00:01:42 So Dave, for those crazy people who don’t already know who you are, and what you do, and where you’ve come from, can you give us a sort of summary as to the potted history of Dave, how you’ve got to where you are today, and what sort of experience they’re
00:04:55 How can you stand out from the crowd when you’re in that sort of job search market?
00:09:36 Where does Conversational Marketing stem from, what it’s about, and how is it going to help B2B marketers today?
00:17:22 So what was the biggest learning curve you had when you got your first senior leadership role in B2B marketing?
00:21:00 What is the most valuable marketing skill you can have?
00:21:58 And with anyone who’s maybe thinking that they need to improve on their copywriting, and they don’t currently feel like it is one of their strengths, what advice have you got to them as to how they can maybe upscale on that front?
00:24:07 What past failure or uncomfortable experience sets you up for success at a later date?
00:25:41 So, what advice have you received from your mentor that made the most impact do you think?
00:29:18 With pressures of general life, how do you manage the work-life balance, and how important is that in today’s society, Dave?
00:33:00 What’s the book you recommend the most for B2B marketers?
00:33:17 And then last but not least, what parting words of wisdom or advice would you share with our audience?
Fiona: 00:11 Welcome to Market Mentors, a podcast for the marketing leaders of today and tomorrow. I’m Fiona Jensen, a director and co-owner of Market Recruitment. For over a decade I’ve been helping B2B marketeers find the best jobs with great companies. Together we will discover how marketing experts reach the top and learn from their experience. Ask career-related questions you can’t get answers to elsewhere. Be tough, be challenged, be mentored.
Fiona: 00:43 In this episode, we’re in for a real treat. Getting to learn from Dave Gerhardt, who’s fast track marketing career covers agency, startup, and ex-HubSpot employee, who’s gone from a standalone marketing manager role to VP of Marketing, managing a team of 20 for one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the world. We chat about conversational marketing, Drift, and cover some scary ideas like removing lead capture forms from your website. Eek!
Fiona: 01:19 I’m with the amazing Dave Gerhardt. Thanks ever so much for taking part in Market Mentors today.
Dave: 01:26 Hey Fiona. Thank you for having me. I don’t know how great I am, but you pronounced my last name right, so it’s off to … I’m happy, I’m happy to be here.
Fiona: 01:35 Woo hoo! Bonus points from the start. I’ll go with that.
Dave: 01:40 Yeah.
Fiona: 01:42 So Dave, for those crazy people who don’t already know who you are, and what you do, and where you’ve come from, can you give us a sort of summary as to the potted history of Dave, how you’ve got to where you are today, and what sort of experience they’re about to learn from?
Dave: 01:57 Yeah, so I … Just by just by coincidence, I’ve kind of only been in B2B marketing for my whole career, which isn’t that long. I’ve been in marketing since probably like almost 10 years now, but I started off as an intern at a PR agency here in Boston in the US, and I got to a PR agency because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I graduated from college at a really tough time in the economy, so nobody was hiring entry-level marketers as a lot of people had cut their marketing budget.
Dave: 02:30 And so, I took a job in PR, and that was amazing because I was able to learn kind of the ins and outs of the agency world. And the agency world really taught me how to work, it taught me how to communicate, and really set a good foundation for what I’m doing today.
Dave: 02:45 Then from there I went in-house. I took a PR job in-house at a company called Constant Contact, which does, did email marketing software. They’ve since been acquired, but was a public company at the time, and a big company. I learned a lot from there. And when I was at a big company, I got the opportunity to do a bunch of different things. I went from PR to product marketing.
Dave: 03:04 Ultimately, I left that company because I got really interested in SaaS and technology in the startup world. I joined a early-stage company in Boston. I did that for about a year and a half. Then I went to work at HubSpot, so I was back at another kind of big B2B marketing software company. And then from HubSpot, I joined Drift in 2015 as the first full-time marketer here.
Dave: 03:26 And it’s just been an incredible ride since then. I joined the company, there was probably six to eight people at the company. When I joined, I was the first marketing person. And fast forward to today, we have a marketing team of 20 people, and the company has grown to nearly 300 people across three different offices, and there’s 150,000 businesses using Drift now. And we really created this category of conversational marketing. So it’s been an amazing ride.
Dave: 03:54 And I think the one consistent thing for me has just been constantly trying to learn. And I’ve become obsessed with marketing and love reading and learning about marketing because I’ve seen how that impacts my work firsthand. And so, just kind of always on this journey of learning how to be better, how to be a better marketer, and how to be a better person. And it’s funny how those two things actually kind of interact because marketing is all about people anyway.
Fiona: 04:17 Very true, actually. And I love the fact that you kind of created your own category within marketing already, being quite young chap. And also, the podcast that you do seeking wisdom, I’m a fan, I listen to it, I learn from it myself. So, your sort of passion really does come through. It’s pretty incredible, I think.
Dave: 04:40 That’s amazing. It’s cool to hear that. Yeah, it’s been one of my, it’s amazing. I’m sure you know this is a marketer, but it’s fun when the things you’re working on don’t actually feel like marketing, how often they tend to be the best things for your business and what people want. Right?
Fiona: 04:55 Yeah, absolutely. And, so what I was keen to do was get a little bit of advice from you for people who may be out in the field at the moment, maybe they’re applying for jobs, or they’re trying to find the job that’s going to really resonate with them most of all, and get some advice from you as to almost what you look for when you are recruiting marketers. How can you stand out from the crowd when you’re in that sort of job search market?
Dave: 05:23 Oh man, there’s so many things. I mean, I think for me, the thing that I look for in marketers is have they built up some base of some body of work where you can actually … see their work. Because marketing, look, it’s 2019, you can see, it doesn’t matter what your marketing role is. If you’re in SEO, or you’re Demand Gen, or you do, or if you’re a writer, or a podcast creator, or a video creator, you can see all of that content somewhere and information somewhere.
Dave: 05:52 And so, I think it’s … Obviously we look at the person, and if they’re hungry, and coachable, and wanting to be here, and want to grow as a marketer. But you can really see so much of somebody’s work outside of actually talking to them today, whether that is stuff they’ve created at their company, or you often find that the most passionate marketers kind of have some related side projects. So, I’ll give you an example. There’s somebody on the team at Drift, and he’s a great marketer, and when we were talking to him in the interview process, he said that on the side, outside of work, he had built a Facebook fan page for the TV show The Office, and that had grown to over 100,000 members of that Facebook page.
Dave: 06:38 And so, that’s such a good sign for me because that to me means that this guy knows how to get people to do things, right, how to get people to move, and how to get people into this Facebook group. And so to me, having something like that is the most translatable marketing skill, where oftentimes I think you kind of fall in this trap of just looking at their resume, and what they’ve done, and their career.
Dave: 06:59 And anybody can kind of write anything on their LinkedIn profile, but to see actually some work that they’ve done outside of work shows that A, they’re really passionate about it, B, they’re super creative and know and know how to do those types of things … And then if they don’t have something like that, because oftentimes you talk to somebody who’s fresh out of school or new and doesn’t have that type of resume, then I would ask them to do, we always ask everybody to do some type of project before they actually get an offer from us, or even before, when they come in for the interview process, we … ask every candidate in marketing to do some work for us before. And we don’t use the work, and if it’s a designer, we often pay for the work.
Dave: 07:41 But, because we want to see how we would work together before, and it’s not necessarily always looking for the quality of the work. We do want to see that the work is good and up to a certain level, whether that’s a writer that we asked to write a blog post, or a designer that we asked to mock up a landing page.
Dave: 07:57 But the other half of that is we want to see how they are at taking feedback and actually working together. And so, are they open to making changes, and how would that actually be, and what would it be like to work together? Because I think great marketers, you have to be able to get feedback from so many people around the company to deliver the right project to the right person, to the right audience. And so, those two things have been super helpful for us in the hiring process.
Fiona: 08:21 I see. So if somebody is based more around the culture fit, and their approach to things, and their appreciation of what marketing’s about as to whether they might likely to fit in with you guys and what you’re looking for.
Dave: 08:34 Yeah. And ultimately at the stage that we’re at, we’re looking for people that can teach us, right? And so, we want to see somebody come in and who has some level of expertise that they could teach us about something. They could teach us about video editing in a way that we don’t do it today, or writing in a way that we don’t do it today, or running ads on a different network and retargeting this group of people that we don’t typically do today. So, we want to find people that can teach us.
Dave: 08:59 And ultimately, look, I think it is too hard today to not love what you do and love your work. And so, were looking for people who are truly passionate about their work and treat their job in marketing not just as a job in marketing, but as a … they consider themselves creators or masters of a certain craft. And I think that’s just a type of different mindset than somebody who’s just going to come in, do a couple projects and, and go home every single day.
Fiona: 09:27 Perfect. Yeah. Understood. And difficult to create, but as you say, if you can find people who are passionate about it, then that’s half the battle.
Dave: 09:35 Yup.
Fiona: 09:36 And speaking of which, so I’ve read your books, well, your team’s books, The This Won’t Scale and Conversational Marketing, but not everybody has. So, it would be great to get some information from you around this category that you guys have created, conversational marketing. Where does it stem from, what it’s about, and how is it going to help B2B marketers today?
Dave: 10:00 Yeah. So, there’s a lot of things to unpack in there. So, we wrote, the book that you’re referring to is a book that we wrote that we published in January with Wiley, January 30 it came out. And the book is the first official book on Conversational Marketing. And it’s all about everything that we’ve learned over the last three years. And the response to the book has been amazing. We’ve sold over 10,000 copies. The book was a top 20 business book in the US. It actually just got released in the UK last week. So you can go get it if you’re listening, which is pretty cool. And it was a number one new release on Amazon in sales and marketing. So the response to the book has been amazing.
Dave: 10:39 But rewind back to why we, the category, and basically we … When the founders a of Drift started the company, they made this one big bet. This is 2015, and the big bet that they made was, hey, look around in our personal lives, and we’re all now using messaging as the default kind of communication mode. And so, it’s funny now because it’s 2019, and everybody at a company that I know is using Slack, for example, and is using Zoom for video meetings, right? But, but 2015, that shift still really hadn’t fully happened yet.
Dave: 11:15 Maybe if you’re at like a up-and-coming startup, there’s six people in your company using Slack, but most companies were not. And so, they saw this rise in iMessage, in WhatsApp, in mobile, in Instagram, in Snapchat, and really made this bet that, hey look, more people, humans, consumers, are now using these channels in their personal lives. The bet was that these are going to start to eat into the business world, too. And that’s how it always happens, right? Any trend always starts with people and then works its way into business, especially today as the lines between B2B and B2C are blurring.
Dave: 11:50 And so, the bet was we’re going to go create a company that is focused around doing marketing that doesn’t involve filling out lead forms and gated content because that world is all built for later, right? Go to somebody’s website, fill out this form, and somebody’s going to reach out to you later. Download this piece of gated content, and we’ll send you an email about it later. Book a meeting with a sales rep, and they’ll talk to you later.
Dave: 12:12 But the messaging world that we’re living in with Slack, and WhatsApp, and iMessage, and Instagram is all about now, right? We want answers now. If I need a ride, I can go get a get a car, I can get an Uber or Lyft, and I can get it right now in two minutes. I can order a sandwich for lunch in one minute on my phone. Everything that is, that we do in our personal lives has now shifted to be about now and live in this on demand world, except for B2B marketing and sales.
Dave: 12:40 And so we created Drift to really disrupt that and change the way that businesses buy from businesses. We’re focused on the B2B world. And so, we started doing marketing where you’d capture leads via chat and have conversations with people via chat on your website. But ultimately, it was not live chat because we were the first company to actually add a bot into chat, and so that meant that you could actually filter out the good conversations from the bad conversations. You could have it communicate on your website 24/7/365, and book meetings, and have conversations with your sales team for you.
Dave: 13:15 And so we ended up creating this whole new way of doing marketing and sales, but we didn’t give it a name. And so for a while, we called it like message-driven marketing, conversation-driven marketing. Finally one day, this is a great marketing lesson that we had to learn, was I was having a conversation with David, our CEO. We texted back and forth about this a million times. Finally we said, “Look, we just got to pick a name and commit and go,” because if you don’t name it, nobody’s going to ever be able to say, “Hey, you know, my company is doing blah, we’re doing messaging, marketing.” That doesn’t make any sense. So, we called it conversational marketing, and then from then on it’s really just repeat that message over and over and over to the point where, shortly after that, the market started to say it back to us.
Dave: 13:58 And so, Gartner wrote their first report on conversational marketing. G2 Crowd added conversational marketing as a category for software reviews on their website. And we started to see over and over and over again just content from all these other people in the marketing world. They weren’t talking about us, but they were talking about conversational marketing. And so, ultimately that led to really creating something much bigger than Drift, which is the category of conversational marketing, which is now one of the fastest growing categories in marketing software out there.
Fiona: 14:26 That’s fantastic. And it also sort of does some scary stuff in the process as well, doesn’t it, like removing lead capture forms, and talking about AI, and automating some of the sales activities, and sort of questioning or challenging the end of business development reps. I mean, there’s some pretty crazy stuff in there compared to classic B2B marketing. But it’s really, once you read it, once you get it, it just makes perfect sense, now.
Dave: 14:56 Yeah, there is … So, I love that you called that out because there is, there’s a lot of crazy stuff in there. But think, what we’re trying to show the world is this is a fundamental change. And I think the challenge is marketers know that they’re not getting the same results that used to get, but they’re not really willing to challenge the norm. And that’s the part that’s frustrating for me, right, which is like, look back at the history of time. Any big change that’s happened in the world, in our lives, in technology has started with something that everybody thought was crazy, right? Everybody thought getting rid of lead forms and gated content was crazy and that marketers would never be able to generate leads again.
Dave: 15:33 But we’ve created a whole new way of doing that that is better for customers, it’s better for your business, and you can still generate leads, acquire customers, book meetings, and do all that stuff. And so that’s why we had to do things like write the book, and start a conference, and create so much content and education around this, because we need to show the world that yes, you do need to make a change, because if you want the great new results, you have to be able to make a change, right? But hey, we’re here, and we’re going to help show you how to do it. And so that’s kind of become a pillar of our marketing strategy is to teach and educate to help people get over this hurdle.
Fiona: 16:08 So the conference you touched on there, I think there’s one coming up actually in the UK, isn’t it, in the next months or so. [crosstalk 00:16:15]
Dave: 16:15 HYPERGROWTH, yeah. Good little segue. So yeah, HYPERGROWTH we’re bringing to London on June 10. We wanted to expand outside of the US. We’ve done it. This will be the third year we’ve done it. The first year we did it in Boston was 1500 people. Last year we did it in Boston and San Francisco. We had just shy of 5,000 people there. And this year we’re doing it three times. Since it’s year three, we’re doing in London in June, Boston in September, and San Francisco in November. And everybody here is super excited to go to London. And the buzz has been just amazing to see the reach that that Drift and conversational marketing has kind of across the world, which is I’m super excited about.
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Fiona: 17:22 So what was the biggest learning curve you had when you got your first senior leadership role in B2B marketing? Talk a bit about learning around how to manage a team versus just managing your own job.
Dave: 17:40 Yeah, I mean there’s so many learnings in here that that I will take with me forever, which is like … Growing from being the … an individual contributor, really the only person in marketing, I went from writing all the blog posts, to making all the videos, to sending all the emails, to running all the ads, to now managing, now there’s a team that … there’s 15, 20 people on the marketing team. And we’ve basically just had to continue to scale.
Dave: 18:11 I think that all the lessons that I’ve learned come back to people. And really understanding that I was not great, and still not great, at hiring, and recruiting, and just understanding how hard the hiring processes is. And I think, I’ve learned a lot from David, our CEO. He’s taught me a lot through the interview process and hiring, but it really is such a, it’s such an art, but you can add some science to it.
Dave: 18:39 And so, we’ve really focused on bringing personality tests into the hiring process, and being more intentional, and having truly a checklist and system for how we hire, who does the interview, what role everybody plays in the interview, how we get feedback, how we make decisions on candidates, how we test candidates. And I’ve learned a lot in that process. And hiring is definitely an art because any time you bring people into the equation, it’s never going to be a perfect science. But you can get a lot more information today by taking some of those techniques and bringing a science into it.
Dave: 19:11 I think one of the common pieces of advice in marketing, and just in business in general, is like you want to hire A-Players. Well you don’t hire all A-Players, but I learned a great lesson from a guy used to work for, his name is Joe Chernov. He is the VP of Marketing at a company called Pendo now. And he basically said, “Look, that sounds great on paper, but if you hire all A-Players, your team is just going to end up just biting each other’s heads off, right? You can’t have all A-Players.”
Dave: 19:35 And so, what I’ve learned about is you really have to think about the overall mix of the team based on personality types, and skills, and roles, and needs, that it really is so much more like a puzzle, where you need to find all these different pieces that can fit together to make this amazing team as opposed to just constantly try to find individual specialists that are great at their things. You got to be able to find all different types of people that can work together.
Dave: 20:01 And then the third thing I’ve learned is just the importance of training, and systems, and checklists, especially in marketing, right? So much that we do every day in marketing, you can create a system, a repeatable system around it, whether that’s how you write blog posts, how you make videos, how you make podcasts. We need to have … because people are people, and ultimately we all have other, different priorities, and we forget stuff. And so, to have to have a pre-flight checklist for how you make a podcast, that to make sure it goes off smoothly every time. And if you have that written down, it helps train, it helps onboard, it helps scale. If that person ends up leaving the company, or gets hit by a bus, or isn’t there that day, it means that all your things in marketing can still go off without a hitch.
Dave: 20:44 And so, those are the three kind of big lessons that I’ve learned over my time. But I’m still learning every single day as we continue to grow the team and the company.
Fiona: 20:53 Still seeking wisdom. I like it.
Dave: 20:55 Still seeking wisdom. Exactly. It’s got to be an ongoing thing. So …
Fiona: 21:00 What is the most valuable marketing skill you can have?
Dave: 21:04 The most valuable marketing skill you can have? I think when most people are given this question, they give some kind of fluffy answer like be learning or creative. But I think to me, there really is one specific thing, and it’s copywriting. Time and time again, I’ve worked with marketers who are very smart, and very technical, and analytical, and can do a bunch of great campaigns, but if you can’t write, if you can’t write great copy, everything breaks down.
Dave: 21:30 Your deck won’t be good, your landing page won’t be good, your blog posts won’t be good, your email won’t be good. You can set up all, or you can build all the plumbing and systems in the background to run a great campaign, and you can have the landing page set up, and have ads set up, but if you can’t write great copy, you will not actually be able to go out and execute on that. And so, I think every marketer, and it doesn’t matter what role you’re in in marketing, you need to be able to write great copy first because then you can really become this self-sufficient marketer.
Fiona: 21:58 Fantastic. And with anyone who’s maybe thinking that they need to improve on their copywriting, and they don’t currently feel like it is one of their strengths, what advice have you got to them as to how they can maybe upscale on that front?
Dave: 22:11 Yeah, well I would say number one is come hang out with me because I’ve created a ton of content around this at Drift, and it’s all available on drift.com/insider. I actually taught a couple of copywriting courses that we have now as part of Drift Insider. So you can go and check all those out, and it’s 100% free, and go check it out and learn a bunch of things.
Dave: 22:29 But outside of that, I would pick up a bunch of books, not to just continue to plug my stuff, but we also on my podcast, which is called the Marketing Swipe File, I talk about in a bunch of books that have influenced me as a marketing person and a copywriter, and so books like Ogilvy on Advertising, and Scientific Advertising, and Cashvertising, and The Boron letters.
Dave: 22:53 There’s so many … I would say go back and study the great copywriters from the mid-1900s, right, the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, the Mad Men era. Go study the direct response marketers, the advertisers, the copywriters from them. Pick up a copy of Ogilvy on Advertising, and just start to study that book, and it will all start to make it sense with you.
Dave: 23:14 And so, there’s so many opportunities to learn, but ultimately the secret to becoming a better copywriter is to actually do the work. And so now, and this is only in the course of three years, right, to think about how long you could stretch this out over the course of 10, 15, 20 years, which is why I always believe in learning.
Dave: 23:31 It’s like over the course of three years, I’ve written hundreds of blog posts, I’ve sent hundreds of emails, I’ve done 15, 20 public speaking presentations that I’ve had to make decks for, I’ve written hundreds of ads. And so, it ultimately does become about what we call reps and sets, right, repetitions and sets. So you have to just do the work. And so, a lot of me being a good copywriter now is because I’ve done it, and it’s easier to me because I have hundreds of sales letters and emails that I’ve written that I can fall back on somewhere deep in my brain. So the learning part is great, but it doesn’t matter unless you match up the learning part with doing.
Fiona: 24:07 What past failure or uncomfortable experience sets you up for success at a later date?
Dave: 24:15 I mean, I think the biggest failure that I’ve made is probably on hiring and people. It’s … I’ve made a lot of bad decisions on hiring and recruiting. And so I think those mistakes, those mistakes hurt because they’re expensive, right? People are expensive, not just because of the salary that they make, but the time that you have to invest in onboarding and training.
Dave: 24:39 And then there’s kind of the other burden, which is like when you then have to move on from somebody at your company, that takes a big toll on the rest of the team because the team thinks, oh my God, am I at risk, people are leaving the company. And there’s just a lot of kind of cultural ramifications of that. And so, the mistakes I’ve made in hiring have made me be more thoughtful and more scientific, and really want to treat hiring just like a science, just like we would a marketing channel.
Fiona: 25:09 It’s the ripple effect, isn’t it? Because as you say, if one bad apple can pretty much ruin the whole pot, the whole bowl, and that’s the tricky thing about recruiting or bringing people in, because until you actually have them in and join the team, it is difficult to know that you have definitely got the right person. So more rigorous process obviously helps alleviate or stop that issue.
Dave: 25:33 Yeah. Just have some process at all that you can look back and understand where the gaps in the system were, right?
Fiona: 25:41 So, what advice have you received from your mentor that made the most impact do you think?
Dave: 25:48 I hope he doesn’t listen because my mentor is our CEO, David. I think he … The biggest impact has really been, I’ll give you two answers because I think they’re both important. Number one is learning, okay? Number one is like he was the first person who really pushed me to go out and learn. And, now I’ve seen firsthand that the impact of learning has had on my career and my life. It’s helped me not just get better as a person, but selfishly, career-wise, it’s helped me make more money. It’s helped me grow in my career. It’s helped me get a bigger job title. That’s all the stuff that I really see firsthand, making this investment in myself first. And I want to, I’m just going to pull up my Twitter page real quick because I tweeted out this quote from a book that I read last night, and I screwed it up because I think it perfectly sums it up.
Dave: 26:38 The quote is from Jim Rohn, who is Tony Robbins’ coach. And he said, “Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job, you’ll make a living. If you work hard on yourself, you’ll make a fortune.” And I think that that line is so true. And so what I learned from David is to really just invest in yourself, whether that’s books, or coaching, or seminars, or online courses, there’s so much opportunity out there to learn today. And so number one is learn in yourself, learn and invest in yourself.
Dave: 27:09 Number two is be intentional about what you learn. And so I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make is they just want to learn everything or just some very broad stuff. But what David pushed me is, “Look,” he’s like, “You obviously have a skill and a natural ability to be a marketer.” So he said, “Go and study marketing. Go and pick up the best marketing books of all time and study people and copywriting.”
Dave: 27:33 And so, that helped me because I didn’t really like reading and learning because I didn’t know what to focus on, but now that I’ve found something that I love and can, and I see the impact of that makes me better every day, I can go read something in a book and then go apply it the next day, I want to read more, I want to learn more.
Dave: 27:49 So, I would always think about like what is the thing that you want to go learn right now? Let’s say you make videos, all right, your video content producer. Go and study storytelling and dig up all the great books about making movies, and films, and storytelling, and story structure, blah, blah, blah, because that’s going to help you go make better videos. And then so when you take what you learned from that book and go apply it to videos, you’re going to make better videos. And when your videos are better, you’re going to get more feedback and more love, and you’re going to want to go make more videos. And so it becomes this, kind of like this never-ending loop.
Fiona: 28:24 Perfect. Really good advice. What’s the worst experience you’ve had working for someone?
Dave: 28:31 I don’t, I haven’t really had a bad experience, to be honest. I’ve been lucky to work for some amazing people who have taken me under their wing and mentored me. I think part of it is because I’ve always been willing to learn and put in the work for them. But, I’ve had a really good stretch of managers and bosses. I honestly can’t think of … I grew [inaudible 00:28:53], I’ve worked at five companies, and I think I can literally think of my boss at every single one of those companies, and we’ve had an amazing relationship, and I couldn’t, I have nothing bad to say. So I think that that’s got to be a part of your criteria for yourself, right, is can I go work for somebody that I can learn from, and will that person helped me grow. And I’ve been lucky enough to say yes to that at every stage of my career so far.
Fiona: 29:18 That is lucky. But again, as you say, it’s probably just being a little bit more selective over who you are going to work for and why, which is always a very relevant thing to ask yourself if you are in that sort of search mode at all. With pressures of general life, how do you manage the work-life balance, and how important is that in today’s society, Dave? I mean, I know you’ve got a little lady, haven’t you? I think Annie, is it? [crosstalk 00:29:44]
Dave: 29:44 I do, yeah.
Fiona: 29:47 [crosstalk 00:29:47] recently online on Instagram and stuff. So, how do you manage that with everything else that you do, the book writing, the category startup, the Seeking Wisdom podcast, with other HYPERGROWTH conferences? How do you fit it all in?
Dave: 30:05 Yeah. I mean, Ultimately, I fit it all in because it’s really important to me to be a great husband and a great father, and I want to invest as much time there as I do at work. And so ultimately, it’s just become, it’s a priority for me, and so I make it a priority. And so, the way that I fit it all in is I try to be very intentional with my time. This hasn’t always been the case, but I say no to almost every meeting now.
Dave: 30:35 And especially today with technology, you don’t need to have meeting. So many of your meetings can be an email, or they could be at video. And so, I try to say no to almost every meeting, and I also block my calendar every single day from nine o’clock, from 9:00 in the morning until 1:00 PM, no excuses. And I really, I usually don’t let anybody book over that, and that allows me time to focus on the big work that’s important for the day. And not only do I block the time from 9:00 to 1:00, but I actually schedule out specific tasks.
Dave: 31:10 So instead of just having my to-do list in a notebook or in Trello, I have it there, but then I go and schedule it on specific days, and so, and for specific times. And that has been a huge help for me because you can’t look at your to-do list that has 15 things that are all important on them, and then even if you have your time blocked from 9:00 to 1:00, you then just kind of sit there and think about, “Which things should I go do?”
Dave: 31:33 And so I’ve found that, at least for me personally, picking off one or two specific things every single day and scheduling the time to do them, it makes sure that I get it done because it gives myself some type of deadline and forcing function. But it also gives me the mental space to just say, “Hey, don’t do 15 things today. Do these two things.”
Dave: 31:51 And so for example, today I have to work on a deck, and so I have two hours blocked later today. And the only thing, I’m turning off Slack, and I’m turning off email, and my only measure of productivity is can I get that thing done. And then in my … I have a system where on Trello I have things I want to do tomorrow. So we’re recording this on a Wednesday, so I have the things scheduled that I want to do on Thursday and the things that I want to do on Friday. And that’s been a huge help because it reduces this mental load of when am I going to do this stuff. It gives me specific times on my calendar to do them, and it has made me so much more productive and efficient.
Dave: 32:28 And also just knowing that like 99% of the things that you think you need to do are not important. There’s always a list of, there’s always two or three things that have the biggest impact. So, I try to be very intentional with my time. And then I also just give myself deadlines to do work, and that allows me to … to leave work at 5:00 every single day, to be home for bath time, for dinner and bath time with my daughter and my wife, and not have to worry about did I get the things that I needed to do done. And it helps me really managed both.
Fiona: 33:00 Great. Really good tips and advice there. What’s the book you recommend the most for B2B marketers?
Dave: 33:08 Ogilvy on Advertising. I would start there.
Fiona: 33:10 Well, I’d also add Conversational Marketing and This Won’t Scale.
Dave: 33:13 Yeah, sure. You can add that. Go ahead.
Fiona: 33:17 Stuff you’ve written. And then last but not least, what parting words of wisdom or advice would you share with our audience?
Dave: 33:25 I would just say stay creative. And the reason why you have to stay creative is because I think the lines between B2B and B2C are blurring, and there’s so much noise in the B2B market today that if you’re a B2B marketer, don’t settle for how things have always been done. Don’t settle for whatever’s happening in the market right now, in your world, in your industry. Go out and try new things, and be willing to, when, if everybody in your industry is going right, I would try to go left and find the gaps. So, don’t worry about what everybody else is doing. You have to be able to pave your own path, and that’s the way you’re going to get people to pay attention to you today.
Fiona: 34:00 Great. Really good advice. Thank you ever so much for taking part, Dave. It’s really appreciated.
Dave: 34:05 Yeah. Great. Thank you for having me.
Fiona: 34:07 So there you have it. Career advice from a real marketing expert and leader in the field. Thanks for listening. If you’re enjoying this podcast, then please leave us a review in iTunes. We’d love to hear your feedback.