Get ideas for using the agile methodology, brand storytelling, and observation in marketing by listening to episode #57 of the How I Made It In Marketing podcast. Hear the unique perspective of Christina Martin, Executive Director of Marketing for Chase Auto, JP Morgan Chase and Company.
Listen now to hear Martin discuss approaching her career like a marketing engineer, finding your marketing North Star, and staying close to the well head.
The How I Made It In Marketing podcast is underwritten by MECLABS Institute, the parent organization of MarketingSherpa. To learn how MECLABS Services can help you get better business results from deeper customer understanding, visit MECLABS.com/results.
Hold a newspaper or magazine or other reading material right up to your face. I mean touching your nose close. Way too close.
What do you read? Nothing. It’s all a blur, right?
Now hold it at a comfortable distance. Everything comes into focus.
This is the perfect analogy for a challenge many marketers face. When it comes to an audience at arm’s length – namely, our current and potential customers – we are practiced at using our communication skills to help them understand the perceived value of our products and overcome any possible anxiety.
But the group of people we are closest to – the ones working inside the very same walls as us, so to speak – our colleagues. We can overlook the necessity of understanding their possible anxieties, the non-monetary costs they face, and help them understand the process-level value proposition for actions they need to take.
We can be so focused on doing the thing, we overlook communicating why others should join us in getting it done.
Or as our next guest puts it, “change agents need broad support.”
I talked to Christina Martin, Executive Director of Marketing for Chase Auto, JP Morgan Chase and Company, on the latest episode of the How I Made It In Marketing podcast to hear the story behind that lesson, along with many more lesson-filled stories.
Martin manages a team of six engaged in B2C marketing for Chase Auto.
JP Morgan Chase has $3.7 trillion in assets and $292 billion in stockholders’ equity as of December 31, 2022. One out of every two households in America have a relationship with JP Morgan Chase.
“I still get amazed when I get an email and it says Jamie Dimon in my email. I kind of have to pinch myself a little bit. I tell everyone when I went to work for Chase, I said, ‘I've never played minor league baseball, but I kind of know the feeling of getting called up to the big leagues,’” Martin said.
Listen to our conversation using this embedded player or click through to your preferred audio streaming service using the links below it.
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Some lessons from Martin that emerged in our discussion:
Martin recently left USAA to join JP Morgan Chase, working for Chase Auto as the head of Consumer Marketing. Most of her career has been in established companies with recent roles at USAA and now Chase, brands over 100 years old. Like most new roles, the on-boarding process starts with discovery – history lessons and asking lots of questions around the strategy, tactics in market, historical performance, both what’s working and what’s not, etc. Then, the pivot to addressing why you were hired.
Before we get to Wile E. Coyote specifically, a semi-related lesson is around finding your marketing North Star. She has learned, after some career false starts, that she likes to build marketing things – new campaigns, new programs, hire teams, etc. She says, “I’m a Marketing Engineer.” During the job hunt process, the first question she asks of the recruiter/hiring manager is literally these words, “is this a run-the-railroad job, or a build-the-railroad job?”
She specifically looks for roles that are either new marketing roles in the company, marketing new product lines, or marketing opportunities in companies that are undergoing a transformation. One piece of advice she gives marketers early in their careers is to experience the diversity of the marketing discipline. She recommends seeking rotational programs, agency work with a broad range of clients, and/or skills-based volunteer opportunities to help you figure out your marketing North Star and then seek roles that align. Also, hiring managers should be open to letting junior employees shadow other roles and encourage finding mentors in different areas of marketing.
OK, back to Wile E. Coyote; her career lesson applies to starting a new role – lookout for Wile E. Coyote. This is the person that tells the company history of how an idea was attempted once, it didn’t succeed, and then abandoned, discouraging any attempt at iteration/optimization. What if Wile E. Coyote had done a postmortem on riding a rocket in his pursuit of the roadrunner, which resulted in hitting the side of the mountain? He may have determined that buying the Acme rocket with the steering wheel could have resulted in the ability to avoid the mountain, thus resulting in a meal of juicy roadrunner!
The mantra of “we tried that . . .” has been heard at just about every new role she had and stories of Wile E. Coyote moments – “non-brand paid search doesn’t work,” “original long-form content doesn’t convert,” “video doesn’t drive traffic,” . . . insert marketing tactic and missed KPI here. Good to know . . . why?
To date, the best example she has seen of avoiding Mr. Coyote and operating with a disciplined postmortem approach was in a company that stood up a dedicated optimization team to help alleviate the “one and done” phenomenon. She can’t take credit for this, but will evangelize this approach all day, every day.
This team was separate from the strategy and campaign teams that originally created the tactics and was a cross-functional team staffed with channel managers, both in-house and agency expertise, and marketing analytics resources. The team was tasked with looking at all tactics in-market to diagnose underperforming tactics, make corrective action recommendations, build test plans, or make optimization recommendations to performing tactics. This optimization team, with a mission and a mindset to “improve the railroad,” helped reset campaign benchmarks across the Marketing organization.
This career lesson was painful, but the outcome is a career highlight. Martin was recruited to a new company specifically for her industry and product marketing experience. Her charter was to reimagine the marketing function for this specific product line. Within the company, this product was emerging from a re-trench strategy and had been out of market; her role, as communicated during the recruitment process, was to re-image the go-to-market strategy and tactics to return to market. Awesome – a Marketing Engineer’s dream!
After the new job discovery, she made the strategic recommendation to implement the agile methodology. (Side bar – she’s a huge fan of these books: Scott Brinker’s, “Hacking Marketing,” and as an agile advocate, Jeff Sutherland’s, “Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.”) The existing waterfall marketing process was too rigid, too long, and not responsive. Because a key product driver was rate and the ability to message near real-time rate movements, being agile and operating with agility was essential for success.
At this company, Marketing was a centralized function with teams aligned by LOB and then to the specific product. The new agile model would shift the marketing support closer to the line of business with more input from the LOB on marketing epics and stories, participation in prioritization ceremonies, and a role on the marketing agile team for Product Owner, which was in the LOB’s reporting structure, not Marketing. The recommendation also called for new marketing roles that previously didn’t exist – digital channel managers and Scrum Master – on the agile team.
The business was all in – ready to go, ready to fund the initiative, etc. – but she underestimated the amount of socialization and constructive debate that was needed to get everyone on board, especially the Marketing team. She assumed that everyone was on the same page in terms of change and understood her charter to look at new ways of working, including adjusting the op model, if necessary, and the level of involvement from the LOB in the marketing function.
This story ended positively – the agile team was stood up and the product returned to market. Also, using this team as a model, the entire Marketing organization (400+ members) adopted agile.
But professionally, she learned a lot of lessons. In retrospect, she would have included a broader team in the discovery work, to witness the challenges firsthand, and hosted more socialization sessions across Marketing to demonstrate the power of agile, prior to formally recommending. And, in general, including all the potentially impacted stakeholders – earlier and more often.
Working at USAA was a great lesson in branding and storytelling. Martin guest lectured at her undergrad alma mater, UCF, in the Marketing department. Last year, she did a presentation to the EMBA marketing class on brand. For a real-world example, she walked the team through USAA’s brand material found online. The brand and the mission – securing the financial security for the military community – resonates strongly in the marketing and communications, both member and employee facing.
In the lecture portion, she reviewed branding models – branded house, house of brands, and hybrid – and the individual elements of brand identity – mission, values, personality, brand pillars, and brand promise. Then they also explored the use of storytelling in branding and walked through Gustav Freytag’s storytelling framework – the five-act pyramid.
One project that she had at USAA was to develop a new product-specific home loan campaign. The opportunity was the VA home loan product, as opposed to general mortgage messaging. All new creative would be needed to message just VA loan – not a problem. But this was the first product-specific campaign to be developed under the updated master brand project that included the “USAA is Made For” big idea. Again, good challenge. Then the requirement came down that all new creative should support the DE&I objectives of the company. So, the team and agency got to work.
The team rose to the challenge of how to incorporate the master brand work at the product level, stay on brand, demonstrate DE&I, and communicate USAA’s value delivering the product. The team started by determining that with the VA loan and military target, there was a unique opportunity to focus on the inclusion pillar of DE&I with representation from “wounded warriors.”
The creative brief called for casting to include a military veteran with a prothesis and included the requirement that the storyboard had to show the actor in an authentic, real-world situation. The brief also specified that this spot should incorporate storytelling to demonstrate the challenge of our “hero” finding a home and navigating the lending process. The final spot was the real-world scenario of online house hunting and depicted moving day with the “dad,” his service dog, and all the family participating. The spot creative included, “USAA – Made for the Military Homebuyer,” to lean into the master brand and big idea at the product level. This was the first USAA Bank campaign to cast a differently abled actor and tell the story of how our “hero,” with the help of USAA, used the family’s earned VA benefit, found a home, and celebrated move-in day.
Martin also shared lessons she learned from the people she collaborated with.
via Ray Gary, Head of Sales and Marketing for EDS Retail Petroleum Unit
This career anecdote was told to Martin during her first job out of undergraduate – early-90’s timeframe. She was working for a software company that served the oil and gas industry, specifically retail petroleum. The company, in Orlando, Florida, was acquired by EDS and Gary was part of the transition team, sent from headquarters in Dallas, Texas, to integrate and run the acquisition.
This “marketing” role was heavy sales support/sales enablement – B2B – developing product collateral, creating client proposals, producing pitch materials, and managing a calendar of trade shows (fun shows like the National Association of Convenience Stores). After the acquisition, she was given the opportunity to relocate to Dallas for corporate experience and exposure to more types of marketing.
Specifically, she was going to headquarters to take a brand role for EDS. As she was packing up to head to Dallas, Gary said these words to her – “stay close to the well head.” In the petroleum business the wellhead, as it sounds, is at the beginning of where the oil comes out of the ground. Obviously, what Gary meant, as he was the head of both sales and marketing, was to not lose sight of how the firm makes money and do not stray far from doing work to support the source of revenue.
Because of Gary’s guidance, she has stayed close to marketing initiatives in direct support of generating revenue. While at EDS, because of her sales support experience, she was selected to help start EDS’ Interactive and New Media Group (circa 1995). EDS developed the early web presence for many brands, including the first Pepsi.com, P&G brand sites, but the early “ecommerce” sites had the greatest influence on future digital marketing strategies. With experience early in the evolution of “digital,” she has been tapped to originate the digital marketing capabilities for multiple companies. Driven by the advice to stay close to the revenue, her focus has been on product marketing to support online sales channels and create digital marketing teams to drive lead generation programs.
In the late 1990’s/early 2000’s, the CMO at First Horizon Home Loans was assigned to run a new company website, the first one for the company. It was started as a side hustle by an eager IT team member. The CMO wasn’t quite sure what to do with the site and hired Martin to develop a strategy. The company model was feet-on-the-street loan officers driving the revenue. Her strategy was to evolve the brochureware to sales enablement, with personalized sites for the LOs (loan originators), then mature those sites with an online application that connected with credit and underwriting tools to feed application data to the loan origination system. This strategy then evolved into the direct-to-consumer mortgage channel, firsthorizon.com, and a pipeline driven by digital marketing. This work was recognized by the industry publication, Mortgage Technology Magazine, and given their Market Bridge Award for innovative use of technology.
Roles that followed included responsibilities for integrating all the consumer banking products of parent company, First Tennessee, into the First Horizon platforms, and outside roles driving online student loan originations, online money transfer (MoneyGram), digital lead gen for wealth management (Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management Group), marketing direct-to-consumer lending products (mortgage, personal and auto loans – USAA), and now a focus on direct-to-consumer auto lending (JP Morgan Chase). With these roles all having a purposeful alignment to direct impact on revenue.
via Dr. Frank Bass, University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) marketing professor
Dr. Bass is called, “the father of marketing science,” according to his 2006 obituary. After Martin moved to Dallas and got some work experience, she decided to pursue an MBA. Right in her backyard, at UT Dallas, was Dr. Bass.
Dr. Bass’ most-known work is his eponymous “Bass Model.” This model is covered in undergraduate marketing curriculum, and she remembered it when she started researching MBA programs. What an amazing opportunity – she took every class Dr. Bass taught while she was at UTD – master level, PhD level, didn’t matter – she attended every office hour…what an opportunity to learn directly from him. This was the late 90’s and Dr. Bass was toward the end of his career. True to the typecast, Dr. Bass was a native Texan and could tell a great story! This career lesson originated during the lecture about how the Bass Model came to life. The model was created in 1966 and he was trying to predict the demand for this new thing called, “color television.” The model predicts the number of new adopters, over time, in two cohorts – innovators and imitators.
According to the story Dr. Bass told, the model started with observation. His family was from Cuero, Texas, and in agriculture. He talked about observing how modern farming equipment would be “adopted” by certain farmers – he noticed that one or two farmers would try something new, the innovators in his model – and then adopted by other farmers, the imitators. He was drawn to the consumer behavior of product adoption, and then took it one step further, applying math to predict a specific behavioral pattern. Dr. Bass is said to have been “pivotal in establishing marketing as a quantitative science.”
The marketing career lesson for Martin is the heart of the Bass Model – observation is one of the best research methods. Watch and listen to your customers – how do they use the product, how do they describe the product, what words do they use, etc.? In addition to MarketingSherpa, Martin is a big fan of Pragmatic Marketing. In their courses they advocate – “NIHITO” – nothing important happens in the office. So true – get out in the trenches – and one of the best days as a marketer is sitting behind the research glass, listening into customer service calls, tagging along with the sales team, etc.
When she worked at MoneyGram, a global money transfer company, her team was part of the MoneyGram Online project and tasked with launching the online money transfer function across the global websites. The team was new, the functionality existed in the US only, and global leader, Western Union, was already in over a dozen countries. They were working fast and furious to catch up. The team used a rapid prototype approach to roll out the digital transfer service. The team was based in the US but tapped into the local marketing teams in-country to understand the specific market segment for each country.
The team would prototype the money transfer feature and then conduct in-country and in-language testing to test that the product was usable. One memorable day was sitting in Germany, watching a usability test. The reason the test was memorable – besides it being in Germany – was that a key diaspora of the German money transfer market is the foreign workers from Turkey. This population is people that come to Germany to work and send money “home” to family in Turkey. So, they were sitting in Germany, watching an audience of users from Turkey use the prototype and talk through the experience, but a key learning of the segment is that they quickly learn German and think of it as their primary language, not Turkish.
Again, they’re sitting in Germany, watching native Turks, now living in Germany, conduct a money transfer online while speaking in German, and adding another wrinkle – the team didn’t speak German. So, their sessions were interpreted from German into English. Observing those users interact with the prototype, learning what worked and what didn’t, gave them key insights to launch market-tested functionality, with minimal usability issues, fueling adoption.
via Martin’s dad, “Big” Tom Bordonaro
Martin shouldn’t have a life or career lesson discussion without devoting airtime to her dad. She doesn’t have kids to pass his parental wisdom to, but she has many college friends that knew Big Tom and use this one with their coming-of-age kids and she has incorporated this lesson with her mentees in UTD and UCF’s mentoring programs. They affectionately call these life lesson, “Big Tom-isms.”
As a mentor, Martin strives to help these students in their transition to the working world, as well as establishing good financial habits. They have discussions about the financial decisions that arise when starting a career. This lesson boldly states that financial security can alleviate a lot of life’s problems and gets the attention of green grads. She introduces the advantages of a great credit score, how to get it, and how to keep it. She also gives financial tips and tricks – “paying yourself first” with automated savings programs, creating emergency funds, participating in company-sponsored retirement program beginning with your first paycheck, receiving all possible matching dollars, and eventually maxing out your contribution as early in the year as possible. Big Tom would be proud.
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Not ready for a listen yet? Interested in searching the conversation? No problem. Below is a rough transcript of our discussion.
Daniel Burstein: Okay, hold a newspaper or magazine or other reading material right up to your face. I mean, touching your nose. Close. Way too close. What do you read? Nothing. It's a blur, right? It's just all a blur. Now, hold that same newspaper, magazine, book, whatever at a comfortable distance. Everything comes into focus, doesn't it? This is a perfect analogy for a challenge many marketers face when it comes to an audience at arm's length, namely our current and potential customers.
That audience at arm's length. We are practiced at using our communication skills to help them understand the perceived value of our products and overcome any possible anxiety. But the group of people we are closest to, the ones in the very same walls as us, so to speak, our colleagues, we can overlook the necessity of understanding their possible anxieties and the non-monetary costs they face and help them understand the process level value proposition for actions they need to take.
We can be so focused on doing the thing we overlook, communicating why others in our company and in our partners should join us in getting it done. Or, as our next guest puts it. Change agents need broad support. Here to tell the story behind that lesson, along with many more lesson filled stories. It's Christina Martin, the Executive Director of Marketing for Chase Auto at JPMorgan Chase and Company. Thanks for joining us, Christina.
Christina Martin: Thank you for having me. I'm very excited to be here today.
Daniel Burstein: Let's take a quick look at your background. Just going to cherry pick a bit of your LinkedIn. You are vice president of Global Digital Marketing for MoneyGram International, Vice President of Digital Marketing for Goldman Sachs, Personal Financial Management Executive Director of Lending, Marketing for Mortgage and Consumer Loans at USAA Bank. And for the past year, you've been Executive Director of Marketing for Chase Auto, so very focused on a specific industry.
Learn a lot about that industry. But based on the stories that I've read from you, we're going to learn a lot no matter what you're marketing for B2B, B2C, Christina is going to have a good lesson for you. So right now you manage a team of six engaged in B2C marketing for Chase Auto, and I'm sure you've heard the brand we all have.
But I'm surprised when I actually looked it up for myself and saw some of the numbers. JP Morgan Chase has $3.7 trillion in assets and $292 billion in stockholders equity as of December 31st, 2022. And one out of every two households in America has a relationship with Chase. That is a big brand. So what is your day like as executive director of marketing for Chase Auto Christina?
Christina Martin: It is very exciting, actually. I am relatively new. I just joined in Q4 of last year, so if you send me an email and tell me it's my responsibility, I'm probably going to fall for it because I'm still learning this job and figuring out who are you and what do you do? I still get amazed when I get an email and it says Jamie Dimon in my email.
I kind of have to pinch myself a little bit. I tell everyone when I went to work for Chase, I said, I've never played minor league baseball, but I kind of know the feeling of getting called up to the big leagues. After I got the offer from Chase, I walked into my husband's office and I said, Honey, we're going to the show.
So to have to have a long career in financial services marketing to finally walk through the doors at JPMorgan Chase has just been an amazing experience. And it's every day is still learning. So I really can't tell you what every day looks like. But it's just it's been a lot of fun so far.
Daniel Burstein: Well, you know, I hope ten, 20 years then when you and Jamie are just having lunch, you'll also take that approach. Every day is still learning because that's some of it. That's a great approach that a lot of marketers have taken that we've interviewed. And I think and looking at your career, I think you have taken that approach.
Let's take a look at some of the lessons from your career. As I mentioned, I've never been a podiatrist or an auditor or something else, but I feel like there's something special about marketing that we get to make things, you know, we get to make brands, we get to make campaigns. So let's look at some of the lessons from the things you made your first lesson. This grabbed me right away when I read your application, Don't fall for Wiley Coyote Marketing. So what do you mean by that Christina?
Christina Martin: So for those of you who don't know who Wiley Coyote is, so he is a cartoon character. So Wiley Coyote is a coyote, and he was forever in a quest to get dinner. And I'll explain about that a little bit more, but just a back story on who Wiley Coyote was. So as I mentioned, I recently left USAA to join JPMorgan Chase here at Chase Auto.
Most of my career has been in establish companies with recent roles at U.S. and Chase. And those are brands are over 100 years old. Like most new roles, the onboarding process kind of starts with discovery, you know, the history lessons, asking a lot of questions, asking more questions. What's the strategy? Can I read your PowerPoint deck? What are your tactics?
Can you show me your dashboard? How are things doing? Historical performance, really both what's working and what's not in that discovery process. But then, you know, you pivot to the point, well, you know why they hire me? I'd better get to work here. But before we get to Wiley Coyote Marketing, one lesson that I kind of want to work in here, it's kind of around that is really kind of finding your marketing.
North Star. I have learned after some career false starts, we shall call them. I like to build marketing things. I like to build new campaigns. I like to build programs. I like to hire teams. I say I'm a marketing engineer. If that was a thing, I would be a marketing engineer. So during the job hunt process, literally the first question when I take a phone call from a recruiter, the hiring manager, HR person, whoever it is, I ask them these words. It's quote, I say, is this around the railroad job or a build the railroad job? I specifically look for roles that are going to be built in that railroad. I want new marketing roles in companies, new companies, recruiting, you know, new positions, marketing new product lines, marketing opportunities and customer in companies that are undergoing some sort of process transformation or industry transformation.
So one piece of advice that I give marketers early in their career is really to experience the diversity of the marketing discipline. I recommend seeking out like rotational programs. Agency work early in your career is great because you can work with a broad range of clients and industries or skills based. Volunteering is also another way to explore different parts of marketing. And as a hiring manager, you know, always be open to letting your junior employee shadow other roles and encourage finding mentorships for them to get to other areas of marketing. But really my question and my lesson is back to Mr. Coyote. Mr. Wiley Coyote.
So my first this career lesson is look out for Wiley Coyote. Wiley Coyote is the person in the company who has the history of an idea of how it was attempted once and it didn't succeed and then not and then totally abandoned. He discovered he or she discourages any attempt at optimization it or is it iteration and trying it again? So, you know, if you think about Wiley Coyote, if Wiley Coyote would have done a postmortem on his and his journey, he would have you know, he rode a rocket in pursuit of the Roadrunner, which he wanted to have as his dinner, which the roadrunner is a bird, for those of you don't know.
And it usually resulted in him hitting the side of the mountain instead of catching the roadrunner. So if Wiley would have done that postmortem and said, buying that acne rocket with a steering wheel, I could have steered and avoided that side of the mountain. I would have been able to catch that roadrunner and had the juicy meal of a roadrunner.
So really kind of the mantra of, you know, we tried that. I've heard it in every new company I've ever gone to, you know, insert marketing tactic here and what miss KPI, you know, branded paid search doesn't work. Original long form content doesn't work, video doesn't drive traffic. I mean, good. Okay, well, y let's dig into it a little bit. So that's really kind of the case of the why I say avoid that Wiley Coyote especially when you're starting a new job.
Daniel Burstein: Yeah. And so I think there's a good essential question to ask there when that comes up. And maybe you have a few other questions that you've asked in your career is will tell me the process for how you learn that. Because, for example, I've you know, I've come across this before. As you know, one thing we do is these value proposition workshops.
So we meet with different companies and we talk about tactics of value propositions. And so one example, we're working with a security company and they had this ad that was like very entertaining, this very comical burglar going in a house. And, you know, I was really questioning like, is that the right message? You know, I mean, think about it. A comical burglar going in your house. What really happens when you're thinking of purchasing a security system? It's, oh, you know, two doors down, someone broke into that house and three doors down. Some broke in the house. And I'm going out of town next week and worry about my family. And so they're like, well, we tested it. We know it works. We tested it. And so was going to stop there. To your point, that was the Wiley Coyote there, you know.
But then I thought to ask that extra question, like, okay, well, tell me about your test. And I found out it was a focus group test. So it makes sense then, right? Because people are sitting at a mall, whatever. They're getting paid, they're watching this. Well, it's entertaining, you know. I mean, yeah, I like this versus actually being in the buyer's shoes and having that fear and anxiety and not wanting some joke, wanting to know my family's really got to be protected. So give me a sense, like, what are some good questions that you've asked to pull out of people to get them to answer that you know correctly so you can understand, okay, is this something they really learned? Did they really do that postmortem or they just you know, they didn't really kind of get the right lesson out of this.
Christina Martin: Absolutely. And digging into, you know, the who, what, where, when, why, how much digging does you know, where did it run, how did it run? Who was a targeted up against, you know, what was the format? You know, how long did it run for? What was you know, what was the next action that that that user took, especially if it's something digital like that really the who, what, where, when, why, how much dig into all those questions and usually you can find a golden nugget and you're like, wait a minute, that audience does not align with that media plan.
Are you sure that that was a good. Well, that's what you know. So and so said we should be doing. So it's digging into those and making sure that you have alignment throughout that, you know, they say integrated marketing, integrated campaigns. Make sure that all of those decision points are lining up. And then, you know, you would have found out that, yeah, they were sitting behind the glass watching a focus group.
Sure, people are going to giggle, but if you look at the performance of the asset, it may have been, well, this guy was an absolute dog. No one was clicking on it. And it you know, the video complete completion rates were terrible. So you know, dig into those and make sure you understand. Have a good foundation about about the campaign.
Daniel Burstein: Yeah. And this also brings up I wonder if you have any advice on the entrenched consultant right. So you go into new organization. A lot of times there's a whole ecosystem of agencies and consultants and kind of you have to find out which ones are really delivering and which ones are just kind of that entrenched consultant. Because because one thing you mentioned why they hired you, Mark, and the other thing I think of Wiley Coyote, that guy was brand loyal, right? Acme Acme might have never paid off for him, but he was brand loyal. He tried the next Acme product next time just to see if it worked. And, you know, there's I mean, especially tech products. This is true but in marketing to their consultants or agencies, if they've got those long relationships, they're entrenched there. And then you're looking at the actual track record and you're like, Where did this come from?
So what's your experience with that? How do you deal with finding, you know, those vendors and those consultants and making sure they're right for the company when you're coming in?
Christina Martin: Absolutely. If you are the cash cow for the agency, that's probably a little bit of a red flag for you. And if they are always recommending one product from the Acme product line, not the anvil, which is it's my personal favorite for catching road runners in the desert. The anvil, the knife. That's definitely something that that you need to look at. And you're exactly right. A lot of times, you know, agencies that just, you know, come in and get a good foothold and, you know, get a little bit complacent.
And I think you kind of need to, you know, turn up turn up the volume a little bit on these on these teams and just make sure that you're getting the best work and you're doing and making sure that you're having the cadence of the, you know, the QPR, the quarterly business review, the MBA, the monthly business review, and you're running through and you're having that cadence and then opportunity in that ceremony to ask those deep dive questions to make sure that you're not running into any Wiley Coyotes on the on the agency side.
Daniel Burstein: And that you're running the business, not letting someone else run the business.
Christina Martin: Absolutely. Especially in the area of strategy. You should always never outsource your strategy.
Daniel Burstein: Let's take a look at another lesson. You mentioned change. Agents need broad support. So I mentioned this briefly at the beginning. I feel like sometimes we communicate most poorly to the ones closest to us and truly we forget we have to do that. So how did you learn this lesson Christina?
Christina Martin: Well, this was a quite painful career lesson, but it is a career highlight. So there is a gap. There is, you know, a bright spot at the end. So I was recruited to a new company and I was specifically recruited for my industry and my product marketing experience. My charter in this new role was really to reimagine the marketing function for the specific product line within this company.
The specific product was an A coming out of a retrench strategy. They were retooling back office process, had some compliance issues, and the product was actually out of market for a while. So my role as communicated during the recruitment process was to reimagine the go to marketing strategy and the tactics to return to marketing. So as a marketing engineer, as I call myself, you know, what a dream. Oh my gosh. Yep. Sign me up. I'll pay you to go work here. This sounds fantastic. So after the job discovery, I decided to make a strategic recommendation to implement Agile, the Agile methodology within marketing. And so, you know, did a white paper roll it all up? The existing waterfall process that the company had was really too rigid, too long.
It just not very responsive. A key function of this product, the driver was rate and being able to message near real time rate movements. So being agile and operating with agility was really essential for success. The company, the marketing was a centralized function and you know, companies have different models for how they operate. Marketing is marketing in the center, is it in the line of business, You know, so this company, it was it was centralized and the teams were aligned by line of business to the specific product.
So this new Agile model that I was recommending would shift the marketing support closer to the line of business. So more input from a line of business would be happening on marketing. So, you know, if you're familiar with Agile, you know, the epics and the stories would be a joint collaboration coming together with the product line. Prior to prioritization ceremonies, the business would be sitting in on those.
And on the Agile team, there's a role called product owner. So the product owner would be coming from the business, which was in the line of business reporting structure and not marketing. So the and this recommendation also called for some new roles that didn't exist. So a digital channel manager and a Scrum master on the Agile team. So I was, you know, wagging my tail already to get in there and get some things done and recommending all this change.
And I was a change agent, right? Well, you know, the business was all in and they were ready to go. We're going to be faster, we're going to be agile. This is great. Well, yours truly terribly underestimated just the amount of socialization and the debate that would be needed to get everyone on board to do this, especially in the marketing team, because I was just throwing a lot of change at this team.
I assumed that everyone was on board on the same page. And in terms of change, I understood. I thought that everyone understood my charter, like, Hey, this is why this person was hired to come in and do this. And I didn't do a good job level setting that especially adjusting that model and the level of business from the light of the line of business marketing team really underestimated what it was going to take to bring that amount of change into that organization.
Daniel Burstein: So I want to ask you about communicating that change or kind of digging out the right way to go about that change. But first, I want to ask you about Agile specifically, because you mentioned two books. Maybe you can share a lesson from each of these books that really stuck with you. You mentioned Scott Brinker Hacking Marketing and Jeff Sutherland's Scrum, The Art of doing twice the work and half the time.
So, you know, Agile methodology, I think it probably maybe started more on the tech side. We talk about waterfall and Agile software development, right? But then it spread and is spread into marketing as well. So I wonder if you have any thoughts or any lessons that you learned from these two books that you mentioned that we're talking about Agile specifically. You know, other people listening can use as they're trying to use that methodology to manage their marketing?
Christina Martin: Absolutely. The first one, Scott Brinker’s book, Hacking Marketing, is really kind of the blueprint for how to apply, as you mentioned, because Agile started within kind of the tech space, the software development space. So marketing is different than that, right? Well, Scott went and kind of did all the heavy lifting and the big thinking for us and said, okay, you know, it's different.
Here's how we need to apply it to marketing. So his book is really more of a blueprint for any team who is interested in in trying the Agile methodology within the marketing function. And then Jeff's other ones book. He's the Godfather Father. I don't know exactly what he says. He what they say he is, but he is the person who birthed Scrum.
And so his book is honestly probably like a two hour read, but his book is just really about kind of the how and the why of Agile and just highlights the roles and why you want to follow it and why you want to do it. Not so much decked up against marketing. That would be Scott Brinker’s book, but his is just in general and it's a it's just a really good, easy business read. I enjoy both those books. I wish that I would have been in front of this and been able to author something like Hacking Marketing because I just I recommend it to everybody. I love that book.
Daniel Burstein: Well, he wrote it for you so we don't have to, but we've got this podcast episode where we can share what you've learned as well. To Let me ask you more broadly now, though, not agile in general, has this experience changed how you enter an organization, how you come in new to an organization, or how you even enter a project, right? Because coming in, like as I mentioned, a lot of times we're so focused on commuting, getting externally to our customers, we overlook the fact that there are some of the same things within our organization right? We need to understand that audience. That is an audience that is I mean, they're our internal customers in a sense. We need to understand what potential costs they might face.
Tends not to be monetary, but it might be budget, but it could be things like friction, anxiety. And we also need to understand what is the value proposition to them to do these actions. So you could say, well, yes, maybe I have command and control authority. You know, in a certain sense I have this team reporting to me. You go, do you go? Do you go do. But as we know, that only gets you so far, which really effective is understanding the costs and understanding the value to a group and communicating. That is what we do as marketers, right? But we struggle internally. So I wonder, has this changed How you go into an organization or how you approach a project, how you learn about the people there?
Christina Martin: Absolutely. And it's not just the what, but it's the why. And you've mentioned this on some of your other podcast episodes. I think just, you know, communicating to the teams why we're doing something. Here's the reason. Here's the here's the SWOT analysis that you know, that somebody we went through, that somebody went through. But here is the why.
I think that is one of the biggest takeaways from that story and just from some other marketing experiments and things like that that I've that I've done is communicating, you know, why, why we're going to do this, not just the what and, you know, the how in the when are important as well, but communicating that why and having those level those level set sessions.
And I learned this phrase, I think it's a military phrase about bluff. Bottom line up front I learned that my UCLA days, but just, you know, really thinking about, you know, what is the what is the bluff of this project? What is it that we're trying to do, the objective, the mission and laying all that out for the team and having a very, you know, a very broad stakeholder session sessions within the discovery process so that everyone understands and bringing them along.
And if you can help people understand the pain or the opportunity a little bit more and help them to see why it's their mission as well, goes a long way and the you know, the story that I that I told it actually it ended up it ended up great actually, the Agile team, we did stand up the Agile team and the product got back into market. But the best thing was this company has 400 plus members of the marketing organization and they are now all operating in Agile because of the work that this, this first team did. So like I said, it was painful, but it, it is definitely a career highlight for me.
Daniel Burstein: Very nice. So it comes down to in one sense, storytelling. Like you said, let them see why this is their mission to this isn't my mission thrusting on you. It's their mission too. So let's talk about storytelling. I love the things we've talked about already because, you know, in marketing, we need those really good creative ideas. We also need to execute. And up until now, Christina's given some good advice on how to execute and actually get things done. I got to admit, my background's on the creative side. I always kind of skew towards these though. You say great brands consistently tell their story. So yes, this is a lesson I'm sure we would learn in marketing one on one. But how have you lived this in your career?
Christina Martin: Absolutely. So when I did work at USA, that was a great lesson in branding and storytelling. Just a brand and a company that invests so much time and resources and just the rigor and the process around protecting the brand and understanding what the what reputation risk looks like. So it was just it was a fantastic opportunity. I really enjoyed that.
I do guest lecture occasionally at my alma mater, University of Central Florida, go nights in the marketing department. Last year I did a presentation to an MBA class on brand, and so we actually walk through, you know, real world examples out in the wild from USA, the brand, the brand materials. So we did a little dissection. So we went through the brand and the mission, securing the financial security for the military community still remember it was still and everything resonated very strongly.
And all of the marketing communications that we found both, you know, member and employee facing materials in the lecture portion, you know, we, you know, reviewed the things that the teacher, the professor could test on or we went through the branding models, branded house, a brand hybrid approach and the individual elements of the brand identity, the mission, the values, the personality, the brand pillars, brand promise, all those good things.
But really we also got into using storytelling. And when I was an undergrad and in in graduate school, we didn't really talk a lot about storytelling in marketing. And so, you know, I definitely wanted to make sure that I mentioned that in this in this class. And we walked through Gustav Freitag, who I'm probably pronouncing all kinds of wrong because it's German. His storytelling framework, which is the five arc pyramid, which was really interesting. So then I had the class go through and pull real world examples of companies and have them walk through and map their brand story in that five act pyramid. And everyone had pulled really great examples and you could clearly see how they were doing. It was just it was a fascinating approach.
Daniel Burstein: Well, what advice would you give to someone who works at a very large organization like yourself where you are trying to tell a story, you're trying to drive your division and yet you live under the umbrella of that bigger brand. So as we talked about, I mean, JPMorgan Chase, one in two households, $3.7 trillion in assets, That is amazing because you've got that brand to leverage. On the flip side, you know, how do you do disruptive marketing, disruptive, creative, tell your own story where you kind of have to be under that big umbrella. I see rolling your eyes. So what have you learned that are doing this?
Christina Martin: Absolutely. So what project at USAA really comes to mind? So it was developing a campaign for a new product specific in the home loan area. The opportunity was around the VA home loan product. We had been just messaging general mortgage messaging, but this was specific to the VA. The VA loan product. So we needed all new creative, just a message of yeah, loan not a problem team could do that.
Then we got another edict. So there was a new brand architecture. So I'm sure you've brought if you watch sports, especially USAA, the new the campaign was the made for was the big idea. So now we had to align underneath the made for big idea okay to hurdles we can get around that then the third hurdle came in where the requirement came down that all new creative should support the DNI objectives of the company.
So that's where we where we can we, the team and the agency got to work because we really had we had our we had a pretty, pretty, pretty daunting product project in front of us. So the team really rose to the challenge we had to incorporate. Again, we had incorporate that master brand work at the product level, which hadn't been done.
We had, of course, stay on brand. We had to demonstrate DNI and communicate USAA's value in delivering the product. So the team started by first determining that with that VA loan product and the military segment, which was targeted for that VA loan product, there was really a unique opportunity to focus on the inclusion pillar of DNI. And so what we wanted to do was show some inclusion in some representation from wounded warriors.
So the creative brief called for specifically casting a military veteran with a prosthesis to have that inclusion in the ad and the visual of the ad. And we included that requirement in the storyboard. We had to show that actor in a very authentic, real world situation. We wanted to really show inclusion in the in the everyday life.
So the brief also specified that the spot should incorporate storytelling. So how we use storytelling, we wanted to demonstrate the challenge of our hero. And I use hero in air quotes, finding a home and navigating the confusing lending process. So how? And then we finally, the final spot was a real world scenario of online house hunting and then depicted moving day with and we ended up the veteran that we cast was it was a male.
So he kind of played the dad role. So it was he and his service dog and all of the family was participating in the final moving day, the culmination of the house hunting and getting the loan and all that great stuff. And so we did the spot. It was called USAA Made for the military home Buyer. So we check that box. We leaned into the master brand idea and that specific to the VA loan product, check that box. And I'm very proud to say, but it was the first U.S. Bank campaign to cast a differently abled actor. And we told our story of our hero with the help of USAA. He was using their families, earned a VA benefit to find a home and celebrate that moving day.
Daniel Burstein: Well, first of all, I mean, I can't move on without saying that's a very powerful story. I like tapping into that story. But I want to mention, too, like, I think there's a great lesson here. So a lot of times I hear from, you know, marketers at smaller brands, they're jealous of the big brands, right? Oh, my gosh, They've got that brand recognition. They've got that giant budget. But the big brands, like you said, we've got all these hoops we've got to jump through, right. And the big brands sometimes are jealous of the people that work at the smaller brands and startups. It's like, Oh my gosh, you can you know, you've got to white space, you can do whatever you want.
And I think the lesson is and you tell me what you think is, is wherever you are working, you have got to find your advantage, right? What is your advantage? And tap into there. And so in your case, to well, we're talking about creativity. Creativity thrives under these sorts of restrictions, right? We would think it would drive this would total white space. You could do anything like, yeah, you know, anyone could do that. Any college student can do that. But if you are a professional marketer, right, if you put on your professional marketing pants every day or professional marketing student to go to work and get that paycheck to work for that brand, it is the ability to work through that primary value proposition and all those restrictions to focus on your customer and then to find that value proposition like you did. That ties into and checks all the boxes and still creative and serves that person. So that's my thought is that that seems to resonate with.
Christina Martin: Yes very, very much so. You know you think as a as a big brand and you look at startups like way you can put your logo on black, we can't put our logo on black. This is going to make it so hard. But again, that's where you have to get creative and you have to figure out, okay, well, I'm going to have to, you know, I'm afraid to white here and then I'm going to show the logo and it's going to be on white.
I'm going to fall within my, you know, my branding guidelines. I'm not going to mess that up. So Absolutely. And it's, you know, interesting to see kind of the evolution of brand. Do you think about using a 100 year old brand and then they, you know, kind of pivoted and came up with a new master brand architecture, which was which was amazing to be a part of. And it's been really successful. And I'm very, very proud of that.
Daniel Burstein: What are those the commercials that Rob Gronkowski the former Patriots tight end.
Christina Martin: Yes, that's part of that's part of them.
Daniel Burstein: Yeah. I like this. All right. In the first half of the podcast, we talk about lessons we learned from the things we made, even when they were difficult to make because we had so many brand restrictions In the second half of the podcast, we talk about lessons from the people that we collaborated with. But first I should mention that the How I Made It and Marketing podcast is underwritten by MECLABS Institute, the parent organization of Marketing Sherpa, to learn how MECLABS services can help you get better business results from deeper customer understanding, Visit MECLABS.com/results. That's MECLABS.com/results.
Okay, let's talk about some lessons you learned from the people you collaborated with. The first lesson is stay close to the wellhead and you learned this from Ray Gary, the Head of Sales and Marketing for EDS Retail Petroleum Unit. How did you learn this from Ray?
Christina Martin: This career anecdote was really told to me during my very first job out of undergrad. Again, UCF, Go Knights in the early nineties timeframe. So I was working at a software company that served the oil and gas industry, specifically retail petroleum. The company was based in Orlando, Florida, and it was acquired by EDS, and Ray was part of the transition team that came down from Dallas, Texas to integrate and run the acquisition, the marketing role in this was my, you know, my first job out of college, green grad, heavy sales support, sales enablement, all B2B, so developing product collateral, creating client proposals, pitch materials, managing a calendar of trade shows.
I got to go to fun shows like the National Association of Convenience Stores, which was amazing. And then after the acquisition, I was given the opportunity to relocate to Dallas to get, you know, air quote, corporate experience and get exposure to more types of marketing. So I was getting, you know, packing up my stuff, getting ready to go to headquarters, moved it, you know, a big deal to work for EDS. I was going to take up a brand role, more of a brand role, move away from sales support. So I'm packing all my stuff up and Ray comes into my, you know, my cube and says these words. He says, stay close to the wellhead. And he was from an oil company in Oklahoma. So I had a very, very specific accent when he said it, which I will never forget.
So in the petroleum business, the wellhead, you know, just as it sounds, it's you know, it's the beginning of where the oil comes out of the ground. Obviously, Ray, as you know, he was the head of both sales and marketing, was to not lose sight of how the firm makes money. Stay close to where the oil comes out of the ground and don't stray far from doing the work to support really the service, the sources of your revenue in your firm. And I'm not one to get a tattoo. I'm kind of beyond that in my life. But if I was, I really honestly think I would get too close to the wellhead because it's been a good one for me.
Daniel Burstein: So I would think to make that work, flexibility is important. You mentioned that kind of briefly just in the opening event. Volunteer non-profits do all these things to stay flexible, to get all these experiences. I wonder if you had any specific experience or specific example of how you had to be flexible to stay close to the wellhead to that revenue?
And I'll give you a quick example from a previous episode, I interviewed Jeannie Assimos, the Head of Content and Communications at Way.com on How I Made it in Marketing, and some of that really inspired her and her career was the CEO of eHarmony and she talked about one of her lessons was adaptability is important and he has started as an intern in a broom closet. And he just kept saying yes to every opportunity he got until he made his way to see.
Yeah. So I wonder for you, you know, you mentioned in the beginning points of flexibility. I even mentioned, hey, volunteer to nonprofit if you have to stand close to the wellhead, it seems like, well, you got to be pretty flexible and you got to zig and zag, especially as quickly as some companies and industries are moving these days. So do you have any specific antidote or experience about kind of keeping that flexibility within your career?
Christina Martin: I do. And also, you know, if you have if you take roles, as I mentioned, like if you, you know, early in your career, if you take a role with an agency, that's a great way to get some exposure to the different types of marketing. So specifically, when I worked at EDS, when I went to corporate, I then got away from and gas as fast as I could, but I won't hold that against them.
So I went to work for IDEO, started up an interactive and new media group. So this was like circa 1995. And EDS was developing web presences for many brands, and it was their first Web site. Like I worked on the first Pepsi Ecom website, which if you go into the Wayback Machine, is hilarious to look at how terrible it is. But it was it was a great project. Brand sites for different Procter and Gamble brands. We stood up. But really the things that stood out in my career was the early e-commerce sites, and I figured out that I could kind of marry my love of this new thing called digital and still staying close to the wellhead by aligning, you know, with these e-commerce sites, as they were called back then.
So those experiences and digital, I have leaned into those and really tapped into creating a career focused around the digital marketing capabilities and staying close to the wellhead, focusing on the sales channels for digital in the e-commerce and revenue side of the business, and then programs that help support the revenue.
Daniel Burstein: Okay. Let's take a look at other lesson you mentioned. Observation is a powerful research technique. You learned this from Dr. Frank Bass. He was your Marketing Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. So how did you learn this from Dr. Bass?
Christina Martin: Good old Dr. Bass. Dr. Bass is called the Father of Marketing Science. He passed away in 2006 and so I had to look it up. That was in his obituary pretty good. You know, as somebody who has a whole career has been in marketing, you know, I'd like to be the mother of something in marketing have to figure out what that is.
So after I moved to Dallas and I had a little bit of work experience, I decided to pursue an MBA and right in my backyard at the University of Texas at Dallas Utd was Dr. Bass. His most famous work is the bass model, and it's covered in, you know, undergraduate marketing curriculum. And I remembered it when I was researching MBA programs. I was like, this is amazing. This school's in my backyard. So I took every single class that Dr. Bass taught. It didn't matter. I took a master's degree, I took Ph.D. level classes. If that man had an office hour, I was going to be there. You know, just the opportunity to learn directly from him was amazing. It was in the late nineties and Dr. Bass was toward the end of his career.
And true to like the Texas typecast, he was a native Texan and he could tell a really fantastic story. He just made lecture days awesome. So this career lesson really originated during a lecture about how he how he, you know, came up with the bass model. The model if you have don't have your marketing textbook handy and can't look it up. It was created in 1966 and he was trying to predict demand for this new thing in 1966 called Color Television.
So this model looks to predict the number of new adopters over time in two cohorts, both innovators and imitators, according to the story that he told his family were from Cuero, Texas, and they were in agriculture. He was observing how modern farming equipment would be adopted by certain farmers.
He noticed that like one or two farmers, ranchers would try something new and they would be the innovators in his model, and then they would be the whatever they were doing would be adopted by the other farmers. And it was the imitators. And he was really drawn to the consumer behavior of product adoption. But then he took it one step further and he applied math to the problem to be able to predict specific behavioral patterns.
He, Dr. Bass, is supposed to have he's been said to have been, and I'm quoting, this pivotal in establishing marketing as a quantitative science. I just I love that. I think that's that's absolutely fantastic. And just, you know, the career lesson for me in marketing is the heart of the business model. Just observation is just one of the best research methods watch.
You know, listen to your customers. You've talked about this before on your podcast. You know, use the words that they use. How are they using their product? You know, what are they talking about? I'm a big fan of all sorts of marketing thought leaders, and there's one group that I follow and they have a thing called Marketo. Nothing important happens in the office and that just absolutely rings so true, like just get out in the trenches, you know, sit behind the research glass, watch how people are using the product, listen, the customer service calls tag along with the sales team to see how you know, to see how the targets are interacting and what kinds of words are using to sell the stuff, not the stuff that's written. And the marketing collateral. Just really get out there and and kick the tires, if you will. And observation can really tell you a lot as a marketer.
Daniel Burstein: Yeah. Do you have any examples maybe of when you or the company thought a specific thing and then you took that observational approach and was like, oh, wow, you know, we observed in this way and we learned this thing. I mean, we've interview I mean, just in the financial world, I've interviewed all sorts of marketers and some of them one of my favorite was a marketer who had actually very she was trying to reach unbanked customers and she would actually go outside the western unions and some of those type of competitors and she would talk to me.
She had a clipboard and she would talk them because they were they were difficult to measure. They weren't getting them through digital channels. They weren't getting them through other channels. And she actually just went out there and talked to them. And it was, you know, amazingly refreshing what she can learn from them. So do you have an example of how you observed and maybe what you learned something surprising?
Christina Martin: Absolutely. It's actually within that same space, within the underbanked and not banked. And it's for a company called MoneyGram. Western Union is the number one and MoneyGram is the number two. The kid brother in the money transfer industry. And so my team was part of a new group called MoneyGram Online. So we were tasked with launching the online money transfer function around the globe.
The team was new. The functionality really only existed out of the U.S. and as a global leader, Western Union, they were already in a dozen countries. So we were rushing catch up as fast as we could. So we decided to use a rapid prototype approach to roll out this digital transfer service. So the team was based in the U.S. that was doing all the development work, but we would tap into the local marketing teams in country really to help help us understand the specific marketing segment for East for each country.
So we would do a prototype and then we would go to the country and we were tested in language to make sure that the product was usable. So it really focused on, you know, not having any large usability errors when we were first launching. So one project was we were sitting in Germany watching a usability test. And the whole reason, you know, this test was memorable, well, just beside the fact that it was in German, I was sitting in Germany, little kid from Orlando, Florida, sitting in Germany watching a usability test.
A key diaspora of that German money transfer market is the foreign workers from Turkey. So this is the people who come to Germany to work and send money home back to family in Turkey. So we were sitting in Germany watching an audience of users from Turkey use the prototype and talk through the experience. But a key learning of the segment is that these folks that come over from Turkey quickly learn German and they think of German as their primary language, not Turkish.
So they were much more inclined to select a little button at the top of the prototype for which language they were going to select German, because that's what they were more comfortable with when they were coming to their new country. So again, we were sitting in Germany, you know, watching native Turks now living in Germany, conduct online money transfer, speaking in German.
And another wrinkle was none of us spoke German. So in our sessions we're sitting there listening to German being interpreted into English, but still just everything that we learned, watching them interact with that prototype, how did they click on things? What words were they use and where did they expect to see things? It gave us great insights when we decided we did build it out and finally launch in that market. You know, it was really market tested with minimal usability issues, just fueling the adoption for that that functionality globally.
Daniel Burstein: Yeah, that's a great, great benefit of observation. I mean, we've talked about it many times. We're not our customers, right? There's this challenge. We always try to be like, treat others, how we want to be treated, you know, just how they want to be treated, observe them, to understand them, and you can better serve them. Let's one last left here and I love it. It's from your dad. So one last lesson. A problem isn't a problem if it can be solved with money. But that could be Chase's tagline, By the way, you might want to consider that GM Christina Martin and Daniel when we came up with it all, rev share with you? There you go. Anyway, a problem isn't a problem having be solved with money. You learned this from your dad, “Big” Tom Bodonaro. So how did you end up on board an Aaron Gordon there? How did you learn this from your dad?
Christina Martin: So I just can't have a life or career lesson discussion without giving a little airtime to my dad. I don't have kids and I can't pass his parental wisdom along, but I'll do it for you to your listeners. But I do have many college friends who knew Big Tom and as we call him, and this was one of the stories that they use with their kids that are coming of age. And I also incorporate this in lessons. I participate in the mentor programs with both UTD and UCF's mentoring programs. So we all affectionately call these life lessons Big Tom’isms.
And as a mentor, I really strive to help these students kind of transition to the working world, getting, you know, just starting off on a good financial footing with good financial habits. We have discussions about, you know, the financial decisions that come up when you start your career and how to, you know, make the right decisions when you're first starting. And this lesson is pretty bold, you know, and financial security can alleviate a lot of life's problems. And these great grads are like, wait, wait, what? What are you talking about?
How do I do this? I don't want any problems in life. I just got out of four years of college. So we we really start there and just getting them off on a good foot. I talk to them about credit scores, what they are, how you know how to get it, how to keep your credit score. I also give different financial tips and tricks I advocate, you know, paying yourself first with automated savings programs.
I offer to help them set up their 401k program with their first check because I want them to again pay themselves first. So we kind of walk through that. I talk about emergency funds, how to participate in your company sponsored retirement program. I know for most of them it just seems like so far off this, you know, ladies sitting here making me sign up for my 41k when I want all my money, when I want to go buy all my avocado toast, but I make them do it anyway. And so, you know, matching dollars, things like that. So really getting the most out of out of their paycheck as they can for the future. So I'm pretty sure Big Tom would have been would be proud.
Daniel Burstein: Have you ever applied that lesson to your marketing budget? Because I think there's a great lesson here, too, for I mean, it's definitely for startups who have to learn how to manage money, make sure they manage ABC funding right, get cash flow right. But even, you know, marketers at big organizations, like there's always got to be that contingency.
Like we set the right plans. We think they're going to work out the right way, but if we don't have that contingency in place, it might blow up in our face. So a problem isn't a problem can be solved with money. If we have that money sitting our marketing budget to solve that problem sure becomes a lot easier. So have you have you use this at all in terms of how obviously you manage your personal finances, but how you manage your marketing budget as well?
Christina Martin: Absolutely. And I think a lot of that also goes to writing really good business cases. So in your you know, you're in your initial request for funding, you know, hold a little bit back. You know, this is the contingency that we're going to build into this, whether it's, you know, this channel works really, really well and we want to be able to throw more gas on it.
So building in a contingency is important when you're coming up with those initial plans. But also if you build very solid business cases when you're first launching something, if it's successful and you need to come back and ask for more money, if you have a good track record of writing solid business cases, it really helps that.
So that's probably another, you know, fourth life lesson that I would throw in there is, you know, partner with people and write really good business cases because when the higher ups know that you have thought through everything ahead of time, when you come around for that, for the second for round to round three, it goes a lot easier.
Daniel Burstein: You're not just coming hat in hand. I like that.
Christina Martin: Absolutely.
Daniel Burstein: Well, so we've, we've talked about all different things about what it means to be a marketer from good storytelling to writing good business cases to that change management we talked about. If you had to break it down, what are the key qualities of an effective marketer? What are you looking for? What are you going to be in your career? What are you looking for when you hire Curiosity?
Christina Martin: I look for somebody who's just really curious, wants to know how things work, How does this work? What does this do? Who's this for? You know, somebody who just asked the who, Oh, where, when, why, how much those questions. That's something that I really look for. And I try to screen for somebody just who has a natural curiosity for how things work.
You know, as a kid, did they take things apart and then try to put them back together again? That's that that's always a good anecdote. If somebody tells you about that, you know, definitely put their resume on the top on the top of the pile.
Daniel Burstein: Well, thanks for letting us take your career apart and put it back together. And I learned a lot from you today.
Christina Martin: Absolutely. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed this.
Daniel Burstein: And thanks to everyone for listening.
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