(13:00): One of our investors, he actually was on the founding team at founding Macintosh team. He was a longtime advisor to Steve Jobs building, iTunes, and a lot of the technologies that Apple launched. So that’s just one example, but we set up those interns to have a mentorship chat or conversation with that investor of ours, James, who’s just a phenomenal role model. And we like those types of things to be set up in a lot of the things we do because they’re then getting access to incredible people from different industries, getting to learn from them, even just getting to meet them and ask them questions or spend time with them. We’ve brought students down to the New York Stock Exchange to meet women in the finance industry, and sometimes not just the mentorship side, but getting to go into those buildings and see themselves in the New York Stock Exchange or in Apple or in these boardrooms and the companies that they want to work at. We also think that goes a long way as well as paying them paid internships, opportunities like that, that also compensate them for their work and their talents.

John (14:28): Did you find that of the women represented in the book, did you find that there are common traits, common characteristics, grit, overcoming adversity? Are there a handful that show up a lot?

Lisa (14:40): I love this question because I would absolutely say that’s true, John. What’s really interesting is that some of the women featured in this book, their actual, their expertise is very different, like their technical expertise, right? Right. Alison Felix is this Olympic athlete that clearly can run a lot faster than I can. And then you have someone like Julia who is this competitive NASCAR race car driver. Her skill sets are very different than Allison’s. And then you look at some of the others that are in the book, there’s Olympic softball player, there are CEOs, women in technology, but there is a common thread of what I’ve observed in all of these boss beauties and women, and I a hundred percent agree and go into your question and saying, I would say that grit and resilience, those are the two things that I notice that’s common in everybody in this book. And just the fact that they don’t give up, and they might have different technical skill sets and different knowledge and things they’re actually doing in their industry, but they all have those common traits of having that resilience and not giving up and continuing to keep going.

John (16:11): Yeah, I mean, I think you could mark those as just success traits in general for people who overcome, because you start a business, you have to have a lot of grit. You’re going to have a lot of resistance, you’ve got to get up. Again, people, everyone starts in a different place. Some people have great advantages to be able to get to where they are. Some people really have to overcome things that are unimaginable and sometimes in some cases. So do you ever coach people on strategies in particular women, because unfortunately, as you’ve noted, women have to in business even still today in 2024, still have to overcome a lot of things that men don’t. Do you ever give any advice or strategies for how to overcome those types of challenges as women, particularly in the business arena?

Lisa (17:03): Yeah, I do actually. And I’ve talked a lot to different women that are entrepreneurs and founding companies specifically, but not just for entrepreneurs. I think one of the things that I’ve coached them on is showing up with confidence. So I learned a lot about confidence early on in my entrepreneurial journey because as an entrepreneur, you’re not going into a big meeting with an established company name behind you. You’re not going into that pitch with saying, I worked with Apple, or I work with Disney or Barbie, or whatever the brand is. As an entrepreneur, you’re going in without that recognizable name. That’s an established brand or corporation that someone already knows. And so a lot of it is the confidence that you have and the conviction that you have in your ideas and in yourself. So that is one of the things that I’ve coached other entrepreneurs on as well as other women in business. And I think that’s a big part. Of course, knowing, having the expertise, there’s a lot of technical expertise and knowledge about finance and business that comes into play. Clearly can’t just be confidence, you need to back it up. But I would say that’s one of the things that I’ve coached women that I’ve mentored on along the way.

John (18:38): Would you say you have a superpower?

Lisa (18:41): That’s a great question. I have to think about that. Oh my goodness. I think all of us have a superpower, right, John?

John (18:49): That’s where I was headed because a lot of, when I heard you talk about you have to have that confidence, well, a lot of that confidence comes from knowing your unique ability or your unique strength that you bring. And so a lot of people do characterize that as a superpower. So that’s where I was headed with that.

Lisa (19:06): Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think, you know what one of my superpowers is goes back to that last question because one of my superpowers is being able to envision something that’s not happening today, and maybe it seems almost impossible that you could achieve it at the stage you’re at right now. But I do really put those things on my vision board. A few years ago, I put it on my vision board that Boss Beauties, which was a brand new company which partner with Mattel and Barbie. And clearly Barbie was a much larger company. Mattel is a much larger company than Boss Beauties was. But I wrote that down and a lot of people said I was a little crazy. I write down some of these big dreams and goals, and then I don’t see it as impossible. I truly feel like nothing’s impossible if you really keep going and don’t give up and find the right way to achieve those dreams.

John (20:15): And I mean, it’s improbable if you don’t at least start with that thought, right?

Lisa (20:21): Yeah, definitely.

John (20:23): So tell people where, well, one of the questions I probably should have asked you in the very beginning was even just this idea of Boss Beauty. What is a boss beauty? How do you define that? How does somebody become their own boss? Beauty? Is there a true definition or is that up to me to define?

Lisa (20:48): So two answers. I’ll share with you how we’ve defined Boss Beauty in our book, but I don’t want it to stop there. I really want people to form their own definition of what that means to them. So I’m going to show you the book. Here’s one of the pages and some of the artwork definition of a Boss Beauty. And again, this is just how we’ve defined it, but we said Boss Beauty is a woman who is in fearless pursuit of her dreams, one who is kind. I added the kind. I thought that was important, kind, confident, bold, brave, has grit and never gives up. She is pursuing her many passions and knows her worth. So that’s how we’ve defined it. But again, I want it to feel personal to anybody. What do you believe being a boss beauty means to you?

John (21:49): Yeah. So it’s really, rather than a definition, it’s more of an attitude probably. Right. Would be a way to look at it. That’s

Lisa (21:55): A great, yeah, I’m going to start using that. I’ll credit you though, John. Don’t worry. That’s

John (22:01): Quite all right. So Lisa, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. You want to invite people where they can find the book and maybe connect with you and learn more about your work?

Lisa (22:10): Yeah, absolutely. So you can find Boss Beauties online at boss beauties com, and then from the Boss Beauties website, you’ll find links to pre-order the book. You can find us on social. Our handle is Boss Beauties, and then my handle is Lisa Mayer. And then finally, I want to share one really cool thing that I’m passionate about and excited about for the book is that we are going to be hosting different book chats. We’re calling them Book Boss Beauties. Book bashes, kind of like a Boss Beauties book party. But we’re bringing together different women in business, different industries where they can bring their daughters, they can bring women and girls they mentor or maybe a mentee at their company, bring together and gather the boss beauties in their world. So we’re going to be setting these up virtually and even in person. So if anyone who’s listening is interested or wants to be a part of what we’re building here, would love for you to reach out. There will be parts of our website where you can sign up to get involved as well. Right.

John (23:26): Awesome. Well, again, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by the podcast, and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

How To Produce Better Content With Collaborative AI

How To Produce Better Content With Collaborative AI written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Kate Bradley Chernis, former rock and roll DJ turned founder and CEO of a revolutionary AI tool reshaping the landscape of content marketing today, Lately AI. With over two decades of experience in media and marketing, Kate brings a unique perspective to the table and shares invaluable insights on the evolution of content marketing and the intersection of aesthetic versus functional answers.

Embark on a transformative journey as we discuss the evolution of content marketing and the role of AI in shaping its future. Discover how Kate’s background in radio and storytelling paved the way for her innovative approach to crafting personalized social media messaging.

Key Takeaways

In this episode, you’ll gain actionable strategies for cutting through the content clutter, leveraging AI to boost engagement, and understanding the symbiotic relationship between humans and machines in content creation.

Learn how to harness the power of collaborative AI to enhance your marketing efforts, navigate the challenges of data privacy, and stay ahead of the curve in an ever-changing digital landscape. Kate’s expertise provides a roadmap for marketers to adapt, evolve, and thrive in the dynamic world of content marketing.

Stay tuned as we uncover the secrets to crafting compelling content, driving meaningful engagement, and achieving sustainable growth in today’s competitive marketplace.

 

Questions I ask Kate Bradley Chernis:

[00:57] Exactly how did you go from DJ to business founder?

[06:06] What’s your take on, how AI is changing the whole landscape of content marketing?

[11:53] As a social selling platform that uses AI what is Lately’s key differentiator from other brands?

[15:39] How much does the market currently understand the difference between public data vs privacy?

[18:59] How do you best describe what Lately does?

[20:15] Do you think that working in an industry that is evolving so quickly, makes it even harder to evolve as a business?

[21:52] Where can people connect with you?

 

More About Kate Bradley Chernis:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Mar 31,2024. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

John (00:08): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Kate Bradley Chernis, former rock and roll, DJ, turn founder and CEO of lately, AI tool that uses proprietary language models to craft personalized social media messaging. Lately, AI ensures data privacy by not relying on public data sets. Kate’s also been a guest speaker at numerous industry events and organizations including Walmart, Ericsson, and Harvard University, and I don’t know, maybe third time back here on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast as well. Welcome back, Kate.

Kate (00:45): Hey, John. So great to lay eyes on you. I feel like it’s been a little while.

John (00:50): It’s been

Kate (00:51): So,

John (00:52): I know you get tired of telling this story because it’s the first thing everybody always asks you, but I know people are going, wait a minute, rock and roll, DJ now founder of a company. How do you do that?

Kate (01:01): I’ve gotten better at telling the story too, which is important I think. And my co-founder teases me. I do often bury the lead. So yes, guilty is charged. I was broadcasting to 20 million listeners a day with XM Satellite Radio. I was the first music director for a channel called The Loft. But what was interesting to me about radio was the Theater of the Mind, which a lot about being in podcasting, but to clarify for everybody else. So the theater of the mind is the act of the imagination playing a role either when you’re listening or reading, not when you’re watching tv, for example. And what you’re doing is your imagination is filling in the blanks that you can’t see, right? You’re imagining what the characters look like or what they’re doing. It’s why the reason when you see a movie and you’ve already read the book, you’re kind of mad because it’s never as good as what you’d imagined, right?

John (01:55): Well, or a lot of people, I love to listen to baseball as opposed to watch it because baseball announcers are so much better at describing what’s going on because they have to.

Kate (02:04): They have to. And they’re so crafty. I mean, that’s a real sport in itself. Exactly. Great point. And when I was in radio, I’m old enough so that there wasn’t social media when I first started or the internet and you couldn’t look people up. And so we would kind of mess around and play tricks on the listeners and make up these scenarios. It was fun. And I had written hundreds of commercials because I learned quickly that was how you made money in radio. And I was a fiction writing major, and I saw these parallels between wielding the mic and wielding the pen and listening and reading. And my boss, I was number one in our format, which was very rare because it was called AAA or Adult Album Alternative. There’s only a handful of stations in the country, but

John (02:53): We were, and even fewer women.

Kate (02:55): And even fewer women. Yeah. It was just totally random thing I fell into. But country and rock, those stations are number one. And so my bosses were like, what are you doing? And I’m like, well, I did know what I was doing. I threw out their playlists and I was running the whole show because all the content was produced by me, all the commercials, all the drops, everything during my time, but I looked into it more. This is a long story. I hope it’s interesting, and I read this book called This Is Your Brain on Music. You guys remember, I think Daniel Leviton did that hard read. It’s a F read, but it’s about the neuroscience of music and music listening. And I learned something interesting about the parallel of music listening and theater of the mind. All of this relates to lately somehow, but I’ll share it. So when your brain listens to a new song, John, what songs do you like, by the way? Are you classic rock guy like I am?

John (03:48): Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I listened to The Loft and occasionally jump over and listen to Earl Bailey.

Kate (03:53): That was my station. Yeah, I love Earl. He’s so great. Yeah, so great. Oh my God, you’re making me reminisce. So great quality music, rock and roll. That’s for I’d say intelligent rock and roll. Let’s say what I was learning from Daniel was that when your brain listens to a new song, it must instantly access every other song you’ve ever heard before. And it’s trying to index that new song in the library of the memory of your brain. This is happening in a moment, right?

John (04:22): Makes sense. And of

Kate (04:22): Course, in order to access all that memory, it’s pulling on nostalgia and emotion, obviously memory, all those things that create trust and trust is why we buy now. Guess what? The theater of the mind kicks in. Same thing happens, nostalgia, memory, emotion, trust. And when you’re doing a good job on the mic, John, you actually make your listeners feel as though they’re talking. You’re to them directly that this one way street is a two way street and they have ownership in the conversation and writing is the same thing, and it’s a complicated feat to do it well because you’re talking to nobody but also somebody specific. That’s the magic. So I took these ideas to a little company called Walmart and I got them 130% ROI year over year for three years with what became the prototype for lately.

John (05:19): Screw it. We’re not going to talk about lately. Let’s just talk about the Jay Hawks latest

Kate (05:24): Novels talk. Oh my God, you’re so funny. I took out their last, well, I dunno if it was their last record, but the one with cloud something cloud, it was their last really poppy record from the nineties. And I had that in my, I still have a CD player in my car and I was rocking to that record. I love it so much. Any other Jayhawks fans listening to us, I wonder

John (05:47): Of a certain age

Kate (05:49): Of a certain age. Yeah, for sure. But I love that record and it got panned for being too poppy, but I think it’s a real lot of gold in there.

John (05:57): Absolutely. So let’s talk about content marketing. AI seems like daily is changing. I mean, content marketing has changed dramatically over the last decade or so, but certainly AI seems to be changing it every day. What’s your take on how it’s changing really the whole landscape of content marketing?

Kate (06:14): Well, I mean, thanks a lot chat GBT, because now everybody can make more garbage than ever before. They made our jobs a lot harder. The task for marketers, the challenge has always been how do we cut through the noise? And now there’s just so that certainly has changed the landscape. One thing that I’m seeing, and I wonder if you are, which is astonishing to me, the laziness is not changing. So it’s specifically regenerative AI and text generative ai, which is where I live. People still hate writing. They don’t want to do it. But also their value behind it is save time as opposed to be more effective. That’s shocking. And honestly, I’ll ask our own clients this question all the time and the CEO or the CRO, they want to make more money, but the actual users are thinking of save time and getting them to be aligned is a challenge.

John (07:11): My take on this a little bit, I agree with you, at least we’re in this phase right now of more noise, but I think eventually all things people are going to go, it’s pretty easy to separate noise from signal, maybe even more so now, right? Because writing quality content still takes strategic thinking. That’s right. And I think it makes people who do strategic thinking even more valued, even though right now there a lot of ’em are feeling sort of undervalued.

Kate (07:39): So on parallel with that, so there’s this symbiotic relationship between AI and humans who can think strategically and analytically and they rely upon each other and it’s called collaborative ai. This is the year of collaborative ai, in my opinion. We built collaborative AI into lately from the beginning, which, but it’s the idea of a human analyzing and course correcting what the AI generates so that it can boost the learning. Fascinating about what you said, which is the number one vacuum of skills across the globe is guess what? The ability to analyze. And the reason that is is because we have, this is back to laziness too. We’ve become a culture unable to identify problems because for so long, especially in corporate life, it was like, don’t bring me a problem, bring me a solution. So even when I have a friend who has some teenage daughters and when they need to go, they know they can Google the answer to anything, but they don’t know what to type in, right?

John (08:49): Well, and that’s so many things brought up there. What I tell people all the time is what we’re left to provide is context. That context cannot be provided by chat GPT. And so to your point of the search, I mean a lot of it is the right context produces the right answer, but these machines are basically just going into a database and saying, here’s what I think the answer is. Whereas we are saying, well no, here’s the real problems the customer is telling us they’re struggling with and why our solution or whatever it is we’re selling is the answer for them. And I think short of having that understanding, it’s a crap shoot what you’re going to get back.

Kate (09:29): Yeah, I mean that, thank you. I’m going to steal the context because it is so true. Someone was just asking me the other day, well, should I second guess everything that lately generates for me? And I said, yes, you are still the king, the humans. We are still the king of the food chains. Of course. And he’s like, well, won’t AI know better than me? And I’m like, never. No. All AI is good at doing is now is synthesizing scale really,

John (09:56): Right? Yeah. In fact, I’ve been for a long time because I don’t really think it’s AI yet to be truthful. It’s not really artificial intelligence, turn it around. It’s more informed assistance is kind of how I talk about it. It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with the must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs. And they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required.

(10:57): Just visit active campaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast listeners who sign up via that link will also receive 15% off an annual plan if purchased by March 31st, 2024. That’s activecampaign.com/duct tape. Now this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today. Alright, so I’m going to ask you a really hard lately question. You and I started talking about lately three or four years ago at least, and at that 0.3 or four years ago, what lately was doing was very cutting edge. People didn’t necessarily understand it, but it definitely produced a result that was very cutting edge. Fast forward to today, everything you buy now has AI in it, supposedly like your detergent now has AI in it. I think if you buy it, so what’s the differentiator or what’s your stay ahead cutting edge play.

Kate (11:59): Yeah, yeah. So I told you it was going to be a hard question. Great question. Well, a couple of things. Yeah, it’s a hard one and there’s functional answers and then there’s kind of aesthetic answers I’m going to call them. But so functionally we’re the only generative AI that I know of where we have a continuous performance learning loop plugged in so that the results that we generate for you are always tied to your personal analytics or the analytics of your company, which is to say it’s never out of thin air. All other generative AI doesn’t know you in any way and can never give you results that are essentially really meaningful. The other component there is the collaborative ai. So because we built that into the product, the whole product originally we have kind of pole vaulted over everybody else. Harvard Business Review just released an article about collaborative AI citing lately as a leader and one of the studies they did show that collaborative AI outperforms AI alone two to seven X every time.

(13:02): But on the sort of aesthetic side, again, what’s really interesting to me is that the save time piece. So of course we save time everywhere else, but that is not our cutting edge leg up. The leg up is we show you why it’s effective, what’s the DNA of the messaging that will get you the highest response. And I think what we’ve done a poor job of is actually leveraging how well we do that and what that value is. So I’ve called upon my engineering team for this year to actually do a better job of getting people to understand this information and how to use it. Fascinating to me is I can show you these words, John. I can show you the ideas, the send, the structures, all the things that will get you the most engagement, but people then don’t know what to do with it, which is like to me, duh.

(13:58): But that is the crux, right? The last answer to your question is going even deeper here. So I’m planning an integration with my friend David Allison, who owns the value graphics database and value graphics are identifying how to group people by what they care about as opposed to demographics, which is more insightful, radically more insightful, and they consult the United Nations. And so some characteristics would be like if I care about the environment and you’re selling me lipstick, you want to sell me lipstick that talks about how great it is for the environment, or if you’re selling me lipstick and I care about family, you want to mention that the family company has been around for a hundred years passed on by daughter, whatever. And so we’re working on a way of integrating these values inside lately, so you can get more of that why and understand who your target audience is and why are they responding to the content we’re generating for you? Kind of nerdy, I don’t know. I’m excited about

John (15:02): This. No, but I think you’re absolutely right. I mean, I’ve been saying for years, I mean my target market is based on behavior, not on how old somebody is. It’s what they value. It’s do they invest in the community? I mean do they invest in their industry? Those are how we actually identify some of those behaviors. And I feel like that’s a way to actually niche down is to focus on behaviors. So having obviously tools that, and I’m guessing that you’re going to go into personalization at some point with that level of segmentation as well. Let me ask you, I said in the intro, in your bio I mentioned the idea of data privacy. I know it’s a big deal. How much has the market perceived this idea of public data sets versus privacy versus, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Kate (15:46): Yeah, pretty huge. And it’s another arena of AI where everybody thinks they know all about it but they don’t, which is kind of the whole trend of the last year. So some companies come to us with an AI task force and that has to be part of one of the initial calls where we’re checking the boxes for them, the safety boxes with their legal and IT teams, which we check a lot of those boxes. Then there’s other companies like PWC who’ve gone full on into AI and they don’t seem to really care, which is, and then there’s a lot of companies where they know people are using it even though there’s maybe a ban on Chachi PT throughout the company, but people are using it anyways. So there’s nothing consistent for sure. My husband actually just bought Chachi PT for his phone because he didn’t want to put on his work computer, but he wants to be able to use it for work to help him do things faster, smarter, better. Of course, I think there’s a lot of that going on. What I understand,

John (16:52): I mean it’s stupid. It’s stupid. I mean it is like I can write a formula in Excel or I can just dump all this in and say give me the answer. So I use it all the time for stuff like that. But maybe we better back up just a minute because I asked that question assuming a lot and assuming that people knew what that really meant. So when I go to chat, GPT, everything that’s being put in there is helping teach the entire language model and everything from my statistics to my Google analytics that I’m getting analyzed. I mean that’s all just being fed. And then theoretically in some fashion, anybody has access to it that, I mean not specifically to it, but it’s feeding the machine that then is going to produce something. Whereas the private data set that is if I come to lately and I put that same kind of information in there, it’s only going to be used to build my personal model. Is that the way to sort of explain it? That’s

Kate (17:46): Right. That’s correct. Yeah. We don’t take any of your information and muddy it with anybody. And the one thing we can see is the patterns that if things are working well for you and they’re working well for another customer, we can see those patterns but we don’t share them with you individually. We would take the knowledge and share it at large. And so that’s been a real win for us by the way, because I’ve been asked to actually give courses on AI to educate companies on why that exact thing matters. I think David, not David Allison, David Meerman Scott who was investor and friend, he put it succinctly where to help people understand, he was like, listen, there’s only two questions that matter whose data and whose math with chat CBT, it’s the world’s, it’s your data, it’s the world’s data, everybody’s data and general math like a general generic math with lately it’s your private data and then our math on top of it.

John (18:49): So I need two more questions. I’m going to ask you the first one just because we haven’t, you and I have talked a number of times, it’s that idea of like, oh yeah, we have listeners too. If somebody came to you and said, lately I kind of heard of that, what does lately do? How would you describe what lately does?

Kate (19:05): Oh, I’m so bad at this. It’s like the shoemaker has no shoes, but I’m evolving. So lately learns the patterns of when you write well, what helps you do that. And it also learns the patterns of what your unique audience will actually reply to on social media. And then we help you evolve that model by repurposing long form content and identifying what part of that content will actually get you the highest possible engagement on social. Awesome. How did that go? That was

John (19:35): Great. So the output could be a blog. No, that was very good. It was still maybe a little philosophical. It’s long.

Kate (19:42): I know.

John (19:43): So the output, the end output is a blog post or is a LinkedIn post or is a X post, right?

Kate (19:49): Yeah, the output is a social media post and so much more. I mean it’s really the insights to know this is why we have investors like you and David Merman, Scott and others, is like there’s so much potential in what we’ve identified. How can we evolve the product to really give you more

John (20:07): So an entrepreneurial question to send us out. Do you think, I know you haven’t done this a hundred times, do you think that working in an industry that is evolving so quickly makes it even harder to evolve a business?

Kate (20:24): Oh, I mean the challenges are, yes, for sure, but there’s so many other smaller challenges that I didn’t expect that seem to me to eclipse that some of it’s being a female entrepreneur, let’s be honest. Some of it’s working through a pandemic. I think the way that we come at this from radio, from this totally unfathomable background gives us a huge insight as a company, not just me at how we go at AI and we go at it very humanly. That’s just how we did it from the beginning. So I love that what we’re able to see about the benefits of it our often inside out of what everybody else is seeing. And I feel really proud about that.

John (21:10): Yeah, that’s really interesting because I do think a lot of people approach this as what can the machine do? And I think that you’re actually saying our point of view is how do we get the output that’s going to have the most impact from a neuroscience point of view? And I think that’s a harder one to explain probably, but it’s certainly more impactful than a machine view for sure.

Kate (21:33): I just got a Kennedy chill, so not what can machine do for you, but what can you do for your machine?

John (21:40): I like it. I like it. Okay. T-shirts. Start printing right now. We have to. Alright, Kate, it’s great catching up with you. Obviously we’ve mentioned lately do AI numerous times. Is there anywhere else somebody should connect with you?

Kate (21:55): They can find me in all the places LinkedIn. I’m just playing Kate Bradley and tell me that you met me with John and that we can be friends.

John (22:03): Okay, awesome. Well it was great catch up with you again. Hopefully we’ll run into you soon out there on the road.

Strategic Fitness: Elevate Your Acumen, Allocation and Action

Strategic Fitness: Elevate Your Acumen, Allocation and Action written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Rich Howarth, a renowned business strategist, and CEO, known for his groundbreaking work in strategic thinking and leadership. Rich Horwath is founder and CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of eight books on strategic thinking, including his most recent work, STRATEGIC: The Skill to Set Direction, Create Advantage, and Achieve Executive Excellence. Rich reveals his game-changing 3A Method to elevate your business acumen, resource allocation, and strategic action. Join us as we explore the intricacies of strategic fitness and how it can revolutionize your approach to business success.

 

Key Takeaways

In this episode, Rich and I discuss the transformative 3A Method, emphasizing the mastery of business acumen, strategic resource allocation, and purposeful strategic action. Learn the importance of consistently evolving your business acumen, reallocate resources strategically throughout the year, and prioritize actions aligned with your strategic goals. Rich introduces the concept of the Strategic Quotient (SQ) as a tool to measure and enhance strategic thinking skills. Whether you’re a seasoned executive or an aspiring entrepreneur, these insights provide a roadmap to elevate your strategic fitness and navigate your business towards unparalleled success.

 

Questions I ask Rich Horwath:

[00:51] What’s your definition of strategic thinking?

[01:52] Periodic or Lifetime practice, how often does a leader think strategically?

[03:37] How do you balance the reality of long term and short term planning?

[04:53] How would you differentiate between strategic thinking and strategic planning?

[06:31] Why use fitness as a metaphor when describing strategic thinking?

[07:34] What are the 4 fitness arenas of strategic thinking?

[10:38] What areas would you suggest strategic thinkers focus on?

[12:23] What are some practical examples of organizational fitness?

[15:19] What are some practical examples of communication fitness?

[17:19] How do you begin consulting a beginner in strategic thinking?

[20:40] Where can people connect with you and obtain a copy of your book?

 

 

More About Rich Horwath:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Mar 31,2024. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

John (00:08): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Rich Howarth. He’s the founder and CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute, where he is a strategy facilitator, speaker, advisor, and coach to executive leadership teams. He’s a New York Times and Wall Street Journal, bestselling author of eight books on strategic thinking, including the most recent work we’re going to talk a little bit about today, strategic, the skill to set direction, create advantage, and achieve executive excellence. So Rich, welcome to the show.

Rich (00:42): John, great to be with you. Thanks so much for having me.

John (00:46): So I’m just going to start with this because if I ask 10 people, I’ll get 10 different answers. What’s your definition of strategy or strategic thinking?

Rich (00:55): Yeah, so strategy for me is the intelligent allocation of resources through unique system of activity to achieve a goal. So simply put, strategy is how you plan to achieve your goal. And as I’ve read your books in the past, going back to Duct Tape Marketing, you talk about strategy before tactics, and I love in there you always talked about the how, not the what. And I think I’m a big believer in that as well. I think too often, as you talk about in your books, and I share a little bit as well in my books, we sometimes see people mistaking their mission, their vision, their goals, their objectives for strategy, trying to be number one in the market, trying to be the premier provider of X, and instead we really need about think about how are we going to get there. That’s really the strategy. So again, I’ve appreciated all the insights you’ve shared over the years on this. I think it’s really helped a lot of us in the field.

John (01:46): Well, I appreciate that. So let’s get into a few more kind of logistic aspects. Is this something that you do once a year, once every three years? I mean, is there a rhythm? Does it never end? I’d love to hear your thoughts on kind of the how often question.

Rich (02:03): Yeah, John, and you hit it on the head initially. You talked about strategy and strategic thinking. So to me, strategy is something that you set and really, if you’ve done your thinking, it should be something that stays in place for a long period of time. Where I think a lot of people could use a jumpstart is the strategic thinking part. So just because we have our strategic direction doesn’t mean that we want to take our eyes off the road. And I know in one of your last books you talk about the importance. You’ve got a great five step process, map, and uncover are two of the first steps in your process. And I think those are great starting points. When we think about strategy, when we think about mapping, as you talk about, you’ve got to understand what’s my situation around me. And I think too often we get our head buried in the internal stuff or we’re so reactive to fire drills with customers that we fail to remember what is the long-term strategy that we’ve got in place. And so strategic thinking for me is really our ability to generate new insights or new learnings on a regular basis that help us keep and achieve that competitive advantage. So I think it’s a great point that you bring up to me strategy, something that we set, but strategic thinking is something we should be doing day in and day out. We need to stay hungry on how we’re going to get better and learn.

John (03:23): It is funny, there are some models out there that talk about strategic planning. I think there’s one very popular one that talks about what’s 10 years from now look like. I’ve had a lot of small business owners, they don’t know what next quarter looks like. How do you balance long-term and reality of short-term? Right,

Rich (03:42): Right. Yeah, it’s interesting you bring up, there was just a study by pwc, they surveyed 4,700 CEOs and it was interesting, 45%. So nearly half of the CEOs said that they did not think they would be in business in 10 years unless they significantly evolved the way that they do business. So one of the things that we’ve got to be thinking about is how are we evolving in, what I like to think is the business model, but it’s really simple. It’s how do we create value, how do we deliver value and how do we capture value? So what I like to do is really create that strategy tuneup. So just like we get our car tuned up on a regular basis, what I recommend is quarterly get together with your team, take a couple hours, maybe it’s over lunch and go through just some of the basic fundamentals of the business. Have the customers thinking and actions changed? Has the competitive landscape changed at all? What’s going on within our company? What’s working, what’s not? That takes a couple hours, but that’s a great way to tune up the strategy, to understand should we be doing things differently, especially when it comes to creating and delivering value to our customers.

John (04:55): And I guess that’s probably as good a description of strategic thinking as opposed to strategic planning. You might have a strategic plan, but the strategic thinking is something, it’s the flexibility, it’s the adaptability, it’s the need to have to evolve and mature, isn’t it?

Rich (05:12): Yeah. I love the words you used there, flexibility, adaptability, that’s something too. It’s that catch 22, as we get older, as we get more experience, we tend to lose that adaptability and that flexibility. And so one of the things I recommend to people is get some perspective outside of your industry. So read a journal in architecture or science or technology if you’re not in those fields, and think about how are those people assessing their problems, their challenges. I’m a big believer too in studying nature, this whole idea of biomimicry, how can we take the challenges that we face? So getting more customers, creating a better sales funnel, closing more leads. When we think about nature, how has nature accomplish some of those things? How does nature, how does a species, how does a duck go from the winter to the summer? What do they do? Do they drop feathers, do they get faster? All of those things can teach us if we take the time to step back and think about how other people are doing some things as well. So I think that’s a big thing. Like you said, adaptability and versatility are really important, but we need to remember as we gain more experience, we have to continue to push ourselves out of that comfort zone.

John (06:26): You use the fitness metaphor quite a bit. I want to talk about the way you’ve broken the book up a little bit. Is there any particular reason why the fitness metaphor works in strategic thinking in your mind?

Rich (06:38): Well, one of the reasons is, again, we think about CEOs and you work a lot of CEOs. I work with some as well. What’s interesting is the average CEO exercises for 45 minutes a day, which I found was pretty impressive. I mean, that’s a good chunk of time each day to be exercising. But what we find is that when it comes to practicing or building our business fitness, and you’ve seen this, John, I’m sure in your world, people, we don’t tend to practice. We tend to play all the time. So you’ve got football playoffs or baseball playoffs, they’re practicing 90% of the time and they’re in competition 10% of the time. But in business, we’re on that activity treadmill all the time. And what I’ve found is the best leaders, they jump off that treadmill, they take their team with them and they think about how are some ways that we can get better? And they devote some time to training, to development, to a lot of the things that you’ve talked about and you’ve helped people with over the years as well.

John (07:34): Taking that a step further, you’ve actually broken up into four arenas. And so maybe I’ll let you walk us through those. Obviously picking up a copy of strategic is how you’re going to get the full compliment, but walk us through those four fitness arenas.

Rich (07:50): Sure, John, and the reason I came up with these four areas, and I use a compass to represent the four areas, is I’ve looked at my coaching notes over the years. The one word that popped up again and again was the word navigate. A lot of folks that I was talking to said, we’re having trouble navigating our competition, we’re having trouble navigating these new market changes. And so I tried to come up with this compass based on the folks that I was working with in the four areas of strategy, leadership, organization, and communication. Because the reality is, even though strategies, my passion, if we’re just good at strategy, we’re going to be a failure. Long-term, we’ve got to be good at communicating, executing, we got to be great at marketing, we got to be great at sales. So there’s so many things to be a well-rounded, strong leader. So I created those four areas to help people almost create a checklist to say, as a leader, am I checking off these areas? Do I have a strategy in place? Am I building leadership capabilities for myself and my team? Do we have a good culture? What’s my emotional intelligence? Do we have our value chain figured out? So all of those things are important, so I try to simplify it, give people a checklist so that they can kind of walk through that.

John (09:03): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with a must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs. And they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try Active Campaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit activecampaign.com/ducttape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast listeners who sign up via that link will also receive 15% off an annual plan if purchased by March 31st, 2024. That’s activecampaign.com/ducttape.

(10:08): Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today. So maybe without, again, I know there are a lot of elements in here that rather than just reading a list, but give us a sense of, so you mentioned strategy, leadership, organization and communication. What are some of the elements in each of those buckets? So beginning with strategy, fitness, what are the areas that we would focus on if we were going to maybe make an assessment in that area?

Rich (10:43): So yeah, let’s think about strategy. The one thing that comes to mind, especially when we think about marketing and sales as well, is this idea of resource allocation. So we all know we’ve got resources, we’ve got time, we’ve got budget, we’ve got people, we need to move those around. What’s interesting though, John, is the research shows that 92% of companies allocate their resources once a year when they do their plan. But the best companies, the research shows they reallocate resources, time people, budget programs, projects throughout the year. So that’s one key element that I talk a little bit about in the book is just this idea that look, we need on a monthly basis to think about where are we spending our time, our money, and our programs, and how can we change that so that we’re putting more fuel on the things that are working and less fuel on the things that are not working.

(11:34): And then the other piece on strategy I would mention is I talk about competitive advantage. And again, kudos to you from Duct Tape Marketing. You talk a lot about being different and the importance of differentiation, and I’ve done some research on that following in your footsteps as well. And again, even going back to science, this idea of the principle of competitive exclusion, meaning no two species can coexist that make their living the identical way. So you think about two male lions in the same area in Africa, after a while, one of the male lions isn’t going to be there because trying to do the same thing in the same way. So one of the things we talk about in the book is this really importance of idea of differentiation, which obviously not a new idea, you’ve talked about it 10, 15 years ago, but it is still something that we need to remind ourselves of, how are we different in ways that customers value?

John (12:22): Awesome. So in leadership, fitness, what are some practical examples of ways somebody might, I mean you talk about mental training and emotional quotient and time management even. What are some practical ways that we can be looking into that bucket,

Rich (12:39): Especially for the small to midsize business leader? One of the things to think about is your time allocation. And obviously there’s lots of stuff on time management, but when you look at the best CEOs that have run multiple companies at the same time, people like Elon Musk with SpaceX and Tesla, Jack Dorsey who runs Twitter and Square, one of the things they’re really big on is batching their time. So they’ll pick a couple things and they’ll work on those things for 2, 3, 4, 5 hours out of the day. And I know what people are saying, geez, rich, I’ve got a million things to handle. But the most effective leaders say, look, if I’ve got to do one-on-one meetings with my team, I’m not going to spread ’em out over the week. I’m going to do those all on Monday morning from eight to 11. Because what that does, John, is it reduces the number of mental transitions that we have to make. And what the research shows is that the mental transitions jumping from one topic to the next, that’s the thing that burns people out that causes the fatigue that we feel at the end of the day. So if you can say, Hey, I’m going to do email five times a day in these 15 minute chunks, I’m going to do my performance reviews here, that’s going to simplify your life a lot. So that just that idea of batching our time can be helpful.

John (13:54): Alright, organizational fitness, I’m guessing culture goes squarely into that, developing your people, processes, talent planning for what’s next, innovating. So give us some practical examples of what we might focus on in organizational fitness.

Rich (14:12): Yeah, you’re right on the money, John culture is a big one. And the thing I think we miss a lot of times is we will take the time to do our values, we’ll do our mission statement, our vision statement, but what we really need to be aware of as a small to mid-size business leader is what are the three or four behaviors that you’re seeing the most from your team? Either things that are productive or not productive. Because at the end of the day, behaviors are, so if you want a better culture, you’ve got to pick out two or three behaviors that you as a leadership team really believe in are going to best serve your customers. And then you’ve got to find ways to build those behaviors within your team. Let’s say customer centricity, that’s a popular one. It’s all about the customer. Okay, well we can say that on paper, but what does that behavior look like? That might mean we’re going to answer a phone call, we’re going to return a phone call within one hour. We’re going to return an email within three hours and we’re going to return a text message within four hours, whatever it might be. But putting some specific parameters around what do those behaviors look like?

John (15:20): Alright. And then the last one, communication fitness. So I’ll let you kind of pick out a practical example there.

Rich (15:26): Yeah. So communication, fitness, it’s funny, I never used to talk about meetings at all, but ever since we’ve come out of the hybrid and the remote work the last few years, people still have meetings stacked one upon the other. And so one of the things I found is just taking a strategic approach to our meetings. And what we mean by that is when you have a meeting, there should be three things in mind. Number one, what’s the intent? So what’s the purpose of this meeting that should be shared with people two days, three days before? And I recommend giving one or two key questions that you want people to think about so that when you get together, it’s a true dialogue. It’s not a monologue. Too often I sit in on meetings and one person’s talking for 30 or 40 minutes, that’s not a meeting, that’s a monologue for a late night talk show.

(16:13): So we need to make sure that we’re really creating that interactive dialogue and meetings. And then the other big part is having insights. So when we finish up the meeting, you got to ask yourself, what was my takeaway? What did I learn from that meeting? And if we’re not walking away from meetings with learnings, then we’re wasting our time. We’ve got to either change that meeting or get rid of the meeting. So I’m a big believer as a leader out there, create a meeting inventory. So take an inventory of all the meetings you have on your calendar and for one week score those meetings on their value. Zero is no value, three is high value. And at the end of the week, total those up. If you’ve got meetings that are around a zero or one average, get rid of those.

John (16:58): Yeah, that’s an interesting point because I think there are people that have gotten into this meeting rhythm where they’re just like, no, it’s Tuesday at noon. We do this meeting every week. And it’s gotten to the point where it’s of no value to anyone attending fact mag might actually be negative, but the idea of just canceling and I think really kind of freaks people out, doesn’t it? Alright, so in your work, your coaching work, if somebody said, gosh, I’m listening to this, and there’s some stuff making sense here, but there’s also a lot that we’ve just hit the surface of when somebody says, can you come in and talk to us, rich, do you have a process that you walk everybody through on where do you start?

Rich (17:42): Yeah, so the one thing I’d recommend is to keep it simple, and you made a great point earlier about the difference between strategy and strategic thinking. So when we’re trying to create strategic thinkers in the organization at all levels, I would keep it simple like three a’s acumen, allocation and action. So that’s where I would start. As acumen always be asking yourself, what’s the new value in this situation? So if you’re talking with a customer, if you’re having a staff meeting, what’s the new value here that you can either create or deliver or capture? So always be thinking about what’s the new value here? The reason a lot of businesses wind up failing in the long run is because they started with a good strategy, but then everybody else started to catch up and they didn’t create any more new value. So why don’t we think about that new value?

(18:31): And then the second a allocation, I’m a big believer, and I know you’ve talked about this in the past, John, this idea of the not to-do list. What are you not going to do? Who are you not going to service? Who are you not going to focus on? Too many of us are trying to serve everybody and we’re minimizing the real value we can bring to that select few that are going to find the most mutual value. So big believer, we got to be really selective in who we’re focusing on, where we’re focusing to be as valuable as possible. And the third A is action. We just got to think about what are we prioritizing today? If we’ve got a list of 17 priorities, we’ve got nothing prioritized. So just really thinking about what’s my priority, the one or two things, and then am I matching my time spend to those priorities? If you look at the end of the day and a good exercise for folks to do, track your time for one week in 30 minute increments, add it up at the end of the week, graph it out, and then look at that graph and see if that matches up with your priorities. Too often I’m seeing people say, 50% of my time is spent on stuff. That’s not really my priority. So take the time to assess your time where you’re spending it, and that will really help I think with priorities.

John (19:46): Now you have, and I can’t remember if it’s in the book or if I just saw it on your website, you have an assessment, people can go through and measure some of where they are on some of these things.

Rich (19:56): Yeah, absolutely. So the strategic quotient, we’ve all heard of IQ forever, measuring intelligence, eq, emotional intelligence. So what I’ve tried to create this strategic quotient SQ really measures how people think, plan and act strategically. So it’s an assessment of your behaviors and your mindset, and it’s a good starting point for people to say, yeah, I’m doing a pretty good job here, but maybe I could be doing a little bit differently there. So it really matches up too with those three a’s acumen allocation action that we’ve talked about. So again, just a simple way takes about five to seven minutes, but can start to shed some light on areas that you as a leader might want to spend a little bit more time on as you develop.

John (20:37): Awesome. Well, rich, I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Is there someplace you’d invite people to connect with you, find out more about your work, and obviously about your books?

Rich (20:45): Yeah, John, thanks for asking that. I appreciate it. So there are a lot of free resources, articles, white papers, videos@strategyskills.com, so strategy skills.com, lots of free resources there.

John (20:57): Awesome. Well, again, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by and share with my listeners, and hopefully we’ll run into you only these days soon out there on the road.