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Patrick Ward – Marketing Leadership Frameworks, Why Side Hustles Are A Good Thing, & More – Episode #101

“Your job as a manager is to only care about three things: the financial goals of your direct reports, their professional goals, and finally their personal goals.”

Patrick Ward is the VP of Marketing for Rootstrap, a custom software development consultancy that digitally transforms companies like MasterClass & Google, along with A-List Celebrities like Tony Robbins & Snoop Dogg. He’s also the Founder of NanoGlobals, an expert-led platform that helps mid-size tech companies tap into global markets through remote hiring, offshoring, and international market expansion (this is his side-hustle). 


A writer by trade, Patrick’s international brand & B2B marketing expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Ad Age, Fast Company, Morning Brew, Hacker Noon, HuffPost & Business Insider. 


Questions and topics we talked about include:

  • What does a marketer need to learn before getting hired as a marketing leader? (Hint: Internal marketing)
  • What does it mean to be the leader of a marketing team?
  • What should you do during a 1-on-1 with your manager?
  • How are side hustles a company’s key to successful marketing?
  • How Patrick convinces his team to buy into the idea of the “B2B influencer.” And what is an infernal influencer?
  • What is the “Marketing Transformation Mindset”?
  • And more!


Relevant links:

Full Episode Transcript:

Kenny Soto 0:02  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the people Digital Marketing Podcast with your hosts Kenny Soto, and today’s special guest, Patrick ward. Hi, Patrick how are you?


Patrick Ward 0:21  

Really good Kenny, excited to be here.


Kenny Soto 0:24  

Now, your background is very impressive. And for the listeners who are jumping right into this, they would have heard that you have clients like Tony Robbins, and Snoop Dogg to name a few, which is pretty cool. And you are currently working at root strap. But before we get into that, I wanted to quickly ask you, how did you get into marketing?


Patrick Ward 0:49  

So I got into marketing in somewhat of a conventional way at college, but it wasn’t a straight shot. When I first came to college, I started with an economics major. That didn’t pan out, I tried to finance major that definitely didn’t pan out. And so through that exploration, I found that what I really enjoyed was psychology, understanding people, why they think the way they do, and why they act the way they do. 


And that pretty naturally led me towards a field where I think that the intersection between my interests and business aligned. And that was marketing, because really, at the end of the day marketing is about how you effectively communicate with people. How do you understand them and deliver products and services that meet their needs?


Kenny Soto 1:39  

Can you describe to the audience what you do on a road trip?


Patrick Ward 1:42  

So at route strap, I am the VP of marketing. So that basically means in a nutshell, I run the marketing team. And what does that mean? That means two big areas. One area is what is known as demand. So this is everything that supports a sales function in the world of b2b. So this is client acquisition. This is helping run paid search campaigns, this is content to attract new buyers, this is Social Media, all of those areas. 


And then on the other side of it is more of the brand components. And this is where you’re looking to get increased visibility for a thought leadership perspective. So you’re trying to present bootstrap as an expert within our industry of technology. And there’s also the other side of it, which is what I would classify as recruitment marketing. So this is attracting new developer talent to come and join the bootstrap team. 


Because as you can imagine being in the technology space, and given the shortages of tech talent, it’s not just about thinking about how can we get more clients in the door. It is also how we get more technical folks who want to work with us because there are many different options for them, you know, developers get paid very well by a large range of tech companies. And so we want to make bootstrap the most attractive place for them to work.


Kenny Soto 3:03  

Now to provide more context. And this will lead to several other questions. How does bootstrap make revenue?


Patrick Ward 3:11  

So we make revenue in two very specific cases. One is what we would call projects, which are software development projects. This is something where we take a client from an idea, we do design prototyping with them, we do some user research all the way through to building both a front end and a back end, launching the product being an MVP, and then we would engage with the client, maybe on a version two, or version three, etc, etc. That’s a pretty standard software development project. 


The other type of engagement we have is what’s known as staff augmentation. And staff augmentation, really, at its essence is about providing technical expertise where a company doesn’t have it. So an example here is, maybe a company has a number of developers that know the language of dotnet. And we have expertise in a different language such as Ruby, now, your audience doesn’t need to know what the difference between those languages is. It’s just that there is a discrepancy in skills. 


And that root trap has those skills in developers where a company that isn’t going to be a client of ours does not. So it really boils down to those two ways. Depending on a do they have the skills in-house and are just looking for someone to provide augmentation to that with, you know, a different set of skills? Or B, do they not even have the technical resources, in which case they want to get a project done from A to Z?


Kenny Soto 4:41  

Now, I’m assuming that because you have two revenue streams in the business model, this creates a unique challenge where your marketing initiatives have to shadow a balance between promoting to correct


Patrick Ward 4:54  

Absolutely. It’s an imbalance that we constantly have to toe the line between two different types of engagements for a variety of different reasons. You’ve got internal reasons such as certain types of engagements might be more profitable to the business, certain types of engagements might be better for team health. Certain types of engagements might be more interesting. Like, that’s one thing we deal with constantly is developers saying, Hey, I know this client brings us a lot of revenue. 


But quite frankly, the work is not interesting. It’s very boring, and therefore I’m going to get burnt out if I do that for too long. So that’s one aspect of it. And then the other aspect of those two revenue streams also comes back to what the clients want. So for example, when we were in the pandemic, a lot of people weren’t really looking for projects, they weren’t looking for investing huge amounts of money into what can be a very expensive process. But they did still have technical shortfalls. 


So they tended towards staff augmentation. Now, as any marketer will tell you, and especially within my industry of b2b technology, you want to keep supporting both of those revenue streams, you also want to lean into where you’re seeing more success at any time. But you do need to constantly educate other people in your business, especially your senior leadership team. Hey, if you want me to shift from selling, primarily staff orientation to projects, I can’t do that like that, you know, it takes time for the market to be educated to understand what your message for that message to resonate with them for that message to align with their own internal timings. 


And so that’s a big part of my job is constantly monitoring how much of those different engagements whether it’s a project or whether it’s staff augmentation, our company is receiving, and making sure that we’re ahead of it because we’re always thinking, Hey, are we a quarter ahead? Are we two quarters ahead? Are we a year ahead? Our average sales cycle is 111 days. So I’ve got to be thinking several quarters in advance because, by the time my marketing actually affects the bottom line, it’s going to be well into the future.


Kenny Soto 7:15  

I want to talk about senior leadership, being the leader of a marketing team. And just for transparency, one of the reasons why I want to talk about this is because I know not only for the listeners, but for myself, that some of us will be in leadership positions, either this year or next year, eventually down the line as we progress in our careers. I myself was the leader of a whole marketing team for two months, but that didn’t work out. And that was because of a lack of experience. To be quite frank, from your perspective, what does a marketer need to achieve, learn, etc, before they take on the mantle of VP of marketing?


Patrick Ward 7:54  

I have a lot of opinions on this. And I’m really glad you asked this question. So the number one sin that every marketer who steps into that leadership role for the first time commences, is they think that other departments care about what they do. And this is across the board, no department actually really cares what another does, and that’s okay because every single person has their own individual expertise. 


The problem is marketers come into that role. And they start communicating in marketing language with marketing jargon, and marketing speak. And the second you start doing that eyes glaze over. And people then will start prodding, they’ll start poking at, oh, well, I heard from this one friend of mine, that this should be our marketing, or I heard this strategy from this person. And then what you end up doing as a marketing leader is you’re constantly being reactive, you’re constantly playing catch up, you’re constantly getting questions and questions that tug right at the heart of whether you’re an expert or not. 


And this is something that I really hate that marketers fall into because it puts them at a disservice. Now, the first question that people might ask is, okay, Patrick, what’s the solution to that? The solution actually is already in your marketing skill set. The solution is you spend a lot of time figuring out what prospects and customers are going to want, why they would want your product and solution, and what benefits it’s going to provide to them. Take that skill set and apply it to your leadership team. 


So when you look at your CFO, and you see hey, he’s a finance guy, he cares about the numbers, the profit and loss, take the time to learn how to put your initiatives of marketing into a finance language. Similarly, when you’re speaking With an engineer, learn how to speak the language of engineers. And obviously, most importantly, as CEO, you always want to put the strongest bias possible towards serving your CEO’s needs. So how do I do this in practice, I bring the VP report to the CEO. 


So I met with him every week. And very quickly, I had diagnosed him based on a persona, I looked at him and said, okay, he’s a CEO. But he’s a former CFO, he has multiple entrepreneurial ventures. And Bootstrap is his big vision play. So that’s what he cares about. So because that’s what he cares about, I’m going to do two things. When I communicate with him, I’m going to communicate how our initiatives are contributing to pipeline and revenue, because that satisfies the financial side of his brain. 


And then I’m also going to spend a lot of time talking about how we’re growing the brand for five years, 10 years, 15 years from now. Now, that’s specific in his case, because it’s what he cares about. And that’s the thing if marketers focus on different people who are in powers of influence and have, a say over how the direction of the company shifts, when you speak their language, suddenly, an incredible thing happens, you get more trust, you get fewer questions, you get fewer people questioning whether you’re the right fit. 


And suddenly, you don’t have to explain why I’m running that paid campaign, why we’re doing this posting cadence on social media, why we write content in a certain way, the tactics evaporate, those aren’t the discussion anymore. Because as long as you’re showing that you understand what senior leadership cares about, you don’t get those questions.


Kenny Soto 12:01  

You mentioned that you have one on ones with the CEO and alluded to how you approach them. How do you approach one on ones with your direct reports? The other marketers in your team?


Patrick Ward 12:14  

This is a great question as well. So the way that I think about direct reports, and indeed, my entire management philosophy, which I encourage everyone to follow, is that we all know the sins of micromanagement, we all know the obsession about tasks. The problem is most managers don’t really have a framework. And so they end up talking to their direct reports about tasks too often. Let me give you a new framework. 


Your job as a manager is to only care about three things. It is the financial goals of your direct reports, your professional goals, and then finally, their personal goals. Now, the financial goals can be pretty straightforward. If you’ve done your research appropriately, you’ve given them a salary range, and they’ve accepted that salary range. Great, fantastic. The first job was done. The second thing is professional development. 


This is the hardest one where you need to think in terms of, okay, am I giving them a career path here? Am I giving them enough development, so that they’re able to hit new milestones, do new challenges do more exciting work, because even if someone is an expert at one particular thing, if they do it for a long time, they’re gonna get bored of it, like that’s human nature, we do crave a little bit of variety? And the final one is personal goals. And this one is something where you do have to be a little careful. 


You don’t have to go deep into understanding everything about your direct report’s personal life, I’m not suggesting that. But you do need to be able to pick up on their particular cues. An example of this is when I pick up on a direct report, who maybe is having a tough week, you know, and I’ll find out later that it was for No, maybe they had some sort of illness in their family or something of that nature. Cut them a little slack, find ways to support them, find ways to maybe give them, you know, half a day off without officially logging it. Now, you might say, oh, Patrick, that’s not following due procedure. 


Forget procedure, treat them as a human. Because when you do that, and you do that over and over again, and it’s small, it’s small interactions on those regular bases with your team. They are incredibly loyal to you. Because you’ve shown that you respect them enough that you can give them enough autonomy to do their work in the most effective way possible. Now You still want to create an appropriate cadence around that you still want to say, Hey, if you say you’re going to get something done by this day, and with this resort, these amount of resources, you still need to be accountable to that. We’re all adults here. 


But if you can start getting into that management philosophy of not looking at every little microscopic thing that your team is doing, you get far more results, I always say that a manager’s job is to take people from their baseline, which is likely giving you 51% of people will give you just enough effort not to be fired. And your job as a good manager is to inspire them, motivate them, support them so that suddenly they’re giving 80% 90% 100%, suddenly, they want to give that, and they’re giving that because a manager is actually helping them accomplish what they want to achieve in their life, not just basically acting as adult daycare.


Kenny Soto 16:04  

Now, as a marketing leader, I’m sure you’ve observed, and again, this is an assumption. So you can correct me if I’m wrong, but some of your team members might have side hustles outside of what they’re doing on their day-to-day, if they do have side hustles. How are side hustles of companies key to successful marketing?


Patrick Ward 16:26  

So I love the fact that people have side hustles I know that a lot of employment contracts, try to discourage them, either by asking employees to publicly disclose them. Or they ask that people, you know, don’t even have them, right, which I think is unrealistic. The reason why I love side hustles, and I think they’re a key to marketing for two reasons. One, if the side hustle is aligned with what the employees experience already, is, they can actually start generating revenue. An example of this, funnily enough, is my own side hustle. I have a side hustle, which is a website called Nano Global’s dot com. 


And just two weeks ago, we had a lead that came through nano Global looking for developers, what do you know, that was referred over to bootstrap, a wonderful symbiotic relationship between something that was my side hustle, but benefited my day job. The second aspect is something that is a little bit less seen, but it’s absolutely essential. I take time with each of my direct reports to talk through their side hustles to give them some advice, give them some strategies. 


Now, you might ask Patrick, why are you giving them, you know, extra expertise for free that you could charge them consulting rates for? Why are you doing that, when it’s not directly will land on the business because of the tangential benefits? An example of this, I had one of my content writers who started his own website as his side hustle is an affiliate marketing website. What do you know, I see that the content he produces for bootstrap now performs better because he’s learned more things by developing his own side hustle. That’s the great thing is that side hustle, because, you know, the stakes are lower, particularly if you’re starting from scratch. 


And if you’re bootstrapping it, you’re not spending a whole lot of money. So you can do so many experiments. And the lessons you get from those experiments can come through and help you with your day job and help you do a better job at it. And that’s why I think it really is the key to marketing. I understand there is that old-school dogma that no you should 100% obsess about your job and not think about anything else. Well, I can tell you, Kenny, that every success I’ve got in my career has been because I’ve taken a lesson I’ve learned from another industry. 


And I’ve said, oh that that looks good. I should bring it over to my industry. That is critical to marketing success, you should always be on the lookout for those other ways. And if you’re thinking about a side hustle, you’re able to do that. The final thing I will add is that by starting a side hustle, you inadvertently teach your marketing team to start thinking in business terms. So what do I mean by that? They’re thinking about how much income could I generate. 


What are the costs and expenses that are associated with it? When do you get your marketing team to start thinking from a business-like perspective? Suddenly, they become better marketers because they understand hey, why would someone buy from us that’s going to be a cost why? They hope to gain from us. That’s something that might be revenue. When you put them in those metrics, suddenly it’s more business-aligned, then if they’re going to talk in the usual metrics that marketing has used for many years, likes, views, other vanity metrics that are nice, they’re nice to talk about with other marketers, but they’re not impactful towards a business.


Kenny Soto 20:25  

So many things to unpack here. One would be that I totally agree with you on how side hustles no matter what the side hustle is, definitely helps with skills development. And you want your team members, whether their peer’s direct reports, or what have you doing side hustles, outside of the business, because one, it shows that they have a passion for their craft, and as you mentioned, they get better at their day job. 


One of the reasons why I do this podcast as my side hustle is because whenever I have very timely challenges at work, I can speak to experts like yourself and learn in real-time, all of the things that I need to take into account for the next week’s worth of work. She’s me. So that’s one thing. 


The other thing that popped into my mind is the fact that by doing side hustles, you start thinking, not only as a marketer but as a business person. And I’ve seen that for myself, where, prior to my podcast and doing freelance marketing as well, I thought of my performance only within the channels that I was directly responsible for not really thinking about holistically, how’s my channel contributing to revenue in an effective and impactful way, where in most cases, you either need to be in the Sweet, sweet, sweet row, or in other cases, paid media demand gen growth, to really start thinking about, are we making money versus Oh, we just got 500 new keywords ranking at the 37 positions on average, like, that’s cool, but you have to be able to also say, and as a result of that, we’ve increased revenue by 3%. This quarter.


Patrick Ward 22:13  

Exactly. I found this super impactful, like you said, for those team members I had on my team that were less aligned directly with revenue. So obviously, my paid search guy, I’m not really worried because he’s always going to see, oh, well, I created this much pipeline that much of the pipeline converted into this much revenue, I’m good. But it’s more for people who do more longtail things, I remember, the moment that my content guy really understood this. And I put it directly because he’d started his side hustles. 


And therefore, he saw the intersection of where a business goal meets an activity within marketing because he wrote this phenomenal article on the pros and cons of outsourcing to Latin America, as most SEO content, took six months to rank and took a whole bunch of link building to make sure it was number one. And then what do you know, nine months after that piece was published, we got a lead from Wolters Kluwer, a $4 billion company, and they came in on that piece of content. 


Suddenly, he’s the one coming to me saying, Patrick, I get it, I get what where I do some work today, it might not materialize tomorrow, it might take a year, you know that that could be how long it takes. But it actually adds value to the business. And that, if anything, if any marketer takes anything away from this discussion that we’re having today, Kenny, it is that you can keep talking the marketing world you can keep, you know, fanboying and fangirling with each other about the cool new marketing platforms have cool new tools and cool new tactics. That’s great, great for a networking party. 


But if you can start speaking the language of business, you will command such incredible respect in your companies and in your wider industry because so few marketers do it. But if you can, if you can speak that language, you’re going to increase your career trajectory far quicker. You’re going to start making you’re going to be the people that peep that other businesses come to because you’re the expert. You want to really cement yourself as like I understand marketing. Most people don’t. But I understand how marketing contributes to business outcomes.


Kenny Soto 24:48  

My next question is in two parts. The first part is what are your thoughts on the rise of the b2b influencer?


Patrick Ward 24:58  

So the b2b influencer has been a really interesting trend that has come, I would say as a follow-on to the b2c influencer. So the b2c influencer was, in many ways similar to e-commerce sales, put out a face cream or a piece of fashion, see how many people click to buy it, and you get a conversion rate. 


And that’s about it. b2b influences tried to do that model initially, you know, on the idea of creating content, making it viral, and linking off to their companies that they support it very quickly, didn’t work. And it makes sense when you think about it, because b2c purchases if I’m buying a $10 face cream or $20 Face Cream, I can, you know, it’s a low-value purchase, right? In terms of how much money I have to spend. A b2b purchase can be 50,000 100,000 250,000 and up it’s so natural, it’s a more involved purchase. 


And what we’ve seen is that the b2b influencer space has had to adapt and create new metrics for itself. Right now, it’s not so much, you know, what’s your conversion rate? How much do you know, how much does one single b2b influencer campaign contribute to revenue? But more from that psychology perspective? How are you changing the paradigm by partnering with a b2b influencer? Now, the thing that I always advocate is you’ve got two approaches, when it comes to b2b influencers, you either try and partner with someone who is the go-to, for your space like it that if there’s one person that everyone in your industry looks to, and trust their opinion, that is your person. 


And that person might not have a lot of followers, naturally being business, they might only have 5000 followers, 10,000 followers, certainly far short, the millions that, you know, b2c influencers have. So that’s one approach. The other approach I suggest is creating internal influences. And the reason I frame it that way, rather than thought leaders is because I think thought leaders is a term that has been bastardized to all hell, unfortunately. And what has meant is that people think, Oh, well, I put out a piece of content. And it’s written by my CEO, which means he’s a thought leader. No, no one cares. 


Why I say, create internal influences, is you have people within your company that likely can do this. So what’s a practical example? Well, myself, even appearing on this podcast is a form of influence. And I do this within the marketing crowd, within the business executive crowd, because that’s my niche. That’s my experience. Similarly, when it comes to my CTO, I’m getting him on more technical podcasts, technical conferences, technical, white papers, and these types of forms of content. 


That is to help him become an influencer within that space. When you create that level of expertise and share it with the world in a very genuine way. You can create a small community of people who get influenced, and that exercise really shifts the needle. The example that I always like to go back to is a very simple one. Last year, we created about 30, I think, 36 million in the pipeline that’s very proud of that. 


Most of those channels, people aren’t surprised about it’s the usual ones, Google AdWords, SEO via inbound website visits, a few social media visits, and obviously a huge chunk of referrals. All pretty stock standard. But the one category that I was super proud of was over a million dollars of deals from influencer marketing, represented by people who had read the content we’d posted.


They’d engaged with us at a conference, they had seen a podcast appearance and reached out. That was what I was most proud of that because that channel did not exist prior to my coming. And when you can create brand new channels that acquire customers from scratch In a way that is different from what the norm is, suddenly you might just find you stumble on a competitive advantage. 


And look, this is not to say that traditional marketing tactics can work, they absolutely can. But I will tell you that any marketer worth their salt needs to be a contrarian and needs to think differently from the norm. Because when you find that under tap channel, that undertaxed resource, suddenly you get a lower cost for it because not everyone else is bidding for it. And you often end up with outsized results.


Kenny Soto 30:40  

I’m glad you mentioned your CTO because that leads to the second part, which is how you create buy-in and how you convince team members to give it a shot.


Patrick Ward 30:52  

So you’ve got a couple of different ways to do this. First of all, the first stage is very simple. You’ve just got to go with the people who expressed the most enthusiasm for it, right? That’s always the case. Now, I love doing this stuff. I love speaking at conferences, I love speaking on the podcast, I love connecting with a lot of people, it was a natural fit for me, my CTO, him being very nerdy about a lot of technology, just love sharing that with people like, there are podcast appearances, I put him on that were 30 minutes long, that went for two hours, because he and the host just kept speaking about, you know, all things tech. That’s phenomenal. 


The next key is timebox, that initiative, and you can them in the best way I found call it an experiment, just say we’re going to try this experiment, it’s a pretty low lift, it’s not going to cost us a whole bunch, we’re just going to see, we’re just going to see what the results are. Once that plays out, and then you report back on that metrics, suddenly you find the more skeptical folk are trying to buy into it. They’re like, Oh, now the design team wants to share more about what they’re doing. 


Now the product team wants to share more about it. My CEO, my CEO, has always been a very shy man and never won the spotlight. But even he’s like, yeah, yeah, I can see the value of what you guys are doing, you know, sign me up, too. And it just kind of cascades from there. Because more often than not, even I as a marketer, even if I know that something is going to succeed, people who are outside our industry might not, you know, they might be a little more skeptical, especially in technology, I deal with developers all day, they’re the most skeptical people on the planet. 


And so if you can show through selling an experiment, measuring the success of that experiment, and showing the results, you get a lot more buy-in a lot quicker, because suddenly, people aren’t having to take it on faith that the marketing leader is right. The marketing leader has proved that this will work. And it’s a little shift in your way of thinking. But it is very impactful.


Kenny Soto 33:19  

You created this framework called the marketing transformation mindset. Can you describe what that is?


Patrick Ward 33:25  

It’s the marketing transformation mindset. I looked back at the last four companies that I’ve worked in everything from a $1 million agency all the way up to a $300 million annual revenue financial company. And I found myself using the same framework every time. And I thought nothing of it. It seemed very intuitive marketing, it seemed like, obviously what you would do in order to acquire more customers and get more success. 


But each time I did it, it was transforming the way that these companies thought about marketing. And what was really shocking to me about that is I felt that I must have stumbled onto something. And I’ll admit it was very, you know, trial and error and intuition. But I stumbled onto a framework that works for companies from one to 300 million. I will say this framework tends to work best for agencies and small to medium to mid-market companies. Like if you’re a billion-dollar, Nike, or Apple, go nuts, and spend all the money you want. But it’s a simple five-step framework. 


So I’ll quickly outline the five steps. The first step is to articulate your company story. The second step is to put all internal communication into language that creates employee advocates. So you multiply the effect of your marketing team. Rather than just having a few marketers, you have the whole company spreading your message. The third step is to put all of your external languages into the words of the customer. So this is where you need to harvest client reviews and use their words. 


Because how someone describes why they bought your product is a far more practical way of creating marketing messaging than using your own internal biases because every company thinks they’re the greatest. But outside customers truly know why they bought from you. The fourth step kind of alludes to what we were talking about before, which is if you don’t have a big brand budget, most people and most companies don’t have a brand name. Most companies are not Apple, most companies are not Nike. 


So the better strategy is to lead with people because people trust people first, rather than, you know, a company brand they’ve never heard of. And then finally, the fifth step is to experiment with technology but to only lean into the technology that you seek to master. And the point of this fifth one is to avoid the common problem where marketers get spread so thin across so many different platforms, and so many different tools, that they end up doing them all poorly. The final example there, which I want to give a practical example, is when I came into my previous role, I inherited all of the social media. 


And I cut every single one except for LinkedIn. And I did that for a very deliberate reason. Because I’m like, I am going to master LinkedIn, for our agency is the only platform I’m going to use. And we’re going to forget about the rest. By doing that, in just six months, I went from zero to $650,000 in the pipeline might not sound like much. But you better believe in a million-dollar agency. There were a lot of pipelines. But that only happened because I mastered a tool rather than trying to do 15 different things at once. 


So yeah, those are the five steps. It’s a very simple framework. In many cases, even when I look back on when I wrote that. And it’s been about two, or three years since I published the book that includes the marketing transformation mindset. I still think, Well, duh, it makes sense. But the more that I speak with people, and the more that I educate them on why they should use it, they see, hey, coming back to these fundamentals is really important. A lot of marketers often get, you know, seduced by the shiny object syndrome, right, they’ve floated to one new tool, or now they’re into a clubhouse. 


Now they’re not into the clubhouse, because the clubhouse is dead now, you know, etc, etc. But if you focus back on those core five principles, you transform your organization’s marketing. More importantly, by transforming the marketing for your organization, you do a lot better yourself. This is the one thing I think marketers are some of the most phenomenal people in the world. 


But they often shoot themselves in the foot. If they just find a way to use those same tactics they have of building stories, building narratives, being able to influence people being able to drive revenue. When you put all that together into a really nice story and start telling that about yourself. Suddenly, people take notice, people need it. Our field has never been more desired right now. We’re no longer the party people. We’re no longer the people who just make things look pretty. We’re a substantial component of driving the growth of organizations. So seize on that moment. Two more questions.


Kenny Soto 39:02  

What is one marketing challenge your team is facing this year?


Patrick Ward 39:06  

So I think the biggest marketing challenge my team is facing, ironically, is somewhat self-inflicted in not a negative way. But in a really interesting way. So last year, we were purely subservient to sales, we were a sales-supporting function. This is pretty common in the b2b space, that most marketing is somewhat in the business of demand generation lead generation Call it what you will create a number of leads and pipeline that gets handed off to sales, and sales has the opportunity to close them and then onwards towards revenue and obviously retaining those clients. 


What happened is that at the end of last year, I got my promotion to VP and suddenly the scope of marketing expanded dramatically. Suddenly, we were no longer just one sales supporting function, we had to support the entire company. And the way we tackled this was by creating three pods. We created a demand pod, which was our existing sales one. Our second one was our internal pod. 


This is what we conceptualized as a marketing agency that sells its services to other departments, right? So it helps the HR team with recruitment marketing, it helps developers who want to speak at conferences and refine their materials, and it helps the operations team, identify which clients are happiest and which clients are not. 


Those sorts of areas. And then the final one was our emerging technology pod. This is what we use to incubate new service offerings that we’re bringing to market to kind of like a go-to-market team thinking about, can we test whether you know machine learning has a viable opportunity for our business? Does blockchain have a viable opportunity for our business and these types of areas? Having split the team into those three components? While it has been enormously beneficial in terms of what We have provided to the rest of the company? I think one of the biggest challenges that we’ve all faced is a little bit of disconnectedness. 


You know, I’m very candid, that I have 12, team members across four continents, and it is a challenge to manage people across that many disparate time zones. And so a big part of my job is constantly thinking, how can I create incidental conversations, instant incidental instances of collaboration because the last thing I want is my team to feel disconnected from one another, I don’t want them to go into their own silos, but it is always a challenge to be monitoring, you know, if the internal pod is focused so much on HR, and the demand pod is focused on sales, then maybe they’re not speaking enough to each other. 


And maybe there are lessons that each of them can learn. Now, you can mitigate some of this through regular meetings, you know, sort of status updates, and I, you know, I conduct those meetings on a regular basis. However, one of your key measures as a successful manager is how you can create those organic systems, those organic ecosystems that exist outside of anything you do, specifically. 


And I will say that that isn’t always pleasing to me when I hear oh, yeah, I’ve already spoken with our video producer about that. And that’s coming from someone in demand. And suddenly, you’re getting these, these, this cross-pollination that happens. But it is something to continue to focus on. And it will be for the foreseeable future because we’re going to stay remote. I’m not going back to the office. Because of that people across four continents, it’s not tenable for me. 


And more importantly, it would make me lose access to the incredible talent I have. And that is something I’m always going to prioritize. I always tell this story that, at the start of this year, we needed more development help from our website perspective. So I went and hired a developer. I hired a developer with 20 years of experience, a massively experienced guy who was not even looking to leave his job. But he had a young child that he needed to look after at home. 


And his business was asking him to come back to the office three days a week. And all they said to him was, I can give you a full remote. At that moment, he accepted my offer. That is still the power for me. So yes, some people say, Oh, well, like, aren’t you frustrated by, you know, the potential for disconnection? Yes. But I will say that I will take that challenge every day of the week, in favor of being able to work with a truly phenomenal class team of people from all over the world.


Kenny Soto 44:20  

And I think before asking my next question, I think, for the most part, you will be able to solve that challenge because you are aware of it. And two, I could see that there’s a genuine concern that you have over it like, after a certain while, you do create those systems that you’re intending to create, by the sheer fact that you find it a necessity. And in most cases, once something becomes a necessity, you work on that thing.


Patrick Ward 44:49  

I couldn’t agree more. I 100% believe that we will comfortably tackle this and this is my more controversial opinion. When I hear managers who are like, oh, we need to return to the office, because you know, it’s too hard to manage. I’m going to be candid, I think they’re bad managers, really bad managers, you can’t run the same playbook that you did in the office for remote, you just have to change the playbook. 


It’s difficult to do. But it’s not impossible. You just have to change up your approach, the thing I found, and the one thing that I think was really helpful to me, so I’ll give this one quick tactic to any manager that’s listening. I did a daily stand up for 30 minutes, it is purely optional. People can come into it, or leave it as they please. 


And the one stipulation is you cannot speak about work whatsoever. And the value of this, I just did it at the start of the pandemic, it was something I started on a whim and I was like, Okay, well, this will keep us connected, you know, nice little thing. I didn’t think much of it, I thought it was a simple tactic. It’s not really burdensome. 


At the end of that pandemic, the end of 2020, I had multiple team members come up to me and say, Patrick, that one meeting saved my mental health for this year, that helped me stay sane, through this entire year. Don’t underestimate the value of that, when you can create spaces for people to just be themselves so that they don’t always have to speak about work. What is that replicating? It’s replicating the water cooler? Like we all had that in the office, we just need to create a different style of water cooler. And that’s the thing I say, if you’re a manager who’s hell-bent on pushing your people back into the office, maybe you need to have a look at your management style. Maybe you need to have a look at how you adapt to the modern world.


Kenny Soto 47:00  

My last question for you, Patrick is hypothetical because time machines don’t exist. But if they did, and you can go back in time, just about 10 years into the past, knowing everything you know, right now, how would you specifically accelerate the speed of your career?


Patrick Ward 47:16  

I think the key here is, I would have dialed in quicker on jumping industries. What do I mean by this? So I always say that I’ve worked in a number of different industries. I’ve worked in the insurance space, the real estate space, the food and beverage space, the travel space, and the finance space. And now finally, the technology space, so many different industries. But for certain of them, it took multiple years. 


And I think I would have done it a hell of a lot faster if I had my time again. Now, many marketers might think this is counterintuitive. And certainly, there is a school of thought that believes you should focus on one industry to become the absolute most successful person in that industry. I have a dear friend of mine who is a financial marketer. That’s all he’s done his entire career. 


And that’s how he sells himself as an expert in financial marketing. That is one route. Here’s why I say my route of industry jumping as quickly as possible is actually beneficial. Because most ideas that come up in modern-day marketing are not new ones. They’re often gained from other industries. 


And so if you’re too myopic, in your view, if you’re too laser-focused on what is beneficial within your industry, on how things are done, you become very stagnant and very static very quickly. When you’re able to pull in other ideas from other industries, you’re seen as more innovative. And you also come up with solutions far more quickly. And this is not just for marketing, but it’s for business in general. A classic example here is that Henry Ford only came up with the production line for cars by observing the abattoir industry. This is the type of thinking you need to get into. 


Because too often, when people use these words like innovation and creativity, they put a lot of pressure on themselves. They put a lot of pressure on coming up with something brand new world first, like never been thought about before. It’s a better opportunity for you to think, Hey, I’m in the marketing field. 


There are a lot of creative minds here all applying themselves to the same problems. So if I get enough exposure to enough different industries, I will learn something from them and I can apply that in my job because That is the lie about innovation. You don’t need to be completed first to market, you just need to be first in your industry, I have built an entire career. 


And a very successful one of that, that I hope continues to be successful purely on this philosophy, I can go back to several instances where I did something in the finance space, then I took it over to the tech space, I did something in the travel space. And suddenly that was appearing several years later, I even do it to this day, I’m in a community with SAS leaders, my company is not SAS, it’s services. But I do that because something that happens in SAS comes into service about two to three years later. 


That is the skill that is the hack that you can harness. And if you can be that adaptable, that flexible, suddenly, not only are you a better marketer, but you don’t have to worry about some of the bigger picture things, things that could crash into you. I know, unfortunately, a lot of marketers who specialized in the travel industry got absolutely walloped at the start of 2020. If you’re able to be nimble and flexible, you’ll always have value to provide to others. 


And if you can be that agile, like marketing has to be this way or more with there’s more change that has happened in marketing over the last 10 years that has happened in any other department, any other function. And so if that is the case, if the marketing of five years and 10 years into the future is not the same as what it is today is not the same as what it was 10 years in the past, then the only thing you can focus on is how can I continue to be agile? How can I continue to learn more? How can I continue to absorb different types of information?


Kenny Soto 51:57  

And that’s exactly why I have conversations like this. So I can do the same thing. And this was a very appropriate conversation for episode 101. Patrick, if anyone wants to say hello to you online, where can they find you?


Patrick Ward 52:09  

So the two places they can find me can either go to my company’s website, so, they could also go to my side hustle, Nano, or the best place is always LinkedIn. So slash Patrick James award.


Kenny Soto 52:26  

And, again, I have to thank you for this conversation because I learned a lot. But the one important thing I learned is you can be a VP of Marketing and still have a side hustle, which is very reassuring. And with that, I want to thank you for your time today. And I want to thank the listener who’s listening to this episode because we have now suppressed 100 episodes. 


And as I mentioned in the previous one, I am truly grateful for everything that has gone through on this journey that I’m in as a podcast host and I’m glad that you have joined me and whatever episode you have joined me in this journey. So again, I just want to say thanks. And yeah, I hope everyone has a great week.



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