Recovering CMO: A most flattering title.

A couple of weeks ago I met with an up-and-coming sales rockstar. She was referred to me by a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), and friend, in my network.  When I met this leader, her first words to me were something like “I am told you are a recovering CMO who is someone I should know and leverage learnings from.” Flattered and slightly blushing, I thought to myself – yep, that is me and I am going to own it.  I couldn’t be prouder to be known as a “Recovering CMO.” It has its perks.

A lot of self-reflection the last 90-days led me to focus on two things:  1) professional achievements made the last 3 years AND 2) personal time sacrificed.  With a bigger title comes bigger responsibilities.  Add in private equity backed tech firms and you pretty much are on the clock, ahem, a lot. 

This isn’t a blog that shows my professional accomplishments – because no one cares (except maybe myself and my mom & dad).  But instead, I am drawn to the keyboard to share what happens when you take a leap of faith.  A much-needed leap to find balance (and — oh, how I loathe that word “balance”) or as I like to call it, better juggling.  When you have less to juggle, you find life simplifying. 

My favorite Medical Doctor once told me that the key to not having messed up teenagers is to keep them busy – get them active, early.  Sign them up for church activities, sports, after-school programs, music/band – you get the idea.  I tried this and quickly realized it was no fun being the Uber Mom.  Shuffling around kids and stressed about what/when I would feed them and how on earth I would make it to x thing when y thing was back-to-back and in the next town over.  It was a good lesson on the importance of quality over quantity — a better approach to finding balance. Sorry Poms and Cub Scouts – you got nixed.

As a CMO, I was constantly juggling e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.  Board of Director demands, reporting demands, sales lead demands, corporate brand demands.  While I was a pretty darn good juggler (mainly, because I had an army of talented professionals beside me), it took its toll.  Missed school events, rushed good-night reading time, absent around-the-table dinner time.  It took being insulted in front of my fellow officers, minutes before a board meeting – for me to realize, enough is enough. I (and Nick) waited years for three blessings – and something finally clicked in my mind, like a brick was thrown at me that had a note attached saying “look at how quickly your littles are growing up and are these work, ahem, jack asses really more important?” Don’t prioritize work over the four things you love most in this world. Now, some may challenge me (for being too hard on myself about work/life balance) by reminding me of my 72-hour rule.  That I held myself to, firmly.  The rule being I would never be away from my family for longer than 3-days.  It was a good rule.  However, in the back of my mind that little voice would creep up reminding me “why did I need to have such a strong rule.” Could I find something that was professionally satisfying PLUS have better balance? 

For years, Nick would tell me I need to be a lawyer or a sales leader.  When put in the right situation, I can debate and persuade quite well.  My love for solving over selling is a gift, that’s not a brag but 100% truth! 

Selling ultimately won (for now – ha) and this Recovering CMO is loving her new role at one of the largest big-tech firms in the world.   Building a new sales motion that is 100% virtual and digital. 

Nothing is ever a given and I count my blessings, often. I get to go to work, share my learnings with an eager team, solve customer problems.  PLUS enjoy dinner with my family, Star Wars themed band concert, ballerina dance routines with a little hip-hop, clone troopers and Barbie playing nicely in the Barbie dream house….I could go on. 

I get to eat ice cream again (who knew lowering stress levels is the cure for eating dairy again).  I get to work out and have it paid for (thank you big-tech). I get to coach volleyball on weekends.  Heck, I might just volunteer to be on the school PTO (I do have a pretty good connection).  Net-net is I am enjoying the journey where I am seeking balance and simplifying.  The ice cream, glass of, occasional, red – and family game-night never tasted better.  

Adele, Walker, and Achievers

Here I sit on a plane – delayed, blaring to a mix of Adele and Walker Hayes from my air pods (ok, maybe a little Tom Petty I won’t back down, too). I mean, if a little “Hello” and “Fancy Like” doesn’t keep your spirits up during travel woes, what would?

Earlier this week I heard a podcast where Adele was speaking about the difficult decision to postpone her Vegas show earlier this year.  It caught my attention as Nick and I were visiting the strip that January weekend and fans were horrified over the cancellation.  Apparently, she cancelled it suddenly and many had flown across the country only to learn, upon arrival to sin city – the show was cancelled.  She was nervous about COVID and we shrugged our shoulders and said – you’ve got to keep moving but to each their own.  I went on to my tradeshow and Nick traveled back.  When I returned home, I brought the dreaded ‘rona home, so Adele was likely spot on to cancel. 

If you haven’t caught my youngest belting out Walker Hayes’ Fancy Like – you are missing out.  He’s a fan.  We all are.  Who doesn’t love a good underdog story.  And Mr. Hayes has a solid one.  From alcoholism and atheism, he admits to hitting rock bottom.  Fast-forward to meeting his now co-author – can’t recall his name, but he is a man of faith, and they are now best friends, wrote a book, and bought houses next to each other for their families to enjoy time together.  The positive hits keep coming, we certainly enjoy his story and music.

I would consider Adele and Walker both Achievers.

What does it mean to be an Achiever?  I was reading a Forbes article that described high achievers as those sharing the same four attributes: an intrinsic motivation, perseverance, a strong foundation, and constantly being open to learning, especially through informal means.  The article went on to mention how achievers surround themselves with people who believe in them more than they believe in themselves.  This tells me they have a strong cheering section filled with raving fans.  Achievers are not just A-player athletes and talented singing artists – but also motivated people doing exceptional work.  They are also not procrastinators, according to another article I read.  I tend to agree with this.  Planning not procrastinating = achievers.

Some of the things we must do to meet our goals or achieve our dreams are not very easy, but high achievers are able to focus on what needs to get done and do it instead of living in a world of dreams. They have a plan, and they follow it from start to finish. 

I like to think I get my “achievement” gene from both of my parents PLUS watching my competitive, smart brother and lead-by-example, hard-working sister.  All four carry the perseverance and strong foundation traits required to be known as achievers. 

My super-power achiever trait has got to be open to learning.  I’m a slow learner believe it or not.  But a quick implementer – once I get it, look out….I will start and I will finish (unless it is doing laundry, just ask Nick). 

Ava joined me on a photoshoot recently where I needed a new professional headshot for a cover story.  Yes, my very first cover story.  The talented Wendy Hernandez took pictures and captured a special one of Ava helping me prep.  Ava and I talked about what she wanted to do when she grows up.  A horse rider trainer and POTUS.  I was blown away.  Proud.  What an answer, with zero prompting from me. I paused for a moment to relish in her determination and drive.  Inspired! She is an Achiever. So are her two brothers. Proud of these kiddos and can’t wait to watch all they have, yet, to achieve.

According to The Women Achiever – I am a passionate leader who never stops building things.  Humbled.  Even more humbled and proud to hear how the editor captured my story.  A story that began as a little girl watching her parents start a “construction” business.  Little did she know how impactful the blue-collar roots would be to her as an adult.  Enjoy the article if you have 3 minutes.         


Applying Mom’s Motto: Remember What’s Most Important

famMother’s Day weekend has arrived, and I just told my eight-year-old son that if he stayed on his device any longer, his brain might fry. Take me out of the running for mother of the year. So much for limiting screen time. Insert my favorite meme circulating: Quarantine life has you thinking your phone battery life is deteriorating, but then realize you’re using it for 17 hours every day. Sure, I feel bad about my children’s extra screen time but some days it is a life saver when back to back work meetings keep me chained to my office desk and my husband chained to his new office – the dining room table (but let me be clear, not a day goes by that we don’t pause and feel complete gratitude for being employed and having good health).

Earlier in the week a colleague spoke up and reminded us all to show more grace. She is right. Give yourself a break when conversations with colleagues go sideways or when your kids are on Minecraft 20 minutes longer than usual. Give colleagues a break when they don’t want to turn on their video camera while on a meeting. Don’t take for granted the fact that you may be the only positive thing in a person’s day. Showing more grace or compassion – whatever your word preference might be, is something my own mother taught me at a very early age. To this day she continues to say no matter what the circumstance is or cards you have been dealt, always show compassion and choose your words wisely. True compassion is motivated by the needs of the receiver not the needs of the giver. Words are wastefully thrown around often, but purposefully kind words go a long way. If you admire something about someone, tell them. If you appreciate something someone did, tell them. If you miss someone, tell them. People want to be special. People will remember the kind things you said about them. Never let a moment pass where you didn’t share a kind thought or embrace a moment to show compassion.

My mother is miles away and we’ll FaceTime on Sunday instead of all being together and feasting on smoked turkey, homemade potato salad and peach cobbler. Despite not having any in-person time with her, we have lots to be thankful for and she continuously keeps me in check by reminding me to focus on what is most important in life.

Applying Mom’s Motto – Remember What Is Important

The ability to prioritize is indeed a talent, a skill, which comes with experience. My mother suggests making a to-do list and then be flexible with it as it will certainly change throughout the day, week, month. Lists help us determine what must be done and then we rank items in order of importance. At home, my top priorities include things like more play time than screen time, preparing meals (I find baking and cooking very therapeutic) and making time for a real sit-down family dinner where we each share the best part of our day.

With home-school being the new norm, we gauge our weekly teaching “success” by getting three days’ worth of assignments done on weekdays. And try to get one more completed on the weekend. My husband is an educator and one of his social posts puts this into perspective: “You’re a parent first. Don’t sacrifice your relationship with your child for the academics. Sometimes completing a 10-minute walk together accomplishes more than completing 10 more math problems.” Remember what is important…..quality time that keeps you calm and grows your most precious relationships.

Life can be messy, but it also can be so, so sweet. When it gets hard, remember what’s most important. If you haven’t made a list of your own, I challenge you to! Mom’s know best and taking more time to call out what is most important will get you thinking not only about what you want in life, but who you want to be in life, too. We let the little things pass us by when we really shouldn’t. I’ll end with my favorite quote that my mom helped me frame for the kid’s playroom: “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”  


Be Still And Know

windmillToday I went on a hike, alone.  Yes, without eight little arms and eight little legs surrounding me that go either too fast or too slow.  It was glorious.  The last time I went on a solo walk was likely 10+ years ago.  Sure, I exercise, but that’s typically 3x a week (at best) in a 60-minute Shred415 class where we all hunker down and focus on getting through the 9% incline jog and endless burpees.

My hike started with earbuds in and a new podcast on.  It was The Ziglar Show (inspirational topics for sales and marketing professionals).  I got about six-minutes in and realized I was in COVID-19 sensory overload.  The theme was how to shift your marketing messages during a global health pandemic.  I could feel my anxiety levels rise as I listened to the first few minutes.  It’s hard to escape what is going on in the world today – between depressing news coverage, heart-wrenching stories of friends/colleagues losing loved ones, new economic hardships released every hour, TP hoarding that continues… is easy to feel there is no end in sight when it comes to this dangerous virus.  As I turned the corner, I looked up and saw the majestic Rockies.  They really are breathtaking – well they are to this Midwest, flat land born and raised Michigander now turned Coloradan.  I decided to shut off the podcast and enjoy the hike in silence.  Step away from reality for a bit and focus on the beauty in front of me.

Colorado has a desert-like terrain and I’ve been known to call it the land of the great brown dust bowl.  Today I looked past all the brown.  I saw regrowth (fingers crossed that Spring is right around the corner), left-over dull red, Autumn foliage that was clearly not in a windy path and an old windmill.  A couple passed me on the trail, and we all smiled, waved and kept our distance.   It was a nice reminder that not even a health pandemic can disrupt the beauty and stillness of nature. The stillness I experienced is just what I needed to experience.

Trying to navigate a new-normal is something we are all going through right now. I am sure this new norm will pass, but for now making adjustments is needed.  Adjustments of all kinds.  Many are adjusting to how they will make ends meet given their financial means were shut off, overnight, due to the mandatory business and school closures.  Others are trying to figure out how to teach their children in an environment that is new and challenging.  Those of us that are still fortunate to be employed are trying to figure out what is the right market message to share to keep the lights on and protect the families that count on us as leaders.  The pressure of navigating uncharted waters has never been higher.  What can we do?  Be still and know.

Be still and know that sometimes we need to do less to achieve more.  I find that when I slow down and get reality checks from mentors, friends, family, colleagues or nature – the answers to my questions tend to surface.  Today’s walk in nature served as a reminder to focus on what I can control and let go of the things I cannot.  This week I had a dear colleague tell me that I was taking on too much.  Too much at work and too much at home.  In order to get better results, it is best to do less but do it better.  How powerful is this?  My team may make more long-lasting relationships if they focus on less prospects but personalize the messages to a select few.  My child may learn more if we spend more time on two of his eLearning assignments and pass on the other three.

The phrase Be Still and Know has always been a favorite of mine.  I first learned of it from a Sunday School Teacher at Chapel Hill Missionary Church (thanks Jimmie!).  It is important to make time for meditation, prayer, reflection – whatever you like to call it, because I firmly believe that when we are being still that is when we reach our highest peaks.

Not All Superheroes Wear Capes

capesWonder Woman.  Spider-man.  Incredible Hulk.  Which superhero was your favorite growing up?  We are all familiar with this story line:  the dreaded Joker tries to take over the world…..but not on Batman’s watch.  Batman steps in to save the day – throwing all the right punches, driving a fancy batmobile and always including his awesome sidekick, Robin.  His bravery, courage and leadership are admired by all.

Each day I do my best to fit in 30 minutes of good old fashion play time with my children.  Tuesday night it was time to morph into Superheroes.  We put on our capes and saved the world 10x in a matter of minutes.  The play time got me thinking about the real crusaders in the world.  Those change agents that are impacting business and impacting lives.  I’d like to take a few minutes to highlight stories I’ve recently witnessed where “ordinary” people are doing “extraordinary” things to positively impact our world – and you’ll notice none of them wear capes.

Business Change Agents

Once you get a taste of what good looks like, you can’t help but sink your teeth into it and commit 100%.  Go all in.  Take the time needed to do it right.  A friend once told me there are two ways to do things.  You can either 1) take the time to do it right or 2) do it again.  Who has the time to do it again – especially if we know how to do it right the first time, even if it requires more upfront leg-work?  Hardly anyone.  Although I must admit, there are times I can be quite impatient and shortcuts are appealing.  Especially when it comes to generating new business at work.  When I know an idea is destined to be a homerun, it can be challenging to wait-it-out and let the results happen….even if it takes 6-9 months to produce.

This week I was reminded how important it is to have patience when working on demand generation campaigns.  A colleague on our team was awarded a B2B Innovation award for her effort and results on an account based marketing program.  The program took several months to yield initial results, but has since served as the poster-child of inspiration for developing similar programs.  The high-roller making this idea a reality is a super star that deserves a superhero cape.  Her willingness to plan, create and execute – and then be patient, makes her a change agent we can all continue to learn from.  Give her a cape.

Educators Sharpening the Minds of Our Future

My middle child started kindergarten this month {insert a big boo-hoo here}.  While she has been enrolled in pre-school and daycare previously, all-day learning is something new and unfamiliar to her.  Learning how to take control of her choices was one of the first lessons taught in her class last week.  She came home with “self-control” bubbles and couldn’t wait to show me what they meant or symbolized.  Mrs. B put together a memorable learning exercise that is beginning to teach 5-year old’s how they are in the driver seat and as a result are in control of their body, brain and choices.  The world can use more self-control and owning up to the choices we make — and for that I see superhero traits all around this kindergarten teacher making a difference in my daughter’s life and the lives of 18 other littles.   Give her a cape.

Being married to an educator I tend to follow many educators on Twitter.  If you are ever in need of true inspiration for a quick pick-me-up, start following teachers on Twitter.  Mrs. L shared her class constitution that was written and amended by her 5th grade students.  “We the People of Mrs. L’s class, in order to form a more successful classroom, establish trust, ensure respect, promote positivity, and ensure that we love our passengers, do ordain and agree to this constitution.”  The constitution goes on to include four Articles outlining their commitment to one another.  If teaching our future leaders about the importance of respect and being positive isn’t worthy of a cape, I’m not sure what is.  I responded to her tweet with a comment around how lovely it is to see her incorporating core values into her classroom and gaining buy-in, when I see many businesses attempt this with little success.  Giver her a cape.

Working Parents and Stay at Home Parents

Have you ever seen someone move from the board room to the ball field in a matter of hours?  It is quite impressive.  I once saw a father/executive secure a deal that made the team hit quota all while adding a renewed sense of confidence and loyalty amongst the team.  Shortly after closing the deal he hustled out the door to coach his son’s little league game.  He has his priorities in check.  He loves what he does in the boardroom and equally, or likely more, loves bringing leadership and teamwork values to the ball field. Leading by example both professionally and personally is worthy of a cape.

If you’ve never seen a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) in full swing, you are missing out on a huge learning opportunity.  Some of my inner tribe have chosen to pause their careers and be a SAHM.  Juggling a household, multiple schedules (that often compete with something), cleaning, feeding…..and the list goes on – is no easy feat.  My husband and I both work and we tag team nearly everything.  When either of us is traveling solo, it ain’t easy doing the single parent thing.  But how do so many of my SAHM friends make it look so easy?  They are organized.  They are fearless.  They get sh*t done.  They are excellent negotiators (getting those kids to down that broccoli takes serious negotiation skills at times).  Don’t let those yoga pants and razorback t’s fool you – I guarantee a cape is hidden in their hall closet.

My son’s favorite superhero is Spidey and this quote is something each crusader, I have the pleasure of knowing, lives and breathes – whether they realize it or not.  “WHEN THE MOB AND THE PRESS AND THE WHOLE WORLD TELL YOU TO MOVE, YOUR JOB IS TO PLANT YOURSELF LIKE A TREE BESIDE THE RIVER OF TRUTH, AND TELL THE WHOLE WORLD: ‘NO. YOU MOVE.’” —AMAZING SPIDER-MAN



Let’s Hear It For The Dad’s

dadIt is Father’s Day and as I sip on my chai tea latte that was served to ME after sleeping in, I started reflecting on how the men in my life have impacted me over the years.   I do admit feeling an ounce of guilt having been served a delicious morning treat on a day where I should have gotten up early and ran to Starbucks for HIM.  But I’ll take the thoughtful surprise and add it to his list of wonderfulness.  While trying to explain to my littles what this day means, it peaked my own curiosity on how this special daddy day came to be.  Did you know Father’s Day was founded by a woman?

Sonora Louise Smart Dodd was the 16-year-old that petitioned for a day to celebrate her recently widowed father.  It occurred to her, while listening to a Mother’s Day religious sermon, that her father deserved to be celebrated.  Raising five young children as a single parent was not typical in 1909 and even in the twenty-first century is not an easy task.  Despite her hard work and cross-country travel, petitioning for a nationally recognized holiday, Father’s Day was not made an official holiday {in America} until 1972.  But her story still lives on and Ms. Sonora is the reason we get to celebrate the wonderful fathers in our lives today.

And celebrate we do.  A survey recently published by the National Retail Federation shows Americans are expected to spend $16 billion on Father’s Day this year.  No surprise the most popular gifts include greeting cards, special outings and clothing.  I’ve pitched in with my siblings in the past to gift our dad with a fishing trip and take him out for a tasty meal at Mountain Jacks.  We respect him and have learned so much from him, spoiling him a bit is the least we can do.

My dad encourages a strong work ethic, giving back a piece of what you earn and always take time to enjoy life’s smallest pleasures like berry pickin’ on a Sunday afternoon or salmon slammin’ on Lake Michigan.  He always reminds me to never forget where I came from and the people that helped get me to where I am today.  Looking back, I can now see how his actions and wise words have influenced me greatly – both personally and professionally.

While doing some Google research it was not a surprise to find that most fathers are no longer the sole breadwinners in a family.   We are a dual income family and both enjoy and take pride in what we do.  I read that American fathers spend an average of eight hours a week on childcare—nearly three times as many hours as they did in 1965.  My spouse spends way more time than that, especially when I travel for work.  He never complains, encourages me to make a difference and even entertains my wacky ideas (he has been known to shape a few of them).  We are a team and we couldn’t do this thing called life without the unsaid, but known, thought that life is about tag-teaming and juggling.

Today’s terribly biased media tends to focus on more of the wrong-doers than the good-doers.  There are countless male role models that continue to inspire and encourage me every day.  Let’s make sure they are appreciated and commended today – whether they are fathers or not. I am asked, often, to speak about my role of empowering women to help them advance in the extremely competitive hi-tech field.  It is an honor and pleasure to share my stories and I’m thrilled that those stories also include strong men in my life that have empowered me to advance – many of them are fathers.

Thank you Sonora Louise Smart Dodd for relentless drive to make today a national holiday.  I’m pretty sure Ms. Sonora’s story will show up in one of my next speaking gigs as I agree with her….celebrating the positive, male role models in our lives deserves a day all to itself.

When an idea becomes reality. Recognizing the Unsung IT Heroes.


It’s always a challenge to start something new and different, especially in a “mature” industry. Earlier this year, my team worked tirelessly to create and promote the inaugural IT Vanguard Awards program, presented by Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. We wanted to recognize the unsung IT heroes—professionals who are leveraging IT network and communications technologies in order to transform operations and improve customer interactions for their companies.

We asked for IT Vanguard nominations, hoping we would get some that were innovative, award worthy, and most of all, good stories that could be shared with the industry. Knowing that some IT professionals would rather not receive recognition and that nominating someone for an award takes time, we had measured expectations. However, the IT network and enterprise communications community did not disappoint! The many IT Vanguard nominations we received were indeed innovative, but also educational and inspiring.

We are happy to present the IT Vanguard Award Honorees for 2019 and share their success stories. These leaders are managing crucial projects, leading cross-functional teams, and getting the results they carefully planned for. Working in diverse settings such as healthcare, education, transportation, government and telecommunications, the IT Vanguards challenged the status quo and are moving the industry forward with their solutions.

On our IT Vanguard Award site, the honorees provide details on their projects, offer lessons learned, and share what it takes to become an integral business leader. Our judges—five IT thought leaders—also share their insight on the future of IT and the customer experience. We hope you are inspired by their stories and ready to challenge the status quo in your own organization.

If you missed out on the nomination period, watch for the announcement early next year for the 2020 IT Vanguard Awards. We’re pleased to keep this tradition going and can’t wait to hear your success stories!





Buy The $7 Latte, Play Kickball With The Kids, Be Grateful & Take Risks

kickball2If I receive one more cold outreach from a financial advisor suggesting I save, save, save and p-l-a-n my future – I just might vomit.  Yes, I said “vomit” in a professional blog.  Listen.  I get we need to be financially sound with our finances and planning is vital (in small doses), but in the last 12 months I’ve had too many friends and colleagues receive devastating news about their health (many are not even 40 years old).  While I’m confident these fighters will get past this rough season, the one consistent thing they speak about is to take the shot – don’t try and plan everything.  Go out on a limb and TAKE. MORE. RISKS.  And most importantly, be grateful for opportunities.  Opportunities to not only advance you professionally, but also opportunities to take in life’s simple things like kicking the ball with the kids for 30 minutes.  Those few minutes provide rejuvenation and give us a fresh perspective.  Those minutes in my life, are rarely ever planned.  However, I sure do take advantage of them and reap the benefits as a result.

My neighborhood community website is full of Starbuck haters.  Whenever a new location pops up, they call it SevenBucks.  I’m not prepared to get into a debate on whether chains or local coffee shops are the way to go – but I do always buy local when I can – and you will not hear me slam the deliciousness of a warm and cozy coconut milk Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks.  Life is over in the blink of an eye – buy the $7 latte.

As a working mother of three small children I get asked almost every week, how do you balance it all?  The answer is simple, I balance nothing.  Every day I try to master the art of juggling.  While I have a great tribe in my corner, juggling work and motherhood is nothing shy of amazing (well it is on the days I win at it – which isn’t every day).  Last week one colleague and I were instant messaging about how incredible it is to kiss the kiddos good-bye, fly out to pull off a top-notch marketing program while managing about 5 other things.  When we finally return home…. we find an empty fridge, about ten loads of laundry and school homework that needs addressing.  Yet somehow, in the twelve-hours we are home in between trips – we get the kids off to school with completed homework, fridge filled and joined 3 calls with our global team.  #winning #grateful

I am writing this blog on a plane to Calgary where I need to catch a connection to Europe, I can’t help but reflect on the items I am most grateful for. Especially the things I GET TO DO in the current season of my life.  For example, I am grateful I got to spend 30-minutes kicking the ball with my daughter last week. I think it might have been her first time kicking the ball back and forth in an open field with a warm breeze flowing through the air.  It is a privilege that I get to work with colleagues that challenge me (in a good way) often.

A recent YouTube video on defining moments really spoke to me.  The presenter shared that if we wait around to seek out the defining moments that shape us – we will be waiting forever.  Defining moments happen when we change things up.  When we take a risk, or make a gamble.  They come in the form of wins and misses.  The speaker goes on to express the importance of not telling the world you are doing something, but instead show them.  And if you fail in the moment, oh well, just try harder (I say learn from it and move on).  Take over your moments and opportunities will follow.  And for goodness sake, don’t be afraid to buy the over-priced latte, partake in winning moments with the kids, embrace quiet time and look up to see the random acts of kindness taking place all around us (they do exist).  A gamble not taken will likely turn into a regret 5, 10, 20 years down the road.  Roll the dice.

One size fits all: great for hats, bad for marketing.


Earlier this week I was helping my son with his math homework.  Subtraction.  What I am about to share might shock some of you.  In the spirit of being completely transparent…..I still count on my fingers.   Always have and always will.  While showing off my mathematics finger trick, it became obvious it just wasn’t sinking in for him.  He was getting frustrated and I was getting desperate to get this homework completed.  Our kitchen table was covered in Jurassic Park Legos minus the tiny area cleared for homework.  As a mean (and ugly) Tyrannosaurs Rex was staring me down, it sparked an idea.  Maybe he is a visual learner.  It was worth exploring so I lined up the dinosaurs.  I asked him, “If you have twelve dinosaurs and take away three, how many are left?”  He pulled three dinos out of the line-up and quickly shouted out “NINE.”  Score one for mom as he gained a renewed sense of excitement for math and I could move on to preparing dinner.  The visual technique worked and we breezed through the homework.  One size fits all: great for hats, bad for learning.

If you practice a One size fits all approach in your sales and marketing efforts, you will get frustrated rather quickly and likely not succeed.  Twenty-first century buyers have varying product needs, expect research to be available at their fingertips and learn in different ways.  What do I mean by learn in different ways? Some require videos to absorb research, others prefer reading blogs and many prefer documented statistics on an infographic to help advance them through the buying process.  Understanding their needs and how they absorb information is what separates good marketers/sellers from the great.

Buyer behavior is the driving force behind the purchasing process. The sooner marketers uncover how buyers learn and what content they consume at each step of the buying cycle— the faster they can apply this information to improve engagement models or go-to-market plan(s).  I have an example that will make this clearer.

Last year we took a closer look at our email nurture tracks.  We found engagement rates (open and click thrus) to be super low.  Upon further research, it was discovered the content served was not always relevant to the buyer’s current need, coupled with always serving up the same type of actions (whitepapers) — could be the reason(s) for lower engagement figures.  By tailoring our messages with a vertical specific theme and mixing up the type of assets served – one track produced triple engagement results compared to prior tracks.  Blogs and eBooks were consumed the most in the learning and research stages.  Serving up more personalized content that included a healthy mix of varying marketing pieces drove the buyers to engage with us more and we learned more about their buying behaviors.  This resulted in higher engagement rates and more meetings to fill our pipeline.

In my non-scientific approach of testing the visual, dinosaur mathematics method with my son, I quickly understood how he learned.  I could adjust my technique to engage with him in a way that accelerated the completion of his homework.  Buyers are really not that different than a 7-year-old, once you determine their learning style and adjust your programs, positive results follow.  The morale of this blog is simple, One size fits all:  great for hats, bad for marketing.

Supermarket Shopping and Sales Pipeline – a lesson on patience

cartWhile grocery shopping on a Saturday, with two of my children, I quickly lost count of the number of impatient shoppers.  I’m sure it wasn’t the best parenting move to allow both of them to have their own mini-shopping cart…in a semi-crowded supermarket…just before a Winter storm was about to hit.  But they wanted to help and I encourage independence.   We had only been shopping about 3 minutes before the sighs of irritated shoppers became painfully obvious.  For example, when my daughter’s wheel went wonky and the woman picking out potato chips next to her gave me a look of “my goodness, get her out of my way.” I stared her down with the biggest smile – she still wasn’t happy – even though it took a mere 4 seconds to get the wheel back on track.  We picked up the pace and moved on.

All in all, we had a productive morning.  As a special treat, I took my littles to the McDonalds drive-thru (don’t judge, all things in moderation – including fast-food).  Our food was delivered in record-time and I pulled forward to hand out drinks.  I did not notice I hadn’t pulled up far enough until the guy behind me laid on his horn, threw his arms up and started shouting “get out of the way, lady.”  Seriously, it was a matter of seconds and we’d be on our way and OUT OF HIS WAY.  His lack of patience was mind-boggling.  Even worse was when I saw a very young child riding shot-gun with him, witnessing this bad behavior.  Surrounded by many adults with impatient behavior, it got me thinking about what triggers us to reach a point of annoyance that leads us down a path of impatience.

The psychology of patience tells us, “impatience is mainly a person’s inability to withstand a certain irritating emotion.”  A few examples of what causes a trigger leading to irritating emotions could be:  running late when we are in a hurry, not seeing results as quickly as we’d like or experiencing a different outcome then originally expected.

I like to think I am a patient person.  With three littles 6 years old and under, most days I have no choice but to channel my inner zen and not sweat the little things (but I am not perfect and I do sweat some things).  Where I find myself being the most impatient is when it takes longer than expected to show results.  Whether those results are potty-training my youngest little or launching a new marketing campaign.  Both examples, despite being extremely different situations, trigger an irritating emotion of not experiencing the outcome I want – more quickly.

This week at work I was reminded and encouraged about the importance of being patient and not losing sight of the positive momentum we are building to deliver results the business requires.  A colleague shared, “Our brains are wired to want to succeed and sometimes sabotage us when we don’t. It’s up to us to keep our minds right when we aren’t getting the desired outcomes.  Stay the course, work the plan and remember the initial, positive outcomes and how we got them.”  How encouraging is that?  After he shared that with the broader team, our sales pipeline spiked by nearly a third.  A timely reminder of the importance of being patient and keeping it positive.

A few of my employees had performance reviews due this week.  While compiling data to enter successes, I received yet another reminder on the importance of being patient.  In the middle of 2018 the team applied an Account Based Marketing strategy to a demand generation campaign for a niche group of higher education institutions.  That campaign has generated a 1:40 ROI when you look at the net new logo pipeline it has generated.  Wonderful results that didn’t happen overnight.  The team stayed the course, worked the plan and celebrated mini-milestones until that fabulous ROI appeared.

What have I learned this week from my supermarket experience with littles to seeing sales pipeline numbers spike?  We need to encourage ourselves and those around us to stay the course and avoid situations that trigger frustrating emotions. How do you avoid frustration from creeping in?  Do a quick measurement: is your WIN count ahead of your loss count? My children really wanted to help grocery shop and driving their own cart meant they had to be alert (WIN) and avoid interrupting other patrons shopping experience (WIN) – despite irritating some (Loss).  I encouraged them along the way and they learned a lesson on independence and awareness (WIN).  Reviewing the weekly pipeline results and a single-campaign that is well on its way to breaking a company-wide ROI record (WIN) keeps me in a positive state of mind that progress is happening and that good things do come to those who wait.

#Patience #Leadership #Sales #WorkingMom #DemandGeneration