Alan Hart, host of Marketing Today, goes behind the scenes with the world's best chief marketing officers and business leaders. Listen in to learn their strategies, tips and advice. What makes a great brand, marketing campaign, or turnaround? Learn from the experience and stories of these great marketing and business leaders so you can unleash your potential.
Emojis, Expression & Leadership with Holler's Travis Montaque
On this 236th episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart speaks with Travis Montaque, the founder and CEO of Holler. This messaging technology company uses AI and content to improve consumer communication online. Holler is on the frontline of the ongoing battle to bring human emotion into the world of technology.
The conversation with Montaque begins with his time at Chick-fil-a as a teenager, starting as a cashier and eventually working his way to the role of district manager by the time he was 19-years-old. Montaque was able to make the "fastest transition from Main Street to Wall Street" that I have ever seen, leaving Chick-fil-a to work for a private equity firm at only the age of 20. Montaque then discusses the difficulties of deciding not to accept an offer with Goldman Sachs and instead start Holler and how the pursuit of passion "inspires people around you to invest with whatever they can."
We then dive into Montaque's efforts as a successful black entrepreneur to bring diversity into the corporate environment, but "diversity shouldn't be the end goal, changing the current corporate culture should." Holler is working to create a culture that is inclusive and focused on belonging. Finally, Montaque breaks down this idea of "service, not surveillance" and how big-tech needs to change how it interacts with its consumers if there is to be a relationship of trust heading into the future.
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
Travis went from working at Chick-fil-a as a teenage cashier to a private equity firm in Miami during college. 1:43
At an early age, Travis was able to learn valuable lessons through hard work at Chick-fil-a. 4:00
Travis had aspirations of working on Wall Street but ultimately felt that he couldn't make the impact that he wanted. 4:28
A side data in Big Tech led Travis to leave his job at Goldman Sachs and start Holler. 5:38
It was a rough process to explain to his mother the switch to a job that didn't guarantee an income, but it was worth it. 6:58
Holler uses AI to make consumer conversations online better by providing content that consumers want. 8:19
Any sticker that you have been able to add to a Venmo note has been provided by Holler. 9:41
Travis partnered with students in the engineering school to create the prototype, pitched to investors, and hired employees. 10:18
Until he had the seed money that he needed, Travis had to use inspiration to bring in the investors he was looking for. 12:40
Initially, focusing on expressive emojis wasn't a thing, but evolving from the initial company brought the ability to share feelings. 14:16
There has been a rise in categorical messaging, spreading to just about every category you can think of. 16:06
Body language makes up so much of home emotions are perceived, which led to the use of emojis in Holler's peer-to-peer communication. 17:12
Holler is expanding into different brands and marketing companies, allowing those companies to connect with their consumers. 18:35
Share rates have reached up to 21% with some companies, bringing engagement to an all-time high. 21:10
Travis has achieved a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial success and also happens to be a black man; unique experiences have been had. 24:18
There is an issue of investment pipelines in industries where institutions only get their resources from the same source. 25:45
Travis believes that America's entire corporate culture needs to be changed to include diversity at the highest ranks. 28:45
Holler is working on expanding its perspectives to include people from all over the world. 30:20
There are so many issues at this moment in time that the responsibility of leaders to take care of people is more prevalent than ever. 33:03
People will get upset when their leaders don't know their beliefs, but that doesn't mean they need to know all the answers. 36:00
Travis's experience as a fir
Leading 2X Growth with Steve Schlesinger in the Market Research Industry
On this 235th episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart speaks with Steve Schlesinger, founder and CEO of Schlesinger Group, a market research company. Schlesinger has been a part of the family business for over 35 years, working to take the company to greater heights than it has ever seen!
We start our conversation with the history of Schlesinger Group and how Schlesinger's mother's affinity for hard work set the foundation for years to come. Over the last 35 years, Schlesinger Group has experienced multiple chapters of growth. "The goal for us is really to maintain a nimble and agile approach to how we run the business and how we build the business," Schlesinger says regarding that growth. Schlesinger then dives into the recent partnership with the private equity firm Gauge Capital and how that has led to the company doubling in size in just the last 14 months. Schlesinger talks about the best ways to ensure success when growing a business and how it's vitally important to "make sure you have a great team around you."
We then talk about Schlesinger's angel and private investments. When I ask what Schlesinger's criteria are when deciding what businesses to invest in, he says, "at the end of the day, I actually look at the people first, then the idea." Schlesinger knows that people, whether they be employees or clients, are a critical component to any business's success!
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
Steve lives in New York City and had COVID back in March, but he didn't find out until his knee surgery in May. 1:31
Taking a year off from grad school at Georgetown, Steve worked in project management for his mother's research company. 2:36
Steve's mom was a hard worker and really enjoyed talking to people, but that didn't necessarily make her a natural entrepreneur. 4:13
Growing up in the depression helped Steve's mom set the foundation for her company and her family. 5:10
In his youth, Steve and his siblings always did what they could to contribute to the business whenever they could. 5:42
Over the last 35 years, there have been multiple chapters in the family business that has seen drastic change and growth. 6:47
Bringing in Gauge Capital as a private equity partner helps set the business up for its next chapter as more digitally focused. 7:45
Finding a private equity partner helped Steve and his partner further craft their strategy moving into the future. 8:29
Quantitative and online qualitative sectors saw massive growth after partnering with Gauge. 9:40
Massive growth to different markets all over the world has left gaps that present an opportunity to make the process more seamless. 11:15
Steve looks at the time horizon in two ways regarding Gauge Capital and the business itself. 12:30
To help your business grow significantly, make sure you have the right team around you. 13:26
Keep a good handle on the market and what your clients think of you at all times. 13:55
Don't let that desire slip away. It's only going to become more challenging as you grow. 14:15
The Insight industry's future consists of brands utilizing technology to have a greater understanding of consumer demands. 15:13
After acquiring Market Cube, Steve's business has transformed from a user to a developer. 17:30
Many industries are trying to leverage tech and create products but have left the critical people component behind. 18:56
There are a multitude of roles and asks with the types of work that clients do for their internal clients. 20:38
Steve has a handful of successful side businesses that help him support other people's entrepreneurial journeys. 22:08
Being the executive for other businesses has allowed Steve to reflect on his journey as an entrepreneur. 23:10
A few of Steve's favorite side businesses lie in the Spirits, Tech, and HR Management industries. 24:00
Having the right team and people involved in a company is Steve'
Marketing in the cloud with NetApp CMO James Whitemore
On this 234th episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart speaks with the CMO of NetApp, James Whitemore. Over the last six years, NetApp has made the switch from a traditional data-storage company to a cloud-based storage company, and Whitemore is here to talk all about it.
We start our conversation off with Whitemore's childhood in the U.K. and how an affinity for toying with technology sparked an early interest in the field. Whitemore then outlines his professional journey, starting as a salesman for a mobile phone company in the U.K., which led him to work for big tech in the data storage field in the U.S. Whitemore made the switch to the startup industry and that eventually led him to NetApp. NetApp has been "managing large-scale data storage" for over 30 years in countries all over the world. We then dive into the recent shift into large-scale cloud data storage and how that has affected NetApp's sales and marketing processes.
Whitemore's background in sales helped him make the shift, staying true to the guiding question, "what's the selling experience got to look like for that client?" He has found that there is no cookie-cutter process, and the clients must "pick their own journey." Whitemore then touches on how the shift in technology has forced a change in employee demographics, stating that "we had a lot of people who understand how to use the technology...but if you don't have people that really know how to put it to work," then you're stuck. In a world that is navigating chaos, NetApp is trying to "redefine what enterprise-class cloud storage services should look like!"
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
James grew up in and around technology, knowing that he wanted to work in tech from a young age. 1:02
After University in the UK, James began his career selling mobile phones before moving to Colorado to join the storage industry. 1:31
James became tired of big tech and made the switch over to helping bring startups off the ground. 2:45
NetApp has been managing large-scale data environments for over 30 years for companies all over the world. 3:21
Over the last 5 or 6 years, NetApp has switched from storing data in large data centers to storing data in clouds, making data movement much easier. 4:21
NetApp has had to reinvent the company to serve both the data center and cloud audiences. 5:56
The entire sales process has changed because the demographics of those sold to has changed with the cloud. 7:01
Sales cycles have been very predictable for the most part until cloud selling reared its head. 8:26
James's background in sales has made the switch over to cloud sales smoother. 10:36
NetApp has had to throw away the classic qualification process, essentially allowing clients to choose their own journey. 12:50
Marketing organization, funding models, and metrics have had to shift after 20+ years of traditional infrastructure. 13:28
Many services that had traditionally been outsourced had to be brought in-house because they are core to what NetApp does. 14:24
It's taken over three years for the company's demographics to change following the shift in technology. 16:23
The revenue-marketing team is working towards shifting the company mentality from lead generation to revenue generation. 17:37
NetApp's ability to help its customers transform their companies has skyrocketed with the shift in technology and people. 18:54
New interest and new buyers are coming in at an incredible rate for a 30-year-old company. 20:16
NetApp knows where to look for their customers and what information those people need to hear. 21:10
I. bots have become an essential part of the selling process by acquiring information from potential customers. 22:14
James is on a mission to redefine cloud storage services to one of convenience for the users. 22:57
The marketing team focuses on what their audience is going through during th
New Brand Business Models with Erich Joachimsthaler
On this 233rd episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart interviews Erich Joachimsthaler, founder and CEO of Vivaldi Group. Joachimsthaler's company works to keep its clients ahead of the continually evolving marketing game by remaining innovative at the intersection of purpose and profit.
Originally from Germany, Joachimsthaler shares how academia brought him to Kansas of all places, and eventually landed him in New York, where he lives today. He looked at the option of going straight into the workforce after school in Germany but decided that "success in life is to minimize the time between graduation and retirement." We then discuss how the marketing landscape has changed over the last 10 to 20 years. "The value shifts now the demand side where the consumers are," and can no longer be providing better service alone.
Joachimsthaler then discusses the concept of his new book, The Interaction Field, and how "when everybody participates in an interaction field...everybody benefits." We found ourselves in agreement that "value is creation" and how the road to success involves many helping hands along the way. Nobody does it alone. Amid a global pandemic, collaboration amongst industry leaders is needed now more than ever!
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
After graduation, Erich made his way to the US to further his education and experience the world. 1:20
Erich chose Kansas because of his desire to expand upon his small amount of English language. 2:00
After being a professor for 15-20 years, Erich decided to make his way to New York, thus leaving academics. 2:55
Vivaldi Group works towards helping new companies grow through innovation in new directions. 4:06
Erich felt there were new ways of creating values for other companies, and that belief led him to write his new book. 5:37
Brand marketing recently shifted from the supply side to the demand side, now focusing on the consumers. 6:20
Everyone in the world lives in an interaction field through network technology in a specific ecosystem. 7:11
Value is no longer created solely on better service but heavily focuses on the demand side in companies such as Uber. 9:00
It's no longer about how much money a company pumps into advertising. 10:10
Around 2008, people began to realize that technologies that come together tend to mature at the same time. 10:42
There are ways to be successful other than creating a platform by finding the right ecosystem, but innovation must remain successful. 12:35
Many business models exist today that have proven successful, but these models evolve. 14:30
McDonald's has evolved its business model from a pipeline model to a platform model because it can directly interact with consumers on their phones. 16:00
Companies can collect data points through customer interaction on their platforms to increase productivity and profit. 18:56
Interaction fields create value by sharing collected data with every participant in particular industries. 20:44
Leaders today must collaborate to benefit everyone and solve significant industry problems. 22:45
Erich found that motivation came from different sources between Germany and his time in the United States. 26:05
It's vitally important to put love where your labor is; you will enjoy what you are doing for the rest of your life. 28:00
From a book that he recently read, Erich learned that Einstein's wife did a lot of the mathematical equations for him; nobody does it alone. 30:00
The pandemic has shown the world that nobody finds success alone; many people help along the way. 31:38
Companies like Alibaba excite Erich because they were able to create a network of commerce that connected a country before it ever existed. 32:46
The brands that are creating something truly incredible do not even have to advertise because they are deeply integrated into consumers' lives. 35:00
There has been a massive shift
Virtual Marketing Teams with Planable Founder Xenia Muntean
On this 232nd episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart interviews the founder of Planable, Xenia Muntean. Planable allows marketing teams to collaborate, and even more importantly, visualize the content that they are creating before posting it online.
Our conversation starts with Muntean's experience growing up in the Republic of Moldova, a post-Soviet country in Eastern Europe. This environment taught Muntean the discipline, resiliency, and work ethic that led her to land on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, though the journey wasn't always smooth. Muntean says, "it's only a path now looking back, connecting all the dots and looking backward."
She then talks about how the problems with collaboration in her first marketing business led her to create Planable out of necessity. The best part about Planable is "the clarity that the tool gives you around your content." Now, marketing teams all over the world use Planable to help "them simplify their content workflows." Muntean then discusses how Planable is "more about the people than it is about the content itself" and removes miscommunication during collaboration. Finally, we discuss the current state of the world and the challenges that have been presented by the global pandemic. Muntean simply states, in the beginning," uncertainty was the biggest challenge."
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
Xenia was born and raised in the Republic of Moldova, a post-Soviet country in Eastern Europe. 1:27
Xenia learned a lot about independence, resilience, and survival from spending her life in such a unique country. 2:08
The path from Moldova to Forbes 30-Under-30 list was a long one filled with its unique challenges. 3:00
During her second year in university, Xenia started her first social media marketing business. 3:58
Collaborating with clients and her team while trying to build incredible content was a very big struggle at first. 4:46
Planable was built out of a necessity to collaborate on content with both clients and employees. 5:49
In a country that was not her own, pitching to the venture industry in London was made easier by a welcoming community. 6:52
Tech Stars was made up of a majority of female CEOs, which made the transition that much more comfortable for Xenia. 7:49
Xenia built her business on what she could control and didn't pay attention to any bias towards her as a woman. 8:46
Planable is designed for teams to collaborate on content and is used by companies all over the world. 9:10
As a workflow system, Planable allows social media teams to visualize and coordinate content before it is ever posted. 10:30
Planable takes the guessing out of posting content on social media. 11:30
B2B marketing for Planable relies a lot on inbound marketing and just recently started using influencers. 11:44
The first season of the People of Marketing Podcast is wrapping up and has proved very difficult but useful as a marketing tool. 13:27
Xenia has used her podcast to listen to the journeys and challenges that marketing leaders have faced on their way to the top. 14:20
Planable focuses on the people in the marketing teams rather than the content itself. 15:20
Though the ongoing pandemic didn't change the product, it did change how Planable had to communicate the product to clients and potential clients. 16:28
Offering a free trial and discounts was Planable's way of helping clients that might be going through financial struggles. 17:20
Cuts may have hit the marketing space the hardest, and COVID slowed the expected growth for collaboration tools. 18:50
Embracing remote work requires an understanding of the issues and challenges that are facing your team. 20:16
Planable replaces all the tools that present opportunities for gaps in communication and clarity. 21:28
Xenia's Facebook business, crafting jewelry with her mother, taught her quite a bit about discipline and work ethi
Doing Good with Good Man Brand CMO Nancy Richardson
On this 231st episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart interviews Good Man Brand CMO Nancy Richardson. Richardson has held executive positions at companies like Starbucks and Lululemon, and that experience led her to where she is today.
We kick off our conversation talking about Richardson's past, how being born and raised in Hawaii led her to a career that she just wasn't happy with, and how her competitive nature from her soccer-playing days brought her into the marketing field. Holding executive positions for a series of startups and fast-growth companies taught Richardson the value of a dollar. "When you have a company that has a finite amount of money in the bank, you have to be so strategic and work with your partners to keep it alive."
Richardson dives into her ventures. She founded Mom and Pop Shop, a company that pools readily available marketing talent to avoid contracting agencies' overhead. Her desire to provide value inspired her to write "Work Freely," a book about loving life and your job at the same time, with the idea "to create something that can help other people." Next, Richardson talks all about working for Russell Wilson's Good Man Brand, where "impact is the strategy; revenue is the result." Good Man Brand creates clothing and shoes "that are made to flex between home, work, and day." Aligned with a plethora of foundations aimed at changing the world for the better, Richardson and Good Man Brand want to show the world that "doing business and doing good are the same thing!"
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
Nancy's past as a competitive soccer player and strategy-driven mindset led her to practice kickboxing and jiu-jitsu. 1:43
Born and raised in Hawaii, Nancy eventually found herself in a banking career that she wanted no part of. 2:22
Nancy landed her first marketing role at Starbucks, which led her to become VP at Lululemon. 2:45
Learning how to build a company from the ground up led Nancy to join Good Man Brand. 3:20
Mom and Pop Shop was built out of necessity to stay agile with readily available marketing talent without the overhead. 5:08
Work Freely, Nancy's book, shows people how to love their job and their life simultaneously. 6:00
It took Nancy 3 years to write her book, three years filled with self-doubt and vulnerability. 6:54
Russel Wilson and his cofounders founded Good Man Brand to create a large-scale positive impact. 7:44
3% of every sale is donated to the Why Not You Foundation to enable and power today's youth. 8:30
Every $100 donated to Friend's of the Children provides mentors for children that need the most help. 9:05
The Everyday Hero Project aims to lead, inspire, and live by highlighting everyday heroes nominated in their communities. 9:57
Everyday heroes do what they do to make a positive impact, not so much for the recognition. 10:50
The goal is to tell a bigger story around being an everyday hero and what that means to those affected. 11:24
Good Man Brand takes a unique approach when it comes to prioritizing impact over revenue. 12:29
With impact as a strategy and revenue, as a result, Good Man Brand has reached its target of over 300% growth year-over-year. 13:45
Doing business and doing good are completely aligned in Good Man Brand, allowing for positive impact and growth. 15:13
Having the right team and people have allowed Nancy to grow with the mindset of making her role obsolete. 16:24
Good Man Brand creates clothing that moves with you throughout the day. 18:27
There is an equation that relates to looking good, feeling good, and doing good. 19:17
Growing up in a traditional Chinese family showed Nancy that working hard isn't enough to rise above. 19:49
You can learn the most from the people that you clash with the hardest. 21:14
Nancy invested in a firepit this summer to spend more quality time with her family at home. 22:22
For Nancy, it's about a m