intended consequences podcast

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 changing role of the CMO on the Intended Consequences Podcast

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

Laura advises businesses on all aspects of their marketing functions. 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. Customer experience. Digital technologies. 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.”

Laura Patterson and intended consequences: The Changing Role of the CMO

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 on the changing role of the CMO.

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 traditional 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?

Today’s CMO has 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.”

The Changing Role of the CMO: 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: Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

“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.”

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Strategic Focus: The Critical Role of Customer Engagement

“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: Show me the Business Growth

“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 and board] 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?

Experience fast revenue growth, month after month, year after year.

Give us a call

Who’s Replacing Chief Marketing Officers and Why? 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

Terms: Changing Role of the CMO

  • “Output Metrics”
  • “Operational Excellence”
  • New titles that denote the changing role of CMO: CGO, CCO, CRO

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Sales and marketing. Two functions critical to a business’s success. They work tightly, arm-in-arm to build awareness, engage prospects and help them choose the best solution for their problem. They have common goals and cooperate closely to achieve them. The mutual respect and gratitude they have for one another is palpable.

If you’re wondering what planet I’m on, you’re not alone.

From the first time something was sold, sales and marketing have worked together.

  • God created desire by positioning the fruit as forbidden. The serpent closed the deal.
  • Marketers created the gold rush. Salespeople sold the picks and shovels.
  • Sears wrote the catalog. Roebuck shipped the merchandise.

Yet, not all is well in sales and marketing land.

“Marketing needs to generate more leads,” says sales.

“Sales needs to follow up on the leads we’re sending them,” says marketing.

“The leads marketing is sending aren’t qualified,” says sales.

“Sales isn’t selling the right products,” says marketing.

We are usually hired by marketing to optimize a website. We learn a lot from salespeople when we interview them.

Yet, we often don’t have access to the CRM — the Customer Relationship Management system — because “it belongs to sales.”

This gulf, this canyon, this gaping sinkhole between sales and marketing has been around for as long as I’ve been in the business. That’s why I invited Chris Wallace to be on the podcast. He is the Co-founder and President of Innerview, an agency that is totally focused on this problem.

I was skeptical at first. This problem also exists with the customer support teams and the training teams. By the time we were done talking, I knew his solution was perfect.

Find out how he convinced me.

A bridge across a canyon with a quotation.

Sales vs. Marketing

“The biggest reason organizations struggle with this is information typically moves in one direction. Information flows from the top down. And the marketers are really the ones developing the go to market strategy and developing the products. And then that gets, for lack of a better word, thrown over the wall or pushed down the funnel toward the sales organization.”

The Face of our Brand

“And what we’re finding to be the best way to sort of bridge that gap is to disrupt that one way flow and really increase the two way dialog and collaboration and really helping marketers look at their their sales teams, their front line, Iraqi sales, customer service, even technicians and even non selling roles, not revenue generating roles. And looking at those folks really as the face of their brand and an audience that they need to engage in and really win over looking at them as if we can really win their hearts and mind that tell them what to do but win their hearts and minds the way we’re out there trying to win customers hearts and minds every day. We know we can. We can. Like you said, we can build that bridge. We can we can close that gap in a significant way.”

Sales/Customer support is a channel that needs to be optimized!

Should marketing look at [sales] as another channel to get its message out? And be optimizing that channel the same way would be a Facebook advertising campaign or search engine optimization program or a paid search advertising campaign?

“We run it like a marketing campaign. We treat that like any channel that “talks” to the customers. We segment them based on how they talk to the customers and we measure how aligned they are to their brand story.”

Metrics for Marketing to Employees

“How well is your brand message — your brand story — transferring from your your corporate marketing department down to each one of these customer-facing channels? Its internal market research. So everything that we do is led by gathering the attitudes and opinions and perceptions about product service, brand positioning — all those things — and using the data that we have to target those audiences with new campaigns, new messages, in an effort to really win them over. Or fill the gap.

Don’t Tell Sales. Ask!

“They’re focusing so much of their time — and their effort and their resources — telling sales what it is that they need to do, and not enough time asking them what they think. And it doesn’t mean that you’re going to completely change a product. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to go back and completely redo your campaign.”

“But if you’re asking somebody what they think, if you understand thier starting point, if you want to get them from point A to point B, if you are constantly guessing at what message is going to resonate with them, to move them from point A to point B, and you spend all your time, effort, energy blasting that message at them. In this case, it could be product trainings or product manuals or whatever the case may be. If you spend all your time guessing and pushing messages out, you’re actually pushing your “audience” further away.”

Timing is Really Important

“The timing of this is really important. The sales team feels like you’re out in market with it before they’re even prepared to talk about it. Right. The phone start ringing before before they’re even prepared. That happens a lot. We see it all the time. But the timing is really important. But really that that the answer is ask versus tell.”

Put down the Saleshose

“Don’t try to make them experts right way, try to help them build momentum, try to get them comfortable with something. Don’t try to get them to swallow the entire thing whole. So when you talk about trying to keep it top of mind, a great way to keep things top of mind is to feed them interesting little nuggets. Bit by bit by bit over a period of time, rather than attaching the firehose to their face. Almost every organization that we come across goes with the firehose approach.”

Deliver Content like a Marketer

“We’re developing anything from webisode concepts where organizations are creating content. And I’m not talking about corporate videos, somebody sitting behind a desk telling you how important something is. I’m talking about creating content that looks more like what people are watching on YouTube and Netflix and distributing that to their frontline teams. Having themes that really engage them.”

Get Creative like a Marketer

“Instead of doing your typical product trainings, we’re developing escape room concepts. We’re working with virtual reality companies — VR. It has a tremendous application for employee engagement in front line readiness.”

Be Dynamic like a Marketer

“The way that you’re able to engage with your your customers is more dynamic — a marketer — now than it ever has been. And we look at that and say, ‘Take a lesson from that.’ Look at all those different drips and those different nuggets and channels that you’re distributing small pieces of information through and find different vehicles to get that information out to your own people.

Employees Act like Consumers

“Most people don’t look at themselves as an employee one minute and a consumer the next minute. Those habits are very similar. So take what we know about the customer and let’s leverage that for the employees.”

When you get back to the office…

Instead of using sales to learn more about your customers, learn to see sales AS your customers.

When marketers get fresh data about their market, it’s like their birthday. You need to find that same excitement learning about the sales, training and customer support teams you work with. Think about the next thing you have coming up, that you need to get right. What percentage of your sales team are women vs. men? What percentage are humanists, who build relationships vs. methodicals who persuade with logic? How do you construct the “Whats in it for me” arguments that will grab their attention and make your campaign a success? How do you equip sales and support to be successful with your product?

You may have to start working on a budget that includes this new marketing channel: the one inside your company.

Now go science something.

Links and Resources


Brand Transfer Score

The B2B marketing funnel is under attack, especially in the B2B lead generation space. Find out what is — and what should be — taking its place.

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We like funnels. We like them because they provide us with some sense of progress in our marketing efforts.

We have advertising programs to get people’s attention.

We use copy to build interest.

We use testimonials and case studies to build desire.

We have calls to action everywhere.

This is the classic AIDA funnel. Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It’s a direct marketing approach that falls down in the long sales cycle reality of B2B marketing.

The demise of the funnel has been discussed for some time now. However, the discussion of what comes next has been unsatisfying to me.

The solutions that purport to step into the funnel’s place come with their own baggage. Hubspot offers up the Flywheel and customer delight. Lead scoring attempts to add value to the interactions someone has had with us. The more interactions, the more likely they are to be a prospect. But this approach treats the funnel more like a swarm of flies. People seem to swarm around our content until, finally, and unpredictably, they qualify for a call.

Carman Pirie believes there’s something better than a funnel or a swarm, and his agency delivers that something better. Kula Partners focuses on manufacturers all of whom have this long-cycle B2B sales challenge. Carman the Co-founder and he’s happy to put another nail in the coffin of the funnel. My question for him is, what comes next?

“The funnel is leading a lot of marketers — who function within a complex B2B sales environment — down a lot of really wrong paths. It’s making them think about attracting people into the universe in the wrong way. It makes them think about how to deal with people once they get into the universe in the wrong way. And it and it makes them think about how sales ought to engage with those people, I think, in a fundamentally flawed way.”

Our conversation around this question was interesting and enlightening. If digital marketing is more like a swarm, how is a swarm of bees different than a swarm of flies?

“You know that the frameworks that we use to think about our work really shape the work that we create.”

Replacing the B2B Marketing Funnel

Maybe you should develop a Firmographic profile. What kinds of companies would actually buy your product? What are the titles of the people who research and influence solutions like yours? Who else in the company are weighing in on the decision.

Then, take a few of your internal experts to lunch. Some of them would love to help you create some content that makes your prospects better buyers of your product or service.

Now go science something.

Resources and links

If you’re selling tools or expertise, you’ll need to understand where your prospects are in their relation to time, interest, and expertise. Find out how my guest addresses these issues for his prospects.

I consider myself a software guy.

Bachelors of Science in Computer Science.

I wrote my own analytics package in 2003, which was thankfully replaced by Google Analytics in 2005.

I still write scripts for my data analysis.

In the tech world, we distinguish the software guys and gals from the hardware guys and gals. Mark Zuckerberg is a software guy. Apple’s Steve Wozniak is a hardware guy. Yes, I know Steve has written a lot of code in his day, but he’s undoubtedly a hardware guy.

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When there’s something that needs to be done around the house — or to my car — my first thought is, “I’m a software guy. THIS is a hardware problem.”

My father, on the other hand, is clearly a hardware guy. Handy. Fixes things. Builds things.

So, when it came time to change the kitchen faucet in my house, I called Dad. Because, as a software guy, I would just start trying things to understand the obstacles. This can be an expensive approach for a hardware problem.

Hang in there. There’s a point to this.

So I called Dad and he came over. He told me what I should do to change the faucet, but I pretty much already knew all of that. However, Dad handed me a tool that I could never have imagined existed. It’s called a Basin Wrench, and it made all the difference.

There is no way, squeezed under that sink, that I ever would have gotten the old encrusted bolts off of the old faucet without the Basin Wrench. The YouTube videos I watched didn’t mention it. Imagine a raptor claw attached to the end of a long rod with a handle at the bottom.

Example of a basin wrench

Basin Wrench. Courtesy Wikipedia

I had to Google “faucet tool” to even find out what it was called.

I’m certain that I would have given up without it.

The moral of the story? Tools+Experience.

Now, I get pitched marketing tools all the time. Popup tools, data tools, visualization tools, email tools, analysis tools… you name it. How can I know which tools are the indispensable basin wrenches in all of this?

That is the question I had in mind when I invited Josh Thomas onto my podcast. Josh is with Outbound Engine. They sell the basin wrench of digital marketing for small businesses. They sell both the tools and done-for-you services to the kind of people who use basin wrenches daily.

Most of us see our products and services as basin wrenches. But only to those people who have a proverbial faucet to change.

So how does Outbound Engine convince hardware guys and gals to invest in a soft problem like digital marketing?

Budget and Culture

How you spend your money is also how you’re focused in terms of your time and where you want your team’s time to be spent.

High-quality content

Because we do see so many different iterations, we can see what engagement, what campaigns or content are driving engagements. We can make sure that we’re taking those lessons learned and incorporating them more and more over time. It gives us just more and more opportunities for us to learn and see what works best.

Prospecting Customers: Evaluating time, interest and expertise

Time. Expertise. Interest. I like this simple model.

These are the things that influence whether your customers will solve a problem themselves or buy a solution to fix it, a solution like yours.

Imagine mapping your opportunities onto a time/interest/expertise graph. Like this.

Triangle graph that shows time, interest, and expertise.

Rate your prospects on a scale from 1 to 5 for time, interest and expertise.

When time is tight (rated 1 or 2), prospects gravitate to those problems in which they have expertise, where they have confidence. Things are done the way they’ve always done them, and thus done quickly.

When time loosens, our prospects can gravitate to tasks that feed their interest or expertise. These are problems that need solving now that time is available.

Those with expertise but little interest are looking for tools to make things easier. The ROI is what they are looking for.

Triangle map graph showing high expertise and low time or interest.

May be looking for tools.

Those with interest and little expertise are looking for experts. They are looking for expertise and tools.

Triangle map graph showing high interest and low time or expertise.

May be looking for expertise and tools.

Someone with interest, expertise and time are likely to do it themselves, to solve the problem internally.

Triangle map graph showing lots of time, interest and expertise.

They are going to do it themselves.

Those with none of these probably don’t even know they have a problem. This is a tough sell.

Triangle map graph showing little time, interest or expertise.

They don’t even know they have a problem.

How do your clients map onto the TIE triangle? What are you doing to feed interest or expertise? To demonstrate ROI to experts and demonstrate competence to those who are interested? The two are quite different.

Now go science something.

Resources and links discussed:

Related Articles:

8 Advanced Tactics For Increasing Your B2B Telephone Sales

How Heatmaps Helped Increase Prospective Student Inquiries with Hotjar

The effort to improve website performance has traditionally been the problem of your hosting provider or IT. With the growth in mobile traffic, it is probably something marketers need to drive themselves.

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There is a ceiling on your conversion rate. It’s not your price. It’s not your copy. It’s not your form.

When I tell you what it is you might roll your eyes and shrug.

But it’s eating your website from the inside out. This is something that Google is keenly focused on. It’s causing your SEO to atrophy. It’s causing your paid search placement to drop. It’s causing your visitors to bounce.

And it’s only getting worse as mobile traffic grows.

I hate hearing that people have the attention of a goldfish. It’s not true. But even a goldfish has a limited attention span when staring at a blank screen on her little goldfish phone.

What is the ceiling on your conversion rate? It may be your page load time.

Picture of Lukas Haensch of Pathmonk and Brian Massey of Conversion Sciences

Lukas Haensch of Pathmonk and Brian Massey of Conversion Sciences discuss how to improve website performance.

Now, before you shrug this off as an IT problem listen to my guest, Lukas Haensch. He’s the founder of PathMonk and this company doesn’t have anything to do with optimizing website performance.

But he used to be on the performance analysis team for none other than Google.

Considering that Google is so important to your marketing efforts, I think you should listen to what he has to say.

I asked him to bring load time down to a level that we all can understand. We talk about how to diagnose our site and some tactics to ask our tech team to implement to break through the ceiling.

Discussed in this episode

Critical Rendering Path
Speed Index
Render Blocking
Lazy Loading
Parser Blocking
Async JavaScript
Deferred JavaScript
Speed Budgets

The Growing Mobile-Only Population

We need to be delivering a different mobile experience for [mobile-only visitors] and performance is a piece of that

Are you testing your mobile site on your corporate WiFi? That could be hiding performance issues on your site.

Page load speed is not just an IT problem

There are a lot of small things, a lot of immediate quick wins, and a lot of things that you can do to change how you load various files for your page to increase page speed.

Focus on above “the fold” performance

The Speed Index is the time it takes to render the content above the fold. This is the key metric that Google looks at when evaluating a user’s experience.

Pro tip: Inline the CSS that renders the content that is above the fold.

Carousels are performance killers

At Conversion Sciences, we’ve been trying to kill the use of top-of-page carousels for years.

Read Rotating Headers don’t have to kill your conversion rate.

Embed Images in HTML using Base64

Did you know you can embed images in the HTML text instead as part of a separate image file? This can help your above-the-fold load speed, improving your Speed Index.

JavaScript blocks loading

JavaScript blocks the critical rendering path, hence you will get a penalty, hence it will be affecting your page speed.

Consider using Async and Deferred loading of JavaScript.

So what you could be doing is simply load javascript code asynchronously, which means you add async tech to your javascript file.

Test the load time of your website

When you get back to the office…

If you aren’t already excited to run a free WebPageTest report on your site, I’ve got nothing for you.

Visit, enter the URL of your home page and see what grade you get. You can see my score below. It’s not perfect, but we’ve been working on this for most of this year.

A screen capture from Web page test dot org for Conversion Sciences dot com Report for Mobile Site. See all data.

You’ll get a score of A through F, like an English elementary school student. Then you’ll see vast details of your site.

One of my favorite tools is Filmstrip. It shows you what you’re visitors are seeing at specific intervals. It slows the load process down for you.

Fast load times help SEO, too

Now, about that page you’re trying so hard to rank on Google search. Is load time causing you a problem? Put the URL in and see.

You may have to educate your visitors on things like the “Speed Index” and “Critical Rendering Path”, but now you’re equipped.

Now go science something!

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Find out how to AB test copy, the words, images, captions, and fonts that you use on your website persuasively.

Learn how data can be used to find out if your copywriting will deliver conversions.

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I believe that copywriters suffer from a particular kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. It comes from the fact that anyone who knows the language feels qualified to edit their copy.

They deliver their best work, well researched and designed to persuade. Then their work is edited by anyone and everyone. The red marks are like wounds bleeding onto the page. Too often the metaphors, symbolism and structure are amputated out of the prose. In their place are industry jargon, superlatives, and unsubstantiated claims. What is left, I call styrofoam copy.

And when the resulting copy fails to persuade, the copywriter feels a sense of defeat. The copywriter still maintains ownership of the effort — and sometimes blame. So, they begin to deliver copy that is designed to appeal to the editors, and less to persuade the actual customer.

It’s safe, jargony, and corporate.

We’re told terrifying things; that people have the attention span of a goldfish; that Millennials don’t read; that we only have 8 seconds to make our point. No wonder we’re confused about how to communicate through copy.

Data to the rescue.

The words we use to establish our value and persuade visitors to take action can be tested, and my guest today is going to talk about this. Tested copy can be defended from revisions and build your cred as a marketing genius.

Olivia Ross is the Director of CRO at Directive Consulting. She is a designer who turned into a conversion optimizer and believes that copy is at the core of any great customer journey. We discuss how to AB test copy for your marketing campaigns.

She just published her 2020 Guide, What is CRO? Grab a copy for yourself.

Related reading:

20 Compelling Examples of Persuasive Copy in Online Advertising

7 Conversion Copywriting Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew About Sooner

Better, Stronger Faster: How Better Landing Page Copy Increased Conversions By 42%

When you get back to the office…

Go find your best performing copy. The landing page that is your workhorse, or the email that delivers ready traffic to your site. How would you improve it?

Would you try a longer version? A shorter version? Would you include an image and a compelling caption? Would you write a more compelling headline?

Write these down. You might want to put them into a spreadsheet so you can sore them and sort them. You’ve begun to create your own hypothesis list.

How could you test the most compelling idea on the list? Most of your tools have the ability to test different versions simultaneously. Your landing page software, your email service provider, and Google has a free testing tool built in.

Take your list to your team and see if they can help you design a test of one of these ideas.

If it fails, you’ve learned something about what your visitors want. If you succeed, you’ve improved the performance of a flagship campaign.

Either way, you win.

Resources and links

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Every agency believes they have the right service for the price a company is willing to pay. So they can be very persuasive. Find out what questions you should be asking to pick the right agencies for your business.

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Agencies make things possible that our marketing teams just can’t do with the resources they have.

What is maddening is the variety of different ways a problem, like getting search traffic, can be solved.

I believe that data can help us decide who we should go with and which agencies we should let go.

But, what data should you be asking for? Ask any agency and they’ll tell you, “The data we provide.” Who can you trust?

Fortunately, I have an old friend and high-integrity individual to ask, someone I know that won’t tell me what I want to hear. Lance Loveday is the founder and CEO of Closed Loop, a digital advertising agency that specializes in paid media management. I know Lance as a speaker and straight shooter.

Brian Massey and Lance Loveday on the Intended Consequences Podcast.

Brian Massey and Lance Loveday on the Intended Consequences Podcast.

Don’t be fooled by his mild manner. I we talk about the tough questions to ask when bringing on external resources to solve your most important problems. I was surprised by some of his answers, which means I learned something.

As an optimizer by nature, digital marketing comes naturally to Lance. He’s analytical but also creative – he uses his left brain and his right brain.

Closed Loop helps organizations leverage user experience to maximize strategic advantage. Their work is guided by a few simple beliefs: Good user experience is good business.

They believe there’s always room for improvement. And companies that value design, UX, and the human element will outperform those that live and die only by the numbers.

“If you if you don’t know for sure that you’re winning, you’re almost guaranteed to be losing.”

Lance believes that if you’re investing in the competitive ad auctions on Google and Facebook, you don’t want to be the “dumb money at the table.” Listen as we explore how to find an agency relationship that gives you a competitive advantage.

“There’s a really important qualitative element involved in any relationship right. And I think you need to have good chemistry. You need to ensure that there is alignment of values between the organizations and between the teams.”

When to bring in a paid advertising agency

“It’s one thing to ask the person who’s running the website to run the paid media campaigns, too. And even though you’re not fully trained and you’re not a professional at this we’re going to ask you to take this on as a fourth or fifth responsibility. And that’s OK, if you’re spending you know maybe ten or twenty thousand a month as a mid-sized company.

If you’re spending you know maybe ten or twenty thousand a month as a mid-sized company it’s really not ok at the point you’re spending one hundred or two hundred thousand a month to not have a dedicated professional who does this.”

Full funnel advertising

“You need to have a full funnel advertising strategy to both feed the top of the funnel and then harvest the existing latent demand out there as well.”

Questions to ask when picking an agency?

  1. “Where would we fit in in terms of size amongst your client base. Are we going to be a small fish and therefore get minimal attention?”
  2. “Ask to meet the team that would be dedicated to your account. It drives me nuts to compete with agencies I know are putting junior inexperienced people on accounts and because we we just we don’t do that.”
  3. “Ensure that there’s good chemistry, for lack of a better term. There’s a really important qualitative element involved in any relationship and I think you need to have good chemistry. You need to ensure that there is alignment of values between the organizations and between the teams.”

When you get back to the office…

Think about how you act as an agency to your internal teams. Ask a few good questions.

  • What do you do to ensure you’re communicating the right amount?
  • What data do you deliver and why?
  • How do you work on your “fit” with the rest of the team?
  • How are you soliciting feedback from others to improve what you do?

The answers you give for yourself can then be turned around to your agency relationships. What you expect of yourself should be expected of your agencies. Demand it.

Related reading: How to choose the best conversion optimization consultant

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Marketing departments are understaffed, overworked and required to do quantitative and creative work. No wonder marketers are struggling. How does Erin Collis deal with the variety of tasks all marketers face? What can leaders do?

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F. Scott Fitzgerald is credited with saying “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

But most marketers are holding dozens of ideas in their minds, many of which are in opposition. And then these poor souls are expected to be creative and thoughtful amidst all of this.

I experience it. The people that attend my seminars and workshops experience it. And I believe it is a barrier to a culture of experimentation in marketing, product development and more.

I can bring book authors or consultants or titans of the industry on the Intended Consequences podcast any day, but today, I want to help you step outside of yourself.

Erin Collis and Brian Massey on Intended Consequences Podcast

Erin Collis and Brian Massey on Intended Consequences Podcast

Carl Jung defined Projection as our tendency to project subconscious thoughts onto other people. He believed studying our thoughts about others would lead us to breakthroughs in our own life and work.

I want to help you see your own challenges through the eyes of another marketer like yourself or the people on your team. It is difficult to see ourselves in motion, so you’re welcome.

Erin Collis has a lot on her plate, as I suspect you do. Erin is Marketing and Communications Manager at Corradi USA. I picked her almost at random to join me and talk about the challenges of being a digital marketer in 2019.

She attended one of my full-day workshops, but we aren’t going to talk about that. Instead, I want you to listen to the advice you would give her. My guess is that this advice is exactly what you need.

As you listen, pay attention to what you are projecting onto our conversation. Would any of those thoughts apply to you?

As always, stick around after the interview for my “When you get back to the office” segment.

Marketing mix.

From these magazine [ads] we can’t see what’s happening with them, or if they’re even making an impact.

Agency digital marketing data.

The data that [the agency] sent to us, we couldn’t understand. And we didn’t see any uptick in sales or recognition.

Building and maintaining relationships (digitally).

A majority of our business currently is offline business, but the value that we have to offer our customers — our dealers — is offering them services making it easier to sell the product.

When you get back to the office…

I found our discussion about creative time most interesting. When do you get to settle in and write, or design or get curious?

For me it’s Friday afternoons and certain mornings that I delay coming into the office.

But I realized I never put that on my calendar. I never carve out time to let the competing thoughts in my head quiet down and let my curiosity take the wheel for an hour or two.

Do you do this? Should you do it more?

That’s all this week, scientists.


Click in the content to hear that portion of the podcast.

Barbara Caveness of Uncommon Logic tells us how she builds and manages teams that are both data-driven and creative.

Building a Data-driven Team with Barbara Cavness

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What job description would a marketing manager write if they wanted experimenters in their organization? I think it might go something like this.

Title: Marketing Experimenter

Primary job description: Making people aware of our products and persuading them to purchase them.

You are perfect for this role if:

    • You are not confident in your ability to create digital campaigns that will connect with our prospects.
    • You fail frequently and with minimum impact.
    • You do not consider yourself an intuitive copywriter.
    • Your do not have an intuitive sense of design.
    • You are good at holding off helicopter executives.
    • You ignore the expectations of others, unless they are prospects or customers.
    • You can waste time strategically.
    • You forget past victories easily.
    • You are unmoved by cool agency designs.
    • You’ve master the tools necessary to learn how to speak to our prospects.
    • You are good at talking about data and sharing it with teammates.
    • Must be good at asking questions.
    • You know how to celebrate successful campaigns.
    • You know how to celebrate failures.
    • If this is you, please apply immediately.

If any of these qualifications seem counterintuitive to you, don’t worry. We are all going to have to learn to work with this kind of curious, disciplined and creative person.

Would you want people like this working in your organization. I suspect you may already have these kinds of people on your team. So the real question will be, would this person be delighted to be in your organization?

Intended Consequences Podcast with Barbara Caveness and Brian Massey

Intended Consequences Podcast with Barbara Caveness and Brian Massey

To help understand these kind of people, I invited Barbara Cavness to join me on this episode of Intended Consequences.

Barbara is the CEO of (un)Common Logic – a digital marketing agency that you might be tempted to put into the category of “Search Engine Marketing”. But this is really an organization that enables teams of talented people to do great things. Her team investigates digital marketing data to find the surprising facts that can solve their clients toughest problems.

Barbara is very purposeful in her approach to building teams, even though she encounters all of the same obstacles that we do. Learn how this former Duke University lacrosse player became the head of a marketing organization and how she fosters teamwork, curiosity, and creativity.

Fostering curiosity

You know, there are a lot of ways you can free up time and provide opportunities to learn and try new things. There are a lot of overt and subtle ways that you can nurture that.

Gone are the days of the unsophisticated digital marketer.

The vast majority of the clients at least that we serve are very sophisticated marketers themselves so they can spot a fake from about a mile away.

Data can save the day.

OK. Hang on. Deep breath. What does the data tell us.

The importance of pushing your team and investing in your culture.

We have a lot of young people on our team obviously. It is a young company, young industry etc. And so they’re sort of still finding their way when it comes to maximizing their potential. You know, it always comes back to sports for me right. You know I love also being a coach. I love pushing my team.

On doubts

Go run through that wall. You can absolutely do it.

Resources and links discussed:

When you get back to the office…

Take a look at your work day. Write down the top five things you do in your role.

Then, for each rate yourself on a simple Experimentation Scale.

In those roles in which you are the initiator of experimentation, give yourself a 3. These are the roles in which you often say, “Let’s study that,” or “Who could we survey?” or “Do we have any history to look at?”

For those roles in which you are a preventer of experimentation, give yourself a 1. This is not a bad thing. We need people on our teams to help us focus our experimenters. This is like the control rods in a nuclear plant. They slow the activity, and are very important.

For those roles that you’re not sure about, give yourself a 2.

In which of these roles do you find yourself most satisfied. In which are you frustrated? Is there a pattern?

I’ll leave you to decide for yourself what this simple exercise means?

That’s all for now scientists.

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Is analytics really going to make a difference? Will I benefit by getting deeper into my analytics? Find out how exciting one man can make Google Analytics.

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Analytics is not one of those words that inspires action. It’s not a word like “Rose” dripping with alternate meanings and romantic associations. It’s not like the word “Disgust”, a word which evokes emotions and even specific facial configurations.

Shakespeare never wrote “A Midsummers Night’s Analysis”.

There has never been a hit pop song with the word Analytics in the title. And I didn’t even bother searching to make sure.

So, it is no wonder that it’s hard for us to imagine ourselves spending time in analytics. It’s a shame. Because, there, amidst the pageviews, conversions, events, and revenue are the hopes and dreams of our visitors. Their trials. Their triumphs, Their frustrations.

If there was anyone who would write an Ode to a Graph I saw in Analytics One Dewy Morning, it is my guest. He is genuinely excited about analytics, and Google Analytics specifically.

He is infectious. That means that, if you listen, you might get excited about analytics, too.

I know this. Your visitors hope you get excited about analytics, because it is the fastest way to make your website better for them.


Chris Mercer aka ‘Mercer’ is not only good at analytics, he’s good at teaching analytics. That’s what he spends his days doing as the Co-Founder of Measurement Marketing dot I-O.

Chris and his team help people like you discover how to grow your business using tools like Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Data Studio and more.

Chris is my go-to guy whenever someone asks how they should start in analytics. His model is great for small business owners or marketing teams who want to learn and expand their skills and build a system to help them grow.

Essentially, Chris helps people get to know the numbers – to grow the numbers.

So, how can anyone plug into Google Analytics? And where do you start?

You’ll be surprised by some of Chris’ answers. Here are some examples.

Where do we start when it comes to analytics?

I want to know the results. Number one I want to be able to see my results. So which traffic sources are causing which results. How am I getting those results.

It’s not just results.

It’s not only knowing what your results are but it’s knowing how you’re actually achieving those results.

Start with a question in mind.

We say it’s like the myth of the jade monkey. People think their data is like this jungle that they have to hack through and come up on these ruins that they find, and there is this little jade monkey worth of data that makes them a superhero. From a marketing standpoint, that doesn’t exist. Stop looking for that.

When you get back to the office…

Think back to a time that you had to trade off immediate desire for a long-term payoff, something that amazed you.

  • Did you ever watch Sea Monkeys grow as a child?
  • Did you ever plant bean seeds and water them daily?
  • Did you ever care for an ant farm.

These are all examples discovery over time. This is the gift of analytics. Your website is the ant farm and the glass is analytics.

No, your customers are not ants. But they want to understand them. Analytics is the way.

Watch Mercers Quick Start “How to” video –for free — and get some other freebies at

Resources and links discussed:

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