CoSchedule surveyed more than 3,000 marketers, and the results are in! Marketers want to publish more, complete everything on time, and prove their value to stakeholders. So, why do some marketers still use single-function tools, multiple platforms, and spreadsheets? These workarounds strangle your productivity and prevent you from reaching your goals. How can you overcome the madness of makeshift marketing?
Today’s guest is Libby Hall, vice president of client services at Unearth, a digital public affairs agency. Libby describes how she found success despite makeshift marketing and shares suggestions on team development and project management.
Some of the highlights of the show include:
- Remember life before hashtags? From Foursquare to five people in Fargo on Twitter to being bit by public affairs bug in sunny Sacramento
- Cutting-edge digital tools, systems, processes, and teams help expand, grow, and scale services
- Marketers struggle with single source of truth and visibility across campaigns
- Evolution of what worked in the past, and transformative shift to being agile
- Measure changing situations and data to improve results and optimize what works best right now
- What do you want to accomplish? Document strategies, plans, goals, objectives
- Elements of Successful Processes: Provide value, allow flexibility, and be accountable
- Put out fires and urgent pop-up activities: Bring in more resources/team members; simplify deliverable; and work extra hours
- What’s the right number for volume of communication to make an impact? Set measurements for success, and find benchmark to work from
- Google isn’t a substitute for experience, but it’s the next best thing; do research and be prepared
- Don’t underestimate power of curiosity: Encourage, support, and mentor others
Eric: Here at CoSchedule, we had the opportunity to survey over 3,000 marketers, and guess what they told us? There were a couple of highlights. They said, one, they want to be able to publish more. They said they want to be able to complete everything on time. Wouldn’t that be nice? Lastly, they said they wanted to be able to prove their value to stakeholders. I think we can all relate to these three things.
But here’s the kicker, the way marketers work today actually prevents them from achieving this kind of success and reaching these goals, because think about it, we’re all using these single-function tools we’ve cobbled together, we’re jumping from platform to platform, nothing talks to each other, we’re copying-pasting all over the place and then, don’t even get me started on spreadsheets. We have so many spreadsheets. We’re using spreadsheets to manage spreadsheets. The deal was, all these workarounds, force us to spend our time coordinating our work instead of actually, completing it and it’s so frustrating. We call this madness Makeshift Marketing here at CoSchedule, and it is strangling our productivity.
I said, “You know what, what if we use the Actionable Marketing Podcast as a way to talk to other everyday marketers, just like yourself, and ask them how are they managing Makeshift Marketing. Where are they conquering Makeshift Marketing? Where are they struggling?” My thoughts are we can glean so much from other marketers like ourselves and where they are finding wins – that we can take those wins and be more successful in our jobs as marketers.
It’s going to be a really, really fun series. To kick this series off, I have the perfect guest. Her name is Libby Hall, she is the Vice President of Client Services at Unearth, she is a dear friend of mine, and a wicked smart marketer at that. We’re going to talk through all of these things that plague us, as marketers, and how is she finding success despite it all.
It’s going to be a really fun conversation. My name is Eric Piela. I’m the host of the Actionable Marketing Podcast and the Brand and Buzz Manager here at CoSchedule. It’s a fun episode. Can’t wait to introduce you to Libby. Buckle up folks. It is time to get AMP’ed.
Well, hey, everyone! Welcome to another fun episode of the Actionable Marketing Podcast. I’m extremely giddy about today’s episode because every once in a while when I do these shows, I like to call on favors from the wicked smart marketers that I’ve worked with throughout my career. Our guest today, Libby Hall, is absolutely one of them, just this bright, shining star that I got to work with a number of years ago, and now, we’re able to reconnect on the show, and it’s awesome.
Libby: Hi. Hello. It’s so great to be here. Thank you so much, Eric.
Eric: Absolutely. Libby, you’re the Vice President at Client Services at Unearth and beyond that, you got this awesome career that I get to be a part of, certainly, when we were at Flint Group, but you got tons of experience and I’m excited for you to bring to our listenership. I know, Libby, you’re in Sacramento now, but we’ve got ties back to Lake Metigoshe, North Dakota where it’s like 60 degrees and we’re still in the lake trying to enjoy it.
Eric: Well, we had some good times back in the day. We’re mutual fans of Justin Bieber and Jesse McCartney. I feel like we discovered Justin Bieber on the internet before he was huge, maybe not.
Libby: I’m pretty sure that with us. Yeah. Thank you for giving credit where credit is due.
Eric: Good stuff. I certainly know you really well, but my listeners would love to hear a little bit about your career. If you could go just kind of talk us about your journey, kind of your start. In social media, I think a lot of work and then really, your career expanded to a variety of different ways, and of course, now you’re role at Unearth.
Libby: Absolutely. Well, throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to come into this great organization and help to build new teams, and systems, and processes. At the very first place I was at, I started my career in media buying at a 75-year old full-service agency in Minneapolis then known as […], and this was 2008, 2009, the era of when every agency was scrambling to add digital services to their DNA. I’m sure you remember these days, EP, checking in on Foursquare, doing local […] meet-ups, making internet friends with people just because you’re the only five people in Fargo on Twitter.
Because I was just so personally active in this brave new world of social media, I had the opportunity to be in a digital task force for this agency, and even got to implement the first tie-ins with a Super Bowl spot on Twitter for H&R Block. This is pre-hashtag, before people even really knew what Twitter was, but really got some great opportunities to help infuse digital and social media into the DNA of its agency.
From there, I had the great opportunity, great fortune of working with you, Eric, within the social media team at Flint Group based in Fargo. Then when the opportunity came for me to help open a new office in Sacramento, I jumped at it. I was ready to get out of the snow, like you said, out of the 60 degrees Summers. I came out here to Sacramento and you really can’t be in Sacramento very long until you’re bit by the public affairs bug.
After my first legislative advocacy campaign out here in Sacramento, I was really hooked. It wasn’t long after that before I moved to my current team which is Unearth. We are digital public affairs agency, and I really joined the team to, again, use the digital skills that I had, the agency experience that I had to really grow into a team that have this established system and processes, better ways for working with clients, better ways for getting work done as a team. Since I joined in 2014, we’ve really grown into the leading digital public affairs agencies in California. We opened our DC satellite office in 2017. We run campaigns in more than 30 states, including North Dakota, I […]. We just continue to level up, our client roster and our product.
I’ve had a great fortune wherever I’ve been to really be able to dig deep in an agency setting on behalf of clients to make sure that we were using those cutting edge digital tools and services, but also to help build those systems, those processes, those teams, so that the agency can expand, and grow, and scale those services.
Eric: What an awesome career you have so far. I feel like we’re dating ourselves when I hear about all the awesome things that you’ve done. I know how you left off, you got to go do the social media for the US, was that like skating team at the Special Olympics, wasn’t it?
Libby: Yes. That was […] Vancouver Olympics.
Eric: Okay, Vancouver.
Libby: Yeah. No. That was so great. We had the client of the US speedskating team, and we’re able to help with their on the ground social media. Again, I think it’s the very beginning of hashtags.
Eric: It was. Yep.
Libby: I don’t even know Facebook had video support. But yeah, really great experience. Once again, I’d like to use my ability to be able to bring some of those cutting edge tools to our clients. I’ve been really fortunate to have those experiences.
Eric: Yeah. Fun to reminisce, but also just a great testament to the experience you bring and you talk about building those teams, understanding those processes, and just using new technologies. If our listeners are somewhere in that evolution, I think you bring such good experience especially around that team development; how to manage projects, that’s kind of what I wanted to talk about a little bit today.
At CoSchedule, we know that marketers, right now, are struggling with what we call makeshift marketing. They’re cobbling together a bunch of single function tools, they’re jumping back and forth, nothing talks to each other. They rarely have a single source of truth where they have visibility across all the campaigns that they’re working on and it’s a struggle. I think marketers like myself, at least love to learn from other marketers on how they found a way to navigate that labyrinth.
A couple of questions I want to ask and I’ll lead with this one, we did some research early in the year, some original research, and we found is that the teams that documented strategies are 313% more likely to report success, which is huge, right? Let’s talk about how you go about developing in kind of your marketing goals and your game plan. Whether you’re thinking of a client that you’re working with now or even in the past, have you taken a more traditional approach where you’re creating this kind of marketing plan and you’re scoping out the rest of the year or do you try to build a kind of, “Here’s our strategy and we’re going to be a little more agile to see how the results come in.” What has worked for you in the past?
Libby: Yeah. Talk about dating ourselves, but I do feel like there’s been such an evolution on this front. Even five years ago, I think I would have said, “It’s all about studying that marketing plan. You plan the work, then you work the plan.” But I’ve seen more and more of clients because of changing budget situations or just be it the volume of data and measurement we can get back in real time. Clients are really looking now for us to be more agile and especially here at Unearth where we focus on digital public affairs, which is really more around public policy communications. We’re so often responding to things that are happening in the legislature, we’re responding to a lobbyist going into meeting with an elected official and then calling us, calling our clients saying, “Hey, this new issue came up where or this thing changed. We have to shift our communication to reflect that.” There’s just been such a need. I feel like there’s just been a transformative shift into really needing to be agile in that way.
Measurement along the way has been so important to help us do that. To be able to know that it’s not just things changing because of situations in the legislature, situations in the marketplace, but really because of the data that we are getting back. That’s honestly one of the things that I love most about digital, is the ability to get that information, get that data, get those metrics, and be able to double down and make changes on the fly so that you’re always improving your results, you’re always optimizing towards what’s working best.
Eric: Yeah. Love to hear that. It was a bit of a loaded question because our CEO just wrote a big blog post and part of his book that he wrote was about like, everyone needs to burn their marketing plan that’s probably already out of date because remember, things are changing so swiftly. The status, you have to document your strategy, but that means knowing how to be able to shift that strategy as performance indicators change, as you see what’s working, what’s not working. I remember doing that at the agencies. We will just create these giant marketing plans and was like, “Hey, we provided for you clients.” We don’t want that kind of check-your-ass culture where we like, “Well, it’s part of the plan. We got to stick to it.” I think you’re definitely seeing that too, right?
Libby: You’re right. In agencies in the past, we would start working on creative that would go live in November, probably now in June or July. I think the world has just shifted, so we need to be able to move faster than that. We need to be able to react to what we’re really seeing. But I really liked what you said about you do have to have a strategy, and you have to be clear about what your goals are because the most important thing that we have seen is you can if you’re not calling back to that documentation of a plan, you can’t lose sight of what your goals and your objectives are. That’s something we work really, really hard with our clients to do is to say, “Even if our strategies are shifting, even if our tactics are changing, sometimes wildly, we just can’t ever lose sight of what we’re really trying to accomplish.” I think as long as you’ve got that defined and something that you and your clients see eye to eye on, you should be as agile as you can within that.
Eric: Yep. That’s smart. You still have to have that North of star and what you’re being measured against. If you’re out there, if you’re listening, if you’re not documenting your strategy in some shape, or form, please do so. If you’re dropping this big long laborious marketing plan, maybe think about, “Are there other opportunities to be a bit more agile?” Good stuff.
Well, I want to lead to our next question. It’s another marketing statistics. I don’t know why I’m being so nerdy today, but I think it’s just, they’re relevant right? We also did some research—and this is interesting—that the most organized marketers, we don’t think of marketers maybe as being like kind of Type A organized people, but we found that the most organized marketers are, again, a giant number here, 397% more likely to report success. It’s almost as important to think about the way you work as it is the work that you produce which is, again, that’s not really why most of us got into marketing. We got into marketing because we wanted to be creative, or we wanted to tell stories, or we have a natural strength or gift that lends itself towards that medium. But being organized isn’t necessarily at the top of everyone’s list.
So my question to you, Libby, is in light of that, what do you find as the best way to keep your team on track and on task? Because as VP Client Services, you can have your commanders, you can have your team, there’s going to be things that pop up. How do you find the best way to keep your team organized and working on those strategies and goals?
Libby: Yeah. Absolutely. This really calls back to what you talk about with makeshift marketing at the beginning. I think everyone is on a certain path than in evolution of what their processes are to get marketing done. Whether you’re at an agency, whether you’re single person team, whether you’re part of a larger team, think everyone is always evolving with those processes are.
We really found that there are three key elements to successful processes. Number one, is it has to provide value to the people that are doing it. They have to see how this directly impacts their job for the better. They have to see that if they follow this process, it’s going to make a better outcome, it’s going to make for a more clarity and rules in responsibilities. It’s going to help me take more ownership.
Number two, is you have to have flexibility. This has been something that we really have had to learn the hard way. I think throughout my career, as I’ve been establishing processes across different teams, this is something where you can set up a perfect system and process using project management software, documenting things in a Google sheet, or whatever you’re tools of choice is, but if you don’t allow for some flexibility, you’re going to fail. You’re setting yourself up to, take one missteps. Somebody is out sick for two days and their changes don’t get added to the system and the whole thing falls apart. You have to be able to have that flexibility for if you miss a week, or you skip a step, it’s got to be okay.
The third element we’ve really found as successful processes is accountability. The old adage, “What gets measured, gets done,” and making sure that, again, if you got a process or a system that there is some executives report, visionary leadership that’s really making sure that this system is adhered to. Without that, if people aren’t adhering to these first two rules, they’re not seeing the value, it’s not a flexible system, it’s really to just let those processes drop off.
That being said, especially at Unearth, we’re kind of in our midst evolution of tools, we do still use a lot of Google docs and Google sheets, but we’ve found that really the keys are making sure those three elements exist. We’ve got a couple of tools and resources that I really like in addition to Google sheets. We use Mavenlink which is great for our time tracking and some of the project management, that work that we do. We also are starting to use ClickUp which is another project management software and resource a little bit more for website development especially. A lot of communication and shared Google sheets and Google docs about when deadlines are happening and who’s responsible for what.
Eric: Hey, taking a break here. I hope you are enjoying the conversation with Libby Hall. Fun to talk to all these makeshift marketing stuff and hear about how she is finding success. If you can relate or if you’re struggling with any of these things that we’ve talked about in this episode around makeshift marketing, the good news is, we have completely transformed the way marketers do work here at CoSchedule. We’ve launched a brand new CoSchedule marketing suite.
If you want to learn more about it, go to coschedule.com/transform-modern-marketing. Find out here from our CEO and CTO about what we’ve done and what we’ve launched to help you be a more productive marketer. I think you’d really enjoy it. Thank you for the shameless product plug, but after all, I’m a sponsor here by CoSchedule. Anyway, let’s get back to our fun conversation with Libby. Thanks so much for tuning in.
One thing, we might have our process only down and you kind of talked about this in step two about having some flexibility, but I remember the most poignant thing about an agency life is the pop-up projects. The client fires that come out of nowhere, right? Everyone’s running around. At some point, at any given point in time, some account managers are running around, their head cut-off because a client has a fire, and they’re scrambling to do work. I think you don’t have to be an agency to know what this is like, right? You’ve got some another on a different department who’s asking you to do something if you’re part of the marketing team. There’s always things that you can’t plan for, that come out of nowhere. How do you find a way to make them work into your existing processes or workload? How do you interject these one-off crazy projects?
Libby: Definitely. This is something where I thought I knew what this is like when I worked more in the advertising agency environment, but moving into public affairs, I mean, again, we just live and die by legislative activity.When one legislator makes a public statement that shifts in a perception of your client issue, or when there’s one meeting with a lobbyist where a new potential amendment to a bill comes up, we are absolutely scrambling to make changes as fast as possible. I, 100%, experienced this pretty much everyday.
I’ll tell you a little bit more about one of the spreadsheets, one of the Google sheets that we used because this has really been the key for us. Again, we’re an agency, we’re still fairly small, but we’ve got a Google sheet that’s called Staff Power. I think this is something that marketing teams, smaller teams, whether they’re an agency or not, can use to project what is on people’s plate and how they can accommodate some of these quick fires, quick turning things to pop-up.
The beginning of every single client project that we have, we estimate the number of hours per week, per team member. Those all go into this master document where we can predict the total amount of hours that people are scheduled to be used per week. We have those […] like every agency does, but really use this to make sure we know in advance who’s got the capacity to jump on these fires as they come up, and this again, was a lesson learned the hard way. We’ve also learned to always keep some of that capacity open to be able to manage those as they pop up.
At the beginning of every week going in, we can all look at Staff Power, we can know who are the people that have a little bit of that flexibility. When something does become really urgent, we’ve already got a plan for how we’re going to manage that and who’s got the capacity to do that. When we see that people are facing some overrages for their capacity, generally, there’s about three things they can do. The first thing is they can bring in again another resource, another team member, using Staff Power to identify who that should be. That’s why honestly, cross-training for our team and redundancy is really really important to make sure that there are people who are able to jump in really quickly without a lot of downloading and background information.
The second option that we found is really effective, this again, I think works across the board for small teams, just to simplify what the ask is, simplify what the deliverable is. A client comes to us and like, “Oh my gosh. We have to change all our creatives. We have to totally rethink our campaign and it’s got to be live tomorrow.” You know, talk them off the ledge a little bit, really think about what it is they’re trying to accomplish, what are we trying to achieve by making those changes. Maybe we can do that just by changing the copy on our Facebook post. Maybe we can do that just by switching out a landing page and making sure that we’re just really thinking about the way to be efficient and simplify.
The third option is about putting in extra reps to get it done. That’s not the preferred option, but I think everybody listening can relate too sometimes. You know, you just need to pull the other, put in the extra couple of hours to do what it takes to keep it up to your high standards, but really that’s the playbook that we work from. Of course, again, communication is the biggest thing. Just letting clients know what’s realistic and being able to judge what’s a fire and what’s not. Sorry my phone just rang.
Eric: No problem. Let’s keep rolling.
Libby: Okay, great.
Eric: Yes. Those are great things. I love doing live shows here. I think the coolest thing about it; it was a client, you have a fire.
Libby: Yeah. Exactly.
Eric: Good timing.
Eric: Yeah. Well, I think that’s interesting. I think one of the things that you said that struck me is, in order to be able to handle some of these pop-up activities and fires, is you have to know, or have visibility into, “Who’s got the capacity in your team? What are they working on? Where is it at?” So that you can kind of say, “Okay, let’s shift this here. Let’s move out there.” There’s a lot of team out there that I know, whether you’re a marketing team or an agency, whatever it is, that don’t have that. The fact that you have got at least some incident to that makes you so much more well-prepared to be able to mitigate those emergencies or phone calls.
Libby: That’s exactly it and the other thing that again, from a small business, a small agency perspective, this has really helped us do is to be really smart about growing our team because we can see who are the team members, what are the types of projects where we’re consistently running up against those capacity challenges, being able to predict out into the future what’s happening, it just has been really instrumental in making sure that our team can grow sustainably.
Eric: Yeah, that’s good stuff. I think one of the things we all, as marketers, at least, to love to watch Madman back in the day. You know, reminisce our old CEO and talk about the good old days with brandy in his drawer. I think about those times because having distinct measurables, and a measuring stick to figure out what’s working in your market and what’s not, was a lot harder than it is now. Now the expectations are for every marketer, if you’re not proving your value, it’s a lot more difficult to get a budget, to keep your job. My goodness. A lot of things, right? I think the biggest thing is, how do you (one) in your experience, how do you start to define what success looks like for some of these campaigns? What have you found to make sure you’ve got a tool to measure it?
Libby: Oh, I love this question so much. You know again, public affairs so often our clients come to us with a challenge of, “I want to make an impact at the Capitol.” Or, “I want this legislator to feel supported.” Or, “I want this legislator to know that there’s opposition to her idea.” It’s on us to unpack what that actually looks like, what does that actually mean. The most important thing for us in setting parameters around what success looks like across the board is always context; really making sure that our clients understand the digital activities that we’re generating or the metrics that we’re working towards putting that in the context of what’s good, what’s bad, making sure that everyone’s really clear on what it is we’re really striving towards and what that means to them.
One example I can give them, we were running a campaign when a client came to us and said, “There’s this bill moving to the legislature, and to pass it is going to drive up the cost of housing and we need to make sure that it doesn’t pass. We need to make sure the legislators understand how detrimental that would be.” We really needed to help the client understand what digital can do to get to that goal, which is to make sure that this bill doesn’t pass.
One place where we started, when we’re thinking about how do we make sure the legislators hear that this bill is bad, is of course, driving communication from their voters. Having voters write them letters, post tweets to them, and we really wanted to make sure that our clients understood that the volume of the context that we’re driving from those voters was meaningful. We want to understand for ourselves too. Like, “What is the right number? Is it two tweets on an issue, or is it 200 on an issue?”
The first thing that we did was just set a benchmark, set a baseline of this legislator’s average number of Twitter mentions, Instagram comments, Facebook comments so that we could understand the volume they’re used to experiencing. That helped us really create the context for, “They’re usually getting three tweets a week on housing,” and we blow that up to 30 tweets a week, that’s going to be enough to really make an impact. In that way, we really had a data-driven objective to be able to work towards.
Eric: Yeah, I love that. I hope you’re particularly taking notes because even if we’re talking about pure affairs, there are tons of parallels I think to a traditional marketer, and how they’re going about setting their measurements for success, and the importance of finding a benchmark to work from. I love that advice, which is always something that I think is a struggle for marketers depending on whether you’re doing branding, whether you’re doing demand gen, there’s tons of stuff to measure, but I think finding the right levers to […] push and pull, to see if you’re getting the success you wanted. It’s super important.
Well, I would be remiss, Libby, if I didn’t shift and ask you just a little about your tenure and your experience that you’ve gotten through managing teams, building teams, and putting out client fires, if I didn’t ask you a couple of questions about your own expertise and your career development and growth. I want to start by asking about—hindsight is 2020—what is the one thing you wish you would have known when you began your career that you definitely absorbed and observed today?
Libby: This is a great question. I think, whether it is a listener who’s just trying out a new career or whether it’s someone who is more experienced, just remembering while Google is not a substitute for experience, it is the next best thing. There is so much reward in just doing some research, doing some prep work, coming into the meeting prepared, digging really deep to learn more especially in digital and marketing. When we’re being asked to learn new things and do new things every single day, there’s just nothing that Google and Youtube can’t help with. I’m going to encourage people, and I’ll point to them just don’t be afraid to dig in, dig deep and do your own research, and just always strive to come into every discussion, conversation, meeting, and challenge, prepared with all the goodness the internet has to offer.
Eric: Yeah, I love that advice. It seems kind of like, “Yeah. Google it.” But I think you’re right. I can tell you how many times, even here at CoSchedule, in my 2 1⁄2 years were, “Hey, Eric. We’re going to need you to lead the launch of a book.” I’m like, “I’ve never done that,” so I’m going to do tons of research to learn how to do that. Or, “Eric, now, you’re going to go ahead and be the host of a podcast.” I think you’re right; it’s researching, it’s understanding, it’s learning because we’re not going to be prepared for every obstacle that comes our way as a marketer. That really sounds solid advice, Libby. I love it.
Libby: Oh, good. Yeah.
Eric: Another question that will be really interesting is—we’ve all had mentors, we all have resources or Googles that we turn to—but what are the best resources that have helped you or people that have helped you along your way?
Libby: Yeah, absolutely. I have been so fortunate to be able to work with a lot of individuals who really have empowered me to be able to grow in my career, I think especially, in a world where I’m at now, our CEO has just done a fantastic job across the agency of making sure people have the resources that they need. That’s something that I’ve really tried to also infuse throughout my team is, you’re talking about Google, and learning how to do things, people don’t know how to do something, there are Coursera classes that are available, there are opportunities to attend conferences or other professional education opportunities.
About a year ago, I had the opportunity to actually work with a business leadership coach as a result of identifying that, “This is an area for myself, for my own personal development, I know I want to get better at.” I think along the way, just the people who have really helped to empower me, not only to do the work that I was already focused on but also to identify those areas where I did want to grow and then make sure that I had the resources to do that. Again, for your listeners, I think that’s something that’s really powerful to be able to work with your teams on, is to not only identify what gaps are but, “What are the classes you can take or the individual coaches you can work with who can really help you take things to the next level?” That’s just incredibly valuable.
Eric: Yeah. Solid advice. I think you can’t underestimate the power of curiosity. I’ve led a team, and there are the members of the team that I can know that they’re hungry for more information, they want to learn, they want to grow, and those are the people that I want to invest more time in. Also, on the other side of the coin where I’m the one that’s like, “Hey, I need to figure out how to do this.” Or, “ I need to learn it. What’s the next area for me that I can grow on my career and not getting comfortable with what I’ve always done?” I think whether you’re the one that’s looking to help enable someone to be more curious and grow or yourself and looking for opportunities. I think that’s sound advice, Libby.
Maybe lastly, with the time we’ve got left, I can only think of so many great questions to ask you, Libby, but if you can step into my shoes here as a podcast host, what would you have asked yourself that I forgot to?
Libby: Well, first, I would ask what’s my favorite Youtube video.
Eric: Okay. What’s your favorite Youtube video?
Libby: A little gem by the name of 2008 Fargo Star winner, Eric Piela.
Eric: This is sabotage.
Libby: Anyone who has not yet seen that video of your favorite podcast host, please search for it. I think the real question is, “What can brand marketers, direct response marketers learn from public affairs?” I’ve talked a little bit about public affairs, how we’re talking to legislators are really breaking on public policy. The thing that I’ve really been struck by is, “If you can’t afford research and measurement, you can’t afford a campaign.” I remember in the agency days where, “Oh, this is so great. We can get some research on this. Learn more about our target audience, but we can’t afford it. We’ll just do […] instead.”
You know what, at the time, it felt a little backward, but now that I’m in public affairs, we just live and die by that research. I can tell you that has been such critical learning for me, and really has provided the foundation for success for the campaigns that I worked on. You’re right. Maybe you can’t necessarily afford a full-blown survey or going really deep into the big form of focus groups, but you can certainly afford to call a couple of great customers and learn what they like about you, what they don’t; you can certainly afford to do some small, targeted, segmented surveys to understand perceptions. I think that’s something public affairs does really well, that all marketers can learn from.
Eric: Oh, I love that, such good advice. I think that you’re right, we’ve been able to do some research here at Coschedule but when in doubt—we’ve said this before on previous podcast episodes—just talk to your customers. Have conversations or sit in a call with your sales team or with your account management team, and hear what they’re talking about or what’s interesting them, “Can I ask a couple of questions about this?” This is really easy places to mine that information, instead of thinking this big, bold, long broad stroke research project you need to do. If you can do that, great, but that’s not always the case.
Libby: Yeah. Exactly.
Eric: This has been so much fun. I wish we could connect and keep this podcast going, but Libby, you’ve been a fantastic guest. I truly appreciate. There are tons of actionable things that you passed along that I know they’ll be able to go ahead, and use, and have conversations with at their company. So good of you to come on the show. So great to talk to you, my friend. It’s just great to hear all the marketing success that you’ve had. Thanks for sharing that with our listenership.
Libby: Oh, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.
Eric: You bet. Alright. Well, enjoy your nice, warm and beautiful days there in Sacramento.
Libby: Will do.
Eric: Alright. Take care, Libby. Buh-bye.