What Does it Take to be a Rockstar CMO?

“I Enjoy Building Great Brands and Developing People” – Ian Truscott

How Does a Rockstar CMO build an effective Marketing Team?

Matt welcomes fellow Marketing Podcast Network associate, Ian Truscott, host of Rockstar CMO podcast.

Ian talks about the challenges of building marketing teams and the importance of developing people to be successful. He answers questions about what he looks for in new hires, the personalities and skills to be part of a team, and how to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a marketing team.

Interested in getting advice for your next career move? Either as a seasoned veteran or a newbie to the industry, Ian gives great advice in preparing for your career.


[00:00:00] Matt Bailey: Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup podcast. As always, I’m your host, Matt Bailey, and we’re going to talk a lot about, of course, digital marketing, but training skills, hiring, and I’ve got probably one of the best resources to talk about that, the rockstar CMO Hims. Self, Ian Trustco Ian, how are you doing today?

[00:00:25] Ian Truscott: I’m doing great after that intro, mate. I, I, I, whenever I talk about being rockstar, C M O or hosting rockstar C M o in the podcast, I always say I’m not a rockstar because it’s in my natural English nature to say, oh no. Right,

[00:00:41] Matt Bailey: right. Well, and we went through a phase of rockstar marketers, rockstar all this and, and yeah, that was one where I, I kind of like, Kept that arms distance.

I, I, you know, when you look at who rock stars really are and, and sort of the lifestyle, like, I’m not sure,

[00:01:00] Ian Truscott: well, it kind of suits us. It’s a bit irr, irreverent, irreverent. Probably irrelevant, but it’s a bit, it’s, it’s a bit of fun. I, you know, I ha I’ve had the u r URL for years and, um, when it came to creating a, it started off as a web publication and then turned into a podcast, um, you know, we, we, I kind of went with it and I think it’s great because, you know, we.

You know, we want the idea of the show is to share knowledge, share marketing knowledge, and turn people into rock stars and get their sort of marketing mojo and their confidence up. So that’s kind of, that’s where the rockstar CMO thing comes from.

[00:01:33] Matt Bailey: Well, you’ve got quite a history though. I mean, I, I was looking and, and I had to go full screen on your LinkedIn to, to look at, look at your positions.

I mean, you’ve got some cred when it comes to, uh, you know, Being that cmo. Yeah. And, and building teams. And, and I mean, tell me about some of your favorite engagements. Same, some of your favorite positions that you

[00:01:57] Ian Truscott: Yeah. Well the thing is, is it helps when you’re as old as Mick Jagger, you have a career,

[00:02:02] Matt Bailey: but you look so much better than Nick.

I will say that.

[00:02:06] Ian Truscott: I don’t, I, yeah. I’m not quite that old, but, yeah. Um, so yeah, I’ve, I mean, I’ve been a very, I’ve had a very fortunate career and, um, So some of the things I’ve enj I’ve enjoyed doing almost everything that I’ve done. I mean, uh, so I think that I’ve been very fortunate and I’ve spent a lot of time, I mean, my whole career really is B2B marketing technology primarily in, uh, marketing technologies and content management technologies.

That’s kind of where my, my game is. Um, and I think some of the things I’ve enjoyed most, there’s two sides to what I’ve enjoyed most. One is, And, and I think this is true to what you do and what you care about, which is developing people. Some of the highlights in my career are, if you look in my LinkedIn profile, some of the lovely things people have said about me who’ve worked for me.

I think giving people opportunity and growing people is one of the things I enjoy most in my teams. But also I’ve worked with some great brands and I’ve, I’ve given, um, you know, I’ve done some advisory work. I’ve. Basically for people who haven’t, haven’t done the full two screening of my LinkedIn profile.

I’ve basically, I started my career as a technologist, uh, and then I moved into product mark, product management. Mm-hmm. I was a CTO for a brief time, a small, uh, small vendor. Vendor. I’ve done, uh, product marketing mainly, and that’s where I came into the marketing world. So I had a choice. I was in pre-sales and I had a choice either go sales or go marketing.

So I went marketing. And then, uh, so I come through on that. I’m a big proponent of content marketing. Mm-hmm. So I’ve, I’ve grown content marketing teams. I, I, uh, I formed a content marketing practice, an agency while I was living in the US for a while. I’ve been an industry analyst for a little while as well.

And of course I am A C M O. And, uh, at the moment I’m c m O of Spotlight Group. Group. We’re a acquisitive European company, are acquiring lots of different marketing technologies we own. I think eight or nine companies at the most recent count. I I, I did an interview the other day and by the time we aired, we, we’d acquired two more companies, so is in accurate.

Wow. Wow. Uh, yes. And, and, and, and my role is to, you know, assimilate, assimilate those organizations and marketing teams, get our whole brand strategy, get, get the, uh, get the teams working together. And that’s kind of my, my, my gig right now, isn’t it? That’s amazing. I’m a three time, yeah. I’m a three time cmo.

This is my third CMO gig. But that’s kind of me, not really in a nutshell. Cause that’s a bit long for a nutshell right there. That’s, that’s,

[00:04:28] Matt Bailey: well, I mean, this is why I invited you in on, because you, you know, you, you, and, and what you said, one of the things, the first thing you, you enjoyed was developing people.

Yeah. Um, I, I find that to be a very refreshing view of managing, that we’re managing to develop. Uh, I, I’ve run into, So many, uh, I, I would say leaders or uh, CEOs that almost take it personally when someone develops out of the organization. Mm. Yeah. And they feel like, well, I, I invested in them, they’re mine.

Uh, and there’s always sort of this, this tension there. Um, but it’s gotta feel good when you’ve developed someone and, and it’s bittersweet when they leave, but you help

[00:05:17] Ian Truscott: them grow. Yeah. I, um, yeah, I, I, I was just chatting to a former, um, colleague who worked for me, um, just the other day. And she was, she was talking about our time working together, and I remember when she left and, uh, she’d got to the point where she was, she needed another role and it wasn’t something we could offer her.

And, um, You know, I know quite a lot of people in the industry and I had a chat with her new boss and I was like, I’m just lending you to, you always, I mean, I, we work in a fairly small industry in Mar mm-hmm. Surprisingly small, and you’re gonna run up against these people again. And so I never, I always want to be, um, remain on good terms.

And I, I also think you should be delighted when somebody spreads their wings and moves off due to something maybe you’ve done and influenced their career. So. I agree with you. It’s a bittersweet moment, but you should focus on the suite for sure.

[00:06:06] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, I mean, and, and because of your history and because of what you’re doing, you’re working with teams and mm-hmm.

As you said, assimilating teams together. Um, let me ask you this, and it’s, it’s, I don’t know, it could be too general. What’s a perfect team when it comes to marketing?

[00:06:28] Ian Truscott: Oh man. Nice. How long do, how long do we have this afternoon?

[00:06:31] Matt Bailey: If you had to put together a dream team, what would that look like?

[00:06:35] Ian Truscott: I think that, um, it, it depends on the size of the organization.

At the moment. We are going through a process where we tend to acquire smaller organizations and smaller companies have, you know, their marketing teams tend to be generalists, right? So, and I think we, as, as marketers should when we get, when we’re starting off in our career, certainly could be, become generalists.

But I think when you kind of, when you’re creating a larger organization and you’re creating a genuinely. You know, a large software, larger software company, a B2B software company, which is what I’m used to. Then you need people who are gonna be specialists in certain areas. So for me, I think the, and, and we’ve discussed this on my podcast, I’m not gonna promote my podcast throughout your podcast.

Oh, that’s awesome. But we’ve discussed this

[00:07:17] Matt Bailey: because I’m gonna promote mine on yours.

[00:07:20] Ian Truscott: Absolutely. You’re very welcome, my friend. Um, um, but we’ve talked about this on, on my show, and I think there are key roles that you need. You need somebody who’s really good with marketing operations, for example. I think that.

You need to have, you know, your tech sort, you need to have your reporting sort. You need to have your integration sort, so you really need strong marketing operations in your team. And I think that nowadays things like. Uh, PPC seo, performance marketing. Digital marketing. And I don’t like the term digital marketing cause it’s all marketing.

It’s not really digital, but those things are getting so sophisticated. Really. I think we’re seeing that marketers need to have owned those skills and you find those as specialists. And I still think it’s same with the creative team. So not, so I would advocate having a studio within. Your own marketing team, which is that people that are good at writing, there are some people that are just, you know, they can turn around a blog post in two hours.

Other people struggle with that. And so you need, you know, now I think that’s the balance that, that you need ac across your team. And of course, you know, for me, I. Marketing isn’t there for the creative. We are there to create three things, awareness, revenue, and trust. And I always talk about these three things, and I think that that’s what you need to build your team around is what is the thing that you as a marketing team need to do the most of.

So if you’re in a startup, probably awareness. So who’s really good at creating awareness? How, who knows how to do um, advertising, who knows how to really grow organic reach. Um, and those kind of things. And other, other times it’s demand gen. We really need to get the leads in, we need, we need to create those campaigns, and trust is where your content marketing comes in.

So I think there’s a balance across those three pieces. And it depends where you as a marketing team need to focus is where the skills are needed. I think.

[00:09:05] Matt Bailey: That was great. So no answer. No, I love that answer. I love it. Well, one of the things you said, so like if you’ve got someone who can create a blog post in two hours and, and then you can internally, how much of that is dependent upon the strengths of the team and how much of it is?

Well, we need someone who can do this. Um, You know, if you’ve got someone who’s got a strength, do you develop that or do you, uh, that, do you go out and search for someone that we need someone who can create a blog post in two hours? Yeah. Yeah. I,

[00:09:34] Ian Truscott: I, well, I, I also think this touches on your last question, which is, if you are coming into an organization as a C M O, you’re bringing an organization together.

Do you build an organization around skills that you have or do you build your ideal organization and transition those people into that, that that structure, and I think it’s always a mix, and I think that, And the other thing is we’re blessed with, um, you know, you can, you can augment your team with some great talent, freelancers, agencies, and stuff like that.

So I think you, you need to do that skills matrix of what is it you’ve got and then how you’re gonna fulfill, fulfill those things. You’re gonna need somebody who’s gonna create content. Now, if that’s not the strength for your team currently, how you gonna, how you’re gonna sort that out? And it’s gonna be with every, all parts of the marketing mix, isn’t it?

And I think. Certainly talking to you, Matt, is how do you develop your own people to do those things? And then what is it you need from your network of agencies to actually fulfill that, fulfill that need. So I think a skills matrix is an important thing there. How do you, I think.

[00:10:35] Matt Bailey: Yeah, go ahead. Sorry, I’m

[00:10:37] Ian Truscott: cutting you off.

Uh, I was gonna, I was, I was gonna say about, I think when you were on my podcast the first time, I think you talked about skills matrix. Yeah. That might be something I picked up from you. No, no.

[00:10:45] Matt Bailey: Well, and that’s what I was gonna ask you is, is how do you come up with a skills matrix? How do you evaluate, uh, new members into the team or even people that you’re considering to hire?

[00:10:56] Ian Truscott: I think there’s, um, You know, there’s the boring way of doing that, right. About understanding exactly, you know, what, what is the skills you are going to, and there’s, there’s lots of, um, standard templates for that kind of thing that you can get from external. But I think also think, like I said, you need to look at what your actual needs are.

Where is it that your priorities are? What are the OKRs that are being set by your management team to you as a C M O, as a a marketing leader, right? And how are you gonna fulfill those? And what skills is that gonna require? Some organizations have a lot of evergreen content or don’t have a big content need right now, they need different skills.

Then you need to evaluate that for yourself. And, but the thing is, is this isn’t a spreadsheet exercise. Mm-hmm. This is a conversation with your people. Right. Because until you have those conversations, you don’t know what people aspire to be or want to be. Right. Some people like to be generalist marketers.

Yeah. And other people really want to be copywriters or they really love organizing events or whatever it is, and it’s un uncovering that. And so big part of the skills matrix is understanding where your team want to go and what they want to do, and how you develop them into that. Rather than just saying, okay, here’s a, here’s a spreadsheet.

These people fit, these people don’t

[00:12:06] Matt Bailey: fit. Right. Right. Well, that’s one thing we always did in our agency was when we brought someone on, they, they had an onboarding process that exposed them to everything. Yeah. Really? We had ’em build their own website or blog. Yeah. Develop it. Create it. And, and they could go to other people in the organization for help, but ultimately they had to do it.

Then they had to write content and, and it was, and then, you know, finally it was, we’ll monetize it now. So find a way to monetize it. But throughout that process, what it enabled them to do was to experience. The, the SEO to experience content development, planning, research. Uh, and then by the end of it, they kind of had a good idea what they liked and what they didn’t like.

Yeah. And what they wanted to develop in more. And sometimes it fit what we needed. Sometimes it didn’t. Uh, and so we had to figure out, well, now what’s the best way? Yeah. Uh, to, to integrate that person. Yeah. Uh, so determining someone’s depth of skills, though. Um, for example, right now, I think, uh, LinkedIn learning, uh mm-hmm.

And, uh, I think marketing at week as well as both have said that social media is the most in-demand skill right now in business. Yeah. How do you, if, if you’re interviewing someone, how do you understand, how do you, how do you test or how do you evaluate the depth of social media skills and understanding?

[00:13:32] Ian Truscott: I think well also, I was listening to your podcast the other day and um, I think there’s a mismatch here cuz I’d agree with what you were saying on your podcast, which is I think a lot of the time, um, some, some skills and some things people are asking for are, because they’re of the zeitgeist of the moment, right?

Mm-hmm. At the moment, um, you know, Get a hiring manager to define what do they mean by social media skills, right? And let’s face it, most of us are pretty adept at some basic social media skills. We all have to have them now. So what does it actually mean? And I think that’s what you need to drive into, is particularly when you see a lot of job descriptions written or a lot of job ads written, and you think.

Well, what are you actually asking for? What is it, what, what is it you want that person to achieve and change? Right? So social media skills, are you talking about the ability to run a very sophisticated LinkedIn campaign and paid campaign? Understand audiences, understand how to, and then retarget them, remarket them, bring that into your C R M.

Is that the skills you’re asking for or you’re asking for somebody that can work Hootsuite and send out five tweets a day? Right. So, yep. That’s for, for me, I think that the headlines need social media skills. Absolutely. I mean, now probably there’s probably a jail advert now that says somebody that needs to write, chat, chat, g p t prompts or some shit like that.

Right? Because these things just seem to catch people’s imagination. It’s, it’s very much like that sort of, You know, that old school that we used to say like manage management by, um, inflight Magazine, it’s just a thing that people have heard about recently. We need those skills. Mm-hmm. Well do you and I, and I, and I, and I also think that strives to the next question, which is, do you need to be on social media?

You know, and what do you mean by social media? Right? And what’s the right thing for you? Right. So, I, I would flip that question right around is what do you basically, what do you mean by that? But your, your question actually was how do you test for that? And I think that’s interesting because. Often, you know, uh, when, when we go through the same process regardless of role, right?

So you, you do a job, you do a paper shift, you look at their resume, you look at the work they’ve done, you, you talk to them, you do an interview in three different interviews and then they’re hired. Now, if you are incredibly good social media extrovert, but a bit of an in introvert and don’t interview very well.

Then how are we gonna uncover those skills? So I think it’s really looking at somebody’s work. You’ve really gotta look at their work and um, particularly with people like copywriters, you know, you get a great sense for the kind of work that they can do. So I think this, and I think it’s the same with social media plus.

These days, you know, people have side gigs and they do their own thing is how, what are they passionate about? Do you see them actually doing it right? I mean, the fact that you can send five tweets, well do you, you know, how do you actually engage with your nascent audience and stuff? So there’s a, there’s a complicated answer to that question, which is I think just see the evidence for that.

I don’t think you can test for social media skills in

[00:16:29] Matt Bailey: that way. Mm. So you brought up something that I thought was really interesting and that is the. The extrovert interviews? Well, yeah. The, the introvert, you can look at their work. Um, how many times does the extrovert grab people’s attention, um, and sell themselves better than the introvert who may have a better catalog or a better set of skills or experience?

[00:16:57] Ian Truscott: Yeah, and I’ve, I’ve had that, and it, it also, there’s, it’s a management management challenge as well. I mean, I, I’ve had that from early in my career when I was managing, um, developers. You know, when you manage developers, there’s a whole a range of personality types there. Some pe, some developers love it when you have a big team stand up and everybody’s in the room and we can talk about code and they’re really into it.

Other people wanna sit in a dark room and code, and please don’t invite me to the meetings, right? So, I think it’s, I think, um, you need, and, and also what I’ve done in my career, I’ve, I’ve, um, I’ve interviewed for consultants. Now, if you are the, the about the only job I can think of that’s that the interview, the classic interview process works or is consultants.

Mm-hmm. Because basically they’re interviewing every day. You are. Mm-hmm. You’re trying to, um, engage a client. You’re trying to be engaging, you’re presenting all of the time. So I think the interview process probably works for people like that, but I think that, Um, and it was quite a leading question. When do you, do you, do I think that extroverts win in an interview process, I guess.

I guess they do, but I’d like to think that me as an interviewer, I would seek out a little bit, uh, more depth than just, oh, this guy’s, you know, or a gal is incredibly outgoing. Do I need that in a copywriter? Do I need that in a, you know, a data analyst? Probably not, right? Mm-hmm. But do I need it in a. In a product marketer, or do I need it in somebody that I think is gonna be on stage on a regular basis?

Absolutely. Mm-hmm.

[00:18:24] Matt Bailey: Wow. That is great. No, I, it was a bit of a leading question, but you were fantastic. You, you did it so well.

Uh, so how much, when, when you’re managing teams, do you provide, uh, training for them or do you kind of put it on them to, uh, to add to their professional development? Or do you develop something internally, uh, that they can No, I

[00:18:49] Ian Truscott: continue that. I’d love, I’d love to, I’d love to be answer this question and say that I am completely focused on development and training, and I have a plan for everybody that ever works for me.

And, um, you will lose listeners who have ever worked for me because I’ll say that’s bullshit. Yeah. And to be completely honest with you, we do. It’s something I’d, it’s something I would very much like to do more of. Um, I’ve been fortunate in most of the time that I’ve worked with teams, I’ve worked with experienced folks on my teams, right?

Mm-hmm. So they’re not, you know, I have. Brought on junior people as well, and I’ve looked at their personal development and we, we’ve put some training together. But I do think to answer your original question, rather than what I do is I think there’s a bit of push pull here. I think that what you want is somebody who is a.

Because I’m a constant learner in marketing and I’m of the age that I am and at the point I am in my career, but I don’t think you can stop learning in marketing. Um, because when I talk to people who’ve had a classic marketing education, for example, they say, oh, well I did the course and now that stuff is out of date.

And I think that, you know, there are some marketing fundamentals that we all should learn. And then I think that we need to build on that going forward, and I think that we meet a lot of people in marketing who are very good at a technique, say, like you were just saying about social media marketing, but they don’t actually know why they don’t understand some of the fundamental of marketing that have been around for 20 years or 30 or four years.

Right? Yeah. Yeah. So I think I, I would, I would always favor the person that has a, has a passion and a curiosity about our craft. Um, and because I think there’s gonna be a push pull, you lean into them and, and, and educate and develop them, and they pull from you and they want to be educated. I think that’s it.

Hmm. But I sit on the fence to that answer a little bit there. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:20:34] Matt Bailey: Well, I understand. I mean is especially when you are the CMO or the CEO and it, you know, I remember telling a couple employees, I’m like, go figure it out. Yeah. You know, go, go learn how to do that and then come back and tell me what you learned.

Uh, and, and, and, you know, there’s a little bit of resistance to that, but ultimately it’s, you know, I’m, you’re gonna learn it the same way I did, which is, yeah, get your hands dirty, figure it out. Uh, and, and because I could, I could lead you through it. I could teach it, but. You learning how to do that, how to set up a campaign, how to, uh, you know, build a, a WordPress site.

Those are just skills you’re gonna need as you go along. And sometimes just getting thrown into the deep end is a, is a good way to do it.

[00:21:23] Ian Truscott: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And um, and I think that’s part of you as a manager is what you. The tasks you give people to do or the role you develop for ’em. And I think that there’s, people should always be being challenged a little bit, right?

And that keeps their day interesting. And then, then they have to develop those skills, I think. So it’s trying to keep that balance, isn’t it, of. Of and giving people that headroom that they need to then fill with, with, with their own personal training. The other thing is, is that some things like, you know, we’ve got somebody on the team who, who went through the mini b a, the Mark Ritson course, right?

Mm-hmm. Yes. That’s a lot of work, right? That’s a lot of work, and I, I don’t think you. And, um, and so as a manager you need to give them time to do that work. And you need to encourage that work. But they need to really be in their, their skin needs to be in that game, cuz that’s a hard course, right? So, uh, I think there’s a.

So there needs to be some pull, because otherwise it won’t get done. There’s no point in investing in training for people who, who don’t want to be trained, you know? So, yes.

[00:22:23] Matt Bailey: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I could see that. Um, so one of the things, now you listen to my podcast, so, you know, on this, uh, you know, I’m gonna throw this out there.

I mean, I, so. And I’m just gonna refer to it now, listener, if you have not listened to the previous podcast, I’m gonna tell you to go back, get that cuz that’s gonna set the stage for the next couple questions. I, I mean, do you see, so I talked about social media skills mm-hmm. The increasing demand, uh, you know, we talked about generalist specialists.

How important is it for the team to understand data and analytics?

[00:23:00] Ian Truscott: Oh God, man, you that, that. You would want that over somebody, a social media expert, right? Or, or guru or ninja, or whatever they call themselves these days. Data is so key. And the the other thing is, is um, it is a skill. It’s an absolute skill, and I, and I will spend, I.

I, I love it. Right. And I, I will spend an afternoon fiddling about with Google Date Studio and trying to pull things and create these amazing reports. Right. That’s not an efficient use of my time. Right, right, right. Because there is somebody who’s gonna do that in about half an hour. And I think that’s, um, and, and, The, the, the criticality of not just the ability to create reports and do all this data because we’ve got so much data that’s available to us is what are the right insights?

What are the things we’re supposed to be following? And if you’ve got somebody who’s experienced in that and that can actually, um, you know, sort the wheat from the chaff of what we need to be looking at and to really bring up those insights, that’s invaluable. Mm-hmm. You know, what are the things we need to pay attention to?

I mean, you, we all have access to tools. We all have access to Google Analytics, for example, and I, you know, I spent. I spent some time in Sim Rush. You look Atem Rush, the amount of data it gives you is amazing, but what of that is important? And if you’ve got somebody on your team who can pluck that out and give you that management for somebody like me anyway and can give you that management report, that’s invaluable.

Absolutely. Yeah.

[00:24:23] Matt Bailey: Well, and that was one thing, you know, I, I learned very quickly when we had the agency is I had an analyst and. You know, he was doing a lot of the monthly reports, but then when he would get done with the reports, he would spend in building the reports, he would make notes about things he wanted to go back and look at and investigate.

And so from that, he would spend a couple of days just digging into the data digging and he would come up with insights that were just amazing, amazing, amazing. And, and it would, it would either make or save. You know, tens of thousands of dollars a difference. So ing you know, I made that decision like, okay, account managers, you’re doing the monthly reports now.

Yeah. It’s, yeah. You know, he has to have that time to Yeah. Just ask questions and dig and, and again, it’s, it’s kind of that responding to, I, I would call it a flexibility in roles mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Of learning that someone’s really excelling here. How do I, how do I feed that? How do I get more out of that?

Yeah. Um,

[00:25:29] Ian Truscott: And that’s, that’s also back to your earlier question about now nowadays marketing is such a broad church in terms of skills that one needs. Right. And I think that there, there’s something, I mean, Pete, some people are completely passionate about that. Pete completely passionate about data. Other people are completely passionate about technology and getting that stuff working together.

And then we’ve always got the creatives right? We’ve always got the creatives around our industry. And so that’s the team, isn’t it? It’s getting that creative. Data technology balance Right. Within your team and execution of course. Um, so yeah, I completely agree with what you were saying. Wow. What

[00:26:03] Matt Bailey: would be, so I’m gonna switch gears here.

What would be your advice to someone who. Let’s say they, they’ve probably been a, a mid-level, they’ve been a specialist. Mm-hmm. They, you know, maybe in certain areas, uh, but they want to go more into management. Uh, what, and so they’re starting to put together their cv, they’re starting to prep for that.

What would be some of your advice to someone who’s looking to make that, that change, that leap, uh, you know, and go out and start looking for a different job? Yeah,

[00:26:37] Ian Truscott: that’s a, that’s a, that’s a great question. I think that, um, and, and I, I was having this conversation with a colleague the other day as we talk about generalists and specialists, and if you think about it, you want to be a, I’ve spent some of my career being a specialist, and then of course when you’re a C M O, you’re a generalist, right?

So how do you then GE move from. Working for small companies, being at the start of your career and being a generalist to being a specialist at a big organization and being back to being a generalist again. So I think that’s an interesting path. I think one of the things that you talked about at the beginning of this conversation, I think is important, which we don’t pay attention to, and that is management as a skill.

Mm-hmm. Right? So I think that if you are, if you want to move up in your career, How can you get experience that’s going to ref, that’s going to be like management, right? So what have you grown? What have you done? What have you formed, what have you? Built yourself. What organizations have you been a part of?

And I think, you know, that’s the leap from being a specialist to being in a management role is how am I gonna demonstrate to a new employer that I’ve got this, that I can actually look after people? And not everybody wants to look after people, which is one of the challenges I think, not challenge.

That’s one of the interesting things about our marketing teams is you were talking about somebody who’s really good at data. It might be they never wanna manage somebody, but they may be absolutely priceless in your organization. So how do you value that person? Without them having to manage people so you can pay them more money.

Right. So I think that’s an interesting thing about marketing, about matching those skills together. But the advice I would give is that you need to demonstrate that you also have not only your skills in whatever field you’ve chosen. But that you have skills in being a self-starter, being able to create things, being able to manage people and being able to organize.

Right. And I know that’s hard in early in your career, but that’s the sort of thing I before. Well I, I think,

[00:28:33] Matt Bailey: you know, the, the main phrase you had there is management is a skill. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, and, and somehow it has to be demonstrated. Yeah. Uh, that you’ve got that experience or that ability and. You know, again, that that fits right into, I, I think the LinkedIn top skills and demand there management is, is part of that.

Marketing is part of that, uh, data. It, it’s very interesting to see. You know, which of those are the, the, we would call them the tangible hard skills. Mm-hmm. And which of those are human skills? Yeah, yeah. That, that force us to, to be a part of a team. Yeah. Uh, and, and lead that team, or, or contribute to it.

There’s a lot of, I, I know people don’t, Like calling ’em soft skills, but I do like the human skills. Mm-hmm.

[00:29:19] Ian Truscott: Part of it. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I mean, before I started my commercial career, I was in the civil service and um, and we were taught management, right? Mm-hmm. No, I don’t think in the commercial world people are taught management, right?

So you, I. There was a, you know, and, and I had this from my father. He, he felt that he was a professional manager and management was a, was a, was a skill that he had. Whereas now, now we just have to pick that up as we go. Right. We don’t have that. Mm-hmm. That isn’t gonna be a training skill that we would talk about.

[00:29:51] Matt Bailey: Hmm. So let’s dig into that. Uh, I mean, what are the skills of management? And, and this, honestly, this goes right back to like, one of the firstest things you said is I love developing people. Yes. And so there is a misunderstanding, I think when we start talking about management of people. Um, you know, what you talked about first was developing people.

Yeah. And, and there even as a manager, there’s a difference between managing and developing. Um, yeah. What is what makes a good

[00:30:21] Ian Truscott: manager? Yeah. Um. I’m going to use the empathy word, and I know we are using it a lot in marketing at the moment, but I think that’s a key thing. So for example, I use the example of when I managed the development team and there was a guy on the team who didn’t want to be in the team meetings, real introvert guy.

I wanted to be in a dark room. Great coder, but well respected, and it’s having empathy for that. So how do I adapt? Why is it important for me as a manager to have everybody in the same room? It probably isn’t. Right? So I can actually just go around to the people’s offices and ask them for their status updates and it’s gonna be more efficient for them and more efficient for me.

So think thinking about what your per, what your models are, and having empathy for the people that are gonna sit in those models. Right. And how is it that you. Can help that person and what is it that they need, and not just within their professional life, but what is it? They also need more of their personal life, and I think we are dealing with that more.

These days, aren’t we in that, in that, in that we’re having a bit more empathy for the life of our, of our people. And I think it’s, it’s all of those things. So I mean, I had a, a had a, I was able to hire somebody once who wanted to be closer to her boyfriend who was in the city that we were, um, or near the city that we were headquartered in.

And that was part of her motivation for one to join us understanding those things. Is important when you’re recruiting and, and developing people. What is it, you know, how, how do you, how do you do that? So I think it’s empathy. Yeah. Basically. Long answer for one word, but yeah, I think it’s empathy. Yeah. I,

[00:31:55] Matt Bailey: I, I completely agree.

I, I, I sometimes, uh, I, I think people misunderstand management is, uh, you know, the whip in the chair. Um, yeah. You know, you’ve gotta whip people into shape. To get them to do what you want them to do. Uh, and, and that’s how they see management is being, being hard, being demanding. Yeah. And, and pushing people.

Um, but I I like your, you know, with, with empathy, we’re, we’re inviting people. Yeah. Uh,

[00:32:22] Ian Truscott: yeah. And I think I, but I wouldn’t want to go too far with that. I think you may. The, the thing is we need to get the job done, right? Mm-hmm. So we need to get the job done with empathy, I would say as well. And I, and I, I also think that sometimes, Well, I, I, I is the PE when when people are looking up at their boss, they’re looking for decisions they’re looking for.

Um, They’re, look, they’re looking to take away risk. They’re looking for decisiveness, they’re looking for leadership, right? So you’ve gotta provide all of those things as well as that empathy. It’s not just a case of, oh, what do you wanna do? No, what do you wanna do? No, what do you wanna do? It’s gotta be, we are going in this direction.

How can I help you be on that same train as me and we are going over here. Right. So beautiful. That that’s, if, if it has to be grandiose about leader, that’s what I think is, there has to be an element of leadership

[00:33:12] Matt Bailey: as well. Great. Great. What are, what are some of the obstacles, uh, that you run into in managing teams?

I’ll say, we’ll say marketing teams, but uh, you know, you know, I mean there’s internal, external obstacles. Which ones are, let me, let me rephrase it. So not so general, there’s internal obstacles, external obstacles, which are the hardest to overcome.

[00:33:38] Ian Truscott: Um, I’ve, well, that’s such a huge, huge topic. Topic could be anything.

I, I think one of the challenges, uh, for marketing in general often is you can set your own objectives all you like and your goals. If the goals and the objectives of the business keep changing, it’s incredibly hard to then keep up, not keep up with that, because you can keep up with that, but, Nobody likes that.

Nobody wants to be disrupted on a monthly quality basis and change of priorities and stuff. We, we wanna work towards a goal and also, um, the short-termism that can exist because of that, this is the most important quarter of our company’s history and all that stuff, and we’ve gotta change what we are doing to pull those levers instead of pulling the lever.

So I think that’s often a big challenge for marketing is when you. When that short-term, long-term thing, balance gets out of balance. I mean, we’ve gotta do both. We know we’ve gotta do both. But when it leans too far to short-term, I think that, um, that can be frustrating for a team because we know that marketing, particularly if you’re building brand and things like that, is a longer term play.

Yeah. So you are gonna have people that are gonna be focused in your team and thinking about that longer term play. Now, if you keep. Ch moving the chairs underneath them, that’s gonna be frustrating for them. Right? So I think that’s one of the challenges. External, internally, I think it’s like any discipline.

I don’t think marketing’s unique in that perspective, right? We all have personalities. We all want our own things. And so I think that that’s just part of the day-to-day management is, is empathy will only stretch so far. And I think sometimes if somebody, Doesn’t want to be in the boat and, you know, we gotta figure out a way of, of making this transition as nice as possible, you know?

[00:35:30] Matt Bailey: Well, I wanna go back to the, the, the external challenge of mm-hmm. Of things changing. Uh, I was training a company, uh, just a couple of weeks ago, and we’re going through and I’m asking, what’s your objective? What are the goals of the organization? And, and. I think with right away, one of the, one of the responses was, well, do you mean this week?

Uh, you know, and, and, and right away it set the tone that, you know, and of course everyone’s like, yes. You know, going on. Yeah. Yeah. And so, yeah, I, I said, okay, well, let’s go with what, what you, what you are being asked to do right now. Let, let’s go through that. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. But after, you know, it was a three hour training, and what I could find is, is when those objectives change, Constantly.

It wears a team out. There’s, there’s absolutely, there’s just this exhaustion because they know no matter what they do, it’s gonna change. Exactly.

[00:36:27] Ian Truscott: Yeah. Exactly. And, and, and

[00:36:29] Matt Bailey: it will. Yeah, it will. Boy, I mean, what a way to demotivate a team.

[00:36:33] Ian Truscott: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think you got to be super clear with that.

The but on. And there is a flip side to that. Sometimes there’s a reason why change happens and why you might be in a very fluid organization. Mm-hmm. My own organization, for example, because we are constantly acquiring companies, that changes the dynamic of the organization from time to time. It can also change some of the messaging changes the audience we are going off.

We might acquire a company. Where the main audience are customer service professionals, whereas previously it was marketers. Mm-hmm. You’ve gotta stay ahead, you know, you’ve gotta stay ahead and be agile. So I think as a marketing team there, you need to be agile. That’s one thing. But I do think that there is beholden on the C-suite to have those clear goals, so then you can match your clear goals to their clear goals, and then you’re, you’re both in great shape.

When those goals keep changing, as you say, it’s incredibly disrupting and demotivating. Yep.

[00:37:27] Matt Bailey: Well, I love what you said. The, the goals come come from the C-suite. I, I’m amazed at how many teams I, I train where those goals aren’t set. Uh, yeah. You know, and it’s on the marketing team to do that. Right. And, and I keep pushing them, telling ’em no, that the key business objective that’s set at C-Suite, and now you have to figure out how do we achieve that?

Yes. How do we get there? Um, but the goal, the objective that’s set up there and, and yeah. And uh, I tell them, you’ve got to ask for that, you know, and it’s absolutely abs it’s interesting training different teams in different stages, uh, to, to, to feel sometimes that, that frustration. I

[00:38:08] Ian Truscott: can imagine. I can imagine.

You, you must have a fascinating, I, I mean, I like a bit of consulting myself. It must be fascinating for you, for the different organizations you look at, but I do think that, Unless you have clear goals. As a, as an organization, it’s very hard to to market for that. So for example, when I’ve worked with a smaller organization, they wanted to do all of the marketing and they wanted to get the leads and all this kinda stuff.

Until you drive into, well, what are your actual revenue goals? How many deals do you need from those revenue goals? Therefore, how many opportunities do we need to give to your salespeople? That may be way less than you think. Right. It, but it, but you could, if you are super focused on that, then you know what you’re doing.

If it’s just, we need to do the marketing and we need more of the leads, right. That’s a very hard target to hit. Right. You’re always, you, you, you, it’s, you know, you don’t have that, um, clear objective that you need. Right. And I think that’s, that’s incredibly important. And, and also to understand a little bit about.

What kind of organization you are, what, what motivates this organization? What is it the, the, the C-suite are aiming for? Are they looking to be acquired? Are they looking to mm-hmm. They wanna grow. Yes. Because they want lots of people and love employing people and it’s more of a altruistic view, or, you know, and understanding some of those things I think really sort of helps you with your marketing goals of where you need to get to.

[00:39:29] Matt Bailey: Absolutely I’ll, I’ll never forget sitting in a meeting with a client and we’re developing the strategy from there, and I think probably we’re about 40 minutes in and he Oh yeah. By the way, we’re hoping to get a, you know, the really the goal is we want to get acquired within two years. Exactly. And I’m like, well, it changes everything.

[00:39:45] Ian Truscott: Absolutely. And. And And you wanna be a partner in that as a marketing team? Yeah. And you understand that a company being acquired has a very different revenue profile, very different way of spending Money has a very different objectives from marketing than if you are growing organically. Mm-hmm. And so, And we need to understand that because, and, and so many times you see marketing teams get disconnected from the business because we go and do what we think is the right thing to do from a marketing perspective, these are the right things for us to do in a vacuum maybe.

But if they’re disconnected from the C-suite, then I’m afraid that team are gonna fail and the C M O will ultimately fail. Right. It’s because you didn’t. Deliver what those guys needed.

[00:40:29] Matt Bailey: Yeah. There’s a so many different ways. I think you could go off the track here and, and, and many times I feel, you know, when I’m training and I talk to different teams, these teams, they’re on a treadmill and there’s no end in sight.

Like you said. It’s get us leads, get us leads, and there’s no feedback as to are these good, are they the right ones? Or, you know, how does that work? Uh, you know, it’s just sheer numbers. And when is it good enough? And, and because I ultimately, I like to believe that people on the team like to know, did it make a difference?

Or am I just going through motions here? There there’s a, a sense where I think people want to have that, uh, that contribution, that knowledge that they’ve done something and contributed Absolutely. That helps motivate. Just to be on the treadmill doesn’t really motivate.

[00:41:20] Ian Truscott: Absolutely. Yeah. I’m, I call that the marketing hamster wheel.

Yep. You’re just running and running and running and, and the wheel isn’t actually going forward. It’s just spinning and spinning and spinning, and I think that, Uh, Mar a lot of marketing teams and I’ve, I’ve worked in these environments where you are just a production house of, uh, know, and you fulfill the demands that come in from the business.

You’re not actually moving the business forward from a marketing perspective and a brand perspective. You are getting more white papers done, more blog posts done, or whatever it is. Why, why are you doing these activities? Has anybody stopped this thing to say why? You know, so that’s, you know, so yeah. I mean, so that, I think, you know, your treadmill, my hands will absolutely.


[00:42:01] Matt Bailey: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Absolutely. That I always call it, so I use the hamster wheel when I call, talk about analytics, uh, that it’s the, it’s the, you know, enough to open up the interface, copy, copy some numbers, paste them over here. Copy some tables, paste ’em over there and then you send the report and then the next month, what do you do?

You open up the same thing, you copy the same numbers, copy the same tables, and you send it. Yeah, and and that’s my analytics hamster wheels. So just different devices for different responsibilities.

[00:42:34] Ian Truscott: Well, I think that’s interesting. I mean analytics is a, a great topic and we touched on just a moment.

Again, it’s understand what are the right. Thing. What is it that we absolutely need from that, right? Mm-hmm. So I think it’s funny you’re saying that because, because I’ve, I’ve, uh, was chatting with somebody the other day and the, the problem was, was the marketer was giving them, giving the manager too much stuff.

Yeah. And they couldn’t, they couldn’t discern what was the important stuff in this. So, yeah. Uh, sorry. We’ve gone back to analytics. Well,

[00:42:59] Matt Bailey: and that’s where, you know, I’m, I’m training people that, that your, your analytics reports should not be a hundred slide deck. Of copied and pasted tables. Your analytics report should be a three minute presentation.

Yeah, yeah. Maybe three or four slides, depending upon how you, are you building? Are you telling a story? Mm-hmm. Because that three minute story should be all about here’s how we met the objective. Yes. And here’s the insight that we found. Here’s the recommendation and here’s the impact we think it’ll make.

And I, and I tell them, when you. Translate that. When you transfer that from a hundred slide deck to a three minute, here’s what’s going on. Here’s what we recommend, here’s what we think it’ll do. I just, I, I said just watch the transformation of how the C m O, the C-suite treat you when you can present like that.


[00:43:53] Ian Truscott: Yeah, absolutely. And it is telling that story and it’s marketing the marketing right as well. Sometimes it’s, yeah, you know, you know, sometimes you’ve got to, I’m not saying you’re selling an idea or anything like that, but you are presenting your work in the best way you possibly can and in a succinct way as you possibly can.

And nailing the numbers they care about. I mean, that’s another thing we talk about in the podcast from time to time, which is what is it they care about? Mm-hmm. What is it the C-Suite cares about? There’s, there’s no point in you being the most senior marketer in the room and showing how good you are at marketing.

They already know that. What they wanna know is, How are you helping me? Yes. How do, how are you helping the bottom line? How are you helping the sales guy? How are you helping, you know, and you’ve really gotta think about that when you’re communicating with the rest of the management team. Oh,

[00:44:37] Matt Bailey: absolutely. I, so in, in one of my courses, it, it’s how to present data and, and I teach the, the C-Suite is an audience.

And have you developed an audience profile? You, you know, how are they measured? Yeah. What’s important to them? Just like what you went through, you know? So if I know, you know, any other audience we’re trying to sell to, we’re trying to sell to. Mm-hmm. What’s gonna make ’em happy? What do they, what’s gonna make their life better?

But internally, we tend to forget that. And so if I’m presenting to a cmmi, I wanna note, you know, What’s gonna make Ian happy and, and, and how is he being measured? And so that way I can include that in my, in my pitch, so to speak. Uh, that if we do this, Ian, oh my goodness, look what could happen. Yeah. Yeah.

To your numbers. Yeah. If we do this and, and sometimes I think we, these are internal audiences that we need to research and understand just as much as our external audiences. Yeah,

[00:45:35] Ian Truscott: absolutely. And I think some of that is because we get so caught up in the tactics we’re, we’re just, we’re terrible for that as marketers, you know, and we, we get, we, we see that, I don’t know, email, click through rate is high this week.

Or um, you know, you were talking about social media, you know, we’ve done something there. You present that and. What does that mean? Mm-hmm. The business really, you know, what have you actually done? You know, so. Right. I think And, and I, and I, and that’s, that’s a big part of, I think what we need to do is get out of the tactics and get into the strategy and get into what it is.

Like I say, those three things, awareness, revenue, and trust. How are you impacting those three things? Cause that’s what those guys care about.

[00:46:13] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. Love it. Love it. And I love it. I, I love talking to a kindred spirit about, uh, marketing and, and, and managing. Ian, this has been just a, a, a great, great conversation.

I really, uh, thank you for making the time to come on the endless Coffee

[00:46:28] Ian Truscott: cup today. Thanks for having me. Um, great to be on you and I’m

[00:46:31] Matt Bailey: gonna give you now time to pitch. Where can people find you and tell us a little bit about Rockstar C M O Podcast.

[00:46:40] Ian Truscott: All right, well, I’ve touched on it a couple of times.

So, rockstar C M O Podcast is, uh, we talk about, we, we talk about sharing marketing street knowledge. So it’s an hour long weekly share, uh, with three segments with guests like yourself. Uh, I also talk to Jeff Clark, who’s a former research director. We talk about a topic around marketing, and I close out in the Rockstar C M O virtual bar with Robert Rose, who’s my content marketing guru.

And so that’s our show. Um, and it’s every Saturday morning. Mm-hmm. Uh, US time. Uh, so that’s, that’s rockstar. C m O. Um, and, but I’m not a rockstar. As I said at my, at my, at my day job, I’m the CMO of Spotter Group and folks can find me on LinkedIn. I’m. I don’t think there’s many Ian Truscott. You can certainly Google me.

I think when you Google me there’s like a a a a a QC in the London, um, uh, courts who’s got the same name as me as couple people. I’m, I seem to be the guy that wins on the top 10 of, of Google. Oh, great. Um, so yeah, and people can reach out to me there. Good. Yeah.

[00:47:37] Matt Bailey: I highly recommend, uh, rockstar CMO podcast.

Thank you. Uh, it, of course, it’s a, you know, we’re both members of the marketing podcast network. Gotta get that in there. Uh, but I, I love the segments. Uh, they, they’re just very entertaining that, that really getting in depth with your, with your analysts there mm-hmm. I think is just a great. Great addition, uh, to the show and, and you know, you can have good conversations, but when you pick a subject and dive into it, it, it really is, uh, yeah.

There are times I, I, you know, I was listening to it on, you know, the metro a couple times. Yes. You know, I didn’t look around, make sure I didn’t make too much of an outburst, but, uh, well,

[00:48:15] Ian Truscott: I’m delighted you had that react. Absolutely.

[00:48:18] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. It’s, it’s nice when you, when, when you know you’re speaking the same language about marketing, uh, and, and, you know, people that get it, it, it, it’s exciting because especially when you’re, when you’re out and about and working with, you know, unfortunately, Teams that are broken.

Yeah. Uh, whether it’s it’s internally or externally or, or from a management perspective. Mm-hmm. Uh, it, it’s heartbreaking sometimes to, to see the helplessness, uh, of a marketer who just, they’re trapped. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. You can’t break out

[00:48:49] Ian Truscott: of that. Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s a joy. I mean, I think, um, this week is, um, episode 165.

I, I dunno when this is gonna go out, this recording, but for me it’s a, I’m on 165 Great. And that, and it was a lockdown project and just talking to, having the opportunity to talk to other marketers in the guest lot has been, I mean, I’ve met some really great people, including yourself, uh, through that process, which, uh, which I’ve found, I mean, I would recommend podcasting to anybody cause I think it’s such a good way of.

Of getting to chat to people. Right? Absolutely.

[00:49:18] Matt Bailey: I, I, I started prior to, uh, the Pandemic, but I was like once a month maybe. Yeah, yeah. Uh, but then once that kicked in and yeah, I think we’ve even had some conversations on our, on our Slack channel about how it’s expanded our understanding and, and you get different perspectives and it really just Oh, yeah.

Overall not just listening to a podcast, but you know, developing something. Uh, I I, I’ve learned more about sound equipment than I ever want to know.

[00:49:49] Ian Truscott: Well, I’m the marketing topic. I mean, I’m a big fan of podcasts anyway. I listen to probably an hour a day of podcast cuz I do that when I go for my walk.

And um, I think it goes back to that point we’re making earlier. We have to be lifetime learners as marketers, right? Mm-hmm. And what better way than this free resource? I mean, oh, I made the point. I know we’re Ken trying to wrap up, but I made the point on my last, um, my last show. I mean, I’ve got a guy, Jeff Clark, who’s a former Forest research director.

He’s got all the experience in the world. I can ask him any question and this guy probably, you know, God knows what he charges his clients, right? And I get half an hour with him. I can ask him anything I like. So you get all this free advice right, from these great people, which I think is a joy.

[00:50:29] Matt Bailey: Yeah, it’s an untapped resource and, uh, mm-hmm.

Well, don’t have to tell you, dear listener, you’re, you’re listening. So Ian, thank you so much. It has been a, a, a pleasure to talk with you today and, uh, thanks again for coming on the show. Thanks, man. Cheers,

[00:50:46] Ian Truscott: mate. Thank you.

[00:50:47] Matt Bailey: All right, and dear listener, thank you for tuning in again to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup podcast.

I look forward to connecting with you again over another cup of coffee on the next edition of the Endless Coffee Cup.

Endless Coffee Cup podcast

Featured Guest:

Ian Truscott

Ian Truscott

Ian Truscott, Host of Rockstar CMO podcast

Ian Truscott

Rockstar CMO

Connect with Ian on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iantruscott/

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