Fractional CMO Services: When Does It Make Sense to Invest? | Episode 17

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In Episode 17 of the Trades Secret Podcast hosts Devon Hayes and Amanda Joyce chat with guest host Brian Talbot from The Value CMO as he  helps explain exactly what a Fractional CMO is and why they are a benefit to startup and growing businesses everywhere.

Today’s episode includes some juicy advice given from a pro in the marketing industry and how to leverage CMO services for your own business growth.
 
Episode Covers:
  1. Brian’s personal success story with a booming business
  2. The cost of doing business with a successful CMO
  3. Common pushbacks on CMO services
  4. Internal goal setting and how to do it the right way
  5. So much more….
 
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Transcription: 

Devon Hayes:

Hi, I’m Devon Hayes

Amanda Joyce:

And I’m Amanda Joyce. Today’s topic is what is a fractional CMO and here’s why you should care. With their proven method, a fractional CMO can help you grow your business by 2-3x.

We are so excited to introduce you guys to Brian Talbot of the Value CMO. Welcome, Brian.

Brian Talbot:

Hey, how y’all doing?

Amanda Joyce:

We are great.

Devon Hayes:

Good.

Brian Talbot:

Awesome.

Amanda Joyce:

Thank you so much for joining us.

Brian Talbot:

It’s my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me on. I love doing podcasts, and honestly, I love sharing information. I, at one point in my life was a teacher, and it is the most fun thing I’ve ever done. And I think that’s what I really enjoy the most out of life these days, is being able to help inform and educate and see people grow. So that’s a blast. I love that. Thank you.

Amanda Joyce:

Absolutely. One, it seems like your role is, you are a teacher in so many ways, so it’s got to be really exciting to be able to marry all of your marketing expertise and helping people one-on-one the way you do.

Brian Talbot:

Yeah, I took the fun and value of being a teacher and figured out how to actually make some money at it, as opposed to living on a teacher’s salary. So, you know, do what you have to.

Devon Hayes:

You really did. So let’s get started here. I would love, so for our listeners, I don’t know if this is a really common phrase, I think people know your role, but maybe they’ve never heard the phrase fractional CMO before. Can we just have you first describe what exactly a fractional CMO is?

Brian Talbot:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So a fractional CMO is quite honestly being able to have access to a chief marketing officer for a fraction of the time, and then the result is at a fraction of the cost. Companies oftentimes, especially in those early stages when they’re startups or they’re growing and trying to get up past that 20, 30, 40 million mark, they struggle because they don’t have the money to hire a vice president of marketing or a chief marketing officer, but they really need that expertise. The three things that I always tell people I like to provide is leadership, accountability, and expertise. Most people think they’re just hiring the expertise, but the leadership, especially on a small team, is really critical.

And part of that is leadership in my field, in marketing, because most people who start a business, they didn’t start a business to become a marketer. So they need that expertise and they need someone who understands. So when someone says, well, what’s your CPCs? Okay, I don’t know. Tell me what that is. But if you can bring in a fractional CMO, that’s a person who’s been there, done that has all the experience and can really help you through all the things that you’re not supposed to know as a business owner. That’s not why you got into business. And so a fractional CMO is that leader who can hold you and your team and your company accountable, and then provide the expertise to be able to help inform and train and grow your people. I always like to say that the most important thing of any engagement is that I eventually work myself out of a job.

Devon Hayes:

It’s a good thing. It’s a good thing. Yeah.

Brian Talbot:

It is. It’s the intention.

Devon Hayes:

You’re really involved in teaching them and teaching them how to set goals and not just, I don’t know, throw water on a fire, wherever that fire might be. You’re teaching them how to actually have a plan and not just see a shiny new marketing idea, or software, or a tool and just jump on it. You actually walk them through hot issues.

Brian Talbot:

Yeah, that’s one of the biggest things, right? Because you can hire freelancers to do very specific things, like if you need a graphic designer, hire a graphic designer. But if you really need someone who can help craft the strategy and improve the branding and the messaging and really lead and guide your marketing overall, that’s what a fractional CMO is for. And a fractional CMO is an important part of your business, not only because they can do those things, but also because as a smaller business, an SMB, a small mid-size business, you’re probably not having an entire staff inside. So you’re counting on people like you guys. And one of the nice parts about a fractional CMO is, if the fractional CMO is worth their salt, they speak digital media and they can be the go-between so that the business owner doesn’t have to go, what does all that mean? How do I know if I’m getting a good deal? What does that look like? What is it supposed to look like? And those are the types of things that a fractional CMO is all about.

Fractional CMO is the logical follow on to one of the first fractional roles was the fractional CFO or Chief financial Officer. And so that’s what most people recognize and they’ll recognize the term fractional CFO. Honestly, today it’s fractional executives across the board, everybody from a CIO to a CEO to a COO to a CMO and a Chief Revenue Officer, a CRO. Just about anybody in your C-suite can now be a fractional executive and give you the value that you couldn’t really otherwise afford to bring in on a full-time basis. And truth be told, you don’t always need the person on a full-time basis, until you get to a certain point, until your business gets so big that you are building entire teams. You have an entire marketing department.

But in the meantime, if you have nobody or if you have a marketing coordinator, even a marketing manager, a one person person marketing show, those people oftentimes need a lot of help. And that’s one of those things, oftentimes when people get into marketing, they get into marketing because it’s fun, it’s cool, they have certain skills, they can plan events, or they can put together a flyer using Microsoft Publisher, or they know how to write social media posts. And someone all of a sudden turns around and goes, okay, great. You’re our marketing person. And so what happens is a lot of marketing people learn by just, it’s all about what tasks do I need to do? And what that turns into is what I call checklist marketing.

And as people do checklist marketing, that’s great. It gets stuff done, it’s very task focused, but what’s missing from that is, to what end? And that’s where the strategic marketing needs to start to come into play. Because if all you ever do is task marketing or checklist marketing, it’s a whole lot of activity, it’s a whole lot of busy, and you really don’t understand what the value is. And that’s where you get that whole terminology of the marketing black hole. I pour a bunch of money into it and I have no idea what happens or where it goes. I just think that I’m supposed to, so I do, but I don’t know if I’m getting anything out of it or not.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, I think you made a really good point. Earlier you said that businesses, they don’t start a business to get into marketing, they’re there to run a business. So yeah, it makes sense that, I don’t know, how are they supposed to be educated on all of these things and have all the experience and then also try to run their actual business. And so a role of a fractional CMO, it really does make a lot of sense. What size businesses, like revenue wise, I guess, do you really see the businesses start to dive into looking at a fractional CMO? Because I think for so long, that checklist marketer that you mentioned, it can get the job done, they can get the brand’s name out there, but at what point do you see people needing more for their business to actually scale?

Brian Talbot:

Sure. The first million to $2 million can usually be done through heroics, right? And when I say heroics, it’s usually the founder of the company and you know, put in the late nights and the weekends and all the extra time and effort and energy, and you’re the best salesperson for the company, because it’s your heart and soul. And so many companies build from zero to a million or zero to 2 million based on heroics, but at some point in time, the heroics will fail you. And yeah, the whole idea of bringing in a fractional CMO, is to bring that fractional CMO in while you’re still growing, before you hit one of those failure points.

So I like to say that my core audience is really between two and 20 million, three and 30 million, somewhere in that range. Because the thing on the other side of that, what ends up happening is companies who get to 20 or 30 million all of a sudden just feel like they need to have a full-time VP of marketing or full-time CMO in place to lead and guide teams, people, departments, be a permanent part of that whole leadership team in the C-suite. So it’s really somewhere between two and 3 million on the bottom side, and it is very valuable all the way up to somewhere between 20 and 30 million, depending on the business.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah. Earlier you’d also mentioned that in your job they graduate basically, you’re there when they need you for a certain amount of time, and then you’ve kind of taught yourself out of a job.

Brian Talbot:

Absolutely.

Amanda Joyce:

Do you find that oftentimes they’re hitting that point, that they’re all already ready to get their full-time Brian, or is there maybe a medium there where they can, they’re not quite ready for the full-time CMO, but you’ve really done what you could do for them and they’re off and running.

Brian Talbot:

So yeah, I mean, that’s always a unique situation to the individual company, and it’s based on what the company’s set up to do and how they’re growing internally. I like to say that I am pretty much on par cost-wise with a marketing coordinator, maybe a marketing manager, by the time you bring them in and their fully loaded costs and all that kind of stuff. Yet, I bring 35 years of experience, and that’s something that someone with two to three years of out of school, doing effectively checklist marketing, really can’t get to. And so, I’ve actually had people who have said, okay, guess what? We think we’re ready to graduate, and then all of a sudden the phone rings a couple months later and it’s like, well, so we have this one thing that we’re trying to do, and wondering what you have as far as availability and all that.

And I’m always happy to help small companies grow, right? I like to grow companies. I like to help people succeed. And that’s really the driving force of what I do and the reasons why I do it. But sometimes if you get a marketing director who can oversee two or three people, what are the other advantages of having someone like a fractional CMO, is that I can help train them to bridge that gap, move from checklist marketer into strategic marketer, and truly create a heck of a lot more value for their company. I also, because I have managed people throughout my career and I really enjoy that aspect, I can help that company, or the individual within the company, become a better leader and work their way into that C-suite, or at least be counted on as a trusted advisor to the leader of the company.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, because when you say checklist marketers, so I’m just going to give a for instance. So that’s like you have someone sitting in the chair and they’re like, cool, I posted to Facebook five times this week just like you asked me to do, but they’re not thinking about, well, what’s the point of posting five times to Facebook? Because business owners, especially in the contracting world, they might hear a lot, you’ve got to be on some media, you need to be posting, you’ve got to be engaged in doing all this, and it’s time consuming to really do it the right way. But what’s the goal of if you chose that number five times to week, five times a week to Facebook?

So, you are really guiding them to say, yes, you can check off those lists and say, I did the things you wanted me to do, but you are teaching them to say, wait a minute, I can do that, but what’s the goal, what’s the reason that we’re doing that? And so you are teaching them to have more of a big picture thought process or more critical thinking, not just doing the tasks that are assigned.

Brian Talbot:

Absolutely. I mean, just because you can doesn’t mean you should, that’s always the first rule, right?

Devon Hayes:

True. True.

Brian Talbot:

And the second rule is, to what end? If you’re going to do something, what’s the goal? What are you trying to achieve? What’s the outcome you’re shooting for? Because if you don’t have a goal, then you’re just being busy. And if you don’t understand what the goal is, then you can’t really lead the project. You can do tasks that someone else tells you to do, but the worst thing in the world is if somebody goes ahead and joins a company, and they’re all excited and they’re ready to hit the checklist, and they turn around and go to the leader of the company and they say, okay, so what do you want me to do? Well, that’s kind of a problem, right? If the leader of the company knew what to do and had the whole plan all laid out, then they probably certainly would be able to do a lot of that themselves or with their internal resources. So I always start out engagements by understanding the background and the goals of the company, and then I create a strategic roadmap and the strategic-

Devon Hayes:

And what is that? So… sorry.

Brian Talbot:

Go ahead.

Devon Hayes:

I want to hear all this. I don’t mean to cut you off, but really that is one of our questions. What can someone expect, the process? It sounds like, I know you’re going to talk us through that right now, but how long it takes, and say they wanted to hire you tomorrow, what does that look like for a contractor who’s hiring you?

Brian Talbot:

Yeah, sure. So every fractional CMO is slightly different. They handle things in their own ways. What I figured out a long, long time ago is that every time I got brought into a new company, and I usually got brought in to help either accelerate growth or do a turnaround for a company that was stuck. We all know those companies. I was brought into one company that grew from zero to a hundred million in under five years, which was remarkable growth. And then-

Devon Hayes:

Absolutely.

Amanda Joyce:

So did they just know from the very beginning, like zero, they needed a fractional CMO?

Brian Talbot:

No, no, no, no, they got stuck. They got absolutely stuck. And so the CEO of the company brought me in to help them get unstuck. Well, the first thing I did is I spent the first 30 days evaluating and determining and asking people, so what is it that you do? And figured out all that stuff out. And then I spent the next 60 days after that, putting together the plan. And the plan had a lot to do with creating and drafting their brand and their messaging that resonated with their audiences.

And then the other part of the plan was, okay, now that we understand the branding and the stories that we’re going to tell, now we have to understand the strategy and the channels that we’re going to use and how we’re going to communicate those. And so I figured out in pretty short time that there’s a whole yin and yang thing between the strategy and the storytelling. And you have to have those two things, those two pieces, and they have to be in sync. And if you can get that in sync in the first 90 days, then you’re really setting the stage and setting the platform, for being able to have long-term success.

And one of the things that I did that was kind of unique, is I created something called the strategic roadmap, and it’s my own version of project planning, effectively. The project planning around specifically marketing. And so by putting that together, I’m able to help build a scalable and repeatable model that companies can use even after I’m gone, to be able to go ahead and build out their marketing and do their annual planning. One of the interesting things too, in putting all that together was the fact that it’s not just about marketing goals and marketing activities, it also includes revenue goals and operational goals. Because let’s face it, we all play by the scorecard of revenue, right? Those were the most win the game.

The revenue growth is one side of it. If you substantially change your revenue numbers, then you’re going to need the marketing to be able to help you get there. If you’re using marketing and you’re growing your revenues, the third leg of the stool is operations. And your operations are going to change pretty dramatically as well. So you’re going to have to figure out what are your hiring triggers? How do you hire? How do you make sure you have standard operating procedures, onboarding procedures? What about product roadmaps, and growing and expansion and all those fun things that accompany growth, revenue growth?

Devon Hayes:

So that’s all part of your strategic roadmap. You include all of that in there, not just the-

Brian Talbot:

I do.

Devon Hayes:

Marketing piece of it. Geez, talk about going above and beyond.

Brian Talbot:

I actually do, and only once did I have someone look at me and go, none of the rest of that is your business. It really, we just want you to do marketing. And I said, you know what?

Amanda Joyce:

I assume that relationship didn’t work out.

Brian Talbot:

I don’t think this is a good fit, but let me find someone else who would probably be a better fit for you.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah. Let me go find you a checklist marketer.

Brian Talbot:

Yeah, that’s exactly it, right? It’s a holistic approach to business. And so it does go well beyond marketing, because everything affects everything else in a business that’s running well and growing.

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah-

Devon Hayes:

And it’s interesting… I’m sorry. Go ahead.

Amanda Joyce:

I was going to say, we were just at a conference last week and there was a lot of conversation around how to get sales and marketing to talk to each other and how critical it is. And a lot of these companies are just at that growing point where they’re like, one’s not talking to the other, and it’s such a… I mean, if you can help bridge that gap alone and really help them think and work together like that, the reverberations even after you’re gone, will-

Brian Talbot:

See and that’s one-

Amanda Joyce:

More than pay for themselves.

Brian Talbot:

Absolutely. And that’s one of the biggest issues that people have when they hire too early in the process, premature hiring.

Devon Hayes:

Interesting.

Brian Talbot:

When you bring in all your executives, a company starts up and sometimes the business leader decides that they need to surround themselves with a big, strong team of executive leadership. First of all, it becomes very top heavy. Second of all, everybody starts to look to create their own fiefdoms. And that’s when you start to get the divisions between sales and marketing. Honestly, the companies where I’ve been most successful, have been those where it is a seamless integration between sales, marketing, and operations as far as the leaders are all on the same page, and the people work together to be able to work towards the same goals. So that’s how you can help avoid some of that.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah, that’s true, because I think, marketing touches really all aspects of the business. If it’s something that’s happening in operations or something that’s happening in production, but there’s always pieces of that that can be used in your marketing. I think one of the questions we did get at the summit, and we had talked about this was, they’re like, well, when does a marketing lead, when does it become a sales lead? What’s that handoff? And I think we’ve talked about this, how marketing, we get the lead in the door, but then it gets handed off to sales, because your marketer who doesn’t get on the phone with that customer. But if there’s a disconnect in the quality of the leads and the sales team is hating the leads they’re getting, but they’re not communicating that to the marketers, then how would the marketer know that I need to get more qualified leads and maybe this channel isn’t the best channel?

Brian Talbot:

I like to look at marketing as an all scape, where everyone’s welcome and everyone is actually recommended to participate in it. I think sales is also an all scape, right? Not everybody sells in the same way, but everyone in the company should know enough to be able to identify if they hear about someone who needs help with a problem. Because ultimately that’s what we’re trying to do, is we’re trying to help solve people’s problems. So if we understand what those triggers are and how to see if somebody’s having a problem, then it becomes much, much easier. There’s marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads, and ultimately what that is, the way, again, everyone has their own definitions. My definition is that when you set out to reach customers, prospects and customers, there is an exploratory stage at the very beginning of that relationship. And your goal as a marketer is to help identify and engage someone. Well, as you’re identifying, engage and engaging and reaching out to try and send your messages to people, your prospect goes through what’s called a customer journey.

And the customer journey is their exploration. They understand their problem, they understand they have a problem, and they understand that they’re looking for a solution to that problem. And so over here in this circle here is the customer journey, and that’s what they get to do. They’ll go online, take a look at your website, they’ll see your ads, they’ll see you on LinkedIn. They’ll do all those kinds of things, on Facebook or Instagram or even TikTok or wherever, and they’ll go, huh, that company might be able to help. Let me dig in and find out more. And they do their own self exploration. They’ll continue doing that, and that’s when as a marketer, you start to raise your hand a little bit and you say, Hey, would you like some more information about that? And the more you can get them from the, I’ve identified you as a potential solution to, I’m going to engage with you as a potential solution to find out if you guys really can solve my problem, that’s when they start to move into the sales process.

And as they move from the customer journey over here into the sales process, what they’re doing is they’re moving from the customer journey to what we call the buyer’s journey. And the buyer’s journey is, okay, we’ve kind of identified that you have a certain issue, we think we can solve it for you, and we’re going to help you understand how that works, and how we can ease your pain in exchange for you becoming a customer. And the nice part about the buyer’s journey, is the buyer’s journey follows the sales cycle, and the buyer’s journey is something that the business can control.

So the whole goal of marketing qualified to sales qualified and growing business, is really about getting someone into the customer journey so that then they can move across and end up in the buyer’s journey. And eventually in the buyer’s journey, they’ll go ahead and become a customer. And so that’s how I like to segment what’s a marketing qualified lead? What’s a sales qualified lead? Is the prospect in the buyer’s journey, or are they in the customer journey really? And if you had to put a, how do you separate those, I found that’s a easy enough to understand a way to do it, right? And the nice part about that, is that also makes that handoff between sales and marketing much better, as opposed to, well, I found them, I’m throwing them over the fence and it’s up to you. There’s still a lot of integration that goes on as you’re moving someone across. And that’s the important part of all of that. So,

Amanda Joyce:

Awesome. So one of the other things that we’ve gone back and forth, and even just chatting between Devon and myself, is how a business owner, if they’re in that sweet spot we talked about, where they’re ready to grow, they’re maybe 3 million, how do they to themselves, justify the cost of a CMO? Because obviously it doesn’t really come down to hourly… How do you coach people through how they can rationalize that in their long-term business plan?

Brian Talbot:

Absolutely. So really it’s a question of what is it that you’re trying to achieve? What is it that you’re trying to achieve? And do you already have all the people, processes and tools in place to be able to do that? Because if you do, God bless, you, keep at it. It’s a grind, work at it, and you’ll get there. But the reality is most people don’t have it all together and all in place. And so if that’s the case, if they don’t have it all together and all in place, then they do need help. And that’s where bringing in someone who is experienced and someone who has coached and mentored and has a track record of success and a proven ability to help people grow their businesses, makes a whole heck of a lot of sense. So that that’s really what we do.

It’s about outcomes and not outputs. Because too often people go, well, I need you to go ahead and pull this event together, or I need you to go ahead and do social media, or whatever. Those are all outputs. And while those are fine, those are a means to an end. We’re actually starting with the end points. What are your outcomes? What outcomes are you looking for? And if the outcomes are big enough and you don’t have the internal resources capable to do it right now, then maybe a fractional executive is the perfect solution. As long as you’re not trying to micromanage and you don’t expect to see them for 40 hours a week or more.

Take a look at what you’re getting and you’re getting all that leadership, all that experience, all that expertise, all that accountability, because a good fractional CMO will turn around and hold people within the organization accountable for certain aspects as well. If you really think that you’re just going to hire a marketer and they’re going to do marketing for you, and you’re going to be successful, and that’s all it takes, you’re going to burn out the relationship in no time and you’re not going to be successful, and then you’re going to have to start all over with another one. So, we try to avoid that.

Devon Hayes:

Yeah. And I think you said it’s like 160 hours a month that it would be if they tried to hire someone full-time, versus just hiring an expert for a handful of hours and how much that can just change their entire outcome with their marketing for the year.

Brian Talbot:

Yeah, absolutely. So if you go 40 hours a week, right, four weeks out of the month, 160 hours. As a fractional, I am fully loaded somewhere between 60 to 80 hours a month. And part of that is because I’m working across multiple companies, so you have to be able to change gears. But the bigger part of that from the client perspective, is the fact that I know how to get things done, and I know how to get things done quickly, because I have way too much experience, thanks for the gray in my face, but that that’s the difference. I don’t need to put 160 hours in a month to make a difference. Honestly, if I put in somewhere between 10 hours and 25 hours in a month, that can really help change and grow a business substantially. So my track record personally, is that I tend to double or triple growth with the companies that I work with, in a period of two years or less.

Devon Hayes:

Well, yeah, let’s talk about that. So we want to hear, tell us about one of your success stories and the timeline. I think I love stories like this, because it sets an expectation, because a business owner out there could say, oh, well yeah, I’m sitting here at 2 million and have kind of been stuck here for the past two, three years and can’t seem to get over that hump. I love me a good success story, so give one, Brian.

Brian Talbot:

We have them. And that’s the fun part. And again, that’s-

Devon Hayes:

We know you do.

Brian Talbot:

That’s what makes this job fun for me. Marketing is marketing. And do I wake up every morning going, gosh, I can’t wait to market? No. Honestly, if I could be sitting on a beach with a drink in my hand, I’d be a happy happy camper. But what does make me happy is being able to help those small business owners grow their businesses beyond what they really thought they could, or help them grow to what they always thought they could, but never could get there.

I have one company that we’ve worked together on, and when I started working with them, about two and a half, between two, two and a half years ago, they were at $2.6 million in revenues for the year. The following year, they finished up at $4 million. This past year they finished up at $8 million. Their new goal is $12 million with a stretch to 16.

Amanda Joyce:

Oh, incredible. Yeah. And didn’t you say that compared to, was it like 11 years prior, they hadn’t seen…

Brian Talbot:

The company had been in business for 10 years and had only gotten to $2.6 million. And so in the last two and a half years of working with them, we’ve helped that exponential growth, which is amazing. Have another company that I work with, that same kind of thing. I came on, they were at 6.75 million. For their goal the following year they did $10 million, and their goal for this year is $15 million. So that’s pretty good growth that will either help secure your business or attract eyeballs if your goal is to eventually sell it and sit on the beach with a cocktail in your hand.

Devon Hayes:

You definitely get a gold star, a couple of gold stars for those ones. That’s some awesome growth.

Brian Talbot:

And that’s the fun kind of growth that I like doing. And it’s not even just on a small scale. That one company I told you about that I came in at a hundred million, within four years we were at 186 million. And the other thing that was really important about that is, that when we came in the door, 85% of their business was sitting in the hands of one client, and so they were really at risk. And by the time I left four years later, that client had decreased to under 50% of their overall revenues.

Amanda Joyce:

So amazing. Just diversifying anyway.

Brian Talbot:

86% year-over-year renewal rates, and adding a ridiculous amount of new clients, and all that kind of stuff to make up for all of it. But that was part of their goals. Every company is different. Every company gets their strategic plan set up based on what they’re trying to achieve, what their goals are. And the goals can shift and change over time. But ideally, that’s what makes this so much fun is every client is different. I love those clients who go, well, you’ve been in marketing a long time, can’t you just tell me what’s going to work? Like, dude, if I could tell you what was going to work, I wouldn’t be doing this anymore.

Amanda Joyce:

You’d be on that beach again.

Brian Talbot:

I would be on the beach, cocktail in hand. Instead, I have a cup that says, consulting. Yeah, my coffee cup. So anyway, that’s-

Amanda Joyce:

Yeah, and what you were saying earlier about teaching, and it’s what you’ve always loved, I mean, to get to teach someone inside their business and not just talk about it pie in the sky, to actually be hands on the ground and help them go from here to there, talk about rewarding. It’s amazing.

Brian Talbot:

It really is. All the teaching doesn’t necessarily happen in a classroom, and that’s the fun stuff. However, keep me away from whiteboards, because I actually bring my own colored markers.

Devon Hayes:

Are they scented?

Brian Talbot:

No, no. I wish they were. Those are not the erasable kind, unfortunately.

Devon Hayes:

True. That’s right. Okay, so we always like to end an episode with some key takeaways. So this has been such a good conversation. I think there’s so much value in really understanding how a fractional CMO can change somebody’s business. And also just teaching us all kind of the difference between a checklist marketer and then an actual how a CMO should be thinking within your business and goal setting. If you had to think of, I don’t know, three takeaways, what would your three takeaways be? No pressure. I did write down as one of them that I really liked, the fractional CMO process is the first 30 to 60 days you interview somebody, and so a business, or not somebody, you interview everybody in the company and understand their roles. And then the second part of that process is you laying out okay, this is who your brand is and this is the plan moving forward. And then the third part is laying out the strategy and then the different channels that you’re going to target with your marketing. So I did get that process down succinctly?

Brian Talbot:

It’s so basic and easy. It starts with where are you today? And then figure out where it is that you want to go, and then figure out how are you going to close the gaps in between. And the other side of this is, that marketing is all about connecting with people. People will buy based on emotion. They’ll justify their purchasing decisions with facts and data, but people buy based on emotion, and people relate to other people, and they relate through storytelling. And so that’s why branding and stories and connecting with other people, becomes such an essential part of success.

And then once you have your branding and your stories in place, then you move to your execution, your operational, your marketing operations, and your strategy, and your strategy helps guide you so that you don’t fall off the rails. It’s so easy, because everybody has something new. It’s a new tool that if you just use this you’ll be successful, or whatever that is. But if you start with a very simple plan, goals at the top, strategies next, and the strategies have to relate directly towards fulfilling the goals, and then you have execution, which are your tactics and processes that help you fulfill your strategy to deliver on your goal, the only thing that’s left at the bottom, is the resources. And that’s people and tools.

One of the challenges that most people have is they start with the people and the tools. If I can hire the right CMO, we’re going to be successful. Maybe, maybe not. If I can bring in the right tools, if I can have the right CRM, if I can just do Google Ads, I will be successful. Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how that relates to the execution of tactics and processes, that lead to engaging in achieving your strategies to help reach your goal. So you start with the goal, work your way down through strategies, which are milestones, work your way from strategies down to execution, which are the deliverables, and then the very last thing are the resources. And I always like to call the resources the shiny metal objects, because those are the things that can very easily distract us. So start at the top, work your way down.

And here’s another good one, don’t try to do too much, right? Everybody tries to do too much. I say, three key goals. Start with three key goals. Create the goals, create the strategies to support the goals, the execution to support the strategies to support the goals, and then figure out what resources you need to be able to execute on the strategy, to be able to execute, to reach the strategies to deliver on your goals. And people go, well, that’s just not enough. And I always look at them and go, I’ll tell you what, if we start with three and you accomplish one of them, I’ll allow you to go ahead and put another one in it’s place. I promise you, you can do that.

But the thing is that a lot of this, especially on the strategic side, tends to be those things that are, if you follow the Pareto principle, the 80-20 rule, this is the 20% that you’re working on your business, as opposed to the 80% of the time that you’re working in your business, right? Because both are required to be successful. You can’t just stop working in your business and expect to be successful. At the same time, you can’t spend all your time working in your business and no time working on your business, because you’ll never grow it.

I don’t know. Are those three things I got close?

Devon Hayes:

I think so. Yeah, I think so. I think you nailed it. Yeah. I don’t know, this is great. It’s always great talking to you. I think I realize I am someone who, I’m always in the trees, and so I love speaking to people who are forest seers, because with what we do, it’s so technical that you really are just looking at moving parts all the time, instead of thinking of those big picture things. So I appreciate someone who can break down what that looks like-

Amanda Joyce:

Bring it all together.

Devon Hayes:

Bring it all together. And it does it. I mean, it really does come down to goal setting really, at the end of the day, and how you’re going to execute and measuring and refine, repeat, kind of deal. So, thank you so much for sharing.

Amanda Joyce:

Thank you, Brian.

Devon Hayes:

Yes. So if people want to get in touch with you, Brian, we’ll have it in our episode notes, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?

Brian Talbot:

BT@thevaluecmo. It’s thevaluecmo.com. The business was built on providing value to the customers.

Devon Hayes:

Beautiful. Thank you so much, Brian.

Brian Talbot:

Thank you guys so much. Appreciate it. Have a great day.

Devon Hayes:

Thanks, you too.

Amanda Joyce:

You too.