November 30, 2022

B2B Marketing: Marketing shouldn't be about driving demand; it's about driving value (podcast episode #40)


Get ideas for SaaS marketing, overcoming imposter syndrome, and scaling up marketing, by listening to episode #40 of the How I Made It In Marketing podcast. I had a dynamic conversation with Tara Robertson, Chief Marketing Officer, Bitly.

Listen now to hear Robertson discuss focus and prioritization, the right way to start in a new role, and forming your own shine crew.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

B2B Marketing: Marketing shouldn't be about driving demand; it's about driving value (podcast episode #40)

This article was published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

“We don’t look deep enough; so, we don’t think deep enough,” Flint McGlaughlin teaches in Website Wireframes: 8 psychological elements that impact marketing conversion rates.

When I brought up this lesson with our latest guest, and the complex thinking that needs to go into our marketing, she said, “I love how you mentioned psychology because I think that is such a critical part of it…” and went on to share the deep thinking that must focus business strategy and prioritize the tasks necessary to achieve that strategy.

You can hear that lesson, and many more lesson-filled stories, from Tara Robertson, Chief Marketing Officer, Bitly, on this episode of the How I Made It In Marketing podcast.

Robertson has managed teams of 50 people in her career and is currently in charge of a team of 20 people (and growing).

Bitly has 10 million monthly website visitors. In 2017, Bitly raised $63 million in additional funding from Spectrum Equity, which gave the growth equity firm a majority stake in Bitly.

Listen to my conversation with Robertson using this embedded player or click through to your preferred audio streaming service using the links below it.


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Stories (with lessons) about what she made in marketing

Some lessons from Robertson that emerged in our discussion:

You don't know what you don't know.

Early in her career, Robertson dealt with what many growing leaders (and women) deal with: extreme levels of imposter syndrome and feeling like she had to have the answer. What she has learned is that not only does she not have the answers, but you can also surround yourself with amazing people that will help drive your success forward together. When you don't know, don't be afraid to say it (you can find out afterwards) and hire for strengths around you.

No one can do it all, especially leaders. Instead, she finds it's much more empowering to lead with empathy and humility.

When Robertson starts a new role, she enters through a lens of listening, a framework she learned from the book “The First 90 Days: Proven strategies for getting up to speed faster and smarter” by Michael D. Watkins.

Focus and prioritization are critical to your success.

As you grow in leadership you don't get less things on your plate, it's the opposite! And not only are you responsible for your time but you're also responsible for the teams you lead, and this can make or break the success of your results (both in culture and business performance). Robertson has burned herself out and fallen pretty hard a few times – including working way too much and not prioritizing herself or her family enough.

Those are nonstarters for her now and she hopes to lead with this at the forefront. In addition, there are always a million things you could do but only a few of the right things. You can't be afraid to take risks and try things that will make you stand out – but spend time building transparency and collaboration to brainstorm on the top things your team should be working on together. You also must balance big ideas with what you know is foundational to make your performance grow.

Figure out the table stakes and get those right and then go heavy on one big risk or initiative per quarter that can bring some tremendous success.

Robertson follows a rule of (up to) three with her team, focusing on sometimes just one but no more than three major priorities every quarter. This is a lesson she learned from Jamie Gilpin, the CMO of Sprout Social, when Robertson was part of scaling up marketing at the software company.

They started with a roadmap that at one point had 400 lines. They would sit in a room for hours going through it and debating it. Gilpin was able to bring process and rigor to the team and helped them focus across the business by following the rule of (up to) three for their business strategy and objectives.

Marketing shouldn't be about driving demand; it's about driving value.

Robertson strongly believes that marketing should be tied to revenue, however if you are just focused on the numbers and not spending time talking to customers, digging into what value you can help bring to them, and how to do that in a creative and compelling way, you're missing the mark (see “focus” above). If you can nail value, the rest will follow.

Stories (with lessons) about the people she made it with

Robertson also shared lessons she learned from the people she collaborated with:

Never be afraid to ask for help.

via Kyle Lacy. Lacy served as the SVP Marketing at Seismic, CMO at Lessonly, and VP Marketing at Openview just to name a few brands.

Early on in Robertson’s career in SaaS, she was lucky enough to speak at an event with Lacy and asked him if he would be open to helping her out as she figured her way through this crazy world of SaaS marketing.

He has become a close industry friend since and to this day they connect with each other constantly on growing marketing orgs, families, and many things. She is super thankful for having Lacy in her community and this relationship also led the way for starting to build a community around her that she can constantly learn from.

Form a shine crew.

via Georgiana Laudi, Joanna Wiebe, April Dunford, Talia Wolf, Claire Suellentrip, Els Aerts, Hana Abaza, Krista Seiden, Tiffany Da Silva, Flavilla Fongang, Marie Poulin, Asia Orangio, and Angie Schottmuller

Robertson is part of a network of incredible women that are in SaaS and have become her confidants, mentors, advisors, friends, and “all the things.” They had their annual mastermind meetup this year in Portugal.

Understand bias.

via Michelle Bess

Bess and Robertson worked together at Sprout Social where Bess was leading its efforts around DEI. Robertson served with Bess as one of the founding members on the company’s DEI leadership team and Bess taught Robertson so much (and continues to this day) around how to be a better ally and understand bias amongst so many things. Being involved in the DEI leadership team at Sprout opened her mind in so many ways and knowing this is a priority at Bitly was a huge draw to joining the company.

As a leader in the world today, especially in marketing where we are responsible for presenting a global brand, thinking from a DEI lens is just so important. Robertson is still learning everyday but is so thankful for people like Bess and Jackie Cureton on the leadership team at Bitly who take the responsibility for leading these teams.

Related content mentioned in this episode

MarketingSherpa – marketing case study articles

How I Made It In Marketing podcast

About this podcast

This podcast is not about marketing – it is about the marketer. It draws its inspiration from the Flint McGlaughlin quote, “The key to transformative marketing is a transformed marketer” from the Become a Marketer-Philosopher: Create and optimize high-converting webpages free digital marketing course.


Not ready for a listen yet? Interested in searching the conversation? No problem. Below is a tough transcript of our discussion.

Daniel Burstein: You can go to right now and I promise you this there are dozens, maybe hundreds of things that are not exactly how I wish they were. There are many more social networks we could be on or tools and tactics we could be using, if only, right. And your company? It's likely the same way, but it comes down to this reality. There are likely many more things that you could spend your team's time and budget on then you should spend those resources on. Or, as my next guest put it in her podcast, guest application focus and prioritization are critical to your success. So true. Joining us now to share the story behind that lesson, along with many more lesson filled stories, Tara Robertson, Chief Marketing Officer at Thanks for joining us, Tara.

Tara Robertson: Thank you so much for having me, Daniel. Excited to be here.

Daniel Burstein: And we're going have a fun conversation. I took a quick just cherry picking off your LinkedIn just so people understand your background you VP of Marketing at Hotjar. You were head of Customer Marketing at Sprout  Social. Chief Marketing Officer at Teamwork. Now you're Chief Marketing Officer at You've managed teams of more than 50. Right now you're managing a team of 20 and growing I understand. So if anyone's looking for a job, you might listen closely what you're saying. I think she's hiring and I'm sure everyone knows, but I'll just let you know with a little bit of data on has 10 million monthly website visitors and in 2017, Billy raised $63 million in additional funding from Spectrum Equity, which gave the growth equity firm a majority stake in But take us into your day there, Tara. What is your day like as Chief Marketing officer at

Tara Robertson: Oh, gosh. Well, it is crazy right now, especially busy. I just joined roughly two months ago, just nearing that two month mark. So I am deep in my 90 day plan. is on a really incredible journey right now. Most people know as shortened url’s but we've also invested in Lincoln Bio. We acquired a company that generates QR codes, QR code generator back in January. And so we're working on a pretty robust repositioning and branding overall overhaul for the product.

And so a day in the life for me right now is one, working on those branding campaigns, two thinking about integrating our different funnels together because we're deep in an acquisition. But three, because I'm early on working on the organizational design. So you mentioned we're hiring. We absolutely are. And a lot of that is because there's a lot that's going into what this next stage of will look like. And that includes really building out a robust marketing team specifically for how we're going to get to that next level. And so rolling up my sleeve, deep in the trenches of doing the work and also building the strategy with the amazing team that I serve.

Daniel Burstein: And the thing that Tara mentioned that will make any data driven marketer jealous, which she was telling me is was that there's so there's like billions of links shared so you can validate a test like instantly or something crazy?

Tara Robertson: It's crazy the amount of traffic that we get to’s site is millions on a monthly basis. In order to run in A/B test, for example, we only have to get to 5% traffic to get to statistical significance. And then obviously it takes some time to roll that out to make sure we don't break anything or have any crazy influx. But it's a really great place to play if you are into testing and product led growth or experimentation because of the amount of traffic that we get on an ongoing basis.

Daniel Burstein: We're going to mostly jump into lessons from Tara's career. But Tara if you’ve got some juicy tests to sprinkle in there that you just ran? Feel free to do that as well. So first we talk about the things that Tara made in marketing. That's a cool thing we get to do as marketers. Like I said, I've never been anything else. But if you're like, I don't know, a podiatrist or an actuary, I mean, are you really walking away making things? We make things. So let's look at the first lesson Tara made from some of the things she made. She said, You don't know what you don't know, so true. So Tara, how did you learn this lesson? I mean, it sounds like it's a painful lesson to learn. So what gave you that lesson?

Tara Robertson: That's the best way to put it. I learned that the hard way. Absolutely. I think the biggest thing is as a marketing leader and something that I see time and time again is people constantly reach out to me asking questions not just about strategy, but more so how do you balance the things or how do you walk into a boardroom and have the conversations?

And the way I learned this, like we said, was the hard way, In that when I was earlier on my career, much like many of us, struggled with imposter syndrome, didn't feel like I earned the seat at the table and that I was a fraud and I'd be found out. And so people would ask me questions that I would answer with probably the wrong answer, because I felt like I had to have the answer and then slowly try to backtrack. And it just made me more and more nervous.

I have a good example where I think back to one of my earlier on the career moves in where the CEO that I was working with was a really experienced marketer and would come to and ask me a bunch of questions on things when I was early in SaaS and I was still learning. And so it was often really, really challenging. And what I found is that I'd be waking up at 3:00 in the morning and checking my slack with my global teams, going to bed at 10:00 or 11:00 at night, checking my slack again with my global teams and feeling like I couldn't shut off because I was constantly trying to go in and answer the questions versus come back to the table and say, that's a great question. I don't know or Hey, let's hire for the roles that will help build the full marketing org versus feel like I needed to be able to do all the things or have all the answers.

And that's made me a stronger marketer. It's made me a stronger leader, is that when I look at organizational design, like we just talked about, I don't look for lookalikes. I actually look for people that are smarter than me in certain areas or that are really strong in areas that I know that we're going to need to invest in, because that's what makes a marketing org extremely strong, is the way that together we bring those results and if we all enter into the table with a fail forward mentality and I don't know what, I don't know, then together we can figure it out and get to a better result and not feel like we need to be sitting at the table and not have the answer, but instead know that we earned that seat at the table because we get the answers.

Daniel Burstein: Yes. The interesting thing you said is this started at a role when you were much younger at your first, you know, senior leadership role, you’ve had alot of leadership roles since then. You just came into, and I wonder, how did this affect how you came into, like what you did when you came into this role versus what you did when you came into that first role many roles ago.

So cause one of the things that really strikes me about what you said. I mean, I've lived this, too, used to be in a meeting, felt like I had to answer everything right away. And I didn't realize you could say like, well, let me get into that and get back to you. And you're talking about, I think many times working directly at the company. It's even harder when you have clients, right? When you have clients and you really feel on the spot. I will say the caveat to that is there are some things you should know, right? Like if you've got a number and whatever you're presenting, like you should know where it came from, right? There are certain things, but it's definitely a great thing to say in a meeting. I'm going to do some more research and get back to you. But, anyway, so you came into this role many roles ago. You kind of had that experience. Now you're coming into right now you're a Senior experienced leader. What do you do differently coming into this role?

Tara Robertson: Listen. Instead of doing, I think that is probably by far the most important thing that I would bring to the table is we can all walk into roles with preconceived notions or ideas on what we think is going to work. The reality is we have no idea because every business is different and every team is different. My previous CMO at Sprout Social, after I left, when  I first took on my first CMO sent me this book The First 90 Days. It's a really incredible book. I would highly recommend it to any listener if you're joining into any role, whether it's a CMO position or even a marketing manager position, because it gives you a framework to follow on how you can really enter into a position in that lens of listening. And so regardless of how much experience I have or what I've brought to the table or what I've learned, I have a very intentional listening plan that I've brought into, where I'll spend the first 30 days going on, you know, what I call the listening roadshow?

Ask everybody in marketing the same questions, ask everybody in our leadership team the same questions. And then I go through and parse a lot of that feedback and start to put some quantitative results behind the qualitative insights, to then come back and say, these are the most important things or the loudest things that are coming up across the entire business. And I think coming back to your question on what is that, how is that done differently in previous roles? You kind of come in and you think, I've just started this job. I've got to make an impact. If I can just start doing the work and show my impact, I'm going to start to grow that much faster. And that's actually the wrong thing to do. Because like we've mentioned, you don't necessarily know what the business needs until you can learn from the people that you're working with, regardless of if you're a startup or if your growth stage or if you're a large enterprise organization, you've got to spend the time doing the work and listening and really understanding and then putting together an intentional plan on how you drive that project forward.

Daniel Burstein: And is that where too you find out like where you're going to drill deeper? Right. You know, I think if we don't know what we don't know, I think of the layers we have where we can know something. So it's knowing the team or you talk about the A/B testing, knowing the customer, like figuring out where to drill down.

And here's a great example. So we've got a free digital marketing course and in the session on website wireframes Flint McGlaughlin teaches, we don't look deep enough, so we don't think deep enough. You know, I mean, we're just talking about a website wireframe there. We could think it's just a design and it's lines and it's colors or whatever. But really what is it? It's customer psychology. It's understanding. Okay? A customer has a pain or a goal. They come to this page. What do we need to do on this landing page? You know, it's getting into that depth. So can you give us any thoughts? You have examples of when it's like, okay, here's where, okay, there's some surface level things, but here's where I need to think deep. I need to go deep with the team. I need to go deep with myself to really understand this on a deeper level.

Tara Robertson: I love how you mentioned psychology because I think that is such a critical part of it. There's two things that you're really looking for. One is, again, it's the qualitative, it's the feelings, the things that are coming to the day to day, what are the things that are really struggling that we need to use in order to get us to the next level?

And so a good example, and this has been the case at almost every business I've worked at, process always needs some form of support. But you've got to make sure that the process is working for the people, not the other way around. And so when you walk in, is it because you've got too much process? Is it because you don't have enough process? But the common denominator is often, how are we prioritizing the most important things and how do we know they're the most important things? And I think that's where it combines with that second component, where you get those qualitative insights, but you have to match them with the quantitative. And I think that's where you're drilling into what are my results, what's important to the business, what's important to my CEO, my CFO, my boss is the President. What are the things that they're really looking at on the day to day and the numbers that we're presenting to the board. And how do those things match up together when it comes to what the team needs in order to become more successful and what the business needs in order to grow. And that's really where you're starting to put together that that roadmap that goes deeper into, okay, to get here, we need to actually fix this thing here.

Good example of something I've heard even at is that we need to have really good analytical rigor in how we're actually investing in the growth of the business. As I mentioned, brand campaigns, we want to invest a lot in how we're going to continue to grow the brand, but in order to do that, we need to have strong KPIs. We need to make sure that we're putting the right energy and effort behind the right campaigns versus just doing anything that comes in the door. And so the marketing team might say, I need resources, the leadership team might be saying I need an analytical rigor. How you match those things together is actually by showcasing, well, this is how many design hours we have versus what's being asked for and matching that process in a way again that it works for the people.

Daniel Burstein: And that’s great. You're talking about there is information, that's how many design hours we've had. I've heard many times the design team is overwhelmed. They're just simply overwhelmed. Right. But when you're kind of getting into that specifics and managing with that information versus trying to convince something of someone, I bet that works a lot better.

Tara Robertson: Absolutely.

Daniel Burstein: So that ties into really your next lesson here perfectly. And I felt this in my career. One thing I noticed, you know, I started out I've talked about in more like traditional media and I look at that is it's kind of like a more two dimensional life. Like, okay, we have these series of programs we're running in the Wall Street Journal or mailers we're doing or whatever they are. There's a media plan, there's a media schedule, for lack of a better word seemed like a lot of options at the time. There are less options now. It seems like a4d world where you can do anything, you know what I mean? And that leads to this challenge, focus and prioritization are critical to your success. So how did you learn this challenge? How do you live this?

Tara Robertson: Well, similar to the last question, I learned it the hard way. I think we all do. The biggest challenge, I think as marketers and you can say this for every department and I can only speak to my own bias and having only been in marketing in most of my career, but everyone kind of thinks that they're a marketer and everybody has really strong opinions about what they want marketing to be doing.

And so the challenge that comes with that is that you often have a million things coming in your direction and those things get even crazier and heavier and busier when numbers maybe aren't performing at the level that they need to be in order to keep up the rapid growth. And so I think a big part of that is that, one, you need to look at the data and look at the roadmap and the insights of what you're working on and make sure that you're investing in the things that you know you have to invest in. What is the recurring work that you need to consistently be doing in order to make sure that you're driving up certain behaviors, you're driving up certain data points and then match that with your big bets. And so if there's a big thing that you want to be rolling out or something that you want to talk about or start to run a campaign around, then that's something that you prioritize for around that recurring work.

Any new thing that comes in and this is where it's really working hard in how you're partnering with the rest of the business. You get really good at either A saying no or B saying, Hey, that's a great idea, but that great idea is going to take precedence over this other thing that we're working on, which is more important. And start to get in the habit of saying either A no or B, what's the trade off if you don't get into that position where I mentioned the hard scenario that we can all be in is that there's always a million things you can do in marketing, but there's really only one or two of those things that are going to actually matter to your business. And you don't want to turn into a throw of spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks scenario and lead with the data. Because if you don't do that, then you end up being in a position to where you're all running around. Don't have any focus or B you're burning out.

And I think we've all probably been in certain levels of burnout in our career. I mentioned earlier where I had those areas of leadership where I'd get up at 3 a.m. and I'd go to bed at 11 p.m., and that would repeat every single day because I was trying to do too much. And that's usually because we're trying to do too much because either A we're saying yes to too many things or B, we're not hiring at the level that we need to in order to keep up with the growth that you need for the business.

So it all really has to go hand in hand. And your job as a CMO or as a Marketing Leader is to own that roadmap and in some ways be the buffer to making sure that you set people in the right path. And if that path needs to move and pivot, that you also take the things out that make the space for the new things coming in.

Daniel Burstein: So I wonder if you have an example from a previous role. You mentioned this in the roadmap, like how you report out to the leadership team and just the greater company as a whole to do these things. Is there  a dashboard, you know, what are you doing to kind of get that information out there? Because I love what you said in the beginning, you know, everyone thinks they're a marketer.

It reminds me I was watching this interview with Jerry Seinfeld yesterday and he talked about going to kid's birthday parties and he talked about, you know, the worst part is when the clown will come up to him and give him like joke ideas. And it reminds me of like, yes, I've worked in organizations where everyone in the organization had marketing ideas, but even just people I knew socially had marketing ideas.

Like I had a friend who you know I was working for a digital B2B company and he's talking about this like great radio show on locally and how we should advertise on it. We don't know, we're in marketing, we were like get on that show you'll do great and it's like we're a digital B2B company that doesn't even have a local market. Like it would make no sense. But you know what I mean, it's hard to explain that type of stuff. So I wonder like how do you explain, how do you report that out, how do you communicate that?

Tara Robertson: Such a great question. You mentioned this already. Start with your dashboard. So big believer that marketing needs to tie back to revenue. Not everything that we do in every single campaign that we run has a direct line to revenue attribution. But if you're a marketer, you need to care about revenue because that's what you're driving for the business.

And then you start to have to start thinking about how you drive value out of that. And so you start with your dashboards and I think you mentioned communication that's critical. And so every week I'm reviewing both up, down and sideways to everyone. Here's where we're at with our numbers. Here’s where we’re on, here's where we're off, here's what we're doing to manage if we're moving off track.

And then from there, you use that data and those dashboards to then come up with, like I mentioned before, what are the recurring work? What's the recurring things that you need to do? A really good example, blog. A lot of people focus on building out their blog, building organic traffic and starting to drive that up. So what is your organic strategy? How often do you need to be posting? How often are your competitors posting? What are you using to drive that up? And then that again bleeds into your dashboard. That's looking at organic growth month over month.

Then there's the bets that we've talked about. And so I like to follow what you use as the rule of three. In where there's never really anything more than three top new priorities per quarter with the marketing team that you're working around that recurring work. And so foundationally you have to look at what are the things that we have to do, what are the resources that get those things done? That's critically important. That's always in your dashboard. And then you think about, okay, what are the big bets that we need to run? And sometimes those big bets require cross-functional collaboration with your product team, with your sales team or success team. And then a lot of your roadmap planning goes hand in hand with, say, I want to roll out and I've done this at a couple other companies before, a community or an education program. That's not something marketing can do by themselves. We need to be partnered with our Customer Success team, and we need to actually be working together with how this shows up in the product as well in order to make that launch get really put in place.

And so every quarter when we look at that annual plan that we're starting to put together, we often break it up based on how big that project is. So of your rule of three, that education program or that community might actually end up taking up three different quarters because one's your plan quarter, one's your build quarter and one's your launch quarter. And that means there aren't a lot of other things that we can do during those quarters based on the size of your marketing team, in order to get that level of effort put in, as well as the impact that you're looking to drive.

And then I think that goes in conjunction with your KPIs. So your dashboard is really what you're presenting to your leadership team. It's what you're looking at at a weekly basis, and it's those numbers that drive the overall revenue. Your big bet, you might not know what that's going to drive because it's brand new, but you sure should put down some kind of stake in the ground that says this is what I believe this is going to drive in the first few months. This is how we're going to measure and this is how we're going to test the impact of these different programs or campaigns so that you can start to get a baseline and then eventually build that into your dashboard as well. And so I think it really goes hand in hand in one, what are the things you have to do? And that's where your dashboard is critical. And then two, what are the things you're going to do?

And the last thing I would kind of lead with, because you asked the question about communication is I think a big part of my role, and this is something I've also learned over several years of working in marketing leadership positions is communication is actually one of the most important things that you do outside of setting the North Star and the strategy for the team. You can have the best strategy in the world, but if you haven't communicated it and generated buy-in from your peers across the business or from your CEO, then it really doesn't matter. And so using Billy as the example right now, I mentioned I kind of have this 90 day framework. I'm at 60 days and part of my 60-day point is communicating back both to the marketing team as well as the leadership team., hey, here's what I've heard. Here's the outcome of all those interviews that we read. Here's the data we're looking at and where we need to get more rigorous with our analytical insights into what we're doing. And here's some stuff that we need to invest in that we really haven't yet.

And before I make those changes, it's really critical that I'm working on communicating that again, both down, up and sideways so that there's buy-in from the whole business and where there's not buy-in we can have a conversation because my plan is only as good as what the rest of the company and team is going to be doing as well. And so that communication starts and continues weekly in the way that we build those relationships out.

Daniel Burstein: Imagine that, as marketers, we should market internally too. Sometimes we are so focused externally, we forget that, right? One of the things I really like what you're talking about is it seems like almost like a limited inventory. And I think that is a challenge that marketers have had and that I've seen in the shift from traditional to digital.

So, in traditional, you know, the inventory was limited by there's this many spots on that TV network or there's this much inventory, you know, for media buying in that newspaper or whatever it is. And that that necessarily set this cap of like, okay, there's only so much that can be done here. But as things shifted to digital, well there's unlimited digital inventory. There's also unlimited things we can do on our own. We could, you know, build new software, we could build new things in a website, launch these new content initiatives.

So like what you're doing is saying, okay, this is our goal.There is going to be three big thing because if we prioritize ten things, we probably didn't prioritize. And so you've limited that inventory. And I imagine let me maybe you have an example of this, you force some choices, right? Because I imagine when you're picking those three, then it's with the rest of the leadership team, with the rest of the company focusing on like, well, we can’t have five or four we don't think so, you know, which of these five should let's narrow it down. Does that kind of happen?

Tara Robertson: Absolutely. I think I probably learned the most about this when we were scaling marketing at Sprout Social because when we were building out our marketing leadership team and, you know, our CMO at the time, Jamie Gilpin still a very good friend of mine and a mentor and I talk to her almost every week with random questions and is absolutely wonderful.

And so what was funny is as we were going through building out our marketing leadership team, what we found is that we started with a road map at one point that had 400 lines in it of different things that we were doing in marketing. Product marketing wanted to do this, customer marketing did that,  acquisition this brand. And we would sit in this room, we would hours and hours and hours of going back and forth on all the things we wanted to do.

And you'd see by the end of the session, everyone glazing over and all of us were just exhausted and Jamie was able to bring some really good process and rigor to the team in helping break down this idea of focus across the business. This is something that we didn't normally do in marketing. We did it across the whole business at Sprout really is really introducing this rule of three to rule of one, there's a lot of different rules you can use. So while we say three, it's no more than three. Sometimes it's only one. And it's really about what is the level of effort that needs to go into these big bets? And those are things that do cascade through the business as part of the business strategic priorities. But those sessions went from 400 different lines and spreadsheets to actually having to sit in a room. And again, we'd eventually glaze over because this work is hard. But for each of us coming to the table with, these are the resources I need, this is the thing that I'm looking to move. And here's the thing that I want to run. And then we would just debate and talk through what are the things that we want to put a lot of effort in, what can we put less effort in but still achieve the same impact?

And that became a conversation the entire marketing leadership team would have to have together versus everyone coming in and wanting to, you know, launch their one big thing and then suddenly we're putting all this strain on our designers, our developers, our copywriters and our teams because we aren't aligned from the top. And I think that starts one, within your team and department, but also within your business. And I think that's something that really drew me to is that this idea of focus and strategic priorities and making sure that we're all aligned on the most important thing and the most important narrative, that we can then cascade down and then back up. It's just so critical because if you find yourself in a position where you have 400 different initiatives and we all probably have them, you'll never get any of them done brilliantly. And it's really about doing great work with the best impact, which means that you do have to have those trade offs.

Daniel Burstein: And I think some place that focus and prioritization can pay off is really with your next lesson, which when I'm going to read it, it's going to sound good, we're all going to agree with it. But a very difficult thing to do. Marketing shouldn't be about driving demand, it's about driving value. Again, easier said than done. So how have you learned that lesson?

Tara Robertson: I think kind of getting back to this previous conversation around focus and prioritization, leading with the data is so important. I've been so lucky throughout my career to meet a ton of people and learn from some incredible growth consultants and experts in the conversion rate optimization space. And a lot of what I've been able to learn and take to teams is how we look at data again, both quantitatively but also qualitatively and starting to understand not just what we want people to do, but why they do it in the first place. Starting to look at things like applying jobs to be done to the way that we look at our overall customer lifecycle journeys or the way that we think about what is the value that people are coming and purchasing our product or buying our service for to begin with. And that's why they buy. They don't buy because you're the best at X. They buy because they're buying a better version of themselves to some form or degree, whether it's, you know, what's going to help them spend less time in the day or what's going to help them feel better about what they're able to present to their leaders. It really doesn't matter what is the thing, it's the why people do the things that they do.

And we have to remember that we're not marketing to businesses if we're B2C or consumers if we're B2C, we're marketing to humans. And we all fundamentally are looking for value in the things that we purchase. And so while I would say that marketing is not about driving demand, it's about driving value, it's really about don't think about the number that you need to drive from demand, because if you're just focused on that number, you get so quantitative and so focused on just executing the next campaign or what is the next idea that you're missing the point. And if you focus on value first and take all that upfront work and customer research to understand your buyers why they buy, what are the things that they connect with, then you're actually going to get incredible demand and so value has to come first. I'm not saying you don't do demand. We all need demand. That's what we do. But if you start with value, you will then in turn drive demand. It's not the other way around.

Daniel Burstein: That's such a good lesson. And I wonder if you have an example of talking to customers or where you really kind of learning this like directly from them? Because one thing I've seen you mentioned before about as an example, launching a blog, right? You launch a blog. Why do we launch it? Well, because we want this many leads a month or something like that. And I think that's what you're talking about in terms of driving demand, where we overlook the fact that nothing is going to happen without that value, right. And that's kind of the blinders we get on as marketers because we have this certain goal we always have to start with, wait a minute, wait a minute. Why should this blog even exist in the first place? Maybe it's free, but it really needs to be a product. It needs to exist for a reason. That reason is to provide value for someone in some way. And then we can say, okay, and from that we can get some demand.

But I've seen so many times that I've seen this a lot in content marketing. There's many other initiatives too, but you mentioned blog is it just focus is so much on the we need to get this many leads. We need to get this money for whatever it is versus why on earth would anyone see value in this. Let's create that value first. So I wonder from your experience building a program, have you really talked to customers and really got that good understanding of, okay, this is the value we need to really create before we get into, you know, pushing towards that demand?

Tara Robertson: Absolutely. I've got a couple of different examples here. I'll start with one at Sprout Social. When I first joined the team, it was actually to join and build out the agency partner program. So kind of molding together my experience in both SaaS and working in an agency specifically and a lot of people sprout included, look at companies like HubSpot and think, Wow, how do I generate 50% of my revenue from my agency base? Let's build an agency partner program and start to build a reseller program. And so when I first joined in, the first thing I could have done is what we've talked about is like, okay, how do we generate demand? How do we just mimic what other big SaaS companies like HubSpot have done and build a agency ecosystem for resellers?

So I chose not to do that which actually, thank goodness, because what I actually started with is joining and walking in the door and interviewed customers. I surveyed customers, I talked to a lot of our install base and what we actually started to find out is that it wasn't about even generating a reseller program. It was that these customers were using our product in a completely different way and everything down to even our pricing model wasn't conducive to how this specific segment worked.

And so by spending that time with those customers, what we were able to do is launch an early founding member program and adjusted and tested out a few different pricing models that gave them the opportunity to start lower but grow with us as a product. And what we saw just by spending two months, only two months in surveying, interviewing, digging into the data, starting to look at some cohorts within the product by doing a lot of that upfront work. We saw millions of revenue attribution right out of the gate in launching the program once we got it live. And so I would say that would be something that we probably really would have struggled for a couple of years if we just mimicked what a lot of other companies or best practices have done. Because what was unique to that specific install base was unique to that specific install base.

I'll give another example if we've got time to dig in on when we were working at Teamwork. What we actually were finding too is that teamwork is a project management software and that is a very, very crowded space. There's a lot of different competitors out there, some of which have received hundreds of million dollars of funding. And we were going for our first round of funding and dug into a lot of our customer research and data. And what we found, interestingly enough, is that the agency segment was also the most impactful segment that not only bought but also stayed with us for a long time. And so we started to build a very specific ideal customer profile model in how we did a lot of our rebranding, how we focused on a lot of our content consumption, how we started to invest, like you mentioned, our blog around value versus just keywords. And what we found by actually building out a lot of our focused messaging and positioning around our ICP, is that we really started to attract the right audiences, and that was driving growth not just in the right direction, you know, up in to the right from a demand perspective. But those customers were staying with us and the customer lifetime value became a lot stickier because we were now attracting the right people by going and leaning in to what were the most the best use cases within that customer base.

Daniel Burstein: I think that commonality, what you said, which I love, is the humanity. Like understand the humanity like, oh my gosh, keyword versus actually like, okay, understanding people how we can serve them or in your first example is great. That's another blinder you know, I talked about, you know, one of the blinders we put on is like, well  what do we want, that demand we want? The other blinder is the competition. Oh, my gosh I've seen so many marketers, well why are you doing this? Well, the bigger competition's doing it. Let's do it. So imagine actually talking to the people and seeing what they want. I love that.

Speaking of people, so the first half of the podcast, we talk about the lessons you learn from things you made. Second half of the podcast, we talk about lessons you learn from the people that you have collaborated with because that's what we get to do as marketers. We get to make things and we get to make it with people. So the first lesson you say is never be afraid to ask for help. And you learned this from Kyle Lacy, who served as the SVP of marketing at Seismic, CMO at Lessonly, and  VP of Marketing at OpenView to name just a few brands. So how did you learn this from Kyle? Never be afraid to ask for help.

Tara Robertson: Similar to our previous questions the hard way. So when I first met Kyle, Kyle and I were and Hi Kyle, if you're listening, he's one of my favorite people. When I was early on in my career in Saas, when I was the VP of Marketing at Hotjar, Kyle and I both spoke at an event together, and I remember watching Kyle presenting and was like, Wow, when I when I grow up, I want to be like Kyle because he had so much experience. He was so strong as a marketing leader at that point. He was the VP of Marketing at OpenView, which is a well known investment firm and previously had worked at ExactTarget, which acquired Salesforce, and I was new to SaaS.

Daniel Burstein: Just to be. Clear, I think Salesforce acquired ExactTarget.

Tara Robertson: Oh, yes. I'm sorry. Thank you. Thank you for that. Not the other way around.  And so what I was getting back to with that is that I was brand new to SaaS at that point. I come from the agency space I worked in the other side where we were resellers but you know, hadn't actually taken on a role leading a marketing organization within the SaaS industry. And so, you know, I was looking for a mentor, reached out to Kyle with my head between my legs, really kind of nervous saying like, Hey, will you mentor me because you've seen this story before. And I'll never forget Kyle at the time looked back and he's like, No, I'm not going to mentor you because I don't really bring on mentors, but you know what we'll do? We'll network. We're going to share things with each other. We're going to spend some time getting to know each other. And to this day, so many years later, Kyle and I still talk weekly, whether it's over social, you know, whether it's, you know, we're looking for new gigs. I let him know when I was potentially taking the job at and ask for some of his advice and vice versa.

It really just started an incredible friendship which taught me when you see people that you admire and you see people that are doing the things that you want to do, you know, don't be afraid to go out and just ask them. Because often in the same way we've talked about marketing to people, we also are learning from people and I would not be where I am in my career if it weren't for people like Kyle that are in my corner helping just kind of talk through the day to day.

I mentioned Jamie earlier too my previous CMO at Sprout Social. You know, she is an incredible friend of mine that I've continued to connect with and reach out to, and I'll do the same if people reach out to me and say, Hey, I'm new my career and I'm looking to learn, you know, would you be willing to hop on a call? The answer is always yes. You know I might not be able to do it right away because we all have a lot of things on our busy schedules. But, you know, the things that people like Kyle, like Jamie, like others have helped me out in my career are things that, you know, I continue to want to pay it forward and you don't need to do that in a formal mentorship model.

It's really about networking and connecting and learning because, you know, getting back to you don't know what you don't know, being a part of a community, there's lots of people that have seen the same stories that you're trying to play. And even if you do think, you know, there's still other ways that you can do those things. So it's really great to have people in your network that you can continue to connect with and learn from. And you can't be afraid to ask.

Daniel Burstein: Not just marketing to people, marketing with people. Well, I think that ties great into our next lesson, you said form a Shine Crew, and I want to shout out the members in your Shine Crew, and if I get anyone's name wrong, feel free to correct me. We got Georgiana Laudi, Joanna Wiebe, April Dunford, Talia Wolf, Claire Suellentrip, Els Aerts, Hana Abaza, Krista Seiden, Tiffany Da Silva, Flavilla Fongang, Marie Poulin, Asia Orangio, and Angie Schottmuller. And so I got to admit, I had never heard of shine crew but it sounded cool. So I went to the Google and the first thing I saw there, Tiffany Da Silva had written a nice article on Medium explaining it. So I wonder if you could kind of explain to us, like the origin story behind the shine crew, what is this? And how did you and all of these wonderful people form it?

Tara Robertson: Yeah. So I was a lucky edition to the Shine Crew. I wasn't part of the initial Shine Crew when they first came in, but we actually were just talking about this story. Two weeks ago we had our annual meet up. We all got together in Portugal, which is always a fun mastermind of bringing the Shine Crew together, where we talk about work, we talk about life, we talk about all the things. And these women in so many ways have become some of my best friends. And they live all over the world. And so part of how the Shine Crew came to be about was similar to what we've talked about in our first question. You know, a lot of these women, if you know them, you know that they are incredibly successful, amazing, powerful and just really incredible women across the board.

If you don't, look them up because they are amazing, incredible women across the board. They've written books, they've started businesses, they've worked in leadership roles at top brands. And they all went through the same things I did. We all struggle with imposter syndrome at certain points. A lot of them were looking at building their own businesses and trying to figure out, Okay, well, how do you charge for a consulting fee or just two weeks ago, there are several members of the Shine Crew putting out their first books and they're talking about, okay, did you use a ghostwriter? Are you writing it on your own? How did you promote your book? What was your launch plan? And so a lot of what I think we've all dealt with in the day to day of building our businesses on the outside, you see these women and you think, gosh, they're so successful, they must have it all. They must have it all together and know what they're doing.

And at the end of the day, part of the reason that these Shine Crews exist is that this is a place for us not only to learn from each other, but to also be vulnerable. And I think that's the origin story of how the Shine Crew initially came together. How I got brought into the Shine Crew is I knew a lot of these individuals separately through growing out in my career and got invited to join in. And I felt like I suddenly got opened up to join part of the Cool Kids Club because they are just a bunch of women that I really, really, truly admired that I feel so honored to say are some of my closest friends now. But, you know, we are all learning from each other every single day, which is just so great to have and it's so nice to have a community of people that you can reach out to and talk about whether it's, you know, what's happening right now in Google, to then I had a baby and I don't know what I'm doing. And so there are certain components that we can all kind of bring to the table to continue to be in each other's corner.

Daniel Burstein: You know, there's I really appreciate you talking openly and transparently about because you see someone successful like yourself, seeing them at now in these leadership roles. You think they've got it all figured out. I think you've as you mentioned, hopefully as you're got into you have roles, especially earlier in your career, but still, you know, figuring things out.

And so I wonder how this has affected how you've brought people onto your team in your leadership roles, especially people who are earlier in their career? Because I mean, this is something I noticed early in my career, too, you know, when I first worked at like with very big companies, I was like so intimidated these major brands, these major companies.And you start talking to people and you're like, Oh, well, I mean, there are some very smart people but it’s like they don't have it all figured out either. In fact, there's is I'm probably going to mess up this quote, but I heard Barack Obama before say, you know, Barack Obama went from community organizer to leader of the free world and he's like, you know what? The people in the room didn't really change, you know, he's like, Yeah, there were a smart group of people. When I was community organizer, there were some smart people, people that didn't have it figured out either. And really, when leader of the free world, President, you know, not everyone's got it figured out at that point either. So I wonder, you know, how is your journey affected? How now you are in a position to bring other people up through their journey?

Tara Robertson: Oh, it's such a good question. Well, I'm a huge believer in servant leadership first. So I believe that, you know, we aren't here to tell people what to do. We're here to serve the teams that we're working with. And you've got to let people fail. But in order to let them fail, you have to create a safe and a brave space to try. And so one of the most important things I think you have to bring to your marketing team that has helped me, is empathy. You have to have empathy with the people that you're working with, the people that you're working for, and get to know people you know, people want to connect with people and that is true in what we do in work, it's true in what we do at home. We can be introverted, we can be extroverted, but at the same time, that connection is so important that makes the hard stuff way easier. Because growth is hard, business is hard, you know, everything that we work on in the day to day and you'll often hear, I think a lot of people will always use this term, Oh it's not rocket science here, we're not curing cancer. And that is so true. But it doesn't mean that it's not stressful sometimes.

But I think if you spend the time being empathetic and learning about who the person is on the other end that you're talking to, especially now that so many people are remote and we're having to learn how to build relationships over a screen, it makes it that much more important to get to know the person so that when things get hard and you have to have the tough conversations, you know what place you're coming from.

I think earlier on in my career, I am very much a doer and very much, you know, I'll jump right in and I'm super master of efficiency. I start my day and I end my day and I go, go, go so that I can try to spend time with my kids in the evenings. And I will never forget the story where my husband came home. And he's a very different person than me, very introverted, very much kind of would go. And he was a web developer before he stayed home with the kids and he came home really flustered from work some day and  was like, people tell me to do work all day long and they never ask me how my day was.

And I'm on the other end thinking, Oh my gosh, you've got to ask somebody how their day is. Because I kind of just go and that's how I work. And what I learned from that moment is similar to your question of what I've learned from all these other people I've worked with or how I lead with teams is we are all so different. I don't mind if somebody comes in and throws a quick slack at me and says, Can you do this thing? But there's probably a big percent of my team that wants to have somebody first say like, Hey, how's your day? And I care about how their day is. It's never that I don't care about it. It's just that we're different. And so take the time to have that empathy, to understand what people are bringing with them to the day to day, to understand how they work, how they like to work, what you're working styles are together, and then as you dig in, it becomes a lot easier to do everything else.

Daniel Burstein: That is such a good point. One of the great quotes I've heard, I don’t know who said it is, don't treat other people how you want to be treated. Treat other people how they want to be treated.

Tara Robertson: Absolutely.

Daniel Burstein: And that's such a hard thing to learn, too, is that, you know, when you're getting into leadership early, they always thought, well, here's the thing I would want. So I would think other people would want it, right? So like, I'm a content person. I love content. And so like if I had a chance to present somewhere, like be in a podcast or a video or something, I'd be super excited. That's a great opportunity I'd want. I won't be doing these boring spreadsheets. I won't be doing that. But then, you know, once I started working with more varied teams, I kind of had to learn that. I'm like, Hey, there's a great you could write a blog post. You could, you know, come on, speak on this webinar with me. Speak, just speak to this college class with me. And I'd be like, this is such a great opportunity for you. That I realized some of those people, they wanted nothing to do with that. What they wanted was they wanted to get a giant spreadsheet and look at all this data and find, you know, some insights from it.

And so that was a really early lesson. And so what I found to learn is like there's like kind of this Venn diagram, this overlap between that which the organization needs to do to be a profitable and successful organization, and that which excites that individual, they're passionate and very skilled at it and it will never overlap 100%, right. But the more we can overlap that, the better that person's career is going to be, the more the more fulfillment they'll have and the more successful they'll be for the organization.

Tara Robertson: Totally. Yeah. And I would just add, you cannot underestimate the importance of that work because especially even when you think about not just within your team, the people that you work with on the day to day, the people you need to collaborate with and the people that they work with and the people they're collaborating with. That communication is just so important and it's one of the most important things that you do as a leader outside of driving the business.

I once worked for a company that said, You know, we're not here to have fun. We're here to do work. That doesn't work. And I think I've worked for companies that have been the other way around where there are people first and those are the ones that are succeeding and the ones that are growing. And so I think as a leader, making sure that you show up and that you spend time getting to know one another and getting to know the work, you're not just doing that for the sake of doing it, like you're doing that to build a connection. Why would we not want to have fun and do that work together because that makes the hard things much more fun.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. And I think especially in a profession like ours which is such an odd profession when you think about it, because like we are creating things that have never existed before in the world, you know, like we just say, Oh, it's a marketing campaign and you've got your ad and your message and your brand and your whatever app or whatever. But really, I mean, this is that act of creation. And you know, when I think about like I look at it as an almost holy thing, I mean, it connects to me, connects to Ernest Hemingway and William Shakespeare and Maya Angelou and all these great creators of the world. And that's who we are, too.

And so I think a lot of times the legacy of manufacturing organizations and these different organizations in the early parts of our economy have still been with us and are with us today, although that is such a different type of work than what we do, right. And that's the type of work where it's like the productive capacity of the individual is so important. There's that repetitive thing they need to do and keep doing it. And that's where work isn't fun, you know, or maybe to me it wouldn’t be right, just getting it out. But if we can make work fun and tap into those people and tap into the best of them, then maybe we could do this really weird and awesome and beautiful and odd thing we do and like create value for people going back to your original lesson.

Tara Robertson: Yeah, and I'll add one more thing to that too, which I've done at every business I've worked on. There's lots of different personality tests that you can do in businesses, one that I absolutely love is Strengths Finder, and that's with every marketing org that I've ever worked on we'll all go through doing our Strengths Finder, figuring out what our top five strengths are. And it's not necessarily to figure it out for you, but it's to figure out how do we work with the people we work with.

I had this one person that used to work on my team. She was incredible, but she really needed to understand the full picture of what was going on, even if it wasn't in her discipline. And once we dug into the strengths and we understood, Oh, context is your number one. Context is really important to how you get your job done. But hey, you're really good at context and this other person, you know, is really good at this really competing strength. What if you both worked together on this initiative that maybe wasn't the day to day stuff you're doing, but like, let's help dig in to somebody that has context but is also futuristic or strategic. And that is where you create the magic. And so how do you get to know each other and the strengths that you build into the team? Focus less on the weaknesses. I don't like weaknesses because it's not necessarily about what you're not good at, it's what you're good at, and this person sitting next to you is really good at and how those things partner to get to the best outcome.

Daniel Burstein: Well, Tara, I think you hit on why half of the podcast is about collaboration, right? It has to be because we have to collaborate to be able to create and do these things. And I think it really ties into the last lesson you wanted to talk about, which was do the work. Do the work. I love that when you're talking about do the work. You mean do the work with people. You mentioned you learned this from Michelle Bess and Jackie Cureton. And how did you learn this?

Tara Robertson: Yeah. So when I mentioned Michelle Best and Jackie Cureton, Michelle was the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Sprout Social. Jackie is our VP of Diversity Equity and Inclusion specifically at And when I'm talking about doing the work, it's about understanding bias, understanding what's happening in the workplace, and to make sure that those are things that we're bringing to the table, not just along with what we're doing and not just with who we're working with, but really the importance of diversity and inclusion also in the workplace, and the opportunity that we have within our industry in a lot of ways to help make this a better world for the people that we're working with.

And you know, I've learned so much from them because as a privileged white woman growing up, you know, I've had a lot of opportunity that's been presented to me wherein other colleagues of mine that are maybe people of color or come from underrepresented communities have not. And I think I took that for granted in the first part of my career because I hadn't done the work that, you know, I've learned from people like Michelle and Jackie who have dedicated their career to helping others really understand the importance of DEI in the workplace and the importance of creating opportunities. And also thinking about bias in ways that we might not traditionally think about it. How do we show up as a brand when we think about the inclusive language that we're using on our website or the videos that we're creating? Do they have subtitles and all of the components to make sure that we're also really connecting with the entire world, not just with, you know, people of privilege?

Daniel Burstein: Well, I think part of that, do the work, especially when it comes to being a marketing leader specifically, is doing the work to really get to know the people that you work with, that work on your team and, you know, working remotely, that has become so hard. We you know, we mentioned you're in Vermont right now. You're talking from your house and you've been working remote since before it was cool. And I'll tell you one thing I've noticed, you know working remote since the COVID days is, it's so much easier for it to become transactional you know I mean. It was so much easier to let's say do the work to really get to know someone in their background and what they're about and all these things beyond their just work skills. You know, when we were in the office together, when you can just easily go to lunch or just have these side conversations. Or even just see someone in the shirt they're wearing or what they're into.

And so I wonder if you've learned anything from your you know, you're an old school remote worker compared to many of us who started during COVID. So how have you  done the work to really kind of get to know your team and the people you work with, working there in Vermont, working out of your house?

Tara Robertson: Yeah, and I think, so remote is it’s so fascinating because I remember back to the first year of the pandemic and everybody was going through this, Oh, man, this is so hard. I feel so isolated. And I felt really guilty because I had this moment of thinking, they see me, they all understand now because I've been remote for so long. And there was always this perspective that being remote meant that you had so much more flexibility or, you know, you almost had this other experience that you can bring to the table that puts you in a much better place.

And then suddenly everyone was remote and was like, Oh, wow, this is hard. Then you add in all of the complexity of what's been going on in our world over the last few years between COVID, between, you know, what's been going on globally within the US with the George Floyd and then what's been going on with Russia and Ukraine. It's very, very heavy stuff. And I think those are things that as a business we have a very specific obligation to make sure that we don't shy away from those conversations because the people that we work with, they're feeling it and they're experiencing this and they're bringing it with them to the table.

And I think we talked about this before, but when you're showing up on a hangout or if you're showing up on a zoom call or however you're showing up, you're showing up with all those things that you're bringing with you. And then there's extreme level of isolation because you're sitting by yourself in your room and you don't really get to have that watercooler conversation after you hang up the phone or that smile and laugh in the hallway, you just kind of have a heavy conversation and then you drop the mic and then you're sitting there by yourself and thinking, what just happened?

Whether you're talking about business results, whether you're talking about something that's happening in the world or whether you're not and you're just feeling all those things. And so I think that those are things that, you know, it's really important that we show up and we talk about it in a way that helps create a similar, a brave space for people to be able to connect with each other. Because we are people and we are experiencing everything we're doing at work and we're experiencing everything that we have outside of work, and those are who we are and that we're bringing to the table. And I think it's something that's just so important that we also recognize that when you come from a privileged background, it's almost that much easier for us to not do the work in some ways, wherein I think recently we had a really important bias training at and we had this great conversation happening between two individuals where one individual from, you know, a separate country was saying, oh, well, you know, it's been so interesting and fascinating for me to be able to pick up a book and learn. And the other person on the other end is a person of color who said, like, I don't have the option to just pick up a book,  I live that every single day. And I think those are the things that as we're bringing this to the table and having those conversations with each other, it's helping us become better humans and better leaders because we're starting to drive better empathy into what we do in the day to day, but also recognize the importance of showing up.

Daniel Burstein: And I mean, shouldn’t marketers be at the forefront of this? Because this is essentially what we need to do with our customers as well, too, right. Is do that work to understand this customer. I mean, it's very rare in my career that I've been in the same, that I've been in the ideal customers that occasionally I have. And that's either because they've been far more privileged and wealthy. And, you know, you know, I've written for second and third and fourth ski in ski out condoes in the Vail Valley and that was definitely a whole different thing to figure them out. Or it's been in the other direction. And so I wonder you mentioned in terms of other employees, but is there anything you've done too to just try to get yourself in the shoes of the customer to feel like what that is, to do that work?

Tara Robertson: Yeah, that's a great question. I think yes and, I would say is my answer. I think as marketers, absolutely as leaders, even more so, because we need to think about this both internally and then externally. As marketers I would say specifically, yes,  with our customer research. But I mentioned before certain things like how we show up as a brand, if it's important. A good example is a lot of brands during Pride Month will go ahead and change their logo to a Rainbow logo. Now that's become something that's extremely controversial in the LGBTQ community, specifically because those companies don't show up the rest of the year and they're not showcasing who they are as a business or how they're actually investing in their diversity, equity and inclusion programs overall.

And so I would urge marketers that if you are looking at this as a component to continue to drive demand, right, that's not the right reason to do it. Don't just change a logo and say, hey, we support pride. Focus on the way that your thinking about inclusion within the way that your brand is showing up or that you're showcasing you know that you've got a different tonality to the way that you're thinking about the people you're connecting with. Or if you're a global business, you know, making sure that you're understanding global differentiation between, you know, the localization networks.

And so I think it's one, making sure that you're doing it for the right reason and that you're actually focusing on doing when we say do the work, it's about, you know, making sure that you're walking in without a perceived notion or that you recognize that we all have bias, but we all want to learn. And to actually spend the time learning, listen to podcasts, read some books, talk to people in the community, and start to learn about how we can take this and you know, really that into the market in a better way.

Daniel Burstein: Well, thank you, Tara. We've talked about so many different things about what it means to be a marketer. If you had to just break it down, what are the key qualities of an effective marketer?

Tara Robertson: So I would say two are probably the ones that come to mind for me. One which we've talked about, empathy is huge. And when I think about empathy, it's really understanding your customers, really understanding the value that you can bring to them. And what is the unique differentiator within, you know your product, your service, your business that you can drive and that starts and ends with really being empathetic.

And then the second is data. You have to really understand data as a marketer and dig in to understand the impact of what you can drive. And so, you know, we came back to before saying that marketing is really about driving revenue. You can be a creative and still care about data. If you want to understand, we've talked about testing before. Some of my favorite designers of the people that come in and they want to know of the website test that I just ran, how did they perform? How did my design impact that? What are the things that people are looking at or clicking on? And so I think you've got to connect your empathetic side with your data driven side to really understand the outcome.

And if you aren't someone that leads with spreadsheets, that's okay. I wasn't initially someone that led with spreadsheets. I had to learn that and I think that's something that you still need to be data curious to understand the impact of what you're driving. And so connect those two together, which sounds easy. It's not. It's really hard partner with the people that are really strong empaths with the people that are really strong data driven marketers. And you'll strive towards great success.

Daniel Burstein: And I like that. I like data curious. That's just a good word. I got to remember that. Well, thank you so much, Tara. I learned so much from you today. I really appreciate the time you took.

Tara Robertson: Great. Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.

Daniel Burstein: Thanks to everyone for listening.

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