Give episode #58 a listen to get ideas for marketing process, strategy, and ROI. Shruti Joshi, Chief Operating Officer, Facet, joined me on the How I Made It In Marketing podcast.
Listen now to hear Joshi discuss a lifestyle brand, process for success, and test-and-learn approach.
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.
Marketing is such a tricky endeavor.
On the one hand, success is predicated on creativity. Think of some of the most memorable and effective marketing campaigns through history, it took creative brains to pull them off.
But creativity without execution never sees the light of day. And history is littered with great creatives who were just never able to get it done.
Which is why a lesson from our next guest is so valuable no matter what role you have in marketing – “process is the foundation for success.”
Not flashy or glamorous perhaps, but certainly essential.
I talked to Shruti Joshi, Chief Operating Officer, Facet, 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.
Joshi oversees the sales, marketing, planning and member experience organizations at Facet, so she manages a total team of 180.
Facet has raised more than $165 million, led by venture capital firms like Warburg Pincus and Durable Capital.
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 Joshi that emerged in our discussion:
The most successful marketing campaigns are built on amazing processes. It’s easy to skip straight to the doing stage of a campaign but when you focus on creating a structured system, it becomes easier for the team to collaborate, work proactively, and results follow. At Verizon, Joshi led a team that built a best-in-class marketing system and process that generated some serious marketing ROI. She:
Joshi also touched on the importance of repetition. She remembers the CEO at Verizon, Dennis Strigl, saying the only person that gets tired of your message is you.
There are a lot of ideas that work in theory but don’t necessarily translate to results. You might have a good instinct, but you’ll never know until you put it out to the market, test, source data, and learn. At Facet, they took the idea of a subscription model for personal finances and tested it to prove that the market has an appetite for accessible financial planning services. Now they’re working on driving efficient member growth and all their programs are driven by a funnel system with a data core.
All their efforts are driven by a test and learn and data/analytics core – this has already driven over a 30% reduction in CAC year over year.
At Altman Solon, Joshi built a Growth/Marketing ROI practice that helped recurring revenue businesses drive efficient growth using analytics and data. They offered a combo of software + managed services that literally paid for itself. They had many subscription companies on their services – mostly because these brands had to figure out how to do more with less.
Data/analytics is the center of any margin/growth or retention program.
Today, the best brands put their brand strategy at the core/soul of a company. Building a brand requires a business to define, promise and deliver a unique experience consistently to differentiate from competitors and build preference. The linkage of the delivery to the promise must come through in every single aspect.
You can no longer advertise and then have a disconnected client experience from what you promise – social media has created a layer of transparency around this. Creating a voice that is reflective of the product or service is the only way to show authenticity to your customers. This can’t be done halfway either – building a brand takes an incredible amount of dedication. It must be a 360-degree approach, from the partners you align with, to who you hire, to the culture you build, to every last email.
At Facet, the team is offering a service that helps bring financial planning into a person's broader wellness regime and so they’re building a lifestyle brand that reflects that. They’re partnering with family influencers, fitness instructors, life coaches, and more to truly align their values within the lifestyle space. What’s more important is that their brand blueprint considers every touchpoint across the business and looks to reinforce a consistent message and experience throughout.
They have work to do here and will always have to keep coming back to their intentions and making sure they’re delivering. They worked with 21CB to build a thoughtful strategy that was launched just a month-and-a-half ago – they’re very much in the delivery phase and this is a huge focus for Joshi.
She remembers speaking with Jonathan Mildenhall and he brought up a few things that she really agreed with – that it all starts with the customers, that all marketing is one to one, and that the more you understand that customer, that prospect, that person that you're really building the service for the better off all the marketing ends up being.
The importance of authenticity extends to her leadership style as well. You must be 100% authentic and transparent as a leader. She tries to be as authentic as possible with her team and she pushes them to be their absolute best.
She has 10 rules that she lives by, and she calls them “The Joshi 10 Things”:
Her mom – Dr. Shima Joshi – raised her with this ethos of “you got to work for it.”
It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill according to Malcolm Gladwell, and Joshi has worked them and then some. Getting to the best output is key – making that impact. It isn’t about the hours; it’s about doing something extraordinary and continuing to level up each time. That’s why it’s so important for her to find something that makes her excited and passionate. We can prioritize and choose how we spend our time in our careers and in life.
She makes a conscious effort to find opportunities that engage her to the point where she wants to invest a ton of her energy and heart and has always focused on things she is good at. For example, early in her career at Verizon – she just wanted to learn and become an expert at all the things. So, she just decided she’d do whatever it takes to learn and make an impact on the business. She said yes – to all sorts of opportunities – even ones that didn’t seem exciting on the surface.
She was often the last person in the office – she just wanted to prove to herself and her peers that she could make an impact. And as a result, at 28 they gave her a massive job to lead customer acquisition. She also just kept pushing on concepts she wanted to succeed in and as a result she was able to turn those skills into a career.
One place she’s seen the effect of mastery is with Buckle, a retailer of 440 stores. In December, she was nominated to the public company’s board of directors. Walking around a store with CEO Dennis Nelson, she sees that he knows the products, he knows the people, he's keeping an eye on the customers. It's this true mastery of the business and just he's worked his way up and put in the time to know his craft.
Joshi also shared lessons she learned from the people she collaborated with.
via Brian Angiolet at Verizon
Brian Angiolet is a dear friend and was one of the most influential mentors in Joshi’s career. He really took the time to train and educate her on how to navigate people and what best-in-class marketing looks like. She will never forget a conversation on a car ride where Angiolet and Joshi had laptops out and he was explaining how to frame a new concept in a PowerPoint (and the importance of packaging and selling ideas) such that a broad group of various people with different opinions would follow.
This was an invaluable lesson that has stayed with her throughout her career. Afterall, we’re always packaging and selling ideas in this profession. Angiolet and he once had a conversation where he was explaining the importance of simplicity in a strategy. He helped her understand that the new hire doing the email marketing that didn’t have all the context on the strategy would have to execute on track to deliver on said strategy.
The concept of simplicity has stuck with her throughout her career. To get an entire organization to follow a concept and execute as intended, the concept(s) must be simple.
She also encourages A/B testing to ensure a concept is effective. She said that Jimmy Ellis on her team is brilliant at it – he just literally tests tons of different headlines on websites, and rather than getting into the debate you prove it with the data.
via Geoff Walls at Verizon
Geoff Walls encouraged Joshi to pursue her MBA when it would impact how much work she could do while she was on his team. He told her, “There will never be a good time to do this, just get it done.”
via the team at Altman Solon – especially, Rory Altman, partner and co-founder; Ed Vilandrie, co-founder
Working at Altman opened Joshi’s eyes to a whole different way of managing a business and the importance of creating a meaningful people-first culture. The entire team at Altman were serious growth seekers that were dedicated to the quality of their work and passionate about making sure the client was happy. The team’s dedication and commitment to quality of deliverables set a new standard for what good looks like for her and it elevated her game as a result.
But what was amazing was the care and attention to reviews, employee feedback, training and development and the general care of the well-being of every single team member. The linkage between the culture and the output was so tight it created something extraordinary. Watching how this was successfully executed at Altman was a tremendous learning experience for her.
via Liz Shader, Senior Director of Client Experience and Pricing at Facet
Shader came into Joshi’s life right after Joshi had a baby. Joshi had just launched a new business, Compel’d (peer-to-peer recommendation app) and she didn’t take any maternity leave as a result (that was fun!). They worked so closely in a highly unique setting (often from Joshi’s kitchen table!) where they could be honest about their struggles. Shader taught her the importance of bringing vulnerability and emotion into the workplace.
Joshi used to be a much more packaged/don’t-show-your-weakness-or-fears type of leader. Working with Shader and getting honest feedback from her on what resonated (showing more vulnerability) and what didn’t (being super packaged and guarded) made her a much more open and compassionate leader. Focusing on developing people and watching them grow is one of the most rewarding experiences of her career.
Value Sequencing Decider Graphic: What do your customers need to know, and when do they need to know it?
“Authenticity” vs. “Professionalism”: Should you be your authentic self in your brand’s content and marketing? Or must you adhere to certain strictures considered “professional” in your industry?
Homepage Optimization Applied: Learn how to replicate a 331% lift on your own site
The Last Blog Post: How to succeed in an era of Transparent Marketing
Why a Customer-First Culture is Essential for Your Business: Interview with ex-chairman of financial services firm
Corporate Communication and Marketing Innovation: The dangerous delusion of safety – playing it safe can hurt you more than you know (podcast episode #41)
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.
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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: And marketing is such a tricky endeavor. On the one hand, success is predicated on creativity. Think of some of the most memorable and effective marketing campaigns throughout history. It took creative brains to pull them off. But creativity without execution never sees the light of day, and history is littered with great creatives who are just never able to get it done.
Which is why a lesson from our next guest is so valuable no matter what role you have in marketing, process is the foundation for success. Not flashy or glamorous, perhaps, but certainly essential. Here to share the story behind that lesson, along with many more lesson filled stories is Shruti Joshi, the Chief operating officer at Facet. Thanks for joining us, Shruti.
Shruti Joshi: Thanks, Daniel. I'm very excited to be here.
Daniel Burstein: So people understand who I'm talking to. Let's just take a quick look at your background, what you're doing now. You got an MBA from Columbia. I was just cherry picking from your background of course. You were Executive Director of Consumer Marketing at Verizon, where you spent ten years. And we're going to get into some really great lessons from there.
And for the past two years, you have been CEO of Facet at Facet. Shruti oversees the sales, marketing, planning and member experience organization, so she manages a total team of 180, and Facet has raised more than $165 million led by venture capital firms like Warburg Pincus and Durable Capital. So, Shruti, give us a sense, what is your day like as CEO of Facet?
Shruti Joshi: Absolute madness and you know, truly every day is a little different, which I like, and every day is just filled to the max because for one, we are a virtual business. We've got, you know, 240 people all over the country. And so and then we've got over 18,000 individuals that we help with financial planning and growing every day.
And so whether it's, you know, dealing with developing something around business strategy for marketing, catering to something related to client experience or a member experience every day is just it's a circus. It's, you know, startups are crazy. They're wild. And I start the day pretty early. I've got a little one. So, you know, I'm up early with him and it's pretty back to back, actually all the way up until about 630. And then, you know, I start part two, the mom job. And during that day, I'm in a lot of different Zoom meetings. I also post-COVID and back to traveling. So it's wild. That's probably the best way to describe it.
Daniel Burstein: So a startup and having a young one, I think you could describe them both the same way. It's a circus and it's wild. So totally. That's exemplary right there.
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, true. And you I feel like you really understand. You understand me?
Daniel Burstein: We've been there. So in the first half of the podcast, we talk about lessons from the things you made. So like I said, this is the only career I've had. I've never been an auditor or podiatrist or something, but a great thing about being a marketers, we actually get to make things, we make brands, we make campaigns. I love that about our profession.
So here's a first lesson from something you made. You said process is the foundation for success. We talked about your big role and extensive background ever rise, and I think you learned this working at Verizon, right?
Shruti Joshi: Definitely. Yeah. I mean, it's not sexy, like you said, but I, I have found over the years that ultimately focusing on the inputs and what you do every single day, that discipline is what makes the difference on whether the results or the outcome happen. I very rarely think about, Oh, I've got to drive down, you know, 50%.
I don't really think too much about the destination. I like to have a vision of where I'm going. And then what I love to do is chalk that up into small pieces of what I need to do every day within a process or system to ultimately get to that outcome. And it's very easy to skip, you know, straight to the doing stage.
I think as a consultant or even working with various teams, I'll find sometimes that people feel productive by checking things off of a list. And it's it's really about working smarter. And so if you understand the system that you're managing, in the case of marketing growth, for example, growth has a system and every system is a little different based on the business that you're running and the type of customer you're targeting.
If it's a large enterprise customer, it's a very different growth funnel than if you're targeting consumers. If you're a digital only business, very different than if you have a retail storefront. But at the end of the day, they all have a system of creating demand and nurturing that demand to a conversion. And so at Verizon, I really learned what is a best in class system process and how do you hire people into that system And then how does the system work itself, where it makes it easier for people to collaborate?
And the number one word I would say about process and a really great growth system in this case is my example is being proactive. So if you say, I'll be more specific, if it would be helpful if you think, Yeah, if you think a little bit about my role at Verizon and generating consumer demand for the fiber optic product, FiOS as a home solution service, it was a recurring subscription service that was priced at anywhere between 100 to $200 a month.
And the way that the system was designed was to think about generating awareness, getting people to call us or to go online, how we interacted and engaged with them if they were responders, but they didn't convert, how would we nurture them back in? That's kind of that mid funnel area. And then of course, the bottom of the funnel is once they get on a call with a call center rep or they're online, how do you successfully create urgency, whether it's using an offer strategy or an offer end day or something around how that service is going to better their lives and you need it immediately.
How do you then convert that, you know, top funnel being a lot of the media spend and how do you bring people in the door? That system, we really developed it in a way where we put a metrics, again, a data measurement system around it, where every day we would look at how we were progressing with consumers down the funnel.
So how many inquiries, where we getting, how many people were not responding, how many visits to the web website, how many calls to the call center? And we started to understand the ratios in the system and the actions that we took became directly related to how we were performing in that system. And this big challenge of having to reduce CEC became very much a daily program of how we would look at the micro metrics that drove those macro metrics.
And so, you know, long story short is that every business has a system for growth. Figuring that out, laying it out and then putting analytics around it and hiring people around it, making them collaborate and have the right conversations proactively. I've used this type of system at multiple companies for multiple clients when I was in the consulting space. It always works like you always get the outcome If you break it up into bite sized pieces.
Daniel Burstein: I like that. I mean, I've heard and hopefully this is figurative, not literal, but how do you eat an elephant? And it's one bite at a time, right? So you mentioned customer acquisition costs and you mentioned micro measurements, the daily measurements. When are we looking too often at our metrics, right? And when do we have to give a chance for something to play out more?
I know because I interviewed, you know, a former executive at PayPal who I don't remember his name now. But he mentioned at PayPal, he launched a campaign to, you know, they got people to sign up for PayPal, but then to keep him at PayPal, right. That was the key metric. And I think it took three years for his discovery.
Like he did some research and he said this work and I wish I could be more specific. Remember it Exactly. But it took I remember it took like three years for that to play out. And I just said and a company like PayPal, a digital fast food company like PayPal, how did you get the time to let it last for three years because it wasn't working in your run? So that's why you mentioned this is great. We're looking every day at our metrics. We've got these micro metrics, but how do we not overreact and make sure we still look at the big picture?
Shruti Joshi: Such a good question. It's 100% understanding which metrics matter for what measurement. So there are certain metrics we don't look at daily. We won't, mostly because it's, for example, Kayak, right? Like there's four. We have a longer sale cycle at Facet that Verizon. The sale cycle was very short, but you still wouldn't evaluate certain metrics on a daily basis.
It made no sense. You would lead you to make very poor decisions If you're looking at, for example, top funnel awareness spend. Also really tough to look at anything like that daily because it's providing a halo effect or doing certain things to other channels where you need more time for the actual dynamic to play out. So what I think I've really spent a lot of time and energy on over my career is figuring out which metrics are daily metrics, which metrics are weekly metrics, and which metrics are really longer term and what are what does that even mean?
And it might be three years to your point or example, it might be something like a year. And then I think the key is managing expectations. So there are plenty of metrics using Facet as an example where I've told our exact team and our board, Hey, like this is going to take a year and a half, just let it play out.
But what I'm going to show you is month to month, what does progress look like? And if some of these sub metrics are moving in the right direction, that means we're going in the right. You know, we're going to end up in a good place in a year and a half. So I think it's that balance of like which metric, which metrics are measuring, what level of success and how do those play together and how do you manage expectations.
Daniel Burstein: Yeah, that's nice. Managing expectations is key so people don't overreact when they see those daily numbers.
Shruti Joshi: 100%.
Daniel Burstein: I also want to ask, was there any specific tactic that you could give the audience as an example that really was helpful for you for managing such a big project? So I think we mentioned you managed a $750 million budget when you're at Verizon. I'll give you a really simple example that worked well in my own career. I got the great pleasure to manage a website redesign and replatforming.
If no one's ever done that before, especially the web company. Oh my gosh, it's oodles of fun because everyone's got feedback. But one thing that very simple thing that work, I can be on board and it was just great. Any time, you know, we worked all physically in the same space at that point. So these easier. You could do this virtually anytime anyone had a question where the project was at or, you know, even the team, it's very easy to look at the Kanban board.
You see everything that's, you know, moving across the Kanban board. And so that's, you know, very simple. But $750 million budget, we talked about all these metrics, all these stakeholders, all these participants. Was there any simple tactic that you used to just kind of keep everyone on the same page?
Shruti Joshi: Oh yeah. Back to my process. Is the foundation for success at a large organization like Verizon, by the way. Interestingly, I'm not really a process for the sake of process person. There's a part of me that hate process. I talked about how I love that every day is a little different, but I think process when you have a lot of people that have to follow a system for something to work out a certain way is very useful.
So what I spent a lot of time on is developing a go to market process that clearly laid out what each team was available for over time. So we had a quarterly planning process. It was a T -90 days. We would start the process. It was literally a flow chart of what each team was doing for the strategy team was going to start with the strategy brief.
The agencies would then come back with the agency brief. You know, we kind of mapped out over literally 90 days how that worked. We trained that. We made sure everybody understood their role, what, you know, if it was a PowerPoint deck, what that deck needed to include in order to facilitate meaningful communication and collaboration. It's that process for the sake of it.
It's just to make sure everybody knows who's doing what, when, and then what the expectation is, so that we're fostering really good communication. Because in those large companies and really any company, communication and handoffs are everything. So in that type of a scale, the handoffs, the who's on first, who's doing what becomes so critical to get things out the door on time and so that they work.
So I would say it was really laying that out and then layering in a governance process of how that gets managed week to week. Who's in the meetings, how do we track whether things are going well, how are we making sure, you know, we're not just going through the motions, but we're having meaningful conversations? And then we kept reevaluating whether those processes and that governance was still right for us as the program evolved.
But there was an insane amount of stakeholders and I would say that that's one of the biggest differences between a really large company and a smaller startup. The stakeholder at a really large company is critical because people have to want to follow and really making sure we made it clear like what's in it for them to want to participate in this system.
Daniel Burstein: That's great. I mean, something we've talked about before this podcast is as marketers are so focused on communicating cost and value to our customers, and sometimes we overlook doing that within our own organization. And it's so important for those individuals to have that motivation because I understand the value, especially to, I'd assume, have risen $750 million budget. It's not even just people in Verizon there, probably multiple and competing vendors involved who also have to understand stay in line. Here's what's in it for you. Here are the costs. If you know you can't deliver or don't deliver.
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, and you know, I have to say this, Daniel, people make fun of me all the time because I'm repetitive. And I remember the CEO at Verizon, Dennis Regal, saying, the only person that gets tired of your message is you. And when you're trying to drive change and in the case of my role at Verizon, we were driving change in a new process, like a new go to market process, being repetitive became a really important part of our success because just like consumers to your point, right, you've got to run an ad or run a message at least seven times before it even registers. Similarly internally, those, you know, we're all human. So that dynamic plays out in the exact same way.
Daniel Burstein: Exactly. Very good that internal messaging is so important. And part of that internal messaging you said was the data, was the different metrics. You looked at your next lesson, you said data is the decider. So how did you learn this lesson?
Shruti Joshi: Oh boy, I feel like this one. I have learned so many times across the entirety of my career. I've always been, I think, at least the early days, my career, I've always been in a performance marketing role or in a place where the numbers that I drove were extremely important to the success of the business. And so having to continuously prove that we were spending resources correctly, the best way to do that is with data.
It really comes down to being able to prove a lie. And so what I would say on, you know, data and the importance of it is that this happens at multiple levels in terms of like the entirety of your efforts. If you're if you have a marketing budget and you need to prove the rely on that because, look, let's face it, marketing line items in a lot of businesses are some of the biggest cost line items, period.
So you're constantly wanting to defend and make sure that you're proving to stakeholders that that money is being well spent. So data is the best way to show that. In addition, if you're running campaigns in order to actually prove that marketing ROI at that higher level, you need all of your individual tactics and initiatives and channels and tests to work right.
You need to run a program that actually does the job. And the only way to do that is through understanding. Okay, I'm an AB test something does it work right? Should I scale it? And so I think on both levels, whether you're managing kind of a business or you're managing a, you know, 100 campaigns, you're constantly needing to understand does this work?
And so for me, data is the decider around that. There are so many ideas that work in theory, right? I've had some brilliant marketing ideas and then I put them in market and then it's like, Oh, I guess it wasn't so brilliant. And I'd had some ideas where I was like, Okay, I don't, I don't look, this is a good idea.
We should try it. I don't know if it'll work. And it becomes like the best working thing ever. And so I think, you know, there's the theory and there's the reality. You can have great instincts. There's a lot of marketers that have great instincts, but you're never going to know until you put it in market and see what the consumer market tells you.
And data is a way to evaluate that. So that's a big part of why I think data so critical and it's more critical than it's ever been, because I don't know a marketer out there, especially in today's macro condition, that is being asked to do more with more. No one's getting that. Everyone saying do more with less. So if you want to do more with less, it's 100% about knowing what's working, what's not and how to optimize to make sure you're squeezing as much juice out of all of your programs, Data is a way to do that.
Daniel Burstein: Can you think of a specific example you mentioned? AB test, where an AB test helped you make a decision in an organization or the whole organization? Because I know for us just one example is we often get asked by our audience about value proposition and, and the, you know, where to put certain value propositions and how to kind of message that value proposition throughout an entire funnel.
And so we looked at the AB test and experiments at MECLABS Institute, our parent organization ran with many different brands in many different industries, and we built a value sequencing decider graphic. So it helped our audience pull. Okay, you can see where different value should be in your funnel. So for you, you know, you talked about there's the golden God, right?
You know, and there's all these debates. We think something works, something might not work. You're getting bigger organizations. There's a lot of debates. I've heard it called Let the Customer decide or let the data decide. So can you think of an example where, you know, you kind of were having those debates should be there should be that you ran the b test or multiple a B tests and learn. And then it's like, okay, here's what the ultimate decision is, because here's what the customers told us.
Shruti Joshi: Oh, sure. I mean, I have hundreds of examples. I'll give you two very different ones. So a facet, you know, we're a very disruptive fintech company. We're offering financial planning to millions of Americans that haven't had access to this type of planning. And not only are we redefining a entire service, but we're also democratizing it. And so when the product came to market, there really wasn't a subscription financial planning service out there, so there wasn't a lot of data where you could point at something and say, Ooh, you know, like look at how they've done it or look at, you know, a lot of people said, Oh, this, I don't know if this will ever work.
And, you know, obviously those people are now wrong. But what we did is we weren't sure in the early days and I was on the advisory board and I was an early investor, but I was not involved at the company day to day. And I remember having a conversation with Anders Jones, our CEO and our co-founder and we were talking about what's the best go to market approach for facet. And there were a couple of thoughts, right? The very, very early days we had to prove product market fit. So naturally, you know, you start with a 100 to 200 clients or less, right? Or you're just happy someone's going to participate and you kind of see how it goes.
So there was certainly testing in whether there was a product market fit with like 50 client, you know, 50 clients at the time. But there was also a bigger test on how to distribute this. Is it better to go direct to consumer work with affiliates and our own media demand gen programs, or was it better to go to the industry and actually work with financial planners that had clients that had sort of a lower asset value?
The industry likes to focus on people with over $1,000,000 in assets. We really part of democratizing the service was not to anchor the service to assets under management or a U.N. it was to provide, you know, everyone with financial planning that could really change their lives. So the other alternate path was to work with a more enterprise sale solution where we actually worked with people and took on clients that had that were kind of the lower end of the market for those high net worth planners.
That was an AB test, a giant AB test early in the program. And what we found was that the direct to consumer path was faster and more efficient. That was a surprise because a lot of people thought, Oh, you know, this is going to be a no brainer. And as we went through the testing, what revealed itself was that a lot of those traditional planners did actually not want to give up those clients, you know, for a variety of reasons.
So that's one great example. When you're founding a company, there are so many questions, right? You have this amazing idea and you have a suspicion. And so you've got a first test with a small group of people. Is this even a fit? Do they even find value to then, you know, correct. And sort of make the service offering better and then you're trying to figure out distribution?
And should this be an enterprise B2B sale or a DTC sale? And that test answered a lot of questions. And then, you know, the other example I would say is we I think we have a 400 different tests going on at any given point at facet, and we do not have a $750 million budget. We're in the double digit millions, but not that much.
But everything is a test and it's really fascinating to see what we learn in those tests. So we have got a new lead nurture program led by one of our directors at Facet, a new program at Facet in its entirety. It's a new team, a new program to take these leads that are interested in us and then figure out how to nurture them.
And all of that is new. And so everything starts as an HIV test because we're trying to figure out the message. We're trying to figure out, you know, the sort of whether an offer is required to help nudge people along. So, you know, that's like another set of examples of just everything. We test it all. And I think we don't find that we're in diminishing returns.
Certain things, I will say, Daniel, are not worth testing like there are. Sometimes it's very easy to go overboard on testing or overboard on data. I think it's, you know, balancing. But hopefully that gives you a couple of examples of how we've used this and, you know, test and learn in interesting ways.
Daniel Burstein: That's great. Yeah, No, that's a real specific example. And you mentioned to not you don't test everything. You know, one kind of bar I've always used is are we going to learn something that's going to help us grow the business, understand the customer better? You know, sometimes if it's testing a green button versus a blue button, you know, sometimes people want to focus on these little things. It's not worth it might not be totally.
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, and you know what else I've noticed just on this point really fast is that people also sometimes they don't put their best foot forward when they're testing. Like, you got to make sure you know what you want to learn to your point and then really sort of put something in market that isolates their evals so that you can learn what you want to learn.
I sometimes I feel, especially lately, like the words data data's a buzz word, data driven, you know, test and learn AB test. And I think like that's all great. But at the end of the day, it's actually a very simple concept. Like you want to know what works between something and something else. And I think sometimes we get lost in like the jargon and like the trend and forget like this is a very basic concept.
Daniel Burstein: Yeah. And I don't want to get lost on a trail here, but you're tying into something that we focus on a lot. Yeah, I think two things help to is, one, creating hypothesis. Yeah, actually, no, the reason why you want to test and you know what the outcome informs. And the other thing too is being careful that like you said, you're isolating variables so that you understand that what you think you're testing to learn, you are actually learning, right? If you're testing poorly.
You have a separate promotion going on that's driving all sorts of different traffic than you normally would. Then that maybe isn't really replicable to how you're going to run your business, but let's take another lesson here. Authenticity matters. And I think this ties into kind of the go to market strategy that you're currently using.
Shruti Joshi: Yes. So thought about this a lot. You know, although my title is SEO, oh, I am responsible for brand and marketing at Facet and when coming over here, you know, we had to really think one of the first things that I did when I joined was I really wanted to understand if there was clarity across our leadership team on what it was that we were really building, like, what is that vision that we're getting to?
And a big part of getting to that vision and articulating that has to do with brand. I think the best brands in my experience put their brand strategy at the core or the heart or the soul of the company. It's not a marketing team on the side making pretty ads or having clever messaging. It's really about defining and promising what it is that you do and then having to deliver a unique experience that differentiates you from competitors to build preference that isn't going to be a marketing or an ad that's going to be every single thing the business does.
Who the business hires, for example, has to reflect the ability to deliver that promise. The actual product experience or the service experience has to deliver on that for the best brands, really build that into the DNA and then every single program, the Internal people program or HR programs the way that you go to market in every touchpoint ends up having to be consistent.
And i think in this day and age with social media, it is more important than ever for that authenticity between the promise and the delivery or the reality and the expectations. To me, that is everything. And so taking the time to really figure out what you stand for, what experience you want people to take away, and then figuring out systems and processes again that ensure that you're going to market in that way is, I think, everything you can no longer run ads like those days of like Mad Men, you know, Madison Avenue running an ad and like, trust us, and then talking to a couple of neighbors and being like, Yeah, do you like this or do you like this? Like, those days are kind of over, right? You've got consumers talking and they've got loud microphones. So the reality and the expectations have to meet in a way that they never have. And so I think that's such that's the way to show that you're authentic to your consumers and your and consumers know they are so incredibly savvy. Everybody is a marketer these days. And I think customers know when they're being sold or when there's something authentic happening.
Daniel Burstein: That's great. And I want to talk about a specific example you mentioned here. So I totally agree with that. I would say also in other way we can talk about that is is truly understanding a company's value proposition and then not just messaging that value proposition, but living and delivering it because every touchpoint is marketing, right? It's not just the big brand ad, it's the customer service.
It's I get the product. How does it express I have a problem with the product, How does that go? But you mentioned you mentioned one thing that I really want to zoom in on because I hear authenticity matters and I hear sometimes maybe there's some confusion that's here and you talk about influencer marketing and that's big, a big, big part of it.
And so I wonder when it comes to influencer marketing and it comes to a financial product and we talk about authenticity, you know, where is the line to also have brand standards there and to not have authenticity? BE When your influencers are delivering your message that, you know, it's not like you said, delivering a value proposition. It's their being, their true selves, but it's not a fit for a financial brand.
And I'll give you a quick example from our own testing. And the reason I'm challenging this, by the way, I'll just mention, yeah, I don't think we're going to have a chance to dive into all of these, but I'll publish this in the article that comes with the podcast, The Jockey ten Things These ten rules that you Live by. Number three is zero assumptions Ask questions, which I love.
So let's go back to authenticity. So we ran our own test. We called it the authenticity versus professionalism test. Authenticity can be many things to many people, but one of the things that means is how we present ourselves online and our CEO who lives in Montana and we have a studio up there and he did some video teaching something and he was wearing a suit and all professional, all that stuff.
It just so happened something went wrong. The video didn't say the exact right thing. He had to come back into the studio. He’s just happy wearing his regular Montana cowboy hat and regular Montana dress. And so we ended up with two videos and so we thought, what an interesting test. And we tested it and we assumed, like, you know, again, you know, don't have assumptions.
We assume that, oh, it's just we can all just be ourselves online. Now, after COVID especially, we were working from home and it turned out that the cowboy version and we called it Cowboy Flint underperformed the professional version. So, no, again, this is not to say this will not work for the brand. We are specifically a B2B marketing, you know, reporting and teaching brand sure. But it did kind of, you know, make you question your assumptions of, okay, like how far can we go with that, what some people would call authenticity.
So I go back to you mentioned influencer marketing is very key to what you're rolling out now at Facet. But again, it's a financial product. There's a certain level of trust. And so where do you balance letting an influencer or just be their absolute true, authentic self and doing whatever to also having to understand, okay, what certain brand standards and levels of professionalism do we need here to build that trust in, Like I said, you know, a financial product.
Shruti Joshi: Yeah. So for us, all of our brand work that we did at Facet and by the way, we worked with an incredible brand agency, 21st century brand. They've done work for, you know, Airbnb, Peloton, like you, just the laundry list of companies they've worked with are just incredible as it pertains to marketing and I remember speaking with Jonathan Mildenhall when we were about to hire a 21st century brand.
We were looking for an agency to partner with and he brought up a few things that I really agreed with, and that was it all starts with, I mean, this is marketing 1 to 1, right? It all starts with the customer. And I think at the at the end of the day, the more you understand that customer, that prospect, that person that you're really building the service for the better off all of the marketing ends up being.
And so for us, we put our ideal client also, consequently our ideal employee is called a growth seeker. And it's a mentality as much as it is a set of demographics, that the mentality is somebody that wants to keep being better. So we oriented all of our brand strategy work. They call it the brand blueprint, we call it the brand blueprint around this very clear idea that was very research driven of who the ideal client is that would really extract, appreciate the value of the service that we're bringing.
Once that was done and that brand blueprint was built, we created a system by which you can evaluate any partner, any partner against that criteria. So set Otherwise the authenticity, the authenticity is in the work itself tied to who we're targeting, which means that when we're evaluating any influencers, we're not asking them to be something they're not. We're looking at who they are and whether that fits to the audience that we're developing our service for.
And if there is a fit where that is on brand and it resonates with that audience, we let them go, we let them do their thing because we've done the work to understand that the sort of way that this influencer is presenting themselves in the market consistently is exactly what we need to communicate and convey the value to the target or intended audience.
And that our community is aligned to their community. And so I don't know what that's like. I think I'm answering your question a bit indirectly, but it kind of feels like, you know, an example of your CEO clearly the target audience, perhaps it's B2B is looking for a certain amount of professionalism. And it was a little jarring to be like, oh, you know, this is like casual version.
And it is really hard, Daniel, to know, right? Because sometimes you do something super authentic and casual and it really resonates. I think for us, we tried to be very intentional about knowing who we are, what we stand for, and then identifying people that align to that. And that's probably the best way I can example, the best way I can articulate, you know, the way we think about authenticity.
We're not finding influencers that have big audiences and then asking them to do it our way. We're naturally just looking for people that just are. And I think that's how we've been able to kind of maintain that authenticity, even in the influencer space.
Daniel Burstein: Perfect. And I will mention two that ties into rule number one of the Joshi ten Things audience is everything. So again, if you look at the article that we're going to post on this podcast, you can see all ten things that I imagine Shruti might mention a few more before gone, but I like that because I interviewed Sam Lahti, who is the head of marketing at TSM, which is the biggest e-sports organization in the world, according to Forbes, and one of the things she mentioned too, you know, she said so many companies, you know, find an influencer and then tell them what to do.
Like, okay, we want you as an influencer now here's how you represent our brand. And she said, what worked better for them was finding more micro-influencers, smaller audiences, but the right people. And it sounds like you're saying the same thing as well. Maybe not micro-influencers specifically, but to get that authenticity, it's not about, here's our brand message. We're going to give it to you like we would to a radio host or to a TV announcer.
You know, we're just going to make sure we've got that right market fit for an influencer, and then we're going to let you go wild, as opposed to trying to get any influencer based on the numbers and make them fit into a certain box, which would not be authentic.
Shruti Joshi: That's exactly right.
Daniel Burstein: Let's talk about a lesson, how you helped build your career, specifically how you helped get to this point. So you mentioned that that role of Verizon, where you're leading customer acquisition, you got it at the ripe age of 28. And the reason you got it is because of this lesson. There's no substitute for mastery and grit. So how did you learn that?
Shruti Joshi: Yeah. So Dr. Shima Joshi, my mom, she definitely raised me with this ethos of you got to work for it. And, you know, again, it kind of links to this authenticity story because in a way, the more of an expert or more mastery you have on a topic, the more authentic you are about your knowledge set around that, whatever the topic may be.
And I think that you know what she really raised me with was just a work ethic. So obviously Malcolm Gladwell writes about 10000 hours and I 100% believe that that is true. My experience at Verizon, I think I really did work 10000 hours. I was so hungry to prove myself because they gave me this massive job. They gave me customer acquisition.
I was 28 years old. Oh, and, you know, I definitely although I worked hard and I was very thoughtful about the way I would, you know, run my business units or my, you know, manage my teams. I just remember having like the most insane imposter syndrome at 28, you know, having a 300 person team and a large budget to manage it was definitely scary.
And I remember just leaning into, I'm just going to work like crazy, learn like crazy to prove myself and feel like I am good at this. And to me, there is something that really grew in that lesson in terms of my confidence and my ability to maneuver in different situations and to feel like I was prepared. I remember coming to meetings that I would just I would know every number of back and forth, right?
I get into these meetings with very senior people and I had to hold court. And I just remember I just put in the work and by putting in the work and putting in the hours, I became really good at what I was doing. I knew it better than anybody. I knew it inside out. And I, you know, it just felt like there was this I had a passion for figuring out how to do something extraordinary and just continuing to level it up each time.
Like, you know, it is that growth seeker mentality in a way that, you know, again, I think my mom really my mom and dad, both of them really raised me with. But I think the connection is that there's this like people have desire and that's great. But the that supports that is really what I think builds the confidence and the expertise.
And so for me, it was always linking and, you know, prioritizing and choosing how I wanted to build a competency and how I wanted to really understand something. And coming at a place from knowing I never know everything and I'm super curious about it, but when I look at some of the most effective leaders they are, they just have this grit and they just have mastery of their subjects.
Daniel, I recently actually this is kind of new news. So in December I was nominated into my first public board and I joined the buckle. They're Becky on the New York Stock Exchange and their CEO is incredible like just his knowledge. He's been at the company forever. They're a retailer of 440 stores just walking around a store with Dennis like he knows the products, he knows the people.
He's keeping an eye on the customers. It's this true mastery of the business and just he's worked his way up. And I've always found that leaders that really put in the time and know their craft and it might even be outside of business there's just something about their authenticity and their effectiveness that is just hard to compete with. So, you know, for me, there's just no substitute for it. You operate at a different level when you've got it.
Daniel Burstein: No, that’s great. Well, in just a minute, we're going to learn some lessons you learned from some of your collaborators at Verizon In the first half of the podcast. We talk about lessons we learned from the things we made in the second half. We talk about lessons we learned from the people we made them with and what we get to do in marketing.
We get to build things and build it with people. But first, I should mention that the How I Made It In 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 MECLABScoSE el-arab dot MECLABS.com/results.
Okay, we talked about your time at Verizon. As I mentioned. We're going to talk about some lessons you learned from people you collaborated with. You learned to get an entire organization to follow a concept and execute as intended. The concept or concepts must be simple. And you learned this from Brian Angiolet at Verizon. So how did you learn this from Brian?
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, you know, Brian was my boss at Verizon a few times and he kept advancing in his career. And so he really became probably one of the most significant that I've had in my career. And he really took the time to train me. And simplicity was something he always he always talked about. There was a lot of leading, right?
Think about Verizon. You have large teams. You have to convince hundreds of people to do in a certain way. And so he really taught me the art. There's kind of a couple of stories, but one was certainly this idea of simplicity and a strategy. And I remember specifically an instance in which we were having a coffee and he said, Hey, you know, did you ever do direct mail at Verizon?
And I said, Yes, I was responsible. Early in my career, I did 2 billion pieces of direct mail, and he said, So remember when you got a strategy brief and it kind of had a core of communication and the context for the strategy of what you had to build? I said, Yes, I do. He said, Do you remember how sometimes those were really clear and good and easy and you got it and you could run with it.
And sometimes they weren't. I said, 100%. And so he really helped me understand that as the more senior we get and the more strategic work we're doing, we have to remember that there is a entry level manager like I was like, we all were, that had to take this big strategy and turn it into an action on a micro level.
And if that strategy wasn't simple and clear and easy for everybody to understand and internalize, that it would never go to market as intended, so said otherwise, like this person would interpret it incorrectly, they would execute something other than the desired strategy. And so that's been something that has always stuck with me through my career to really lead people and get an entire organization to follow a concept and executed as intended.
It's got to be simple, by the way. I don't think that really differs for consumers either, right? When you go to market with a marketing message, you've got four paragraphs of email copy. That's tough. So really honing in on the one or two things you want people to take away becomes so important in success on Go to Market.
And Brian taught that to me and he also taught me the concept kind of very related of how do you package and sell an idea as marketers are always packaging and selling ideas. That's just what we do. We have to sell, package and sell it internally to get funding for something. We've got to package and sell it externally to get a consumer to take an action.
And he really helped me understand. I remember being in a car with him and we were working on a PowerPoint and he was sort of showing me. It was a really kind of funny story. There were all of these various regional directors and he was saying, Okay, I'm going to package this slide like this just so I can resonate with the audience.
And it was kind of like creating a two by two grid where people could identify kind of where they fit. And he said, You're going to see everyone in the meeting is going to raise their hands, say, Oh, I'm in that box, I'm in this box. And sure enough, that's exactly how it played out. And so he really taught me the art of like, how do you package and sell ideas in order for people to resonate with them? So, you know, he was really brilliant in that way and still a very, very dear friend.
Daniel Burstein: Along with that, we're talking about packaging and selling ideas and simplicity. Specifically. I wonder if you have any advice or anything you learned about dealing with the competing internal and perhaps political objectives. Because for example, when we teach about effective home pages, we teach an effective home page. Should be simple and logical. And I think most marketers get it.
And the reason home pages are simple and logical, it's not necessarily because of the individual marketer. Sometimes it is a get too complicated and confusing, but sometimes it's because there's so many competing objectives within the organization. There's so much, for lack of a better word, internal politics. There's, you know, everybody wants their product on the home page of their department or division or promotion.
And so it becomes, you know, where they say a camel is like a horse built by committee. So when it comes to being simple, I guess you can start with that simple strategy. But do you have any advice for then getting it through, for lack of a better word, the sausage making factory that is a big organization so that it's simple when it actually comes out the other end?
Shruti Joshi: Yes, This is a it's a great question because that really is so hard. There are probably a couple of things. One is being able to show what's best in class. So the more examples you can show of I've always found this a very useful trick, like when you bring out the the competitors or the competitor or the brands or the companies that like everyone internally admires, and you're like, See, look at how they're doing it.
It's simple. I think that's always powerful. So that there's almost like a way that this is done and we really don't want to deviate from that way because it probably won't be effective. The other is sometimes bringing in an external expert. That's also really helpful because it becomes less personal and it becomes this expert that knows about this thing is telling us.
This is like we need to edit down to one concept or whatever the case may be. And then the third thing is push back, go ahead and take it and AB test your own version of it. And the minute that your version works, you just say, you know, you don't get it. You don't have to get into the argument.
This day and age. It's so easy to test websites and home pages. We do it constantly with our website and you just spin up a few tests. Jimmy Ellis on my team is is brilliant at this. He just literally tests tons of different headlines on on websites. And rather than getting into the debate you just kind of prove it with the data. Those are the three things I've used and I think all of those have worked pretty well.
Daniel Burstein: Okay, great. There you go. Data is the decider getting back there. Let's talk about another lesson you learned from a former colleague at Verizon. There will never be a good time to do this. Just get it done. And you learn this from Geoff Walls at Verizon. And how did you learn that lesson?
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, so Jeff Walls, I actually think he just retired even though he's super young and awesome. He he was responsible for advertising at Verizon and I worked with him for a few years and I think this might be in my life one of the most important decisions that I made in terms of like the way, you know, my career in my life ended up going.
And I will never forget I was pretty new at Verizon. They had told I had. So this is kind of interesting. I worked at Verizon for about five years. I ended up leaving because I had this entrepreneurial spirit and I went to a product innovation and packaging company called Lager. And then Verizon called after I was there for two years and they said, Hey, come back, we'll help you fund your MBA, because I was in a place where I was ready to do that.
And, you know, we're investing in a $17 Billion fiber network. We're going to be an entertainment and content company. Like this is a really exciting time to come back. And it was Jeff who called me. So I came back to the company and I was a few weeks in and we were very busy. It was a super, super busy job. And I remember saying to Jeff, Yeah, I think I'll just delay the MBA. And he said, No, you know, life passes you by. There's never a good time if you want to do something, you just make the time for it. And it was very, you know, was very life. It was very it wasn't career advice, you know, it was very much life advice.
And he was so right. And and because of him, I had that support from my boss. I went in, you know, I signed up and or applied. I should say, and I got in and I ended up doing it. He worked with me to create a lot of time and space for me to be out of the office a lot.
And I found a way to still deliver impact and results taking on this, you know, huge business school endeavor. And I was going between London Business School and Columbia Business School. It was really intense, but I just felt like, wow, like, that's so rare that you find a boss that really looks out for your best interest as a person.
And it was in his best interest at all. But his advice was so powerful because I don't think I would have done it. It was this like super fleeting moment of time. I just got busier and busier and busier. And so I always keep that in mind that if there's something I want to do, I just I just do it.
And I knew that, like I was raised by parents that did that, but I didn't expect it to happen, you know, within a work work situation. And I don't even know if he knows this, but it was like it really changed kind of the course of of my career and my life, like actually getting that done and the exposure I had to the people I met at business school and and the concepts and ideas and some of the confidence that that came along with it.
Daniel Burstein: So I wonder how you've applied that lesson now that you lead a team, especially when it comes to because that's such a great lesson. I mean, life will pass you by right? First blush that if you're not careful, but when it comes to even just yeah, even just something kind of personal because so we did something at one point was about ten years ago called the last blog post. I got with all these other publishers. We're like, All right, if you had to write your last blog post, what would it be? And of course, it was inspired by the last lecture, which the professor called was his.
Shruti Joshi: I mean, I've read it.
Daniel Burstein: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it was about what it was about, like living your childhood dreams and not overlooking that because life passed you by and, and your career moves pretty quick. And so, you know, something we've seen in a cove in a post-COVID world is people have kind of taken that more time, whether it's a sabbatical, to try to become an artist or, you know, whatever, to spend that time with that family.
So I wonder now in how you manage on that, you have that experience. MBA That's great, but that is a very specific career forwarding type of thing to go about. Yeah, to make you a better Verizon marketer, which is a good thing to be. But has there ever been or have you learned anything in managing your team to also just make sure they are living their childhood dreams?
They are seizing their life because it will move pretty quick? Well, there's always going to be another deadline. There's always going to be another campaign launch. So give me another product launch. You know, it's never going to be like, okay, there will be the time when nothing is going on and I'll do that.
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, I think we talk about this, you know, a lot. Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think to answer your question, like I would say that this attitude about you've only got one life is something that has existed with me probably even before Jeff. But it was just so, it was just so special that somebody that wouldn't benefit from it kind of pushed me to do it.
And I think that it was a great reminder, but when, like all of the career changes I've made and I've had a very, very wide variety of experiences, I'm not like somebody that's been on a track for a really long time. You know, I was curious about working at a large company and building a skill set. I left Verizon, I went and did product innovation and a person firm came back, did fires.
Then I left and went and did growth r y consulting and it was very entrepreneurial, built a business unit from scratch at Altman. And then I remember nine years and I was like, Oh, I want to do something else. So I left and I started a startup. So I think for me, career hasn't been this thing on the side.
It's like about, you know, I say work life integration. Like I don't separate, like to be I do things that fascinate me and pique my curiosity. And it just sort of all mixes together, whether it's work or whether it's taking a trip when I sold when I left Altman, I basically I wanted to my husband wanted to live in London, so I said, Let's go.
No time like the present. We didn't have children, you know, We just took off and we left. Lived in London for seven months between that. So that's always been a huge part of who I am. And so as a leader, I definitely, you know, encourage that. For me, it's much more than just the job. It's about people developing a skill.
It's about people feeling good, about their contribution, about becoming, about evolving and becoming, you know, better people. And if they need time to go do something or encouragement to do something they're very passionate about, I think that's a big part of what I really I really work on trying to be supportive now. We work a lot, so I'm not going to say at a startup where you're trying to disrupt an industry, you know, and change the lives of millions of people, that it's going to be light work, right?
I think we're very clear about that expectation. And when people come in like this is an amazing place, but we've really got this core mission and you're part of it. But I think with that, we also really think about the whole person and, you know, are they developing? Are they taking the time? We've implemented this thing called Facet Days where every quarter, every we just shut down and everyone takes a day to just sort of do the things that they love.
So I think it's very much, Daniel, a part of who I am. I also recognize everyone's different. Like, you know, not everyone has a life pie with eight wedges and they're all balance. Like some people love doing three things and doing them hard core and some people like doing eight. You know, they have eight parts of their life pie and they want them to be, you know, balanced around it. So I think it's been supportive because everybody has their own path and their own desires. But yes, I think that was very inspirational for sure.
Daniel Burstein: I like that. Wasn't there a board game with maybe the game of life where there was that pie you had to put in different. Yeah, I like that. Okay.
Shruti Joshi: Exactly.
Daniel Burstein: So that ties into you mentioned Altman, That's Altman salon and you said from working there you learn just kind of times what we're just talking about to create a meaningful people first culture. And you learned that from the team in Altman and especially Rory Altman, the partner and co-founder, and Ed Landry, the co-founder. So you want to tell us a little bit more about your time there and how that shaped you?
Shruti Joshi: Yeah. So so ALTMAN So Long was formerly known as Altman Vilandrie When I worked there, they were Altman Vilandrie. It was founded by Rory Altman and Ed Vilandrie, and there was something extremely special, and there still is something extremely special about Altman Soul on it, especially coming from Verizon. Because I was at Verizon, I was at Logger, I did product consulting, and then I went back to Verizon.
Unlike those experiences, Altman opened my eyes to just a whole different way of managing a business and the importance of people first culture, the investment in really figuring out like what is our culture? Who is sort of an optimal fit employee and how do we what is the process by which we recruit that optimal fit person and then the thoughtfulness of how you know, how we nurture those people was just it was an incredible lesson for me that it was so thoughtfully done, so consistent and so authentic, right? It wasn't lip service of telling employees and people that came in about what we wanted to be or what we were trying to do. It was very much embedded in the DNA of the business, from recruiting to how we nurture, how we there was like an annual ski trip. There were all of these sort of events and the way that, you know, the culture was really facilitated was something so incredibly authentic and unique.
And it resulted in, by the way, the company had an incredibly high bar for quality. And for me, as somebody that's always appreciated that high bar for quality, it was an environment that elevated my game. They were extremely passionate about making sure that their clients were very happy. It was just like a different level of commitment to quality all the way around and the care and attention with reviews.
You know, every just everything was it was really we talked about brand earlier. I don't know that they fully realized that's what they were doing, but it was like they really had a clear idea of who they were and they just didn't negotiate that away in any touchpoint. And it was amazing to be a part of it.
Daniel Burstein: So you mentioned reviews, so I wonder what role does measurement and how do you measure success play in creating a people first culture? So for example, we interviewed the chairman of an equity and multi-asset fund management group named Ian Gay, and something he really stressed was, you know, be very careful for how you measure success, because if you're looking for long term success for the business you're investing in, the businesses you're creating in, you better be measuring long term success in how you're kind of evaluating and measuring your people.
So I wonder if, you know, with your team now or teams you've managed, how do you measure success to make sure it is a people first culture?
Shruti Joshi: Yes, it's really interesting. It all starts with that brand. So earlier I talked about how brand in a way isn't just a marketing idea or logo, right? It's like the DNA of the company. And so what we've done at Facet, for example, is that once we define that brand work, sat down with the people team and created a full people strategy that supports that brand.
And that meant redefining who we hire. So having a different it all starts with that, right? If you know who you're going to acquire as a client, they're probably going to be better fit. They're going to take love the service or go have more value. Similarly, if you set a clear expectation about what the brand is and what the experience of working at Facet is and set clarity around that, and then you look for people that are really going to thrive in that environment.
That's step one. And I think Altman did an amazing job of knowing who was a great fit employee. And then I think it becomes developing a program that nurtures that cult, that desire culture, and brings out the absolute best in these people. And to answer your question about data and measurement, that is a huge part of it. Having a constant feedback loop, having clear targets like this is sort of what we need to accomplish this year.
These are strategic priorities for the year. This is how your role supports those and repeating, making people understand how they're directly contributing to that mission and the actual work that they're doing and the importance of the work. And then just continuing to revise, revise, revise and bring back, you know, how are you progressing against those metrics? For some of our teams, it's a lot easier because it's very quantitative, right?
We moving the needle on these core metrics for some of the team, it's less quantitative or I said qualitative. I meant for some of these teams, it's more quantitative, for some it's more. And what we've actually done at Facet is we're working really hard right now on a quality and initiative that looks at qualitative metrics of how well we're delivering service and we're using some, you know, some things like machine learning and natural language processing to figure out how do we take these more qualitative concepts and make them more tangible. So it's a combination, right? It's not all data driven, But yes, we're very thoughtful about this. I definitely think my time at Altman inspired a lot of a lot of that, lessening the importance of it.
Daniel Burstein: Let's talk about one final lesson here. You've mentioned that people should bring vulnerability and emotion into the workplace. You learned this from Liz Shader, who you are currently working with. She's a Senior Director of Client Experience and Pricing at Facet and you work with earlier in your career. So how did you learn this lesson from Liz?
Shruti Joshi: So Liz came into my life right after I had a baby, so I didn't take a maternity leave, which was definitely something I don't recommend. But I had launched a business that well, it's kind of a fun story. I launched a business called Compelled. It was a peer to peer recommendation app that focused on travel, and we went live two months before the pandemic.
So, you know, literally a travel app right before everything came to a halt. And I had had a baby like literally a year prior. Yeah, I think it was a year and change before that. And so I ended up because I wasn't taking maternity leave. I hired Liz and we worked really closely together. It was a very unique situation.
Literally, the office was my kitchen table and it created a very special environment where it was a very intimate setting, right to work with somebody where like literally you have a brand new child, you're working on a startup, it's a super small team. There's three of you, and because of it, we could be really are we ended up having an environment where things were much more open and honest.
If I didn't sleep because my kid kept me up the night before, she kind of saw me as a hot mess the next day. And it was very hard to really to really put on a happy face or a suit and hide from that. And she really taught me the importance of how much being a little bit more open about what I was struggling with was really valuable. Like there was this humanness that she was very open about. Like it's really helpful for me when you're a little bit more vulnerable and you're not as packaged, because I think coming from large companies being packaged, not really showing weaknesses, not really showing emotion is kind of what you're trained to due to some level. And I think she really gave me a lot of honest feedback on what resonated and showing more vulnerability, being a little bit more open, a little messier, a little bit like less package, not really knowing, like not knowing the answer sometimes and being open about it.
I think it really made her more open and brought out the best in her and that turned me into a more compassionate and much more open leader. And I think it's just like it was just such an interesting situation and I've really carried it into where I am. And so I do show a lot more emotion than I ever have. And I do say when something is not perfect or not packaged. And and I think it's just been such a rewarding experience to see how when I'm a little bit more open, it brings out the best in the people that I'm actually working with. And that's ultimately what it's about for me.
Daniel Burstein: All right. Let me ask you one final question. We talked about all different things about what it means to be a marketer. What are the key qualities of an effective marketer in your opinion?
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, so the key qualities for a marketer, you know, number one would be this is very, you know, old school. Like if you pick up your marketing textbook, you're going to read this, but it's customer focus for real, I like to say, because I think a lot of people say we're client first, we're customer first. I really mean it. I mean, I mean, talk to your customers, listen to calls, listen to interactions. If you have a retail store, go to the store, spend a week in the store understanding the front line. So for me, you have to be okay, rolling up your sleeves and understanding the journey that a customer or a client or a member, you know, whatever it is you're catering to goes through.
If it's an enterprise business, same thing. Like you've got to understand the journey they're going through. You've got to sit and talk to them. You've got to understand where the flaws are. And to the extent that you can eat your own dog food and use the service, the better off you're going to be. So that would be number one. You have to have that and it can't be lip service. It's got to be authentic, legit, and you've got to really feel it. I think the second, while I'm a little bit repetitive, as I already said, but it's data, data, data. And I think in this modern era, marketers have never had more pressure to prove the return on their investment.
And as a result, you've got to have math skills, basic math skills. You've got to understand what is this program doing? How do I test and learn? How do I evaluate the performance of two things or more, and how do I prove the return on my investment? So you've got to have that skill set and really work on it.
And then I think number three is, you know, it's really good if you if you're creative and innovative. I think content skills in this day and age and some social skills are pretty important. Everything is content and stories, right? All of the rules of marketing have changed. It's not about talking to somebody. It's about community and about connection and about helping people self discover and so as a result of that, having a toolkit that allows you to connect in digital formats or otherwise and really be creative and innovative on how you get to that connection and community, I think is a huge skill set in this modern era.
And then at the end of the day, the last thing is results. You've just got to drive results, right? You can't sort of hand wave your way through a marketing program anymore. You've got to make sure that you can prove that you have moved the needle, whether it's building a brand or changing an internal culture or making an ad work or driving growth or reducing churn, you know, whatever it may be, there are many more, but those are probably the four that, you know, come to mind.
Daniel Burstein: Well, thank you for sharing your stories with us today, Shruti, and the lessons you learn from getting results. I learned a lot.
Shruti Joshi: Thank you so much for having me, Daniel. I really enjoyed the conversation and love some of your stories. I felt like they were really, really interesting. It's really fun to get together with other people in the marketing, you know, marketing domain marketers and share war stories because there are so many parallels, even though, you know, you can be in very different industries.
Daniel Burstein: And that's the fun thing we've had in these podcast discussions, and I hope our audience has learned a lot as well.
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