intended consequences podcast

What is the key to creating a persuasive website? Calum Coburn takes a page from the negotiator’s handbook. Learn the key to being persuasive both in person and on the Web.

“Turn the other cheek.”

This well-worn phrase has come to mean many things. Forgive easily. Don’t over-react. Be strong in the face of adversity.

All of the focus is on the person doing the cheek turning. But the truth is, there is no righteous turning of cheeks without a slap. The full quote from the Bible is this:

“If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

— Matthew 5:39

This is the classic hero’s journey in one sentence. The hero is presented with an event that changes his world. People will hit you. He faces a choice, to strike back or to elevate himself and turn the other cheek. If he passes this test, he will be transformed.

But none of this happens without the slap. This is traditionally the role of the villain in our stories and myths.

The hero’s journey also shows up in our marketing. We call them customer journeys. If we want to make our customers heroes, it begs the question:

Who plays the villain?

One choice for persuasive website

When we are writing persuasively, we have a fundamental choice: Do we emphasize the positive aspects of our offering, or do we emphasize the potential loss that comes from inaction.

In the first case, we are selling our visitors. In the second we are playing the villain, presenting a negative consequence and agitating our heroes into action.

Would you like to know which works better according to science?

Calum Coburn has the data, and he comes with a very interesting perspective: the world of negotiation. Calum is a trainer, coach and consultant to businesses who want to be better at negotiating.

What does he know about persuasion and how can we use it in our digital marketing.

We talk about the concept of “prospect theory,” and today’s guest is an expert. Literally.

Calum Coburn is the Director and Vice President of The Negotiation Experts, a training and consulting firm that enables sales teams to drive measurable profit improvements.

On today’s show, Calum and Brian discuss the finer points of “prospect theory,” along with how to start building the foundations of trust as soon as your prospects see your web copy.

Resources Discussed

Quick Links

What stands in the way of converting marketing leads to sales and revenue? Sammy James has the data and a solution for marketing leads that seem to evaporate when sent to sales.

Do you remember how we got movie times before the internet? For a large part of my audience, the answer might be “what do you mean ‘BEFORE’ the internet??”.

It was a service called Moviefone 800-777-FILM. Call and it would read the local movie listings to you.

That’s right. People would actually take the phone from the kitchen wall and dial a number to have movie times read to them. This service didn’t shut down until February of 2014.

The men who created this service weren’t making movies or selling tickets. They were making it easier for people to choose movies, eventually leading to them buying tickets. They still did well. Moviefone was sold to AOL in 1999 for $388 million dollars.

The service answered two questions: “Is there a movie I would like to see?” And, “Is there a showtime that works for me?”

The Truth about Marketing Leads

There’s an assumption that sales is going to just [call], that it’s like throwing a piece of steak across the fence to a junkyard dog. You don’t have to worry. They’re gonna grab it. It’s not going to sit there. That’s the assumption of how sales works.

I’m always fascinated by the kind of people that can apply technology to problems even when it seems unintuitive. Why would someone call when they can just look the movie times up in the news paper? Because someone created a service that made it easy enough, that was focused on exactly what was needed, and got the word out about it.

My guest is one of these people.

Sammy James is one of those people who focuses on a problem and single-mindedly work to solve it completely. He sees filling out an online form as the equivalent of sitting down at a restaurant with no waiters. No matter how hungry you are, you’re not going to wait for too long.

Sammy is the founder of a service that connects salespeople to prospects when they fill out a form. It’s a Moviefone-like problem with a Moviefone solution.

Marketing Leads and Your Website

Your website is the Moviefone of your business. Unless you sell an online service, your website’s only job is making it easier for your prospects to make a choice. It answers two questions: “Is this something that will solve my problem?” and “Should I spend more time investigating this solution?”

All of the content you generate to persuade a visitor to buy your product may be wasted time. Your website doesn’t sell your business, it sells the next step. The quote. The demo. The trial. The sales meeting.

When you get back to the office, navigate your website and identify how much of your content is persuading your visitors to buy, and how much of it is persuading them to take one more step.

How much smaller would your site be if it was focused on selling the next step instead of closing the whole deal?

Now go science something.

Links and Resources

Can a podcast lend an important human voice to our otherwise robotic digital brands? Here’s what the data says.

A website has some limitations when it comes to growing your brand. A website has to wait until someone comes to visit. It’s like that kid always hoping someone will sleep over.

You can’t send it out on a tour, like a book author. It won’t fill stadiums with screaming fans. It doesn’t count as a passenger so you can use the HOV lane.

When you think about it, a website is more like the brick and mortar store of the digital world. Actually, if you’ve seen the way websites are designed, they are really more like a booth at a generic convention. In Topeka.

If you saw your website at a party, how long would you want to hang out with it, if at all? Isn’t your website more teller machine and less Teller.

Fear not, for the digital world offers a way to lend your digital brand the humanity your website struggles with.

Podcasting is a Shortcut to our Hearts

We’ve been talking about the Cluetrain Manifesto lately, and thesis number three says that conversations between brands and people “sound human” and are “conducted in a human voice.”

Even today, this sentiment flies in the face of our tightly controlled, highly produced, and frequently foiled image-building campaigns. But we know it’s true.

Because, there is a shortcut to your customers’ hearts, and it’s not through their stomachs. Nor is it through open heart surgery. It’s through the holes we use to drain our airpods sitting on either side of our heads.

It’s podcasting.

So how does podcasting work in a digital marketing context. How do you measure it? And what can you expect from this semi-digital medium.

I went to the source. Rob Walch is VP of Podcaster Relations for LibSyn, the leading podcast host. The guy who said, “If you want to be on the radio, just call in a lot!”

It’s an opportunity to go long form with potential clients or with your target audience. You don’t have to be in pitch mode all the time. You can be yourself. You can talk about real benefits. That’s it. It’s it’s the opposite of Twitter”

I vented some of my frustrations with Podcasting — hint: it’s not a direct response medium — and got an unexpected answer. He also shared with me the data behind the top shows that Libsyn hosts.

When you get back to the office…

What would the voice of your brand be? Or who? Would it be you? Could it be you?

Have you ever practiced your radio voice. I’m using mine now.

Since you’re probably in your car now, you should give it a try. Drop your voice into the back of your throat and push air out with your diaphragm. Then let your voice drop and rise on random words.

Now, try describing your favorite movie. “In a world before running water…”

If you’re stopped at a light, don’t worry. People in other cars will just think you’re singing along to your favorite Bon Jovi tune. Unless they’re listening to this podcast too.

So, how did that feel, giving yourself a voice, a voice designed to communicate? How would it feel to give your brand a voice like that?

Again, could that voice be yours?

Now go scare someone with your radio voice.

Links and Resources

It’s a big question. “When should I invest in conversion optimization for my website?” Even though I’ve been preaching the benefits of CRO since 2006, I don’t consider it an obvious decision. Instead of telling you what I think, I asked a competitor to tell you, just to keep me honest.

We have answered the question, “How do I pick a conversion optimization consultant,” before. We’ve also told you where to go and get your CRO budget. Now we answer the question of “when” is the right time for conversion rate optimization.

If I’m going to truly help you improve your online business, I have to help you answer this question. The problem is that I have a conflict. It’s easy for me to say, “Hire my company, Conversion Sciences.”

It’s my fiduciary duty as the Managing Partner. Getting new clients is one of the goals of this podcast and why we spend so much time and money on it.

I am eminently qualified to answer this question because of my years of experience, BUT I’m NOT going to be the best source of information on this because I am biased.

So I did something crazy, something that arguably violates my fiduciary duty to my company.

Don’t tell my partner.

Getting a second opinion on Conversion Rate Optimization

To help make you better at investing in conversion optimization services, I did something I may regret.

I invited a direct competitor onto this podcast. Why would I, after all of my investment in producing and marketing this podcast, offer a platform to a competitor?

Because you need a second opinion. Rather than make you go out and find it, I’m going to provide it to you right here on the podcast.

I believe that if I help you answer this question, you will make a better decision. I also believe that our reputation, our brand value and our track record make our brand strong. Strong brands can take risks, especially those that can benefit their customers and prospects.

There are a LOT of websites that need conversion optimization. There is plenty of business to go around.

To help you make the decision about buying conversion optimization services, I didn’t choose some slouch conversion optimization agency spewing best practices. Jon MacDonald is the founder and President of conversion optimization agency called The Good. He has been doing this almost as long as I have. I have to tell you, I was surprised at how similar our two approaches are.

And Jon’s path is very similar to mine.

“If you’re not getting the traffic and engagement to even prove your product is sustainable, then you really shouldn’t be investing in optimizing.”

When you get back to the office…

I recommend that you get an understanding of how small increases in your conversion rate can affect your income.

Search for “Conversion Sciences Calculator” using your favorite search engine.

There you can enter your average monthly traffic, the number of conversions you get, and the value of a conversion — either the transaction order value or the value you’ve placed on a lead or subscriber.

If you aren’t sure, don’t worry. You can play “what if” with the numbers after entering your name and email.

It’s the first step toward understanding if your business is ready for conversion optimization. If you like what you see there, you can schedule a free conversion consultation on our website.

Now go science something.

Positioning your product or service requires understanding the root desire of your website visitors. This changes from visitor to visitor. Positioning your offering generically to appeal to them all doesn’t work. Find out what does.


Why do people buy robot vacuums?

Is it to clean the floor? Maybe.

Is it to have more leisure time? Maybe.

Is it to be seen as tech-savvy to your friends? Hmmm.

Is it to see how your cat will react? That’s interesting.

These are the kinds of questions that the “Jobs to be Done” framework seeks to tease out. Your website and your marketing should address one or more of these positioning statements — at least the valid ones.

“So, Jobs to be Done is a framework that is used to understand the crux of what your customer or potential customer is looking for, to understand what is driving them in the moment where they are ready to make a purchase.”

How do businesses like Casper and Warby Parker carve out space in competitive markets? By positioning the product to a market desire that isn’t obvious to the market leaders.

“Casper was brilliant in convincing people with perfectly fine mattresses that they needed to receive a mattress by mail.”

This is what me and Tara Hunt, my guest on this episode of Intended Consequences discuss. We also talk about the Flywheel approach.

Positioning your product or service accurately is one step. The next is to get into the minds of your audience. Casper used podcasts as one salient way to reach their audience.

“Casper was on podcasts and people that listen to podcasts tend to think companies that advertise on podcasts are cool.”

How to Manage Positioning Your Product or Service

If you’re like me, the positioning ideas are crowding around in your head right now. Old ideas that you thought were just too risky to try are vying for attention against new ideas from my conversation with Tara.

It’s time to give your intuition a little help.

When you get back to the office, immediately open up a clean spreadsheet. Label the first column “Idea”. Label the second column “Data”.

Start jotting the thoughts in your head in the first column. Just describe them enough so that you can recall them in detail later. If you need to draw something, reference the page in your journal in the Idea column.

The “Data” column is where you will list ways to test the idea. List any and all of these that apply:

  • Similar campaigns that have succeeded
  • A report in analytics that you should run to get evidence
  • A strategy for trying the idea in the marketplace safely
  • Surveys, focus groups, or user testing that could vet the idea
  • Any allies that may have supporting evidence for the idea

This is the beginning of your hypothesis list, a list that should guide your curiosity as you write, design, plan and create communications.

Get in the habit of opening it when you start a new design, document or project.

Now go science something.

Links and Resources

Connect with Tara on Linkedin
Learn more about Truly.
Cluetrain Manifesto
Donna Pappacosta “Earbud Intimate”
Jim Collins Flywheel
Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done”
Imagineering Story Trailer
Follow Brian on LinkedIn

“Markets are Conversations.” This the opening salvo in the Cluetrain Manifesto. It’s 95 theses were written at the dawn of the commercial internet to help businesses understand how things had changed. Twenty years later, did we heed their advice? Is the Cluetrain Manifesto still relevant?

Contrarians. They’re trouble. At least they’re trouble in structured organizations.

Contrarians seem to always take the stance in opposition to the status quo.

They are more likely to have an authority complex, not because they don’t like to be told what to do, but because authority figures are more likely to do things the way things have always been done.

They are the “But maybe…” in your “Of course we…”.

They are the exceptions to your rule.

They point out the interesting sites along your commute that you’ve never noticed.

It’s hard for contrarians. They believe that you don’t “get it” every bit as much as you believe they don’t get it. They tend to see things as they are and have an unhealthy disregard for tradition.

It’s hard for businesses to find a place for contrarians. But, when they do find their place, the results can be incredible. Think Steve Jobs. He was kicked out of the company he founded before returning to it at a desperate hour.

And maybe this is when we should listen to contrarians, in those desperate hours.

The Desperate Hour of the Cluetrain Manifesto

Back in 1999 a group of contrarians saw a desperate hour approaching. A new tool had begun to change the fundamentals of communication, commerce and expression. The internet was shifting marketing so fundamentally, these contrarians believed, that it would change the way buyers buy and businesses sell.

“The Clue train was all about that. It was all about disrupting the marketing conversation.”

Confused businesses saw the internet as just another broadcasting channel, a place for their crafted ads and manipulative marketing. The contrarians felt businesses really needed to get a clue, to climb aboard the train that had already left the station, headed for the future.

In the spirit of Martin Luther, who launched the protestant revolution by nailing 95 theses on the door of a Catholic church, they nailed their 95 theses on the door of the church of ideas: the world wide web.

The Cluetrain Manifesto was immensely influential to me when it came out in 1999. Yes. Left to my own devices, I am a contrarian. My contrarian bent cost me more than one job and even a few friendships.

But I found my place during a desperate hour. Be mindful of contrarians in positions of power.

It was during a conversation with a new friend, Tara Hunt, that I found a fellow Cluetrain contrarian. Tara is the CEO of marketing strategy agency Truly and is launching Phlywheel, a resource for DIY marketers.

Honestly, I hadn’t thought about the Cluetrain Manifesto in years. When I read it now, it seems obvious, so ingrained is it in my psyche.

I was so glad to rediscover it, that I recorded it for you on this podcast.

Tara and I reminisced about this amazing document and looked back at its impact. Did we businesses learn the lessons of the Cluetrain Manifesto? This conversation took so many turns that we split it into two parts.

In part one, we start off talking about what the Cluetrain Manifesto was about.

In part two, we look at social media, which was nothing like it is today when the Cluetrain Manifesto was created.

Resources and links

Connect with Tara on Linkedin
Learn more about Truly.
Cluetrain Manifesto
Donna Pappacosta “Earbud Intimate”
Jim Collins Flywheel
Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done”
Follow Brian on LinkedIn

The Cluetrain Manifesto was written in 1999 by Rick Levine, Chris Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger.

It struck me that the new generations of business owners, marketers and executives may have missed this amazing document. It’s been twenty years, after all.

So, as a bonus to our Intended Consequences podcast listeners, I recorded it. I hope you enjoy hearing it as much as I enjoyed reading it in 1999.

The 95 Theses of The Cluetrain Manifesto

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For more Cluetrain Manifesto audio, listen to my conversation with Tara Hunt.

In keeping with the tenets of the authors, the Cluetrain Manifesto audio is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

You are free to share and adapt the Cluetrain Manifesto audio file under the following terms:

Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

Maybe the best behavioral design framework for your website is the same one that you can use to change your personal habits.

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The man walked onto the stage in a colorful robe. He was holding a small oar. He claimed he was wearing a magician’s robe and that the oar was his magic wand and that he was going to do something magical with us.

This was seven years ago at Conversion Conference 2012. I still remember this keynote — and I’ve forgotten many.

The magic he performed was to teach us an important model for changing behaviors. Before the hour was over, he had asked us to teach the person next to us what he had shared: his behavioral model.

I live by the belief that, “The best way to really learn something is to teach it to someone else.” Indeed, his model was one I never forgot having taught it to someone else.

So, when BJ Fogg announced that he was finally releasing a new book, I invited him to be on the Intended Consequences podcast. With few changes, what he taught us seven years earlier had changed little. His new book, “Tiny Habits” has turned those business management lessons into a program for individual behavioral change.

My mindmap notes from his Conversion Conference session are available on the Intended Consequences website at

Real time behavioral design

At one point in our conversation, BJ visualized how to apply his behavioral model to the problem of conversion. I animated this part of the conversation for you.

Click to hear an explanation of BJ Fogg’s Behavioral Design Framework

BJ knows behavioral design and clearly applies it in his life. BJ teaches at Standford. He founded the Behavioral Design Lab there to study human behavior. Each year, his course tackles issues big and small. Like peace. And connecting to nature.

Anyone involved in marketing is involved in what he calls “Behavioral Design”. Listen to how this science can change your behaviors and your marketing effectiveness.

Habits make time for themselves.

When you get back to the office…

Let’s see if we can develop a tiny habit around experimenting. The habit we want to get into is considering data when we begin any creative project. As BJ told us, it doesn’t have to be big. In fact we should make it very small.

So the Prompt or Trigger is this: you sit down to write copy, to design an ad, to layout a webpage. I recommend that your tiny behavior be this: log into analytics. You don’t have to look at any reports. You don’t have to do any analysis. Just log in. Then you can log out and begin your project.

I’m trusting the process here, but according to Tiny Habits, you’ll begin to think about data more often. And then something will begin to change.

Now go behave like a scientist.

Resources and Links

Maybe the best behavioral design framework for your website is the same one that you can use to change your personal habits. Sketch of BJ Fogg presentation at conversion conference 2012

BJ Fogg Conversion Conference 2012 Notes

How long should your emails be? Do people read long emails? Do short emails convert better? These questions have been debated for a long time. My guest has the data and this is one question she answers for us.

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There’s nothing better than getting another shot at a conversion. Sometimes, people aren’t ready to buy. I get that. I’m fine with that.

But I always want another shot. Maybe when the time is better.

Because it took a lot to get that person to the site.

Email makes more website visits valuable

The search engines are getting ever pickier at the kind of content they consider authoritative. You’ve got to work for it.

Social media requires so much time to do right, and most of the activity stays on the social media apps.

Every online advertising source has gotten steadily more expensive, prohibitively expensive. It was Google. Then Facebook. Then “the Gram”. Competition has driven up the cost of each of these in turn.

And what do I have to show for it? A landing page bounce or a full shopping cart left abandoned on one of my digital aisles.

No, I want another shot.

I’ve got a lot of choices when it comes to catching a wayward visitor. Exit overlays, live chat and the BB8 equivalent, chatbots. I can try to get you to agree to push notifications. I can give you a discount in exchange for permission to send you a Facebook message. I can pout, I can cry, I can beg.

But after almost four decades, the best choice is still that quaint old communication medium email.

“So a lot of experts nowadays will tell you that you need to write really short emails because there’s a statistic out there that says that our attention spans are that of a goldfish. I hate that.”

Email is the new email

It’s the original social media platform.

Every year, we hear about the demise of email. And every year email is the new email.

Email still can’t be beat for rich content, for conversations that feel one-to-one, and for getting another shot at a future customer. While everyone was fawning over the sexy new kid, social media, good ole email kept my readers close. Despite these new channels, the money is still in the list. And no algorithm change is going to take your list away from you.

People reply to my emails and tell me a little about themselves. Because they can. And I write back. And it can make my day.

Because that means I’m going to get another shot at making them a customer. Customers are some of my favorite people.

“Only 10.9 percent of e-mail experts send emails with subject lines of 20 characters or less and 20 characters.”

Yes, we may have abused our email privilege, but not by sending too much email. It’s something else.

To explore this, I’ve invited Liz Whillits to join me. Liz is Senior Content Marketing Specialist at AWeber, one of the OG email services. She is a self-proclaimed marketing nerd, and that makes her our kind of crazy.

“46 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices. Most mobile devices will cut off your subject line at somewhere between 30 and 40 characters. So anything over 40 characters is definitely getting cut off for your mobile readers.”

Liz doesn’t think you’re sending too much email, and she’s got the data to prove it. If we’re not sending too much email, then what’s keeping our email from being more productive?

When you get back to the office…

Our inbox has become our task master. If we want to know what’s going on with our team, communicate with our clients and agencies, or handle that return, it’s still done through email.

Email used to be the place we turned when we needed to take a break from creating that report, from polishing that design, or from meeting with the team. It used to be email to which we turned for a distraction.

“If you don’t clean your list, your emails are less likely to reach the inbox. So you could be putting all of this work into your email marketing strategy only to have your emails not reach the inbox.”

Today, the inbox drives our daily to-do list. This is true of veterans like me, as well as the younger members of the Slack generation. This is where it gets its power.

But instead of suggesting that you review your autoresponder, I’d like to invite you to make your everyday emails a little more personal. Add a bit of wit when you acknowledge receipt of that spreadsheet. Drop a meme to that terse, business-like reply you’ve just banged out.

Do something… anything that will make your coworkers glad to get email from you. In the long run, I think this will change the way you write for your prospects and clients.

I’m going to start doing this today.

Now, go science something with that personal flair.

How Long Should you Emails Be Show Notes

Connect with Liz

30-day Trial of AWeber

AWeber Smart Designer

GA Certification

Ann Handley Newsletter

Brian Dean-Backlinko


Are Chief Marketing Officers — CMOs — losing their relevance in the C-suite? And if so, can data and experimentation turn things around for them? Laura Patterson offers her opinion on the Intended Consequences Podcast

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I was having coffee with an old colleague, Laura Patterson, here in Austin.

Laura advises businesses on all aspects of their marketing. Here at Conversion Sciences, we focus on only one piece of the puzzle, the digital channel. So, I have a lot of respect for her ability to bring together all of the pieces that make up a modern marketing effort.

Advertising. Brick and mortar retail. Online retail. Branding. Merchandising. Messaging.

When I talk to her, I get a new appreciation of just how much CMOs have on their plates. If anybody’s going to know what’s going on with CMOs, it’s Laura.

Then she said something about CMOs that stopped me in my tracks.

Laura Patterson is the founder of VisionEdge Marketing. Like me, Laura has been focused on performance marketing and the proper use of data since before it was “cool.”

So I was left speechless when she said, “CMOs are abdicating their strategic position in their businesses.”

Photo of Laura Patterson and intended consequences logo

Laura Patterson on the Fall of the CMO

Laura is not the kind of person to jump to conclusions, so I had to take notice.

A few weeks later, I was on a panel with friend and fellow marketer Janet Driscoll Miller. She reminded the audience — and me — of a Fornaise Marketing Group study of 1200 CEOs that found 80% of them did not trust and were not impressed by the work done by Marketers. By comparison, 90% of them trusted their CIOs and CFOs. There’s a link in the show notes.

I did some additional research and found more incriminating news. Forrester recently reported that “dozens” of major brands had eliminated the Chief Marketing Officer position altogether, brands like Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Taco Bell, and Netflix.

I wanted to get to the bottom of this. Were we part of the problem, or was data going to save the CMO? I invited Laura to join me here in the offices of Conversion Sciences and tell us what she knows.

So, why does Laura believe CMOs are losing their seat at the table in the C-suite?

New Titles

“Why are we seeing the emergence of some of these really interesting titles like chief customer officer, like Chief Growth Officer? Because we are seeing those titles beginning to emerge. And it concerns me that many times when you read the job descriptions, these are job descriptions that reflect the kinds of things that marketing leaders used to perform.”

B2B vs. B2C

“Companies that have a long sales cycle, that’s a consultative sell. They have a variety of people in the decision making process. That’s a B2B kind of process. Walking through the checkout lane and trying to make a decision about whether I should get a candy bar, that’s B2C. It might be that I have to do an extra run, but I’m not gonna get fired for that. But we do have B2B buying processes that occur in the consumer world, like buying a house.”

Advice for CMOs

“I would say that the number one thing that any CMO can do right now that would signal that they are taking a more strategic stance and want to be more of a strategic partner is how they frame the marketing plan. Many people are being asked right now to give a budget. Didn’t even have a plan yet, but they’re talking about money. End of year budget planning and budget planning for a lot of people means they’re going to open up whatever document they used last year for their planning and their budget. They’re going to make some decisions off the cuff about what they’re going to do next year in terms of events or campaigns. Maybe they’ll look at some data. They’re going to put a number on it. They’re going to do some finagling and they’re going to submit a budget. That’s not a plan. It’s a budget, it’s a budget.”

Strategic Focus

“Many of these marketing people may or may not even know yet what the three to five things are that the company has to do next year in order to win. They may have some general idea they want to grow, but we don’t market to buckets of revenue and we can’t just say grow. We need to be very clear.”

The First Question

“My first question to any CMO is what are the beachheads? That’s a great question. And if I don’t know that and they don’t know that, how can we put a plan together?”

Signs You’re Chief Marketing Officer is in Trouble

“The signs that you’re in trouble: [the CEO] starts just relegating you to running programs. “Random acts of marketing.” If you’re if you’re doing random acts of marketing, you’re probably going to see some red flags around that.”

When you get back to the office…

I’ve always seen data as a tool of empowerment, a way to level the playing field and a way to truly understand those crazy people we call customers. And who’s in a better position to access this data than the CMO?

But data doesn’t change cultures on its own. It needs a fertile soil of experimentation to take root in. Otherwise, it is just numbers that can be used when they’re going up and to the right, and discounted if they tell the wrong story.

A culture of experimentation can be pushed from the top, from the CMO down. It can also be nurtured from the bottom, from you.

It’s time for marketers to put the data we have to use. For you, it all starts with your next experiment or research. It starts the next time you log into analytics, and click beyond the dashboard report, deep into the souls of your prospects and customers.

Because, if not Marketing, then who will do this?

Show Notes

CMOs are in a ‘desperate fight for survival,’ Forrester says.

Mark Gooding of Neustar recap of their study about Marketing needing to improve alignment

PwC 22nd Global CEO Study

Accenture Global CMO study

SpencerStuart 2019 CMO study

Gartner CMO 2019-2020 study

80% of CEOs Do Not Really Trust Marketers


  • “Output Metrics”
  • “Operational Excellence”
  • New titles: CGO, CCO, CRO

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