LeadMD CMO, Andrea Lechner-Becker, sits down with Jennifer Wong on this premiere episode of the Catalyst Podcast. Jennifer opens up to tell her unique story as she joined Convoy’s team as their very first marketing hire. Grabbing the bull by the horns, Jennifer applied her marketing knowledge as well as her experience to build this trucking company’s marketing department from the ground up.

Subscribe to the Podcast to receive alerts as new episodes post fortnightly (every other Tuesday).


Time Stamped Show Notes:

3:00 – Tell us a little more about Convoy!

06:33 – What made you want to become a part of the trucking industry?

08:25 – So let me get this straight, you were the first marketing hire?

12:21 – Tell me about your approach when it comes to hiring

14:42 – Why did you decide to focus in on customer marketing?

16:45 – With such a small marketing team, what all were you responsible for?

22:50 –Within the first year, what exactly was driving your marketing goals?

27:50 – How were you able to master your marketing skillset?

24:20 – What aspects do you think make a marketer successful?

35:20 – What is the first thing you think when you hear the word “catalyst?”

40:00 – Wrap-Up

4 Key Points:

  1. Technology has not revolutionalized everything. The trucking industry is a prime example. While technology has helped to make so many industries more efficient, there are still a lot of processes and techniques that need reconstruction beyond what technology itself can provide.
  2. Taking a risk is an important turning point in your career. It is important to be able to adapt to a new opportunity as a professional in the marketing world. We are all creatures of habit but becoming too comfortable may cause us to miss out on a chance to make an impact.
  3. Customer marketing is essential. Customer relationships are vital to a company’s success. Engaging with customers helps you to understand your buyer better, build a sense of trust and may just lead to your next great idea!
  4. Expand your knowledge by reaching out to other professionals. As a marketer in today’s world, don’t be afraid to utilize social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn. This helps you to gain perception from others while adding in your own ideas to create your personal brand.

Our favorite quote from the episode:

“There are a lot of stages that happen, and I think that’s why marketing today is so influential to a business because so much about the buying cycle happens before they even land on your website, and you need to be able to measure that as well and know how that influences the rest of your marketing funnel.”

Looking for more episodes? Check out more of our best practice podcasts!

Full Transcript

Andrea B.: Hello, welcome to Catalyst. I am Andrea Lechner-Becker, your host today, this evening, this morning, whenever you’re watching this. Isn’t the internet great? My guest today is Jennifer from Convoy. Jennifer, tell us a little bit about yourself, what your position is, where you come from, all that fun stuff.

Jennifer: Alright. Hi, everyone. Nice to meet you all. Like Andrea mentioned, my name is Jennifer Wong. I’m actually based here in Seattle today. A little gray outside, classic Seattle, but we’ve been having beautiful weather. I’m excited to chat with you all about customer marketing. My background has actually always been in marketing. I’m always jealous of people who have had these wild careers, but mine has pretty linear so far where right from college I graduated from the University of Washington, and I landed at a startup in a marketing role.

Ever since there I’ve grown my career in marketing a little bit more on the technology and startup side, but now I’m at Convoy, which is very different from where I have been before, and it’s a pretty exciting new opportunity. But my career like I mentioned has always been in marketing kind of in different roles just based off of the need of the company, and that’s how I see most effective marketing teams grow naturally where marketing comes in and really starts to understand the drivers of the business and supports the company to really think about scaling further.

Especially with the companies that I’ve started at, whether they’re 20 person companies or today at Convoy’s at 650 employees, marketing just has to be very adaptable to wherever the business changing needs go. Sometimes those are hard to predict until you’re there. My roles have always spanned from either being an individual contributor really diving in either working on social campaigns, writing email copies, updating the website to leading full market teams that span across brand, customer marketing, carrier marketing, and product marketing.

Previously, I was leading the marketing team at a company called Tune. It was a mobile analytics company, again, kind of globally looking at everything from marketing that can really reach and acquire customers to really repositioning and grow new categories. Today now I’m in a similar role leading the marketing team at Convoy in a very different industry now thinking about how marketing can really help land our positioning in this new and growing category in the trucking industry.

Tell us a little more about Convoy!

Andrea B.:  With that, tell us a little bit more about Convoy.

Jennifer: Yes. Convoy we’re here based in Seattle, like I mentioned, in the trucking industry. What we do is really use technology to better match freight venues to be moved across the country. It sounds so simple, but that system today is actually super fragmented and complex. Businesses need to often times call people using the phone, send fax machines, lots of emails to find. They use the phone to find a truck to get their shipment from one location across the country or even just across the city.

Because the industry is so silo and fragmented today, there’s actually almost over a million trucking companies and three million drivers. It’s really hard for those individual owner-operator drivers to find their next job. Because they only work with maybe one broker who might only know this many number of shippers, they don’t really get access to the whole opportunity of demand, so we’re actually just more effectively making those connections, matching the shipper to the driver and using technology.

Andrea B.: Yeah, that’s awesome. How did Convoy start? Whose brainchild was it? Was he a trucker? Who is this that created this company?

Jennifer: We have to co-founders, Dan Lewis, and Grant Goodale. They are actually from the technology space in Seattle as well. They’re serial entrepreneurs. They’ve been at companies such as Amazon, and Google, and Microsoft, but they actually just started to really understand that there was a problem in this industry. Especially Dan from Amazon, he started to see a little bit more about this space. He has family and friends that are in the trucking industry, and most people do surprisingly because it’s the number one job in the country. But he just started to understand that there’s so much inefficiency happening today because this industry hasn’t really been revolutionized by technology like so many other industries have.

Like travel, technology really brought in a new way for people to book their own travel as an example instead of going through a travel agent. Something like this is actually happening in transportation as well. Instead of having to know personally another broker, you can just look at all of the potential loads out there. Dan did a lot of research just actually going to truck stops here in Washington State, really talking to truck drivers, understanding what their challenges were, and then also going to facilities trying to sneak in the backdoors and to talk to facility managers just to understand what their challenges are also because I think it really speaks to the way that Convoy is built in terms of trying to solve these problems just in a new creative way.

Even though our two co-founders aren’t truck drivers, they did so much due diligence and just trying to understand what is the big problems today, and how can we really rethink solving them instead of just hacking a better system, but really rethinking better based off of their expertise. And then over the past four years I think so many people have come to Convoy not knowing anything about trucking, but now becoming pretty true experts in this industry, which is fun.

What made you want to become a part of the trucking industry?

Andrea B.: Are you among them? How do you decide? Because obviously, I don’t necessarily know a lot of young women, myself included, that’s like, “Yes, trucking. I need to get into that industry.” What made you want to be a part of this company and the industry in general or whatever?

Jennifer: I might be a little bit of an outlier. I actually do have some experience in the trucking industry, or I would say logistics in general. My parents are actually entrepreneurs in the logistics industry kind of importing and exporting houseware goods, so growing up my weekend chores were actually packing pallets in a warehouse, being able to drive forklifts, fill out bills of lading. I never really made that connection because that wasn’t a career that I had ever thought about actually to even tangentially being in, but I actually got introduced to Dan through just a mutual connection, and he told me this story about this massive problem that needs to be solved, something that’s really vital because it’s an infrastructure layer to the entire economy in the trucking industry.

I think for me I’m just always really excited to work with really passionate people solving big problems where I feel like I could also make a really big impact. But when I joined I didn’t know anything about trucking realistically, but I think it’s like most people. If they’re really curious and have that functional expertise, anyone can learn a new industry. I think it does take time and a commitment to do so, but I think it’s very learnable.

So let me get this straight, you were the first marketing hire at Convoy?

Andrea B.: Okay. You get excited by the story of Convoy and how it all came to be. I totally get what you’re saying although I’ve never thought about it before what a huge industry it is and how important it is to the economy. It’s fascinating. You were the first marketing hire, yeah?

Jennifer: Yeah, I was the first marketing hire to join Convoy. The company had actually existed for about two years prior. The first year was all about incubation. After that first year the product did launch to the first set of customers, and then the year prior to me joining a lot of the growth was actually pretty organically where we had a great business development team reaching out to enterprise customers in a very personalized way, making connections, really having more high-level conversations around problem-solving and getting people really excited about partnering with us to really transform trucking.

The product and our service was really backing that up, so a lot of our growth was just through word-of-mouth and referrals kind of the ideal marketing world, so where your customers really get more customers for you. When I joined that’s when we were really ready to scale our business even further. We wanted to open up new segments of customers, so instead of just going after the enterprise customers, such as Anheuser-Busch and Unilever, we wanted to be able to open up our business to that mid-market customer that might only need maybe 10 or 100 trucks a month instead of hundreds of trucks a day, so marketing was really a big powerhouse behind that to be able to scale, demand generation, to make our sales teams more efficient, to be able to service our customers at scale.

And then, in addition to that too, that’s when we started to become a pretty real company and things like a great website, an intentional brand really started to matter for the business also.

Andrea B.: How do you make that leap? I’m assuming were very comfortable in your job, successful, everything was nice, comfortable. Why do you decide to make this leap and go start marketing basically at this company?

Jennifer: I’ve been in a very similar role a couple of times. The last two companies I was actually maybe the first or second marketer as well. I think, like you mentioned, it was pretty comfortable, and I could have been there at that previous role for the next foreseeable future, but I think when I see a really great opportunity to make a huge impact with the team and a business that I really care about, that’s a really fun challenge. I would say maybe compared to peers I’m a little bit more leaning towards being okay with taking those types of risks and less risk-averse, so I love actually looking for those challenges and opportunities. For me, I think it was like something that was really incredible to be a part of so far.

Andrea B.:  That’s awesome. That is why you’re on this little podcast blog thing that we have going on. I think that we love talking to … I would consider that very like catalyst as a concept to go someplace and want to do something really big and important. When you think about … Do you think of yourself as a catalyst? I guess this is a good question to begin with.

Jennifer: Oh gosh, I would never think I would describe myself in that way, but I think I would describe myself in terms of aspirationally to want to be a catalyst. I always do think, especially in marketing too, you want to create those moments that matter, the things that are really going to ignite scale, and those are the opportunities that I really look for versus something that’s just really repeatable and incremental.

Tell me about your approach when it comes to hiring

Andrea B.:  Yeah. When you’re hiring for your team, do you look for somebody that’s really innovative and wants to take a leap, or talk to me about your hiring strategy?

Jennifer: Sure. I do think it depends on what stage of the team and business that you’re hiring for as well as the type of role because I think there’s differences when you’re at a very small startup stage versus more enterprise and if you’re looking for an individual contributor right now or perhaps a manager. I would use those four different attributes to find the right person. I think when I was looking for early marketing buyers I think for me it’s more about looking at the breath of skillset and really understanding if they have a wider business acumen at the same time, really deep in one marketing expertise and function because then I think that even early on you get people that can be really replaceable for each other.

I think that repeatability actually strengthens your entire marketing team because you can have one person from your team in different meetings with the product organization, with the data science team, with finance, with legal, with design and be a representative for marketing instead of only having that one person that could be there. If they have the business acumen to be able to talk about marketing with different disciplines, I really look for that outside of their deep expertise in one specific marketing function.

And then I think early on too when you have a small team you just seem to get people that are just really excited and passionate about like rolling up the sleeves and doing the work because that’s how I think about future marketing growth as well. When someone can really prove their marketing results, that’s how you really justify the next marketing hire. The people that are really results-oriented and being able to actually do the work as well can really grow their own team in the future.

Why did you decide to focus in on customer marketing?

Andrea B.: Yeah, and one of the hires, and another reason that I definitely wanted to have you on is your early commitment to customer marketing, which I find unfortunately not very common, especially in SaaS, so tell me a little bit about why you decided to focus on customer marketing. How did you make that decision? What if it didn’t work? Walk me through how you decided to focus on customer marketing as an early hire.

Jennifer: Sure. I think customer marketing is just so critical to marketing because a lot of your best stories comes from customers. I think it’s been said so many times before. I mean, there is so much more trust when a customer tells your story from you versus you telling your story no matter how authentic your storytelling really is. I think being able to be really in tune with customers also helps spark the best marketing ideas, so being able to understand why did customers choose your business or trust your business over anybody else.

For me, it’s especially interesting if you’re a startup company as well because you don’t really have that reputation or credibility yet, but they are taking a leap of faith, so being really close to those customers and really understanding why they chose you, what value are they receiving and be able to collect those stories and then syndicate those out to maybe the next cohort of customers. I do believe that it might not be the greatest skill thing that you could do first. Sure, you could hire a digital marketer and run ads on LinkedIn, and Facebook and all these advertising networks to see a huge volume, but I would actually rather start with a cohort of customers that really love what you’re doing and then being able to tell those in a lot of different ways to different audiences just to find more of them.

I think it also helps you better understand your business as well, and you could actually be seen as a trusted business partner with all the other teams that you’re working with because if you’re really in tune with customers and know what they care about, you can share that feedback back to the product team or back to the sales team.

Andrea B.: Yeah. Take me into conversations. Just start. How many days in when you start deciding where you’re going to spend your budget, what your team is going to look like? Walk me through where you started your first 15, 30 days, whatever that looked like.

With such a small marketing team, what all were you responsible for?

Jennifer: Yes. Interestingly enough, I think one of the first things that I did in the first 15 days were jumping on our customer churn calls. I actually just pulled a list of all of our customers that had churned within the last time period maybe 90 days or even six months, and just started calling them just to understand what happens when we didn’t maybe have a good signal of when does a customer churn. Is it when they stop shipping with us completely? Or maybe they’re a seasonal shipper, so they only want to ship with us during the summer months because they’re in construction.

For me, it’s just really diving in and getting to know our customers or the former customers just really helps me understand where I could be making the biggest impact because I think it is always a quick win when you can get someone that has lapsed as a customer and bring them back on board, or really share insights of why did we lose this cohort of customers with a greater team? That was kind of one of the first projects that I started with, and I think that really did kickoff a lot of new ideas and understanding that we really should be able to make sure that we aren’t churning any customers, or we have to have an understanding of every single one that chooses not to ship with us anymore.

Andrea B.: Do you find that a lot? When you talk to other heads of marketing, marketing leaders, do you find that they go and talk to their customers right away? I don’t know that I really hear that very often. I love it, but I’m just curious.

Jennifer: Yeah, I think most marketers actually talk with customers in some way. I would say it’s maybe unconventional to talk with churn customers and just call down 20 interviews, but I would say I know a lot of marketing leaders that joined. Often times the one thing that they’ll do initially is actually jump on sales calls because I think you also get to learn so much during sales calls on the front end not only what really pops when you hear a prospect and get really excited by what a seller says, but then you also get to hear the objections and things that you need to start overcoming in terms of like what you need to land in terms of messaging in a market.

Andrea B.: Okay, so we’re walking through your first couple of days. You call these customers, and you’re getting insights, and then are you going back to Dan and Grant and saying, “Here is the data that I collected and then how I’m going to use my team to help combat these things.” Are you really using that as the cornerstone of your business case, or are you also doing other stuff?

Jennifer: I would say that is one thing that I did mostly for my own education just to understand who our customers are, how they see value from our product and service. I would say another area that I started to dive into was the website, and the reason why is because for marketing that’s kind of the showcase of your brand and where a lot of the conversion happens for your marketing, so I just wanted to understand how is our website performing today? Who comes to our website? Are we converting anybody?

I would say prior to me joining we had the website, but it was really more informational. We didn’t have any form on the website, so there was no reason to collect information, but that was only because every single customer that we acquired actually came from an outbound prospect in conversation, so there was no need to convert people on the website. I would say traditionally a lot of our customers they didn’t go and search for a solution like ours. They get calls from vendors every single day trying to get their business into that company. I would say for me it was also figuring out what kind of value should we provide with our website. Should it just be informational? Do we think that we can actually drive inbound demand and convert people from the website?

I actually looked at the website second and actually evaluated that as the first big project that I should actually take on because we were getting a decent amount of traffic to the website. We didn’t have a place to be able to collect information, so I created a form and dropped it on the website just to start validating are customers potentially reaching out to us, and we just don’t know it, so it’s kind of cleaning up Google Analytics, adding a form to the website, and adding Analytics and heat maps just to understand how are people engaging with the content today. And then that was kind of the first project to let it run and then focusing on our customer calls to understand how can we better message customers and better tell their stories and start to create a catalog of testimonials and case studies that we can use as our first content pieces to now start promoting and driving inbound demand again.

Andrea B.: How much of this are you doing by yourself before you hire someone to help?

Jennifer: All of this was actually by myself initially. I would say for the first six months it was actually just myself working on these different projects, and I see it as sequencing. I look at something where I can put something together and let it run to collect results, kickoff something else to let it run and collect results, and I’ll go back to that first project, understand the results and impacts and figure out how I should prioritize it and then move on to the next.

That’s how I see a lot of marketing growth, or that’s how I think about marketing growth just by running experiments to understand the impact because then you can evaluate how you want to prioritize it. You can answer the question why is it important instead of just taking a marketing playbook of best practice and saying, “We need to do this all.” It’s just too much to do, and where do you start? Because you actually might start at different places depending on what your business really needs.

Within that first year, what exactly was driving your marketing goals?

Andrea B.: When Dan and Grant brought you on, did you have metrics that you were driving towards in your first year like a number of leads or any of your traditional marketing-generated interests, or engagements or whatever, or was it sort of like, “Hey man, we trust you, just do whatever you feel like you need to do.”

Jennifer: When I was brought on, I would say defining the organization and the metrics were part of my job. I didn’t initially come in with a specific challenge or a problem that needed to be solved. I think there were so many different ways to help support the business, so for me it was figuring out what should marketing focus on to deliver the greatest impact first. For me, that’s why I ran a lot of different tests and experiments initially to be able to present a plan to say, “This is what we should work on.”

I would say after those first couple of projects focusing on customer calls and then on the websites that’s when I started to really say that if we want to make a bigger investment and use marketing as a lever to increase demand and efficiency for our business on the customer acquisition side, that’s when we also need technology. Even very early within that first six months I did have to make case to say we need to have marketing automation, so I did some due diligence and put together a brief for that, and we ended up using Marketo for that.

The reason why it was because for me I wouldn’t feel comfortable and really starting to launch bigger marketing programs without a way to actually measure the performance. Unless you’re able to do that, there was no reason in running that marketing campaign in the first place when you didn’t know the results. That was really important for me. Also, maybe biasedly coming from the marketing technology industry, I just did see the need to be able to use technology to be able to show results because I think all marketing is measurable. I think you measure different marketing programs and campaigns in different ways, but it should all be measurable to show the impact.

Andrea B.: What do you think about the concept of vanity metrics? Because to your point, one of the things that I talk about sometimes often … I don’t know how often. But I talk a lot about … I actually don’t like that concept of a vanity metric because I think all metrics are important. If we create traffic, is it a vanity metric because it doesn’t tie directly to pipeline? I guess. You do need to understand it. You do need to understand trends and that data. I kind of hate that marketers kind of poo-poo this concept as like, “Oh, that’s a vanity metric because I’m a results-based marketer.” You’re a results-based marketer, so I’m thinking I’m interested in your take on this vanity metric concept.

Jennifer: Sure. I think that’s a good question. No one’s ever asked me that before, but I do think now just instantly reacting I don’t like to be there. I think actually what someone might say is a vanity metric for me I would just say it’s a leading indicator because I think you do have to have specific goals that are maybe closer to the drivers of your business, but you need to know how your metrics are influencing those deeper funnel goals, so I see them as leading indicator and maybe aren’t the things that you really tried to orient the goals around your campaign. What is the effectiveness or I guess the importance or impact of a website visit, or a session visit, or a page link compared to the number of marketing qualified leads you can deliver to a sales team?

I would say I would give different weights to the level of importance, but I do think it’s a leading indicator because that’s where you see the full extent of your funnel. Even at the very top level of maybe the most vanity metric would be an unaided awareness metric, but for someone to buy your product they have to know who you are, and then they have to create a preference around that, and then you have to be in that consideration set. There are a lot of stages that happen, and I think that’s why marketing today is so influential to a business because so much about the buying cycle happens before they even land on your website, and you need to be able to measure that as well and know how that influences the rest of your marketing funnel.

How were you able to master your marketing skillset?

Andrea B.: Yeah. Okay, so you are really smart. You’re a really smart chic. How did you learn all of this stuff? I think that marketers really struggle to get just educational material, continuing education. I think we all know collectively that colleges don’t teach really applicable marketing skillsets. It’s getting way, way better. There’s a ton of great colleges that do it like Kalamazoo and others I’m sure. I don’t know. I like the guy at Kalamazoo really. There are definitely people that are starting to get real digital marketing programs with people who have been butts in the seat and understand all of these things that you’re talking about, but how did you learn all this stuff?

Jennifer: I guess for me I’ve had to learn by doing it. I think in the constraints maybe that I would call it of a startup you have to actually learn how to do it yourself versus hiring a consultant to do it for you. You have to be able to learn how to do it because you might only be the only marketing person, so you have to figure out do you Google how to do something? Do you ask other marketing peers? But there might not be the in-house expertise or even a mentor or a manager to be able to teach you something.

I think that is a little bit of the expectation when you’re drawing a very small company or a small marketing team where you’re expected to get creative and learn how to actually do the function as well. For me, I actually had to do a lot of these marketing initiatives and tactics just throughout my career and in situations where it’s probably unique to a lot of other people and teams in the first place where I’ve had to learn how to create a new category and own your brand and position in this category to this new audience, or be able to merge marketing brands together when a company acquires another company that has a strong brand as well, or be able to manage and think about international marketing because our business happens to be global, so how do you manage and reach a market that’s in APAC as well as EMEA and as well as the Americas?

Just because of the businesses that I’ve been a marketer for, I’ve just had to go through and learn all of these different types of marketing along the way.

Andrea B.: Where would you start? If someone’s 23. They just got out of college. They realized, “Shit, my marketing degree it didn’t teach me anything. I have an employer who expects me to know all of these things, and I don’t know any of them.” Where do you even start?

Jennifer: I think for me one thing that I’ve always really thought about are building relationships with other marketers whether they’re in Seattle or around the world. I think, like you mentioned, being global today you can make friends and connections with people around the world. I think don’t be afraid to maybe throw a question out in the Twitter-sphere or on LinkedIn saying that you’re trying to solve the problem because I think so many people would be willing to jump in and share their expertise. In addition to maybe googling templates and how to do marketing or attending new user groups locally, I think just being open to asking those questions it doesn’t show weakness and that you don’t know how to do something, but I think it shows that you’re trying to solve this problem in the fastest way possible.

I think when you can get a perspective, an idea, and advice from others that have also tried to solve this problem it actually gives you an advantage because you can pull together all these insights, synthesize it and make your own decision.

What aspects do you think makes a marketer successful?

Andrea B.: I love that, and I think that marketers are strangely … I think that we’re really people-people. I tend to find that marketers really like building relationships, especially with people they work with and all of those things, but they do seem sort of shy. I know a lot of marketers just on LinkedIn are perpetual likers. They don’t comment, they don’t ask questions, they don’t engage totally. It’s just like liking. Is there some psychological thing that drives marketers to just sit behind their computer? I think that too is the reason that I don’t see a lot of marketers talking to customers. I feel like they’re not generally … Not all of them obviously. I think the best marketers put themselves out there, but what do you think this is?

Jennifer: Oh gosh, I’m psychoanalyzing other marketers. One thing that I do think about and people do ask me is around my own personal brand as a marketer. I do think there’s maybe a little bit of peer pressure or a personal pressure when you answer a question on LinkedIn about marketing because then you’re kind of building your own marketing brand. I think now you’re starting, or others will see your answer, and then now they’ll be like, “Oh wow, that was very smart.” I think maybe marketers might have that pressure to show up as a marketer when they’re answering a marketing question.

I don’t know if that applies to talking with customers because I do think it should be so natural to talk with customers if you’re on the marketing team for that company. For me, that would be a personal requirement where I would want to be able to get on the phone with all of our customers to really dive in and learn about their world and their business. I think for me I just don’t know if I would be excited. As good of a marketer for that company, I wasn’t excited to be able to jump on the phone with customers because I do think it’s actually a rare opportunity. Sometimes it’s really hard to get on the phone with customers, especially if you’re selling to more enterprises, and they maybe don’t have as much time to spend with me.

But for me, one thing that I love about Convoy is one segment of our customers are the truck drivers. You can call a truck driver any minute of the day, and someone will pick up the phone. I love it because they’re so open to sharing their ideas and opinions, and you can just collect so much information and have a more informed decision-making process when you’re deciding what to do because it’s actually been validated by who you’re trying to do it for.

Andrea B.: Absolutely, and I totally agree. Okay. I can talk to you forever, but I think that this is going to be my last question, which is I love this idea of paying it forward a little bit. We talked about how you learned, and I know you learned a bunch just by the ethers of the great marketing universe, but who in your career has really inspired you? Dare I say a catalyst for change and all of that. Who do you really look up to and admire as a marketer or as a business person or just anything?

Jennifer: I guess for me I do think about some of the really great managers that I’ve had because I do think early in my career I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was just given this undeniable trust to be able to solve these problems for a business. It was real. It wasn’t just a case study for class. I would say every manager that I’ve worked with. I’ve had really great ones. They just always inspire me. I really think about how I can try to be a better manager for others on my team in the way that … I’ve just learned different ways of how they’ve been able to give me the opportunity to be able to build my own career.

Andrea B.: Yeah, I love that. One more question.

Jennifer: Yes.

What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word “catalyst”?

Andrea B.: I think it’s going to be my last one. When you think about a catalyst in general, what comes to mind?

Jennifer: Yeah, I think when I think about a catalyst for me it’s about sparking change. Maybe that’s why. Now I’m seeing it, and it’s really resonating with me. It’s so easy to get really comfortable, to get really repeatable, but then I think something needs to change to be able to go on a different trajectory. I think you have to be able to look for those opportunities. That’s the only way you’ll be able to win as a business to be able to do something so different and stand out. In marketing, you could have so many marketing moments, but unless they’re actually memorable it doesn’t really matter.

You need to always look for those big win opportunities, and I think looking for those sparks is what catalyst means to me.

Andrea B.: I love that. Okay. This isn’t really a question, more of a commentary, but have you read or heard of the Power of Moments?

Jennifer: No, I haven’t.

Andrea B.: When you talked about moments, you should actually read it. We won’t even put this in the thing, but just, in general, it’s really cool the way that they talk about really creating these just … I wish I could think of a smarter way to say moments instead of using a moment like 50 times, but it really is about creating that moment. One of the examples that they have in there is this example of this dingy hotel in … Not dingy, but nothing special hotel in Los Angeles.

They did one little thing, which is out by the pool they put a Popsicle phone. It’s like bright red, like cherry red, and you just call up, and they say, “Hello, Popsicle hotline. What kind of Popsicle would you like?” And you say, “A grape Popsicle please,” and then this man in like a bellhop outfit comes out with a silver tray and your Popsicle and like white gloves and the whole thing. That’s like the only thing special that this hotel has, and they have five-star ratings because it’s just that idea that you make it really special, and it’s unexpected like wow factor kind of shit.

There are but so many cool examples of it that I feel like I want every marketer to read that even though it’s not a marketing book necessarily, but I just think it’s so important and just explains, and it dives deep into the psychology of moments that make people remember. When you think about a wedding, it’s memorable because people look different, you eat different food, it smells different. Everything about it is like wow. You don’t need all of that, but you do need to factor in senses which I think is just so interesting to think about in business.

We’ve even had conversations about instead of just clapping for people like, “Everybody stand the fuck up and make some noise.” You know what I mean? Just making it a little bit different makes all the difference.

Jennifer: Yeah, I love that.

Andrea B.: I think you will really like it.

Jennifer: Yeah. The Power of Moments.

Andrea B.: Yes, The Power of Moments. The two brothers that wrote it they have a ton of books, and they’re all really good from what I hear. This is the only one-

Jennifer: Yeah, I love that concept. I even took a class at Yale. It was around behavioral economics just around the theories around how people make decisions, the different types of triggers people use. I would say there’s ton of books in my category that I’m obsessed with now also just because I do think marketing has maybe gone too far into the programmatic way where you’re just optimizing ads, but something really needs to stand out. A lot of the times it’s around behavior and changing behavior, which is one of the hardest things to do.

A lot of it has to be based off of messaging at the right moment and at the right time. I just love that concept for marketing. Even though it’s not meant to be in marketing, a lot of those theories are actually used there too.

Andrea B.: Yeah, I love that. I think a lot to your point, those cliches even like right person, right message, right time, and it’s like, “Right.” The actual action of needing to do that well is really hard, and it’s pretty psychological. I think that to your point, people get all wrapped up in the life cycle of a customer and being able to measure it, and it’s like, “Okay, once you measure it, then what are you going to do?” You still need that creative side of marketing to figure out what are these people feeling and thinking, and how can I creatively surprise them into reacting because that’s a lot of what it is.

Jennifer: Yeah, you have to shake people out of it, sometimes.


Andrea B.: Yeah. Okay. Well, I’m going to wrap it up. I’m going to do a little wrap-up thing. Okay, so thank you so much for joining me. Jennifer, you’ve been awesome. Tons of great practical tips for young marketers, old marketers, all sorts of areas of the spectrum, and so I really appreciate you being here and thank you everybody who watched and made it to the end because I know attention spans are short. Thank you so much again, Jennifer, and all of our viewers. We appreciate you.

Jennifer: Thank you!

Looking for more episodes? Check out more of our best practice podcasts!


An interview with Carilu Dietrich on the state of B2B in 2021

If predicting the future were as easy as looking into a crystal ball, we'd all...

How COVID-19 inspired an entrepreneur to build Helping Hands Community: Interview with Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller spent the last 10 years of his career at the intersection of technology...

How to Shift Ahead Through Change: Interview with Allen Adamson

A noted industry expert in all disciplines of branding, Allen Adamson has worked with consumer...