[00:00:00] Mary Czarnecki: And so I think for marketers, especially now, is how do we find time to do the tactical work that we have to do to, you know, keep our businesses running, but to give ourselves also time to really do the above thought work and the kind of hold space for creative thinking. Cause I think that’s where, you know, that gut reaction of like, or like the easy answer of copy paste, or I’m just going to lean on this data point as opposed to like taking the time and doing the hard thought work of digging below the surface to figure out, okay, well, what is the insight that’s driving this to show up? You know, what is the underlying insight that’s driving this to become the symptomatic data point that I can see? And if we don’t give ourselves that time, if we’re not holding that space, then, you know, it doesn’t, it just doesn’t get done.
[00:00:57] Bumper Intro-Outro: Welcome to Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture, and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.
[00:01:24] Matt Bailey: Well, hey, good afternoon, good morning listener, wherever you might be, welcome to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup. And today, I’ve got another trainer with me, Mary Czarnecki. And Mary and I met, and we were both trainers at a recent, uh, ANA, that’s Association for National Advertisers event.
And, uh, we were actually in competing rooms, and I wish they’d stacked us, Mary, so that I could sit in on yours, you wanted to sit in on mine, and we ended up not being able to, you know, we had to meet afterwards and kind of share information. But Mary, if you could take a few minutes and just, uh, introduce yourself to the audience.
[00:02:03] Mary Czarnecki: For sure. Well, thanks, Matt, for having me on today. I’m super excited about our chat. So for those of you guys listening that I haven’t met before, I, uh, I guess started my venture in marketing about 20 years ago, actually started out as a management consultant, uh, switched over to the brand side at Johnson and Johnson for a bit, got to learn more about oral care and baby gas products than I ever thought I, I would want to.
And, uh, ended up moving from there, back over to, I guess you could say the vendor side, but the, the platform side with WebMD. And so in my practice now, I kind of have blended all of those experience of being on the brand, being on the vendor side, being in the digital space. And I love working with my clients on a lot of what hopefully we’re going to talk about today, which is, you know, the customer journey and developing real insights, not just, uh, surface level data, but where does that data tell us for today?
[00:02:55] Matt Bailey: I love it. So data is one thing I think our listeners just can’t get enough of. I mean, that’s kind of near and dear to me. And then when you and I were talking, I think that was, you know, we immediately went in that direction of, you know, let’s define what a true insight is, because as we were talking, I think that’s an issue, especially among marketers and you know, when marketers make recommendations. What are they recommending, and what, I think people don’t know the structure of how to approach things.
[00:03:29] Mary Czarnecki: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, I think we were joking around at the conference afterwards about the most misused terms in marketing.
[00:03:35] Matt Bailey: Yes. Yes.
[00:03:36] Mary Czarnecki: And I think insights is definitely one of those. I mean, obviously, you know, when I think about introducing people to a definition or a working definition of what an insight really should be, is it’s below the surface. It’s something that is living in the dark corners of our audience’s mind, right? It’s that, that kind of internal monologue, what we like to say that deep penetrating truth that, you know, it really is kind of that internal monologue, that sometimes is a fear, sometimes it’s a worry.
But I think that the relationship between data and insights that people, you know, sometimes get confused about, is it’s not that one or the other is less or more important. It’s that as marketers, we need both. Right? And the data is really what’s at the surface. It’s, it’s what pretty much, unfortunately, anyone can get their hands on.
Anyone can run a survey, anyone can do research, but smart marketers, really great marketers, look at the data and figure out, “Okay. Huh. That’s interesting. Well, why? Why am I seeing that data point show up? Why am I am I seeing this data point and this data point together show up?”
And then they’re using that to kind of dig below the surface and do, do some really good questioning to get to a unique insight, cause that’s, that’s where I think really great brands, really smart marketers are able to differentiate themselves.
[00:04:57] Matt Bailey: That’s awesome because, uh, I mean the theme, I think for the past maybe half dozen or more episodes, has been questions, and asking the right questions. And I, and honestly, “Why?” is a great question. You know, why am I seeing this? Why is this recurring? I say, that’s like the best question that a marketer/analyst could ask.
[00:05:17] Mary Czarnecki: Absolutely. And we joke around about it in one of my workshops that, you know, back in B school, in business school they always taught us, you know, the test of four whys, or the four why formula.
And I’m like, okay, great. Well, once I had kids, my boys aren’t toddlers anymore, but I started calling it the “Toddler Why Formula,”
[00:05:34] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.
[00:05:35] Mary Czarnecki: Because if anyone has ever met a toddler, it doesn’t even have to be your toddler, right? It could be a neighbor, whatever. They will continue to ask “Why?” until they get an answer that satisfies them. Or what I like to say is I’m a quivering massive jello on the floor, right?
[00:05:49] Matt Bailey: Yeah, I understand it. I’ve had the same experience and, and that’s the thing. It’s not so much reducing the information to what they understand, but it is presenting what they want to know in a context, it makes sense to their world.
[00:06:05] Mary Czarnecki: Absolutely.
[00:06:06] Matt Bailey: And so a correct answer is not sufficient. I don’t want to say you dumb it down, because not to a toddler and not to an audience. You’re not dumbing it down. You are reformulating it into a context that, that fits their worldview or their, their understanding of what’s happening. And yeah, a toddler forces you into that. That is a great observation. I, yeah, I went through that as well.
[00:06:29] Mary Czarnecki: Yeah, it’s funny too. And it’s, you know, cause when you think about, okay, well where, where do we use insights as marketers? Right? We obviously use it in creative ways, we use it in messaging development. Ideally is that even at the beginning of product develop? Yeah, the worst possible thing we could do is be like, “Hey, we can make this. Go sell this.” Right?
[00:06:48] Matt Bailey: Right, right, right. Well, and, and to your point, the difference between data, or metrics and insights. So, this happened in between our last conversation, working with a company and they are asking for some training videos, and as part of the brief, no video is to exceed 4 minutes.
And so I asked about that. I’m like, why 4 minutes? Well, we, our insights show us that most people drop off after 3 minutes and 4 minutes just seems to be a magic. And I’m like, well, that’s not an insight. That is a data point. An insight means, you know why people were dropping off after three minutes. You know, to your point, it’s the why, but they’re confusing data with insight.
Data says people are dropping off. Insight asks why. And so I started asking, why, have you looked at what the content is? Who the speaker is? What, you know, is this true of all your videos or all your trainers or all these things. You could have just really boring content or really boring people presenting the content and people were dropping off.
[00:07:57] Mary Czarnecki: Oh, yeah.
[00:07:58] Matt Bailey: I said, so unless you’re connecting that data to a, a reason. And I have just seen this so much in analytics where we get that initial surface guess, you know, especially in looking at like social media or other types of marketing, they’re looking at the data rather than looking at well, you know, our webinars for example, and our registrations. Well, what has been the topic of the webinars that are getting the most registrations and what is the topic that are getting the least? So rather than looking at the data point, you’ve got to associate it with other things.
[00:08:35] Mary Czarnecki: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I, it’s so true it’s that, you know, so many organizations have what I call vortex words. They’re just words that they lump a whole bunch of meaning into. And I think insights becomes one of those. It just gets misused. It gets used to kind of describe everything in everything from real insights, all the way up to data, right?
So, I joke around with people, especially when I’m working with clients on developing or enhancing or optimizing their, their briefs, because every brief really has that insight section in order that it should, but you’re right. People put data points in there. They put needs and wants in there. And you know, sometimes jokingly, you know, we talk about playing life coach for the statements, right? Because it, like you said, all of a sudden, if you could get this answer from doing a survey, obviously it fails the data point test, right?
It’s the data, piece of data. And then other people, you know, I’ll ask the question, “Well, what’s, what’s the insight you’re driving at here. What, what do you understand as the insight?”
And they start with, you know, “Well he needs,” or “She wants,” and I kind of feel like even at that level, we’re not quite there yet because we’re trying to figure out, “Okay, well, why do they need that? Why do they want that?” Right?
[00:10:00] So you kind of have to play life coach to be like, “Well, if they, if they don’t get that, what does that mean?” Right? So it’s, it’s fun kind of digging below the surface. But like you said, even when we’re getting briefed from professional marketers, smart marketers, sometimes this term just gets lumped in and kind of used for everything.
[00:10:04] Matt Bailey: Well, in the situation you described, I think brand marketers get infected with this and I, as a previous brand marketer, I completely get it, where we are thinking about our customer and what do they need? And the solution ends up being our brand. And I walked through this with some brands that, you know, let’s describe their need, and what they described were the brand features.
I’m like, that’s not their need. You know, if your target is a small business audience to buy your software, let me tell you what their number one need is. Making payroll, you know, their number one need is understanding the changes in healthcare for their employees. Their, those are true business needs. Now, how does that affect their decisions?
How does that affect what they’re going to do? And it was interesting seeing and, and I would call them career brand marketers, it’s where they started, just the light bulb moment of, “Oh, so you’re saying their need could be met by anyone in this, in this industry.” Like yes, it’s not, your brand is not the answer.
Your brand, you know, it’s one of many solutions. They have many options to go through. If their goal is to increase profitability, that’s, that’s the need. So it’s very interesting. I’m sure you run into that as well in your life coaching, as you say.
[00:11:27] Mary Czarnecki: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I know. I’m like, yeah, I’m a business coach. I mean, life coach. I mean business coach. Because…
[00:11:32] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.
[00:11:33] Mary Czarnecki: But it is true. We get, you know, we fall in love with our products and hopefully we love our products, right? Cause it becomes much easier to market products that we believe in and that we feel have value to our, to our customers and our buyers.
But it is true, you know, over time we work so hard in the business that it’s kind of, like you said, a light bulb moment to kind of reframe and all of a sudden turn the table so we’re looking at the experience through the eyes of our, our buyer, our audience, and really getting to, getting to understand that we’re not in the conversation when we’re defining those needs, those wants, those insights. We only come into the conversation afterward, right?
So that’s why, you know, and I, I think it’s really interesting for people who’ve been, especially people who work on a brand or in a business, even if they’re moving between brands, for so long we just get so ingrained and so in love with like the solution we provide, that sometimes it’s a little difficult, but also inspiring to kind of step back and be like, “Oh, okay. This is, this is why they are coming to us. This is what made them say yes to us,” or “What made them say no? What made them choose a, a competitor?”
[00:12:44] Matt Bailey: Right. Right. It’s a, it’s a form of brand blindness, I think. When you’re in it, you, you don’t see it, but then afterwards you’re, “Oh yeah.” They, you know, “Their, their true need.” I like to call it the, to the true motivating need and, and, you know, it’s backed up as well. When people have a problem, they go to search, they search based on their problem. Brand is so far out of the picture until they start learning, “Well, here’s numerous ways that I can solve it.”
And this brand is showing up with methods of solving it and it happens to be their product. I think that’s the journey that, you know, we could call it the brand journey as well as the customer journey.
[00:13:23] Mary Czarnecki: It totally is. And it’s funny too, cause I mean, I think that’s the one thing, the more I get into kind of digital content work especially is, and I’m sure you see this with your, your clients as well and students as well, but people feel like they have to have all the conversations all at once, right? So, being able to unpack the content that we can put out to address each of those pieces of the journey, I think is really exciting and kind of freeing for a brand.
So we don’t feel like in every email and every social post and every webinar, all of a sudden we have to address, you know, “Here’s how you should be articulating the problem you’re experiencing, and here’s all the different ways that you could solve it, and here’s why we’re the best way to solve it.” Those should be happening in multiple touch points. It’s not just all in one.
[00:14:10] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.
[00:14:10] Mary Czarnecki: And I think, you know, when some of the brands, really great brands that I’ve been, you know, lucky enough to work with and, and teach, you know, when we start to actually really unpack, “Okay, what content’s out there? What conversations,” cause really that’s all content should be as a conversation starter, “What conversations are you having?”
When we start to break it down into those buckets of here, you’re helping someone understand that they have a problem. Here, you’re helping someone understand that there are solutions, not even pitching yourself yet, but there are solutions to this problem. And then, helping them understand that you’re the best solution.
So many times, like the vast majority of the content is only in that third bucket and they’re not being seen as a thought leader or someone who’s helping solve problems, you know? And I think there’s a lot of respect, especially in today’s world where our audiences are looking for authenticity, they’re looking for trustworthiness, they’re looking for an advisor that is willing to give them their best advice, even if that best advice is not them.
[00:15:10] Matt Bailey: Well, and that’s, I mean, that’s the backbone of, you know, sales, is helping the customer solve a problem. And sometimes by helping them do that, you realize, “We’re not the best solution. You, you need something else.” And I think you touched on something as well, and it’s the value of, of good content marketing, and that’s educating.
Because educating, you’re teaching people, “Here’s the steps you need to make that decision,” and in doing so, yeah, it’s a big trust builder to put that level of information out there and help people, and guide them in those decisions, and not only to the decisions, the evaluation and the self-evaluation of, “What do I truly need?” In a way, it’s very dangerous because you are, you’re enabling people to make their own decisions rather than the traditional brand hammer.
[00:16:01] Mary Czarnecki: Right. Exactly. Exactly.
[00:16:03] Matt Bailey: Yeah. I, I, I’m loving this, I’m coming up with like new brand, “brand hammer”, “brand blindness.”
[00:16:09] Mary Czarnecki: I was about to say, “Brand blindness, you got to trademark that one.” I love it.
[00:16:12] Matt Bailey: I know. I love this. This is great. But, so, one of the things we talked about, and I think this, you know, this goes from our insights and also into how brands perceive, one area that I have seen a big deficiency in, and I know you work in this area as well, and that’s creating a brief.
Huge pain point. You know, even in some of my trainings, we’ve been asked to cover brief building, and I am absolutely amazed at what honestly passes for a brief. And I can even say, so when I had my own agency, if we got a brief, I usually would just toss him out. It was our policy not to respond to a brief because they were so bad. Uh, why are briefs so bad, Mary?
[00:17:02] Mary Czarnecki: Well, there’s a lot of answers to that, but you know, the one thing that I can say is, you know, from marketers and creatives alike, you know, the challenge is understanding what’s the brief for, right? Ideally if we, if we boil it down, why do we even create a brief?
It’s to create clarity, and so that all of a sudden these two teams that normally don’t necessarily speak the same language, have some common ground to establish, you know, it’s kind of like the Rosetta Stone between the creative…
[00:17:34] Matt Bailey: Wow. I love that.
[00:17:34] Mary Czarnecki: …and the marketing team, right? It’s that one thing that really should be the only measuring stick as creative is bringing work back and marketing is then asked to coach and comment, and, and evaluate. This brief really should be that communication tool, that measuring stick for the creative work that’s done.
And so when I’m talking to, you know, marketing teams and training on great brief creation, it comes down to first having the right elements in it, right? So, so many times I’m sure you’ve seen this. We get these briefs that are like 15, 20, 25 pages long.
[00:18:14] Matt Bailey: Oh yeah.
[00:18:14] Mary Czarnecki: And no creative team is going to be as, you know, word by word reading that kind of a lengthy document, right? Other times you’ll get stuff in there that’s just, it’s a lot of jargon. It’s a lot of, you know, terms and terminology, expert language. And that ends up doing the opposite of what we want to do, which is inspiring the creative to do great work. And so when, when I first start working with, you know, a lot of my students on brief development, it’s about, “Okay, what do you really want them to take away from this?”
And it comes down to the fact that the challenge for marketers in creating a brief is what’s important to put in, and leave out. Because as marketers, we try so hard to understand all these different things about our audience, but the brief is not an invitation to put all of that in, right?
[00:19:02] Matt Bailey: Right, oh yes.
[00:19:03] Mary Czarnecki: It’s our job, right, to leave out that, which we do not want to basically provide to the creative, right?
[00:19:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:19:09] Mary Czarnecki: So if we put everything in there, basically what we’re doing is we’re passing the buck and we’re saying, “Hey, creative team. Hands-off, you get to decide what the priority is.” Which as a marketer, we’ve we need to take that responsibility, right?
So we may have, and this is an interesting conversation I just had with a student the other day, a marketing team the other day, which was, they have a really robust, fully loaded you can say, target audience description in their, you know, strategic arsenal. But in any given brief, you don’t necessarily need to copy and paste everything in there.
[00:19:46] Matt Bailey: Right, right.
[00:19:46] Mary Czarnecki: Right? There’s only a certain amount of that that’s going to be relevant for any given brief based on what you want to come out of it, you know? So for example, this target audience we were talking about, the persona that they wanted to brief on was a female, well-educated, advanced, successful. In their fully loaded version of it, you know, we knew her household income, we knew whether she had kids or not, we knew whether she had a partner or not, but we left that out of the brief because we didn’t care about her partner or her kids in this execution we wanted to see.
[00:20:00] That wasn’t where we wanted to put the creatives’ focus. So even though it’s in the arsenal, we don’t want to put it into this brief, because whatever we’re putting in the brief needs to be thoughtful, it needs to basically be us as marketers giving the creatives to say, “Hey, anything I’m putting in here is fair game. And if we don’t want it to be fair game, we don’t put it in.”
[00:20:38] Matt Bailey: Right. Uh, yeah I always saw briefs as, it’s similar to computers, it’s the garbage in garbage out that, because I mean, the briefs I would get were just boiler plate…
[00:20:49] Mary Czarnecki: Oh, yeah.
[00:20:50] Matt Bailey: …you know, XY company that’s been in business for a hundred years and is a global solutions provider which, I, don’t get me started on that phrase. Um, you know, and going on and on, and, and I remember one of these briefs, there was a sentence towards the end that said, “Oh, and if you have any ideas about what we can do in mobile, we’d love to hear them.” That’s not a brief. That’s a conversation. So, yeah.
[00:21:16] Mary Czarnecki: Might need to schedule a working session on that.
[00:21:18] Matt Bailey: Yeah. So a brief is not a wishlist either, of what we want. It’s, it’s a partnership. And I think when you don’t do your homework on putting together the brief, you’re not starting a good partnership. And like I said, it’s that clarity. It’s that, it’s that, this is what brings us together in agreement of, we understand each other’s roles. And if that doesn’t happen, then it’s just a recipe for disaster.
[00:21:45] Mary Czarnecki: Absolutely. Because I mean, it really should be that measuring stick, like every time there’s a, a review, there should be a recitation or, you know, “This is the brief, we’ve all read it, right?” You know, this is what we’re using to, to provide feedback.
And when, like you said, if you have something like, “If you have any ideas on mobile,” you can’t use it for that purpose.
[00:22:04] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:22:04] Mary Czarnecki: Especially in this day and age, when people are just running a mile a minute, we’ve got, you know, more work than we have hours in the day. There, there is that trap, right? It’s that sand trap of copy and paste, copy and paste, copy and paste.
And I think that’s, that’s uh, a really serious mistake, is that we can’t do that if we want to get great work out of our creative partners.
[00:22:26] Matt Bailey: So, yeah. Sorry, I was laughing. You probably saw me laughing at that point. Cause I was getting ready to ask you, the question I was getting ready to ask you is like, “What are marketers struggling with right now? What do you see?”
And you made the copy and paste comment because in my analytics, I joke that marketers display amazing copy and paste skills when it comes to reporting analytics, uh, but in very little, very little insights. And so, yeah, I’m like, that’s one skill I think marketers don’t need that much of, is copy and paste.
We’re marketers. We are supposed to develop, as you said, clear messages. And yet, we get infected, I think by so many things. And yeah, we end up copy and pasting, we using big flowery brand slogans or something like that. So, back to my question, what are marketers dealing with, Mary? What are you seeing?
[00:23:26] Mary Czarnecki: Well, I mean, not like anything changed in the past year and a half, but, um, I have seen some things show up more often than, that I had previously seen. You know, this idea of literally having more work than hours in the day, everyone laughs because I’m one of those weirdos that’s actually been working remotely since 2007.
So this whole idea of, you know, not walking in the hallways and you know, going from zoom meeting, to teams meeting, to go to webinar…
[00:23:52] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:23:53] Mary Czarnecki: …all day long is kind of normal to me. So I, I’m a little strange that way, but I would say that, yeah. The, the, having to just like act without having a lot of processing time, because, you know, I know that it does take space, right? Um, I used to laugh, I have a couple of friends that are in kind of like, woo, uh, world kind of jobs. You know, energy and reggae and, um, um, shocker balancing and things like that. And they were always talking about holding space for their clients or holding space for the work that they do. And I never understood what that meant.
And in this past year, it finally dawned on me what that meant, is that, I need to hold space, I need to literally block time in my calendar for real thought work. I can’t go from meeting to meeting to meeting and then assume that I’m going to be able to like, do creative work or do creative thinking in the 15 minutes between one call ending and another call ending.
And so I think for marketers, especially now, is how do we find time to do the tactical work that we have to do to, you know, keep our businesses running, but to give ourselves also time to really do the above thought work? And it kind of holds space for creative thinking. Cause I think that’s where, you know, that gut reaction of like, or like the easy answer of copy paste, or I’m just going to lean on this data point as opposed to like taking the time and doing the hard thought work of digging below the surface to figure out, “Okay, well, what is the insight that’s driving this to show up? You know, what is the underlying insight that’s driving this to become the symptomatic data point that I can see?”
And if we don’t give ourselves that time, if we’re not holding that space then, you know, it doesn’t, it just doesn’t get done. So I definitely say, you know, time balancing, productivity, holding that space is definitely a challenge I’m seeing.
Also what I’ve been hearing, I haven’t been seeing it as much because obviously I’m a trainer and coach, so I get called in when people do see value in that. But I have been hearing from students and clients that organizations aren’t spending as much as they used to on training, and kind of relying on their employees and their, their people to self-educate. And I think that’s a big mistake on the part of organizations.
You know, I grew up in the world of brand management at Johnson and Johnson, and the one thing after having left Johnson and Johnson and moved over and then able to get exposed to different company cultures was how much, I, I really underestimated the value of the training that they provided us, you know, as a new ABM, as a new brand manager, as a new…
[00:26:38] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:26:39] Mary Czarnecki: You know, before you got the responsibility of managing anyone you had to take, uh, uh, management course, right? Shocker. But I really think that that’s, uh, a potential long-term impact, negative impact on talent development is, um, not investing in, in the education and continuing education of our people.
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[00:28:35] Matt Bailey: So I had a guest on a couple of times, uh, Temitayo Osinubi who, big advocate of training and of legitimate education, institutional based training, uh, because he got caught up in that YouTube crowd. He got caught up in the make money make, make it rich quick crowd.
And, uh, you know, what he says is, is that, you know, yeah, you can go to YouTube and learn, but it’s not curated. It’s not approved. It’s not been filtered through an educational lens or anything like that because anyone could say anything, and also, if you’re in charge of your own learning, you’re following your own bias.
You’re not being challenged. You’re not having to defend what you believe. And so, yeah, I, absolutely, I’ve seen that with a lot of companies just say, well, you know, we’ve got YouTube and you know, we’ve got all these, Ooh.
You know, that’s part of your organizational plan is to, someone has to take the time to evaluate this, or like you said, the company has its own training program and the learning’s monitored, measured, and it’s part of, this is how you grow within the company. That’s a, that’s a big issue. I’m glad you brought that up. That is really, yeah. I haven’t seen as much of that, but the attitude is definitely out there.
[00:29:56] Mary Czarnecki: Yeah. And I completely agree. I mean, as someone like you, that creates educational content, you know, it is funny when you, when you look out there and people are like, oh, why would someone ever pay for, you know, workshop with you, Mary? I could just Google it or I can get it on YouTube. I’m like, “Sure. But do you know, it’s vetted? “Do you know it’s in a format that like helps you get actual results?”
[00:30:00] And so, yeah, I mean, that’s, I think the thing that, you know, if people are relying on YouTube for their continuing marketing education, their CME credits, so to speak.
[00:30:26] Matt Bailey: Right. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Now, conversely, so, and this is what I, this goes back to, I talked about this earlier where their, their metric was videos have dropped off after three minutes.
Like, you know, like the average watch time on YouTube is 20 minutes, you know, for a video as a, so I think it has a lot to do with the content and how it’s being presented and, you know, you can find great stuff on YouTube. And I think now as educators, we can learn by seeing what people are doing on YouTube and how to translate that into more engaging content and more methods of engaging learners.
Uh, so there’s definitely something to be learned, but that curation part of it. It’s such a big piece.
[00:31:08] Mary Czarnecki: Exactly.
[00:31:09] Matt Bailey: I want to go back back to your keeping space. That is so fascinating because you know, like you, I, when I left corporate, left the agency world, started on my own thing and, and focusing on training, one of the most immediate things I had to deal with and working from home is, I still felt like I had to work a 10 hour day.
And moving through that, however, what I realized and, you know, when I had my agency, yes, we had the pool table. We had, you know, the ping pong. We had all the things that you’re supposed to have. There’s a reason why creative agencies have that. It’s to give the employees the freedom to be in the space, but not be working.
The goal of it is to have that reflection time. You need time to process and think without staring at a document or without, you know, going through that. And also the ability to talk to people, have conversations, and so I’ve seen this in the tech industry where the lean towards, oh, having all the toys was very, very important, but the purpose of why the toys are there has become lost.
And that is to encourage conversation and have reflection time. And that, that time to just think about it, you know, I always said I came up with my best ideas, like at the gym or mowing the grass, or because you’re just thinking about, processing what you’ve read, what you’ve learned.
And that’s where all of a sudden now the, the revelation hits and so much of that is I think, directly related to the culture of the company. Of, do you have the freedom to reflect, to ponder, to process, or are you going from meeting to meeting, to meeting, to meeting, and you have no time to process, which then encourages the copy paste.
[00:32:59] Mary Czarnecki: Exactly.
[00:33:00] Matt Bailey: And so that’s, I think a big product of the culture of a company. And it, it’s interesting cause like all three things that you’ve listed, hours, the processing time, the self-education, it comes down to what’s the culture of the company? What does it encourage of the people there and how they value them? You know, I, I’m sure you see it in well as you’re training, the culture of the company comes out very quickly.
[00:33:24] Mary Czarnecki: Oh, very much.
[00:33:25] Matt Bailey: When you’re training a group of, uh, you know, a specific company and it has everything to do with the questions they ask, the time they spend, how much they turn their cameras on.
[00:33:36] Mary Czarnecki: That’s true. That’s totally true.
[00:33:37] Matt Bailey: Those types of things.
[00:33:38] Mary Czarnecki: Yeah, I mean, cameras, it’s funny you mentioned that because it is, it’s kind of this feeling of, you get this kind of, fear sounds scary, but it is a fear. It’s a fear of kind of being judged. And it’s, it’s interesting because I work with both large corporations, you know, big brands, big marketing teams, but I also do a lot of my work with, what I fondly refer to as my scrappy startups, right? My entrepreneurs, my solopreneurs.
[00:34:01] Matt Bailey: Nice. Yep.
[00:34:02] Mary Czarnecki: And it’s fascinating, because obviously some of them have had corporate careers and have moved into their own startups, but it is this very different attitude toward asking questions when you’re still in corporate. And then some of these startups and entrepreneurs I’ve been working with, is the entrepreneurial philosophy is, “I have to ask questions because I need to know the answer and I need to know if I’m on the right track and if I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but let’s move on.”
[00:34:26] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:34:27] Mary Czarnecki: Whereas I do feel like, you know, obviously depending on your own personal personality, but sometimes it can feel when you’re in an organization, when you’re an employee, you know, “Oh gosh, if I ask the wrong question, am I going to get judged? Right? Or is that gonna reflect badly on me?”
[00:34:42] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:34:43] Mary Czarnecki: And so I think that sometimes what I try to bring into, especially my workshops with bigger teams or, you know, corporate teams is, look, this is a no judgment zone, right? If you, if you have questions, ask questions, you want to, you know, send it, you know, blinded in the chat, you know, just to me individually, fine.
But I would rather have you ask the question and get the answer, then just continue on. You know what I mean? Cause I think that the organizations that I’ve seen the best work and the most progress over time, you know, when, you know, you have one workshop with them and then six months later you have a second workshop and you’re like, “Oh wow, you guys have done some really great stuff in the time you’ve had between,” it’s, it’s those cultures that are really, uh, rewarding people asking questions, because it’s not about how many right answers you get, right?
It’s how many times do you get the wrong answers so that you can get to the right answer eventually? So I think that is right on, I think that’s a great point about, you know, what culture are we instilling? And I think too, it comes down to, do the people even know what you stand for as an organization? You know, so many times, you know, I joke around with my friends who are website designers, they’re like, “Oh my God, if I have to write one more about page, one more mission, vision values page, I’m going to throw up.”
But yeah, the idea is that the mission, vision, and values of your organization should be simple enough and meaningful enough that anyone in your organization should be able to say what they are, right?
[00:36:09] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:36:09] Mary Czarnecki: Shocker.
[00:36:11] Matt Bailey: Well, say and explain what does it mean to you? I mean, and, and understand that in anything we produce, it has to fit that.
So it can’t be a six paragrapher, and then I have to compare, you know, does this post match our personality?
[00:36:27] Mary Czarnecki: Right. We should know that. And everyone in the organization should feel aligned to it because ideally everyone in the organization, everyone at every level should be contributing to the organization achieving that vision or that mission.
And if they can’t, if they can’t see themselves in that, that’s when you have, you know, disenfranchisement and people don’t understand why they’re here and they don’t feel like they’re valued and they don’t feel like, you know, what they’re creating has a purpose. So I think that’s where you lose people.
[00:36:57] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. And it’s interesting how kind of like post-pandemic, as we’re coming out of this, that awareness, I, I think from people working at home and kind of some see the true colors of the company they’re working for, others have been absolutely amazed at, look at what they’ve done. And, and so you’ve had some mural polarity in how companies reacted and how they treated their workers.
And so I think that awareness is really hitting now of am I valued? I saw an article the other day, I think it was Facebook that was planning to pay workers differently based on where they lived. And it was, are you kidding me? Not based on your performance, not based on your position, but where you live because you’re allowing remote workers.
Wow, does that, the culture appear and you see what happens in, in announcements like that or, or comments like that, that do they really value you? And it’s really interesting working with marketers who, who know that their work is valued, who know that I’m contributing as opposed to those who feel like they’re just in a machine.
[00:38:09] Mary Czarnecki: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, just to bring it back to the insights, right? I mean, we should be as an organization or as business leaders, yes, focused on the insight of our end audience, but we have an internal audience, right?
[00:38:22] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[00:38:22] Mary Czarnecki: We have an internal talent base that we’re supposed to also be understanding. Well, what, what’s driving them? What’s going to keep someone here, cause, I mean, talent can move, and especially in this day and age.
[00:38:33] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:38:33] Mary Czarnecki: You know, your best people are probably the ones that are most in demand. And if we want to keep the best, rewarding them for, you know, asking the right questions like you said, or being aligned and very clear on how, what they’re doing is adding to the goal of this organization’s existence I think is important to people. That’s what they want to see.
And, you know, people can’t rely, or organizations can’t rely on this whole idea of, “Oh, well, we can’t do that virtually, you know, you could, you could never build culture virtually.” We know that that’s not true. Right?
And so, you know, even in my, my little organization, you know, in our, in our company, we kick off every team meeting, every full team meeting with, “Look, this is why we’re here. This is the mission we are here to, to execute on.” And everyone in the team, everyone from, you know, social media management, to client relationships, everyone knows how, what they’re doing ladders up to that, so.
[00:39:31] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah, I can see that, it’s, the whole concept of culture is so prevalent, and once I became aware of it, you know, especially in trainings and, and working with marketers, it becomes so much easier to spot within the first few minutes of where people at.
[00:40:00] I can sometimes even in the introduction, you know, something is said and you’re, “Oh, okay. I know what we’re up against today.” And it’s just very, very interesting to see how that, that affects a team and their willingness to dig in and find the insights. And, and I’ve seen where people, they think they know something, but it’s that confidence, that confidence then of being able to share it with the rest of the team, because as you said, there’s a fear of “How is this going to be received? How is this going to be accepted?”
And one thing that I hear a lot is, when they are reporting insights, and let’s say they, they’ve gotten past the metrics. They’re doing it right. They know that, they know the language, they know the metric, they got to the insight and they’re presenting the insight.
9 times out of 10, what I hear is marketers have to defend the data rather than the discussion being about the insight. I’m sure you’ve heard that as well.
[00:40:47] Mary Czarnecki: Yeah, definitely. This whole, whole idea of, “Well, where did, what data did you use to start laddering down to the insight?” You know, and it’s one of those things where it kind of makes me laugh a little bit because everyone’s very protective of their data and, you know, this is proprietary information and, you know, I would bet that, you know, Unilever doesn’t have any data that P&G, that J&J couldn’t somehow get their hands on, right?
So it’s not, it’s not that the data necessarily is where we should be focused like you, like you said, on, on the defense, right? Okay, yes. If we can validate the data, great. Okay, let’s, let’s accept that and move on, but it’s really about them, okay, we come up with these insight hypothesis.
But then are we testing it? Right? Are we feeding it back to the audience that we believe has this insight? Are we seeing those reactions? And what I mean reactions, I mean, literally you should see someone jump. If you feed them this, you know, first person statement of what you think is going on in the dark corners of their mind, you should get that reaction where people are like, “Wait a second. Are you, are you listening to my Alexa? Cause I literally was just thinking that.” That’s what we want to hear.
[00:41:57] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[00:41:58] Mary Czarnecki: That’s the validation that we should be asking for, not the…
[00:42:00] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:42:00] Mary Czarnecki: …validation of, you know, did you get a large enough sample size in order to get, you know, big enough, you know? So I think that sometimes, yeah, you’re right on. We lose, we lose sight of what we should be validating.
[00:42:16] Matt Bailey: So probably my favorite culture story is I had a marketer tell me that they were responsible for like a 300 pixel width area of the homepage. They were like, this is my responsibility, this little piece here.
[00:42:30] Mary Czarnecki: This is my world.
[00:42:31] Matt Bailey: This is what I do. Uh, and they, they ran an AB test. Um, and strangely enough, through the AB test, they, they had a 250% incremental lift in sales from their AB test, presented this, and presented that in the team meeting and the, the manager, you know what his first question was? Who authorized the test? Like, I think you are in a company that has a culture problem.
[00:43:02] Mary Czarnecki: When I said asking more questions, that’s not the question that I was…
[00:43:07] Matt Bailey: Yes. So, yeah, I th, I think this, I hope Mary, that this, uh, this podcast is, this is what I mean, it’s a conversation, so, you know, we have an idea where we’re going to go and, and, and listen to her.
This is exactly, you know, the last time Mary and I talked was after the show, you know, and just, this is what I love about the podcast is it’s like an after the show, we’re sitting there in a, in a comfortable bar, comfortable room, and, and just talking and the conversation goes, and I think Mary, this episode, I’m going to call it, “Therapy for Marketers.”
[00:43:39] Mary Czarnecki: Yes.
[00:43:40] Matt Bailey: I, this is what marketers live with and, and we’re seeing it from that training standpoint.
[00:43:46] Mary Czarnecki: No, but it’s true. And it’s tough too, when you’re, I mean really at any, I was going to say when you’re just getting started, but really at any phase in your career in marketing, you know, new level, new devil,
[00:43:55] Matt Bailey: Oh wow. I like that.
[00:43:56] Mary Czarnecki: There’s always something that you’re trying to overcome, right? You know, when you’re just starting out, it’s like, “Am I doing this right? How am I gonna set myself up for success? Where do I find my mentors?” Okay. Now that you are a mentor, and you’re kind of mid career, well, do I want to go to the top or, you know, do I have other goals I want to achieve or do I want to, you know, become a speaker, write a book or become, you know, an entrepreneur, you know, or do I want to do both?
And I think that, especially now with people testing the waters and working remotely or working in a hybrid fashion, people have more questions than ever in terms of what, what’s right for them, for their families, for their, you know, lifestyle that they want to live, and, you know, the exciting thing about marketers is I think we’ve all had, you know, enough experience with everything from psychology to, to sales, to digital communications that marketers have options, and I think it’s exciting, but also challenging at the same time.
[00:44:55] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. Absolutely. So I want to back up, back into our, you know, getting into some customer insight and let’s keep our therapy theme here.
[00:45:05] Mary Czarnecki: Yes.
[00:45:05] Matt Bailey: When, when, when trying to drive to that customer insight, what are some of the mistakes that are made in trying to drill down to that? I’m not going to color your opinion, but I would like to know, like, from your perspective, what are some of the mistakes that prevent a good customer insight?
[00:45:26] Mary Czarnecki: I think we alluded to it previously, which was to, to bring the brand or the solution into the conversation too early, right? We are not in this conversation yet when we’re really defining the insight. We’re not part of that conversation yet. So we kind of have to set aside being too smart of our group and kind of thinking ahead to, okay, well, how are we going to address that insight? So really taking us out of that conversation is number one.
And then number two, asking enough “whys”, right? You were saying like, we were joking around about the test of “Four Whys” a little toddler “why formula,” is that, okay if we’re starting from a data point, that’s making us curious, that’s, “Huh. Well, why are we saying that? You know, what, what is driving that behavior? What is driving that, you know, symptom that I’m being able to see and track?”
And getting below that, and then more often than not, getting our language out of it. So as marketers, we use these vortex words, I joke around about vortex words all the time, but they’re just like these black holes that all of this meaning falls into.
And I’ve been working with a lot of different beauty brands recently, and confidence is one of those vortex words in the beauty industry, right?
[00:46:34] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:46:35] Mary Czarnecki: And my challenge is, okay, well, as you’re digging into this, you know, and you say, okay, “Well, she wants to feel confident.” You know, if I ask you, well, first of all, you’re saying it’s a want or a need and an insight’s below that, right?
So we’ve got to play life coach, we get below the need or the want. Why does she have that need? Why does she want to feel that way? But even before that, we need to unpack that word of confidence, right? So is this the confidence, you know, speaking as a beauty brand, like, is this the confidence to walk into a room and have every eye on her?
And like all of a sudden look gorgeous to everyone else, or is this the kind of confidence to be like, you know what, pardon my language, but screw everyone else. I love my body. I love my wrinkles. I love my stretch marks, and I am whoever I am. Like, those are two very different kinds of confidence.
[00:47:21] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:47:22] Mary Czarnecki: So what do you mean by confidence? And their, and what’s the underlying thing under that?
So I think that’s one of the biggest traps is number one, involving your solution in it. Number two, not getting deep enough, staying at that need or want level. Number three, staying at a level where you’re just talking with your words, right? Not their words. Well, they’re not necessarily even saying confidence, but they’re saying something else. What are they saying?
And, and then getting to that deeper insight when you’re articulating it, literally like their saying it in the dark corners of their mind.
[00:47:59] Matt Bailey: Hmm. That’s very good. And I hesitate to use the word insightful. No, because I come across, I love how you come to vortex words. I think that’s so, so appropriate because we come across these words like solutions, you know, and it’s funny, like one of my friends is, she has an agency and she has a list that she gives her clients that you are not allowed to use these words. And I think solutions is one, but there are just, there are these basic default words…
[00:48:28] Mary Czarnecki: Yes.
[00:48:29] Matt Bailey: …that people will use and insert like trust, like, you know, they make it into all of the language. They make it into all of the marketing and no one has sat in truly examined what they truly mean. And like one of them is, uh, you know, customer service and, you know, she challenges them.
What do you mean by customer service? Because customers just expect that you should have good customer service. So what are you doing that makes it bigger, better, bolder, and, and so, yeah. I love that you’re describing what that is, is really a self challenge of marketers, the marketing team, to take that language and really define what that means.
What are we shooting for? What are we, you know, I kind of look at, you know, I live in a house full of women. Uh, I’ve got four daughters, and so confidence, it means waterproof.
[00:49:17] Mary Czarnecki: Yes.
[00:49:18] Matt Bailey: That, when it comes to I, you know, mascara or something, waterproof gives them great confidence, um, cause they don’t want to get out of the pool and have it all streak down their face.
You know, I love that, because it means something different to different people. And one of the things I absolutely love, it means something different to people in different stages of life and maybe in different times of the day. And if we don’t reach for that insight and realize also the limitations of what we’re trying to drive towards, we could be speaking the wrong language at the wrong time, in the wrong context and completely, completely off target.
[00:50:00] Mary Czarnecki: Yeah. Well, I mean, one of the things that, you know, people are always like, okay, Mary, it makes total sense. I get it. Toddler “why formula,” and asking why. I’ll ask why. How do I know I’ve asked enough whys, right?. How do I know I’ve gotten deep enough?
[00:50:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:50:09] Mary Czarnecki: You know, we, we talked about it a little bit. Is this something that is powerful? Is this something that taps into that, that deeper truth, that deeper fear? And it is also, is, is it something that’s powerful enough that if you speak into it, if you touch on it, can it change behavior? Right?
Cause I mean, as marketers going back to where, I love it. The theme of therapy right there. Right? So for marketers, we have a tough job. We have to change people’s behavior. And anyone that’s tried a new diet or exercise routine knows that changing habits and behaviors is probably one of the most difficult things we’re asked to do. Right? And as marketers…
[00:50:50] Matt Bailey: Yep.
[00:50:50] Mary Czarnecki: …we have to do it every day.
[00:50:52] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[00:50:52] Mary Czarnecki: You know, we have to have someone either, you know, who’s already said to, yes to us, say yes more often, someone who has said yes to our competitors switch and say yes to us. Right? Changing that behavior is very, very difficult and we need the, you know, most powerful ammunition possible and that’s, that’s an insight, right? That’s what it does for us.
[00:51:12] Matt Bailey: Well, I like how you bottom lined it. I mean that, that ultimately, yeah, that the changing of behavior, and in order to get there, we have to go through beliefs. We have to go through attitudes. We have to go through values, and address each of those things in order to build the trust, in order to build, uh, the credibility that we’re an option.
And we’re a good option. Please, please use us. Uh, but yeah, it, it’s, it’s, it requires so many of those steps to make that happen. Uh, and that’s where I love that the move from the demographic into the behavioral or, or into the psychographic. Um, because like you said, it, it’s yeah, it’s the questionnaire.
We get the data. And well, now we’ve got to check the data against the attitudes. So now we’re going and we’re asking different open-ended questions to look at, are they confirming what we think is happening from the data? Or are they disagreeing with our conclusions? And so now we we’ve got that, the open-ended, we’re getting those attitudes, that we’re getting those, I like to call them the real life answers that kind of smack you upside the face that, “Oh, I had this assumption and yeah, why was I wrong?”
Now you go back and reformulate, and then you send out a, you know, another questionnaire to make sure, “Now do we have it right?” And it’s a constant growth of working with audiences, uh, in order to really understand why do they make the decisions that they do? What are those factors?
[00:52:49] Mary Czarnecki: And hopefully, I mean, we, as marketers, we should find that fascinating, so.
[00:52:53] Matt Bailey: Oh, absolutely. I think like one of my favorite commercials, this was a couple years ago, it was a young man who, he’s with his friends and this girl walks by and he’s like, “I’m never getting married,” and then a few years, and then it fast-forwards and he’s married and, “We’re never having kids,” and then they have kids and then he sees a minivan. He’s like, “We’re never buying a minivan,” and the next stage they’ve got the minivan.
But at the end he’s like, “I never want this to change.” And I thought it was just so fascinating, because as marketers, our target audiences are dynamic. They’re constantly changing, and as they change, I love this because it was an, it was an ad showing us how attitudes change, values change over time. And especially for that 20 to 40 group, they change almost, you know, it could change every 18 months.
[00:53:48] Mary Czarnecki: Oh yeah. Absolutely.
[00:53:50] Matt Bailey: So, how does that fit when you’re developing like a customer journey? How does that fit? You know, do we go more broad to try and catch people where they are, or do we try to include some of that detail?
[00:54:03] Mary Czarnecki: You know, it’s a great question. I think, you know, what I challenge folks to do is to think about, for any given target segment, we want to follow what I, what I termed my “Two M” rule, right? It has to be narrow enough to be meaningful, but it also has to be broad enough to matter. So if we’re following the “Two M” rule, basically it has to be narrow enough to actually have meaning like, like you said, we’re including enough detail and we’re making it broad enough to matter, to be worthwhile going after. Right?
We’re not going after everyone who lives on Ocean Avenue who drives a Subaru with red hair, right? That would be like two people. Right? So we’re not going after, not going after that many, you know, that small of an audience.
[00:54:43] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:54:43] Mary Czarnecki: We don’t want to be losing that impact, right? And, and this kind of goes back to the insights, which is, we can’t develop a truly powerful insight for too broad of a segment because then we’re losing it.
Then it gets, become, it becomes diluted. So if we have a meaningfully narrow audience target that we can identify therefore, a, a powerful insight for, then I do think it does change over time. Like you said, our target audience may evolve. And I think this is one, um, you know, talk about data and marketing technology and, and sharing data across an organization.
This is one opportunity that I could see organizations that have a portfolio of brands take better advantage of, which is a, as our audiences move potentially from one brand in our portfolio to another, sharing that information somehow is, is really valuable. So as someone’s moving from, you know, the single young guy, into the married, into the father, into the, you know, how, how do we want to see their journey, not just with a single brand in our organization, but how do we see them staying with our portfolio over time?
[00:55:53] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.
[00:55:54] Mary Czarnecki: So I love, there’s actually a great ad when, it’s, it’s a little bit older now, but it’s the Mazda Miata relaunch TV commercial, where it’s a, it’s a guy who basically, they tell his story about him, you know, having this little Roadster as a teenager and went off to college.
And then he got married and moved up to the mid-size and moved up to the minivan. And now, you know, at the end of the commercial, it’s basically like, he’s an empty-nester again. And I think the line goes something like, “Now, something new in the garage.” So it’s, he gets his Roadster back.
[00:56:26] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:56:27] Mary Czarnecki: Right?
[00:56:27] Matt Bailey: Oh, that’s great.
[00:56:28] Mary Czarnecki: That’s kind of cool.
[00:56:29] Matt Bailey: That’s great. Someone, so I’m completely off topic, now it’s off topic. No, someone was selling a Lamborghini and it was on my way to whenever I dropped the kids off to school, I would go past and I would see this Lamborghini. It’s a black Lamborghini sitting out there and I’m just like, you know, as a child of the eighties, growing up, watching Miami Vice, like the Lamborghini was the thing.
And of course my wife is like, “Really?” you know, “This is, this is what you’re thinking about now? Is this a midlife crisis? Is this what’s happening?” I’m like, “It only has two seats. That means it’s just you and me.”
[00:57:05] Mary Czarnecki: It’s got an appeal.
[00:57:08] Matt Bailey: But yeah. Yeah. It’s funny how your values change and, uh, I love it. Mary, I love, you have come up with like some great, great, like mnemonics. I could tell you’re in training because you’ve got the mnemonics, you’ve got the concepts, uh, I love it. The “Meaningful and Matter,” the vortex words. Fantastic.
[00:57:30] Mary Czarnecki: Thanks.
[00:57:31] Matt Bailey: Thank you so much for making the time to be on the podcast today. I really appreciate it, Mary.
[00:57:36] Mary Czarnecki: Absolutely. Thanks for creating, uh, creating such a great show and I do appreciate the way you approach, approach your work, right? You know, it’s about a conversation. It’s about unpacking some of these things and I totally believe in therapy for marketers.
[00:57:52] Matt Bailey: It’s great. I will definitely use that now, and you have been so helpful. Uh, and I think that’s part of that. We’ve been there, we’re on the outside, and now we’re training. And so people bring us our problems. I used to say, you know, as a trainer, I, I’m not so much using a stage as a therapy couch, because people are very willing to, “Well, I’m having this issue,” and, and it turns out to be more one of internal communication tends to be a very big issue.
So, Mary, hey, where can people find you if they want to know more about you and what you do?
[00:58:26] Mary Czarnecki: For sure. They can, uh, check out my professional brand, so for employers and employees, uh, it’s macmarketingpartners.com and, uh, for those folks who might be interested in more of the work I do with individuals and entrepreneurs around business coaching, it’s pretty easy, it’s just my name, so maryczarnecki.com.
[00:58:45] Matt Bailey: Great. I will put those links in the notes on the page so that everyone can find those. Mary, again, thank you so much for a great conversation. I really appreciate your time today.
[00:58:55] Mary Czarnecki: Thank you, and thanks for having me on the show.
[00:58:57] Matt Bailey: Alright. Dear listener, thank you for attending and listening in on another episode of the Endless Coffee Cup, I look forward to seeing you again in another episode.