How to Build a Dynamic B2B Marketing Team: Mitch Fanning

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

It's one thing to do marketing; it's another thing to build a cohesive, collaborative, and productive marketing team.

In this episode of Marketing Spark, Mitch Fanning provides insight into what it takes to build a team that drives marketing success.

One of the things that Mitch likes in a marketing hire is "grit", which is the ability to get the job done even when things are challenging.

Mitch also talks about how to create a partnership with a CEO to ensure that marketing gets the support it needs, as well as his marketing HR priorities.

 

You're listening to marketing spark thepodcast at delivers insight tools and chips, marketers and entrepreneurs inthe trenches in twenty minutes or less, as the into suggests, I'm interested intalking to marketers who operate in the trenches people who build, operate andoptimize marketing edgin to drive growth in competitive markets. Today,I'm talking of that kind of marketer Mitch, Fanny BEP marketing of Rensing,which provides marketing software and services for the multi family industry.Welcome to marcene spark match thanks for aving me on here mark. Maybe we canstart by telling me a little bit about how long you've been at rent sink andwhat rent sink does so. I've been at rensing for about ayear and a half and, as you you've already kind of mentioned, rensingprovides marketing solutions for the multi family. So one way you can thinkabout it on way the listeners can think about. It is that it's multi its sorithub spot for multi family, but just with services. My big role is not onlyto help shape product strategy but to formalize and execute on the go tomarket and scale operations. So what is multi family just to give usa little bit of color on what that involves? Okay, so this is interestingbecause my background is not a multi family, so multi family is really thethe owner operators, the investors, the Property Magee firms that essentially,you know by manage and essentially invest in apartment buildings, and what's really interesting to me, atleast in this space- is that this industry, when it comes to marketingit's kind of where the Beta B space was like ten years ago,its meaning, and what I mean by that is when it comes to technology when itcomes to their technology stacks and the things that they're doing, they arejust kind of catching up to the to the B to be space. So it's almost likehistory is repeating itself, so as a marketer, if you're dealingwith customers who may not be terribly tech savvy, does that mean that a lotof your marketing is around education, because you've got people who may notbe using a lot of technology at all? Do you have to win them over to the factthat technology is is a valuable and useful tool and then convince them thatyour software is something that the they should consider? I think it just like, I would say anyany industry or any situation when things are kind of ahead of its time. Iwould have said that was the case. Maybe three three four years ago, acouple things have have changed that number one you're getting into asituation where you're finding a lot of young peopleare running these marketing company marketing teams in in multi family andto Ovid people have had the change the...

...way they've done business- and I knowthat's probably a recurring theme on this podcast but multi family is nodifferent. So over the years you've held a numberof leadership, marketing rules at a variety of companies, and I think it'sgiven you some really interesting perspective on the marketing landscapeand how it's evolved over the years. Can you talk a little bit about therole of a CMON, an early stage company, because it's a really important job,but often it comes after the products been developed, it comes after a salesteam has been created and sometimes the marketing person is late to the gamefor release for Berville speaking. So what is their role and and how do they establish themselves sothat they can have a seat at the table? This is a great question and weprobably could probably talk a lot longer than fifteen minutes on this oneparticular subject. I would say first of all, if I mean, if I'm being honestyou as a marketer, you really need to be honest with yourself and when I,what I mean by that, is you really have to ask yourself? Am I a builder or inmy a farmer and what I think that means, at leastto me, is not. Everyone is designed to be in anearly stage, technic tech, environment, and that it also includes anyone elseoutside of Mark, and you conclude, product, etc. But if you are thatperson, the one thing I would say is your: You need to be really good atstanding things up and that that's everything from the technology. That'sthat's! That's everything to do with the programs etc. But I think you alsoneed to be really good at understanding thebusiness and I think one of the things- and I would say that no matterw whatstage of the business you're in, but I think, a lot of times early stage,marketers come in as individual contributors and they get stuck thereand the problem with that is they get si lowed and they're not able toconnect what they do to business results. So I would say that's number one, but Iwould also say you have to really understand other other functionsoutside of your own and I don't think a lot of marketers spent a lot of time,understanding business in general, whether it's ass understanding, whatSass means the business model behind that the metrics, that you know,investors and CEOS actually track and two they don't spend a lot of enoughtime outside of their own discipline. So what do you mean by that? I thinkwhat I mean by that. is they so here's the thing when you go from a individualcontributor to leading marketing...

...the the toughest thing beyond thethings I just mentioned is managing up and educating internally, and I don'tnecessarily think it's something that just marketers have this inflictionover, but I think it's just a hard thing to to train yourself to do it, inother words, continually trying to communicate what the vision of thecompany is, what marketing is doing externally, but also internally. One of the things that I've writtenabout recently on linked in is the ability or the necessity for earlystage, Mark Marketers to establish a partnership with the CEO, because, ifyou look at the evolution of early stage companies, it's usually thefounder who is the Jack of all trades early on? They drive productdevelopment, they drive sales, they drive marketing and an over timethey'll give up some of those responsibilities, so it could be proud.Development could be sales, but marketing is always very close to theirheart because it's their company, it's their vision. It's their story, so whena marketer comes on, there's a dance that the CEO and the marketer have togo through, because they've got to not only delineate okay. This is what I do.This is what you do. This is what your responsible belief responsible for- andthis is what I'm going to own, but the lines are blurred when it comes tomarketing. So from your experience, how do you establish a partnership with aCO with the founder? The person who's very vested and marking can be veryclose to the heart, and it does put a lot of pressure on marketers becausethey have to perform, but they also have this other stake holder that theyhave to dance with. At the same time, probably the answer I'm going to giveis not it's obvious, but I may not be the one that people want to hear it'sif you, if number one you should know, you should ask really good questionsbefore you get into that company around around that particular subject and geta sense for. Is that CEO actually going to essentially give up that functionand let you kind of run it, and if they don't don't go there too? If you seethat that's happening early on that's a red flag and it's probably not going tochange. One thing I would say is: If they're not like that, I would say:Definitely you need to show them. You've got to build a relationship withthem. I mean this is something that we all know but again, just like you know,educating communicating internally to to the company at large what marketingdoes and what you know what the company is doing as far as where it's going. Ithink it's just something you have to do and work at first you've got to showsome early wins, of course, and then you've got to build up that strategyand start to think long term. On the flip side, and I'm talking frompersonal experience here is what happened. If you run into a situationwhere you have a co, they declare...

...definitively declare that they want todo marketing. They believe that the time is right for marketing to helpscale and accelerate growth. But when you, when push comes to shove, theydon't give you the engagement that you need there. They don't want thatpartnership, so you're, trying to tell their story reflect their vision, dowith the things that they believe in or they believe should be done. But whenyou do them that you get pushed back because,apparently you did, you did the wrong things. What you didn't get from themwas engagement, so you're left to your own devices. So what do you do in thosesituations where you want a partner? You want someone to contribute and andgo on, go with you on the ride and that's not happening. This is what I would call the hardthings about the hard things right. I mean it's the things that you don't youdon't actually read in a marketing in a marketing book or any type of marketingresources or marketing podcast like how do you actually basically effectivelycha? It's changed management right, and so these situations are hard and it'syou're not going to you're, not going to read that in a book I would sayagain go back to rule number one meaning you know you have to understandthat if they're, if they're not going to be the type, if they don't, if theydon't see the value in marketing and they're, not letting go of thatfunction or in a way again, we can kind of go down this rapid whole. But in away you know interrupting or again not letting that at that function go that'sa red flag, but at the same time you know when you bring them something youhave to be willing. You have to be willing to take that constructive. Youknow feedback, it's not an easy answer for sure, but I think people know whenthey're in that situation. The problem is just like a lot of times, and thishas to do with everything, not just marketing. It's the inaction. We don'tact when we're in those situations. We don't make a decision to leave thatsituation and- and I think that's that's- really what it comes down toit's: The inability to act and remove yourself from that situation. Assuming that you've found yourself ina good situation, you've got a relationship with Deco, there's termsof engagement that have been established and you start to build outmarketing. So you put together your brand position. You've got a marketingstrategy, you want to make things happen and you come to that reallysticky juncture or the really interesting juncture or thatchallenging juncture when you've got to build a team. You've got to figure outwho do we hire internally, because a lot of functions are being secured fromthird parties these days and do we hire someone from office first or we do wego with analytics first? How do you put together that that marketing hr planlike what are the things that you need...

...to consider and are there any sort ofcommon beliefs or common approaches that that a marketing leader shouldtake again? What I would say is you know, my personal hiring philosophy ishigher for grit. First, everything else is secondary and what I really mean bythat it is again a lot of people are attracted to that high growth startup or tech company, because it's just it's romantic, but what they don'tunderstand is every year, sometimes every six months, not onlydoes the company change, but they actually have the change within thecompany and that's not for everyone. You need to have a growth mind set, andthat really is what I mean by Grit: someone who's, passionate at reallyevolving as a person and there and they're they're persistent they've gotperseverance, they're willing to do the hard things when it comes to building ateam, though I mean it really depends on what what the business is lookingfor. So I always think about it as the OK RS. What's the what's the what's thewhat's the objectives, what are the strategies and then build the teamstructure around that to actually execute? But if you were just asking mepoint blank, what how would I go about building a team structure number one ifit was just like a blank slate, ops and analytics?First, you need, at the end of the day you need metrics, you need someoneowning the text ack and that's what somebody in opt would do. If it's. Ifit's obviously software, it would be the product marketer. That would be thesecond person I would bring on and the reason why I'm in that order and thenobviously from there it's calms or brand and demand, and the reason why Iwould go in that order- is again text. ACK Right, it's the it's the engine,the product marketer, is important. Because what happens is you start doingdemand and the first thing you're doing is you're, creating originalpositioning you're, creating original messaging you're, creating it and andthe demand person is doing that all the time and what happens if you get aproduct marketing you get that that positioning that messaging in place,then they can just use that content to feel their programs ran. Fishin, who runs a company calledspark. Toro recently wrote a block post saying that company should outsource asmuch of their functions as possible to agencies or contractors. As someone whoruns marketing has someone who's an internal marketing leader? What's yourapproach to that? How much can or should a early stage company outsourceso that they can be cost efficient? They can drive productivity and theycan allocate the resources in the most efficient way. I definitely wouldn'toutsource ops. I definitely wouldn't outsource product marketing when itcomes to demand. It depends, I would say you need you need someone who'srunning demand, but when it comes to building out or as you get as you grow,you're going to have specialties on that team, so F, for example, I'mlooking to have someone who's just...

...going to own paid channels or paidadvertising. Now we're looking at actually out sourcing that position, sosomeone actually who is going to fit in that position, who's it who's aspecialist sure in that situation and also to it's also because we're notsure of the actual essential, essentially the band with that for thatposition. So I think, when it's very specialized sureI wouldn't outsource, thought leadership again so brand or content.So you know our calms and content. Person Does essentially thoughtleadership in that is essentially brand. I wouldn't not source that you want somebody within the companywho can be a domain expert or several, and you definitely don't want to so Iguess at the end of the day, if it's specialized, sure and you're not sure, if they're going to be a full timeposition, that's that's probably how I would I would approach it and that'sactually how I am approaching it now, as the marking landscape hasevolved, it's almost like there's two sides to the marketing landscape. Onone side you got the brand experience brand content. People like myself, whoare focused on bran, positioning and messaging and thought leadership, andall those good things on the other side of the house. You've got the data geeks.You know the people who are running the numbers who are trying to optimizeeverything it's all about little tweaks and watching the data and making datadriven decisions that drive sales and market activity. I understand and Irecognize that metrics are a necessity, but here's the question: here's a sixtyfour thousand dollar question. Should everything be measured? Does everythinghave to be measured just because it can and what are the perils of relying tooheavily on data to make marketing decisions? I love this question, so here's how Iwould answer that so number one. I think everything can be measured tosome degree. Even I would even go as far as to say brand can be measured.The way I would look at this, though, is- and the way I initially look at itis is- is demand subsidizes brand, meaning you a performance, metricsperformance marketing needs to be measured a hundred percent, but thatpiece of the the marketing orger the markee engine can can, to some degreesubsidize brand marketing. The way I would kind of think about this, though,is you need to first nail your category because that's the context and who yourbest it customers, the the analogy I give is you know mark. If I were to askyou you want to go out for dinner tonight. You know what do you feel likeyour first initial thought would be. While do I feel like Italian? Do I feellike Chinese? Those are categories. Then, if you nail the category he said,let's go for Chinese, then we'd started to think about. Well, what are the bestChinese restaurants? That's brand. Now,...

...if I looked- and I told you wait aminute- there's a two for one deal on Facebo K for this particular restauranttonight, and that would happen to be the second best Chinese restaurant inToronto. We maybe end up going there. That's demand! You have to look at thefact that not everything can be measured sure, but if you don'tactually go through that framework and nail allthe components, you're going to be hard pressed to actually make the metricswork for you now going back to brand, I will say you probably can measure it.The way we're looking at measuring it is by kind of a proprietary metriccalled reach. I won't get into that, but the key here is the way we're goingto do it long tour term. is you basically do unaided or unaidedbrand awareness study at the end of the year? You basically ask you know, andan undated brand o were in a study. Is this if or sort an aided would be this?If I said to you mark which one of these software companies do you likebest or do you recognize coke or Pepsi you would you would rank them? You knowone and two out from a perception point of view. That's the other side of howyou can you can measure brand. If I said to you, what's the sweetest one ofthe two you would say: Well, coke is the sweetest and maybe that's thepositioning that that coke is going for and then you basically just do the samestudy year over a year and see if, if you've got a lift of those two metrics,so the point being is you can, but should you do it early? No, sometimesit's you know sometimes again early stage. Not Everything has to bemeasured right away. You've got to build into those type of metrics. Oneof the questions I'm asking marketers these days, especially bt marketers, isthat with the evaporation of conferences, the places where you Iconnect with prospects and customers and those Serendip, this relationshipsthat are built simply these because you sit besides someone during a panelsession. Those are not going to happen. I don't think there's going to happenfor a year at least a year, and that's just my own view of the world. How dobtbai es spark conversations with prospects, I'm not talking about a chat,Bot or somebody reaches out and and on our contact box or fills out any bookdownload, but real conversations where I get on the phone and we're talking toeach other and we're connecting and we're beginning to establishrelationship at. I think a lot of brants are having a hard time doingthat any thoughts about how you can make that happen either the approachthat rent sink is taking to address that challenge. It's not an easy answer for sure. Theprobably the answer I'm going to give is going to seem like it's a cop O, butit's doing the things you should have been doing anyways. Soyou know for us we're we're providing...

...thought leadership in the form of apodcast and rental or industry reports through through Lindon Organic, and youknow we're kind of go. The tactics that are involved in all of thoseinitiatives are, you know, are convey. You know one thing you know my ceo andI got to give him credit for, is he's willing to go the long play so againget the right company with the right leadership team, the right CEO, becausethey see value in the long play and that's content. In the meantime, we aregoing running our demand Gen. we we're going to count based because that's toplay for us in our industry, but I don't think, there's a I don't reallythink, there's a silver bullet. I think you need to have that air cover and youneed to run demand and you need to do a combination of both the end of the day.It's usually about figuring out what works best and that's justexperimentation. So it's more about the process you're going through and areyou improving? Then it is. What is that silver bullet yeah? I wish there was a better answer.I wish there was a more definite e answer and- and it's a very toughquestion to be asking these days, because it's a new marketing landscapeand we're all trying to adapt and we're all trying to figure out ways that wecan differentiate ourselves and and really get those conversations goingMitch thanks for coming a marketing spark today, if people are looking tofind you online, where do they find you are you on Linkin? Do you have apodcast website? Let us know the information about here where you canpeople can learn more about what you do. I mean you. Can Just Google MitchFanning? I think I'm going to be the first. It shows up Yeah I run a podcastcalled built a scale, but yeah linked in is always the best place to find me. Well thanks for listening to anotherepisode of Marcey Spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review andsubscribe by, I tunes or your favorite podcast AP for Chonos. Today'sconversation and Information About Mitch Visit Marketing Spark Co s block.If you have questions, feedback would like to suggest a guest or want tolearn more about how I help me to be companies as a fractional, Coconsultant and adviser than an email to mark at Marketer Cotoner.

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