Episode 109 – Don’t be afraid to make yourself known.

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Episode 109 – Don’t be afraid to make yourself known.

Don't Be Afraid to Make Yourself Known | Sideways8

Adam: [00:08] Hi, welcome to the Good People, Good Marketing podcast, a podcast about digital marketing and how to make it better so the good people and good organizations can have good marketing as well. I’m your host, Adam Walker, co-founder of Sideways8, a digital marketing agency and 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting events that build forty-eight websites for forty-eight nonprofits in forty-eight hours.

[00:29] My guest on the show today is Tiffany Tooley. Tiffany is a product marketing director at Salesforce. Tiffany has the pleasure of using her fifteen-plus years of marketing experience to develop strategies that increase engagement with marketers around the world. Her background spans across several industries including marketing technology, educational technology, and food/beverage, and she’s worked at brands like Silverpop, IBM Watson Marketing, Blackboard, and First Data. Tiffany loves to travel and meet new people. When she’s not busy planning her next trip or spending time with family, she spends an obscene amount of time online coming up with yet another house project, volunteering at local arts and community organizations and eagerly anticipating the next Star Wars release and/or college football season. Tiffany, welcome to the show.

Tiffany: [01:17] Thank you.

Adam: [01:19] I love the personality in your bio. It overflows with personality. It’s kinda fun to read. I like that.

Tiffany: [01:25] That’s awesome. Well, I got to let people know who I am and what I’m about.

Adam: [01:30] The travel and the obscene amounts of time online coming up with another house project, it sort of made me think about my own list of house projects that is undone right now, so that’s a good reminder.

Tiffany: [01:41] Got to get them done.

Adam: [01:43] That’s right, there’s always stuff to do. When you have a place to live, you always want to improve it. Well hey, thanks for joining me on the show. Let’s go ahead and dive right in. So related to digital marketing, can you share something that has worked well for you?

Tiffany: [01:56] Yeah, I can actually share a few things. When I think about today and where we are as marketers and the industry of marketing, things have shifted quite a bit and I know for many of us, a lot of it comes back down to that left brain, right brain continuum, right? And I will definitely say, in a former life as an art educator, and it’s crazy to think about how much I personally and professionally evolved, but as a former art educator, I’m definitely more of a right-brain thinker. But I think what’s worked for me really well as a marketer is being focused on data. And I think if you think about, again, where the industry of marketing has shifted over the years, we’ve moved from this very gut-driven, visceral, five folks sitting around a table making decisions kind of marketing, to leaning more on cohorts to drive decision-making to know we should be focused really heavily on data. And for me, that’s been an integral part of my success, is being very data-driven and using data first and foremost to drive my decisions as a marketer. I think especially, again, thinking back to where we are today from a marketing perspective, using data used to be a pretty manual process. I mean, it was painful to pour through all those mounds and mounds of data, especially as we’ve increased the proliferation of devices, and we have all of these new channels. I mean, data is just like pouring out of our ears, but now that we have technologies that make it easier for us to make sense of that data, why not use it? So that’s been a big one for me.

[03:47] I think secondarily, I am definitely reliant upon data, but if you go back to that data versus people debate… And I get it. A lot of times as marketers, we look at the data but then, from a people perspective, I know it feels like I should be doing this. I get it. Like, the struggle is real. So I think data should inspire our decisions and certainly has inspired mine. But for me as a marketer, it’s important for me, and continues to be important and will be important in the future, to stay 100% people-centric. As marketers, we should be 100% focused on making it easier for people to do business with us, making it easier for people to take care of themselves, making it easier for them to live their lives day in and day out and make their lives better.

[04:46] If we’re thinking about the “if”—if we should be doing something, when we should be doing something, how we should be doing something—it should all be aligned to that idea, really making lives better.

Adam: [05:00] I love it.

Tiffany: [05:00] Oh yeah. And I think it’s funny when we talk about if we should be or when we should be. Timing is everything, right? Just ask Apple, who’s just had some recent debacles in the news about their battery life and one thing and another. When you make those decisions that maybe are— Data inspires you, and it’s positive for the bottom line, but doesn’t positively impact people, the ramifications of that are profound. You can see that recently with their 15% drop. I love Apple, but those kind of decisions can be challenging. People is a big thing and staying people-centric.

[05:50] Again, it’s that focus on making people’s lives better, but it’s also about making sure that we’re keeping our customers and our buyers and our audiences, making sure their expectations are top of mind when we’re making decisions around engagement or privacy and security. A couple other things that have been really important for me are focus on measurement and impact. Again, as marketers, a lot of times we kind of pull the trigger almost like a machine gun series of tactics and we don’t think about the impact of what we’re doing. We go back and we say, “Okay, we did this webinar, we did this campaign,” but how did it perform? Are we making sure that we’re optimizing to make the good things even better? Are we making sure—

Adam: [06:46] Was it effective?

Tiffany: [06:46] Absolutely. Did it work? Should we be doing it again? Right? Should we stop doing that and how do we—

Adam: [06:55] That’s actually one of the key questions for every marketer. “Should we stop doing this?” I feel like we don’t ask that question nearly enough.

Tiffany: [06:59] We do not. I feel like we don’t take a pause. And I get it; things are moving quickly today, both as marketers and data and the ways in which we engage and our expectations for engagement back. But, I do think it’s important, and I’ve seen that it’s been important to me, to just take time to pause and go, “Okay, was that valuable?” And if it’s not, hey, let’s not be afraid to shake some stuff up and break a few things, and take a step back and say, “This didn’t work, how do we make it better?”

Adam: [07:34] Right. I love that.

Tiffany: [07:35] Those are a few things that I think have been important to me. As a marketer in practice, personally, some things have been that are super important to be— Like I said, it’s this idea of not being afraid, if you will, to again, take a step back, see if things are working, not just from our campaigns and the initiatives that we are putting into markets, but even taking a look at our organizations and our internal teams and raising our hands when we see things that aren’t working internally. We’ve gone on record for this here at Salesforce, but we had an individual, not in the Marketing Department, but several years ago, raise their hand, and say to our founder, “Hey, we’re noticing that equality in pay is an issue. We’re concerned.” And he took a step back and said, “I hear you. I want to go out and investigate that and validate some of this. If this is the case, I’m going to fix it.” Those kind of things, not being afraid to stand up, not being afraid to raise your hand and be vocal if you see opportunities to improve or optimize your team, or how things are working internally, processes, I think is super important.

[09:09] And then last but not least, knowing your value, as a marketer and as a professional. Making sure that you’re coming to work and presenting who you are as an individual, your true self, and then being super honest about who you are, where you’re coming from in your perspective. This idea of radical candor is top of mind for me moving into 2019, not just with myself but with my team.

Adam: [09:36] Have you read that book? I assume?

Tiffany: [09:38] I have read that book and we actually had the author come in and present to us last year. It’s a sentiment that we’re trying to adopt more and more within our teams because I think it makes for better working relationships and better output at the end of the day.

Adam: [09:55] I totally agree. I’ve read that book, I’ve had other people in my team read the book. One of the company values that we have is to be very candid, very transparent and we even talk about that when we talk to clients. It’s like, Hey, look where we are, who we are. We say what we think and we do it with kindness and with love, but we’re going to be very honest. Most people really liked that. There are a few that, they would rather us dance around them a bit I think, but it works out okay. I love that you listened to that and your stuff here. That’s fantastic. Question number two: related to digital marketing, can you tell us something that has not worked well that we can learn from?

Tiffany: [10:36] Yeah, it’s almost flipping, looking at the opposite of a few things I just shared. What hasn’t worked for me is being afraid to break things. If I go back and I look back at my career, especially some of the earlier days when I was more of a junior marketer, I kind of fall prey to this idea of you’re coming into a new organization, new team, you see things that just don’t make sense, you know? Wait a minute, why are they doing it this way? But you’re afraid to raise your hand and say so because you feel like they must know better. They’ve been doing this longer than me. But it’s one of those things where you have to realize you’re here for a reason. Sometimes that outsider or different perspective is exactly why you’re there.

Tiffany: [11:28] So don’t be afraid to make yourself known and your opinion known. Personally, as a marketer, some of the things that haven’t worked were certainly not presenting my representative rather than presenting who I am. One of the things that has worked is presenting my true self. On the flip side, it’s not presenting that true self. As women and I am a woman of color, I think we can sometimes try to portray who we think we should be, rather than who we actually are. That’s relevant for all different types of people, regardless of their ethnicity or their sexual or gender orientation, or even people that have military backgrounds and experiences. It’s important to come to work as your true self and to not avoid having those difficult conversations. If something isn’t working, either with your role or within the organization, like we talked about, that radical candor is super important. What hasn’t worked was avoiding those difficult conversations. It’s super important if we want our organizations and team to succeed. There’s been a ton of great research that shows that diversity of that really drive success.

Adam: [13:02] Oh yeah, big time. I couldn’t agree more. The more diverse our teams are, in terms of really every single angle, the more diverse we are, the better our thinking is, the more holistic it is, and the more effective we can be at what we’re doing. I fully agree and that’s not always easy to do, but I think it’s really important for the success of our organizations.

Tiffany: [13:22] Yes, and our campaigns.

Adam: [13:23] Yeah, that’s right. And our campaigns, it’s right, yes. I love that. Okay. Question number three: related to digital marketing, can you tell us something you are excited about?

Tiffany: [13:33] Yeah, there’s a few things. If I think about 2019 and beyond, certainly I’m in technology, so change is a constant. I am excited to see all of the changes, both from a technology perspective as well as innovation perspective coming down the horizon. One of the things in particular that I’m super excited about is the evolution of AI and the integration of that into so many things that we’re doing. It just makes it so much easier as marketers for us to make sense of our data and know our customers and personalize at scale. It’s going beyond just email personalization and leveraging AI for mobile personalization. Ads, right? Really personalized, hyper-personalized ads, Personalization based on weather and so many of these other data points that you can now unify and then activate against.

Tiffany: [14:33] This idea growing evolution of a connected customer experience, right? So being able to-, and it goes back to that point of making it easier for people that get done what they want to get done, but this new connectivity and growing connectivity from web to mobile to in-store, from home to in-store, from, across IoT devices. All of these things are just kind of smoothing things out and making it easier, not only for our customers and our buyers to do the things that they want to do, but making it easier for us to engage with them. That, I’m super excited by. Another thing that I’m seeing more and more is this idea of marketing, embracing creative diversity and inclusion. We kind of take a step back and over the past couple of years, and we’ve seen some stumbles with folks like H&M, Pepsi and Heineken, whoops, you know? They’ve made some mistakes, but they’ve pivoted on those.

Tiffany: [15:40] It’s important for us to one, acknowledge those things and then two, figure out how do we pivot and how do we start to embrace greater diversity inclusion both in our content and in our future marketing leaders. From a content perspective, like we were talking about, and in campaigns, it has to be, if it’s supposed to resonate with a particular group of people, it should be representative of who it’s supposed to engage. and resonate with, and part of that is making sure that you have the right content, but also making sure that you have the right eyeballs and brains around the table that are creating that content.

Tiffany: [16:32] If I look at a report that was recently released by the ANA, which is the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing, they just released this report entitled “A Diversity Report for Advertising Marketing Industry,” which was really interesting in showing some of the things that we know. It’s definitely more of a female-dominated industry. I think they said 63%, except when it gets to leadership, which is down to 46% and certainly, at the minority level of 7%. Things aren’t perfect, but I think step one in making change is acknowledging there’s an issue and looking to make a change. So I’m excited by that and excited by reports even like the McKinsey study that shows that they are coming out and gaining momentum at executive levels, where folks are taking a step back and going, wait a minute, studies are now saying that companies that have gender diversity and more ethnic diversity are outperforming their competitors by up to 35%. That’s huge.

Adam: [17:44] Wow. Yeah, that’s a huge number.

Tiffany: [17:47] That’s absolutely huge. I’m excited by things like that. Last but not least, one of the last things that really gets me excited and happy about where things are going to in 2019 is this idea of mentorship. We’re all marketers. We are all growing. Certainly some of us are in leadership positions, some of us are still in school, and kind of emerging in the early days of our career, but I think we all have a responsibility regardless of wherever we are in our career to give back, usher, and nurture a new generation of marketers. I’m really passionate about that, both as a mentor and a mentee. All of those things combined into what I’m excited about for 2019.

Adam: [18:45] Wow. That’s a fantastic list of things you’re excited about. I love that. Well, let me see if I can recap just a couple of high points from our conversation so far. As it relates to digital marketing, what’s worked well for you, you mentioned data-driven over gut-driven has worked well, but we have to balance data versus people because we can’t move away from being people-focused. You mentioned that as you are people-focused, you need to think in terms of “if, when and how” and that we also need to have measurement and impact. So we’ve got to optimize our campaigns, pivot, and improve our value. You also mentioned not being afraid to break things because when coming to new places, sometimes we can shake things up with a new perspective and gain a lot of value that way. And we also need to know our value, be ready to present our true self and have radical candor, which I could not agree more. I love that book. Everybody should read the book, “Radical Candor”. It’s very uplifting, I guess, is the word I would use for it there.

[19:46] For question number two: related to digital marketing, what has not worked well that we can learn from, you said being afraid to break things, falling prey to the “They must know better. They’re doing this thing for a reason and they know better than I do, so I’m going to be quiet.” That’s not a good way to go. Also, being sure that we’re presenting our representative and women and minorities are also being represented and avoiding difficult conversations is never a good idea there either.

[20:12] Then for question number three, what are you excited about, you mentioned that change is constant. AI is coming along and making our data collection and our data analysis much easier. Connected customer experience from web to mobile to in-store is changing the game. Then marketing, embracing greater diversity inclusion is really important. Then of course, and mentorship, both being mentored and mentoring is having a great impact. Does that sound about right? Did I miss anything from that?

Tiffany: [20:39] No, that’s perfect. Yeah, I think you summarized it well. It’s all about continuing to grow and evolve, continuing to challenge the status quo and innovate and then really blazing new trails to help you better know your customers, better engage and do better things both personally and professionally in 2019.

Adam: [20:58] Fantastic. Well, this has been great. I really appreciate you taking the time to come on the show. Do you have any final thoughts that you want to share with our listeners?

Tiffany: [21:07] Yeah, I would just remind folks about that last point that I mentioned about mentorship. I encourage all of you to continue to give back to our future generation of marketers. That’s the best way, I believe, to continue to drive innovation and growth within our industry.

Adam: [21:25] I totally agree. I totally agree. I think there’s always opportunities to give back to people that are just getting started and if we can help them avoid the mistakes that we made along the way, the whole industry gains from that and certainly no one is harmed. So I think that’s a really important thing as well. So Tiffany, thanks so much for being on the show and hope to have you back another time and we’ll be talking again soon.

Tiffany: [21:45] Thanks, Adam. Appreciate you having me.

Adam: [21:48] Thanks for listening to the Good People, Good Marketing podcast. To get more resources about digital marketing, make sure to go to goodpeoplegoodmarketing.com where you can find more podcasts, blogs, and other fun resources. Also, if you want to find me, your host, you can find me on Twitter @ajwalker, and on my blog at adamjwalker.com where I blog about leadership, productivity, habit building, and the craziness of having five kids. Thanks, and tune in next time.

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