4 Ways Companies Should Expect Modern Agencies to Behave: Show Notes & Transcript
Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.
This is Episode #136 and we’re talking modern agency expectations. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!
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Marketing Smarts Episode #136: 4 Ways Companies Should Expect Modern Agencies to Behave
Agencies can be a huge help to your business in a wide variety of ways. Like many aspects of the marketing world, the role of agencies has changed drastically over time. You can expect modern agencies to seek to understand the make-up and capability of your team, train you to build your capability, provide a tiered way of approaching the work, and collaborate heavily. You’ll also need to know how to handle some tricky situations with agencies – what do you do if you’re stuck in the “old way” of operating with your agency? What about if you don’t have any “true marketers” on your team? How do you even vet agencies in the first place? We have all the answers for you, as we know this topic inside and out. This episode covers everything from collaboration to brainstorming. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:
- How should brands expect modern agencies to behave?
- Can you fix it if you’re operating in the “old way” with your agency?
- Are there specific criteria you can use to vet an agency in order to tell if they are a modern agency?
- Can this approach still work if you don’t have any “true marketers” on your team?
- How do you develop your marketing budget with agencies in mind?
- What should your KPIs look like?
- How important is collaboration with your agencies?
- Why do agencies care about the make-up of your team?
And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at: ForthRight-People.com.
Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:
- 4 Ways Companies Should Expect Modern Agencies to Behave
- [0:00] Welcome to Marketing Smarts
- [0:30] Anne Candido, April Martini
- [0:33] Learn more at ForthRight-People.com
- [0:38] How should brands expect modern agencies to behave?
- [1:40] Client-Side
- [2:09] They seek to understand the make-up and capability of your team
- [4:54] Clients
- [9:18] They train you to build your capability
- [14:00] They provide a tiered way of approaching the work
- [17:26] Marketing Budget, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), Podcast Episodes
- [17:42] P&G (Procter & Gamble)
- [20:36] They believe the best work comes from collaboration
- [29:20] Recap: How should brands expect modern agencies to behave?
- [30:03] Marketing Smarts is sponsored by ScottMautz.com. Scott Mautz is a popular keynote speaker and #1 bestselling author whose latest book and talk Leading from the Middle helps middle managers dramatically increase their influence up, down, and across their organization. Want your company’s middle managers and leaders equipped to foster a high-performing organization? Want them inspired to drive the change and transformation that’s a challenging necessity moving forward? Go to ScottMautz.com to check out Leading from the Middle and all of Scott’s keynotes, trainings, courses, and books
- [30:56] We are in the “old way” of operating with our agency. Can we fix this, or do we need to move on?
- [37:35] We don’t have any “true marketers” on our team. Can this approach still work?
- [43:41] Are there specific criteria I can use to vet an agency in order to tell if they are a modern agency?
- [46:22] Influencer
- [52:22] ForthRight People
- Marketing Smarts Moments
- [53:16] Busken Bakery
- [54:09] Cincinnati Bengals
- [58:20] Recap: How should brands expect modern agencies to behave?
- [59:02] Make sure to follow Marketing Smarts on your favorite podcast spot and leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts
- [59:07] Learn more at ForthRight-People.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- [59:11] Sign up to view all the ForthRight worksheets & tips for FREE!
- [59:22] Shop our Virtual Consultancy
What is Marketing Smarts?
From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.
How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?
Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer.
Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.
Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it. Welcome to
April Martini 0:30
Marketing Smarts. I am Anne Candido and I am April Martini. And today we’re going to have a discussion around the client-agency relationship and very specifically what modern agencies should be able to provide to their clients. So gone are the days of going away and coming back with the most creative ideas ever for the client to quote unquote buy. In the world we’re in today, it’s all about rich partnerships that are developed out of mutual respect on both sides and the desire to get to know each business individually. And for Anne & I, Really specifically, this is how we developed our coach-train-do model so that we could accommodate client needs more effectively and in a different way than agencies have historically. It really allows us to partner and build relationships that keep our clients coming back, and then over time, making us more and more valuable to them.
Anne Candido 1:21
Alright, so this also requires a change on the client side. As April mentioned, now being on the client side, you shouldn’t expect for you to brief your agency and then send them away, and then expect them to come back with a magic bullet that’s going to answer all your questions about how to save your business, how to grow your business, how to dramatically increase your popularity, whatever it is you want to go do. The environment now is way way too complex with this behavior. And it’s April always says, you know your business better than the agency does. So expecting them to get it right on their own without your guidance is just a path of frustration, and actually, money just burnt.
April Martini 2:00
Amen. And with that, we will get into four ways companies should expect modern agencies to behave. Number one, they seek to understand the makeup and capability of your team. So we just talked about relationships, partnerships, all of those words, they are the foundation of any good business interactions, this is no different in the agency client relationship, or at least it shouldn’t be. As part of this, one of the things that you should see your agency do is look to understand the team you have in place, what their abilities are, what their roles are, and then where outages may be that they can assist with or fill in, etc. Too often, in my past experience, the agency wants to blow by all that, jump right into the work of the work. Which means when that happens, you’re not going to get the benefit of the agency helping your team very minimally understand the role of branding and marketing or even more than that ways that you can get better at it as a team on the client side, it’s no secret that agencies historically made their money by keeping everything a little bit of a black box holding clients at arm’s length. But in our opinion, the age of that has expired. And really it started happening in a big way with the manifestation of so many tools that are at the hands of anyone related to brand design and marketing. So, you know, I always uses the analogy of if you saw a rocket being built, would you say you could be a rocket scientist? No. And so I say, Okay, well, you do it.
Anne Candido 3:41
If you see a rocket ship go off, would you look at and say, Oh, since I saw it go off. I know how to build a rocket. That’s a better
April Martini 3:47
way of saying you’re right. That’s yeah, so a good fraction. And so we’re not, we’re actually not endorsing the idea that anyone should get in and create with those tools just because they exist. But the point here is that the world really started changing when those things became more accessible, because the black box quote, unquote, started to go away when the tools were more broadly around, right. Alright, so what does this look like? So the types of things the agency should be seeking to understand or they should be asking questions about who’s on the team, what levels of experience you have, what background the team has, and what really specific skills you leverage each person for. There should also be conversations about what the agency can assist with outside of doing the doing of the work, and then ultimately, what is the best use of the time and money on both sides. So where can each of you very intentionally and pragmatically work together to get to the best work? And we have several clients that we operate this way with. Recently, we worked with a local school and they had someone on their team that had been running The website and kind of cobbling it together for many years, she was not a self professed expert. And she stated that but knowing that and knowing that she was going to be that person moving forward, we not only rebuilt that site and did a lot of other brand associated work and training with them. But the point of this example is that we knew that she was going to be that person. However, the people who had done the previous work had not set her up for success. So when we decided which platform, we were going to put the website on moving forward, we made sure that it was one that was more user friendly. Number one, we also had her alongside us throughout the building of the website so that she could learn the back end and how things were similar or different to what she had been doing before. And then our web designer, actually, or web programmer actually spent a bucket of hours with her and then had ongoing time where he could answer questions for her. So this is what we’re talking about, right? So typically before it would be that that programmer agency would maintain the website coming out of it, that was not the case here. And we empowered her to be able to do that on her own. So very specific example. But you can see where we’re going with this. Yeah, and
Anne Candido 6:13
I think that’s really, really well said, and I would say from a client side, you also should be thinking about it from the other way too. And that you should be seeking to understand their team in their team members. Because Also gone are the days where you have the account manager who’s a gatekeeper to the rest of the team, right. So if you guys are gonna collaborate on marketing and nurture, and they really are intentionally trying to build your capability, you actually should have access to the people who are actually doing the work within reason, like you can’t have unlimited access, necessarily, because it could cause a distraction, multiple different reasons, right. And sometimes those people need to be able to focus and then might be behind the scenes for a reason, because sometimes they’re not as great as handling the client side of things. Right. So there might be a lot of reasons, but you should at least have visibility to team the team’s capabilities. What is the team really good at the team that you’re meeting with who’s pitching you the work should be the team you’re actually are working with going forward, not the team who’s just the pitch team, and then they’re going to bait and switch you onto some other team, right? So you should know what the makeup of your team is. And I think that’s really, really important. Because if not, then what we’ve seen happen is a becomes like a churn and burn exercise, right? There’s that they’re just trying to get through your work and trying to get through your work so they can get you on their client roster. And then they can use you in order to sell more work, right? So here’s where you need to take a pause. But it takes some time to build a relationship, understand what a partnership is going to look like, even if it’s just a short term thing. Now, that means you don’t necessarily need to spend as much time building the partnership, but you could at least spend the hour or two hours it takes to meet the team, understand the team’s capabilities, understand how you’re gonna work together? Who’s going to be talking to who? How is that communication going to funnel through and making sure you have all those things connected?
April Martini 8:00
Yeah, I think absolutely. And, you know, you made the point about, you may not have direct access to some folks, because it’s not really in their wheelhouse to manage clients or their skill set. But if you have a really good relationship, you as the client should have visibility to the reason why. Right and understand that. Right. So this is what we’re talking about when we say you know, the black box, and then on the other side relationship and partnership, it’s, you should understand not only the makeup of the team on both sides, but then who are the best people to communicate with to educate you on the work like you have accessibility is one thing, but then also, who’s in place for what reasons and how did they end up where they are, it’s like really getting to understand the whole person. So to Anne’s point, you know, if you don’t have access to the designer, and that’s because that’s the way x agency has done this for however many years they’ve been in existence, that’s a problem. If it’s, look, you can talk to the designer, if you want, but in our experience, it makes things more complicated. And we’ve seen clients be frustrated, and that person will acknowledge that that’s just not their skill. That’s a totally different conversation. Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Anne Candido 9:16
All right. Number two of the four ways companies should expect modern agencies to behave. They the agency train you to build your capability. And and I’m gonna hand this one over to you. Yeah, this is a really, really important one, because as April alluded to, when a modern agency is coming in to pitch you work or do work, they should be thinking about your level of competency with regards to marketing, yes. Because if they are doing good work, they want you to understand that they’re doing good work. Right. Otherwise, if they’re trying to snow you and they’re trying to like, get one by you or they’re like, oh, maybe we can just get some money from them and they won’t even understand it. This is just like mediocre work. That’s what you have to be worried about so the one of the ways that you know that this agency is legit is they’re coming in or like trying to get, like we said, the lay of the land of the people that capability the people, they’re also trying to decide where they can fill in the gaps, right? Where is your knowledge base? What is the capability of your team? Where are they going to have to train you up so that when you guys do work together, and we’re gonna get to that point, then they you guys know, at the end of the day, the work that you’re doing together is going to deliver on the business? Right? And they can’t do that. If you don’t understand what is good work. Yes. Right. So that is an extremely important piece. And that’s exactly why we develop Coast train do because that’s how we meet our clients where they’re at. So we know that some of them just need some coaching with regards to okay, if you have a and b, we suggest B for these reasons. Yes, we know some people are like, Ah, how do I do social strategy? Can you train me and my team how to do social strategy. And then we know some people are like, we respect what you’re doing, we understand what we’re doing, we don’t have time or capability to go do it, go do it right and so on. There’s different price structures for that, frankly, right. So that’s what you should expect the agency to come in and start to vet and try to understand about where they need to fill in those gaps, how they’re going to make you guys savvy, and marketers. Because you are going to want to become savvy or markets, or at least be able to walk the walk, talk to talk, you don’t have to become marketing experts, but at least enough to be able to have the right conversations.
April Martini 11:25
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s exactly right. And it’s about really wanting to be more helpful than just doing the doing of the work, right. It’s a mindset, it’s that that’s what the difference is. And that’s the exact reason we came up with coach train do quite frankly, is because we were getting asked different ways of doing things, right. And I think that that really helped us clue into the fact that there were different needs. But I think one of the big things around training you to build your capability, they have to really want to get in it with you and understand the business and the challenges that are occurring. So that they can really provide that gap filling that you talked about and and make sure that they are assisting to the best of their ability. I mean, when I say mindset, I mean, the part of what you and I aligned on really early on is we wanted to do great work, but we wanted to do the right work. And a big part of that became really the essence of this point, which was we don’t want to do all the work. Yeah. And there are certain pieces of the work that we actually quite frankly, don’t love doing
Anne Candido 12:41
or we shouldn’t be doing shows we’re not inside the business. Yes, yes. Especially internal marketing and culture building. Yep. Yep. All of
April Martini 12:49
those things. Yeah, those things that just make more sense for the other side to be doing. And so I think that flexibility, but then that also willingness to kind of get in there and make the intention to make your team better when the scope of work, quote, unquote, ends or is on pause, or you don’t need us for a few months or whatever. That’s the mindset that should be embraced on the side of the agency.
Anne Candido 13:11
Yeah, is this sustainability piece? Right? It’s like, the last thing we want. And this is what any other modern agency should want to is for them to come in, put in their time, money and energy, spend all that time with you trying to make and deliver this work, and then have it be a like, totally crash and burn as soon as they leave? Yes, no agency should want that for their own legacy when it doesn’t look good on that, because the agency gets blamed for that, right. But two is, is that it doesn’t do well for your business. So if they really had your business in mind, they should be wanting to build in that sustainability in order for you to have that consistency of continuing to develop and execute great marketing, even without the agency. Yes, yes, exactly.
April Martini 13:57
All right. Number three of the four ways companies should expect modern agencies to behave, they provide a tiered way of approaching the work. And and alluded to this in the previous point that we were going to kind of get into this. So whenever we get involved with a new client, one of the very first things we do when we go into get the lay of the land is to figure out where their current brand marketing and design efforts are, what exists, what do they have, what don’t they have, what do they need that they don’t have? And what is our approach to making sure that we put those tools in place. So like I just said, things don’t crash and burn when we leave, they have the actual things that they need. So we ask just as many questions though, in these conversations about the team and the capabilities or capacities so that we can really assess what that tiered strategy could look like. And that way we can understand, you know, what is the appetite for what they want to do or learn or have capacity for and what is it that we should recommend that we do for them right? So then we come back with a tiered proposal that’s very informed based on the conversations that have been had to date. It’s sort of our quote unquote, assessment. But it’s an assessment with options built in. So the idea is that we say, Okay, we’ve spent X amount of time together, we know who your players are, we know who our players are, we understand the state of your business. And we know where your marketing branding design efforts are to date. There are different ways like Ken said before that we can approach this work. And there are different price tags associated with each tear, quite frankly. But given who you are, and who we are, these are the options that we believe we can effectively deliver on to set you up for success. And then that conversation really becomes a respectful debate and an overall discussion about what do they have appetite for? What do they have funds for? What do they have time for? And what sort of skills and long lasting legacies do they want to build within their team moving forward? So in other words, what is the prioritization of the efforts? And where does the leadership see this team going? And how do we get them there, and their efforts subsequently, to go there? And we say very overtly that the sign of success for us at fourth rate people is when the client looks at us and says, Okay, we’re good, and we don’t think we need you anymore right now. And that’s not an A like peace out, see you later. You know, don’t let the door hit you, whatever analogies, you want to say. No, it’s not that way. It’s more, alright, we feel good with where things are, and therefore we’re going to take a stab at this, right? And then there’s usually some sort of ongoing, you know, tuneups, or can you come in once a quarter or ongoing coaching with a senior member of the team or ongoing training with someone, quite frankly, who maybe is new, or wants to build certain skills in one area, right. And so it’s not that the relationship is done, it’s just more that the heavy lifting has happened. And that team feels empowered to be able to act on what has been put into place on their own without us doing it for them, or holding their hand to the point where we’re lockstep every single day.
Anne Candido 17:08
Yeah, and just to double click on that one, I find this matrix structure, really a good structure to actually sell in the work to Yeah, really. So especially from a budgetary standpoint, where we know like, it’s really sometimes very difficult to sell and marketing budgets, especially because of the complexity of establishing KPIs and being able to show success, right. And we have a gazillion podcasts on that. So if you’re questioning how to go do that, go listen to one of those. I was famous at P&G For my Gold, Silver, bronze matrices. And this was more from a budgetary standpoint, but it also takes into account resources and scope, okay. And the silver was always kind of like the blood times the ideal, where we honor the land, the bronze would always take it down a little bit of a notch in the in the gold, but always take it up a notch, right. And what this allowed management to see, and I was specifically given this feedback by someone who’s very hard to sell marketing into was like, they could see what they were giving up or what they could potentially get. And so it gives, like a tremendous amount of visibility and transparency to choices that they are making. Yes, as opposed to an inadvertently black and white decision where they may not necessarily know what they’re giving up on or what they may not understand what the opportunity is. And they were like, well, if I just know that I mean, how many times would we here? If I just know that that’s what you were going after, I probably would have signed up for that. So give them full visibility. A lot of times, a lot of agencies don’t want to go do that. Because they want you just to say yes, right to this one thing. This is what the money they need to get. They need to get this money and they’re not willing to structure it any differently than that, that again, is a red flag. Why don’t agencies shouldn’t be working like that anymore? They should be giving that flexibility to try to meet you where you’re at?
April Martini 18:52
No, I think that’s a really great point. And I think the reason it works so well is because it empowers the client to have a say in what’s going to happen. Yes, how it’s going to happen. I mean, I we just recently sold in a new client who’s an old client of mine, from a previous life. But when I did the proposal for him, I mean, he’d been through the process with me before, right. So he knew now it’s been several years. But when I talked him through, I was giving more the lens of you told me this, we’ve only had two conversations. So I took what I knew from those conversations, I’m also giving you visibility to how we worked before but then how I’m recommending we need to work now given the differences of the company Exactly. And I got a lot of credit for being so thoughtful in the approach. And while he may not have remembered every detail of how we did it, then and how I’m proposing it now he could easily connect the dots to I told her this and even though this is what we did in the last process, she acknowledged and therefore that’s not as big a part of the scope or that maybe later down the road or whatever that looked like and so it was a very easy conversation, because I had used this tiered approach to educate, and also be thoughtful in what I had interpreted. There were also a couple of places where he was like, I see how you got there. But actually, I think we need this instead. Or I know why you want to do that. But I can tell you right now, knowing what I know about X team, that’s not going to happen. Right? So it was a very easy, very quick, quite frankly, discussion. And we made decisions without any sort of emotion. And we got to the answer really quickly. Yeah, transparency
Anne Candido 20:27
leads to trust. So yes, I think that’s so critically important in this day and age. Yep.
April Martini 20:32
All right, number four of four ways companies should expect modern agencies to behave, they believe the best work comes from collaboration. And
Anne Candido 20:41
yes, and this goes back to the point in the intro, where, you know, gone are the days where you brief an agency, they go away to their magic place where good ideas are generated, and you know, poof, you come back, and here’s your magic idea. Like, that can’t happen anymore. Because like I said, the environment is way too complex, things change too frequently. And really, the reality of the situation is, your agency is not going to know your business well enough to be able to go do that autonomously, you’re gonna have to continue to give them feedback. And you got to be able to give that to them very directly. And in the moment to be able to refine the work so that it actually gets to the place that you like it. A lot of times, we’ll just say, Oh, well, I just didn’t get good work. Well, did you not get good work? Or did you not provide the right inputs in order to enable the right work, right. So you need to really think about how that collaboration is going to happen, how frequently you’re going to have those conversations, of course, it starts in the brief. But then it also has to have subsequent reviews of the work and not to the point where it’s so far along that when you intervene, you have wasted a bunch of people’s time, but they’ve gotten so far off track. And now they have to backtrack, because that usually does result in some sort of change of scope, which is more money for you last time. All those frustrating things that when we have to talk about them are like, I just don’t want to do this anymore. And why corporate agency relationships can be contentious. Yep. Right? Yep. So think about that from in terms of the actual style in the process for doing the work, but then also think about who is the right person group to actually do the work? So what we would say is that your agency, the reason why you hire them, is it due to things that you can’t do? Yes, or you don’t have the training to do or you don’t have the time to do so. If you hire them, they should be doing a lot of strategy purchases, you probably don’t have strategy, they should be doing a lot of your design work, even though you might have Canva, and you love to like dabble into logos, please understand that the complexity associated with doing these toolkits and these branding elements, and doing them really, really well is an expertise, please do not underestimate the value, because you see five are out there and you can spend $10, and you can get like 25 logos that actually mean nothing. Okay? So please honor the fact that this does have a process, it does have expertise, it does take a certain eye, and let them do what they do. Well, that doesn’t mean that you don’t input into it that you’d be like, well, you know, I don’t want to interfere with your creativity or interfere with the process. No, you have to continue to add feedback, you have to continue to tell them what they what you like and what you don’t like, that’s really, really important. But then also make sure, as part of this process that you are, and I’m kind of alluded to, so I’m gonna put a fine point on it, sharing the right information. So a lot of times in the terms of the client, we hold back, because we don’t want to provide them too much information, either if it’s going to put them in a box, or because we just don’t have time or we don’t think they need to know that or we sometimes we keep it away from them to see if they can guess it. Oh, so frustrating. Don’t do that. Make sure they know who your target is your targeting and make sure they know that really well what your business goals are, that’s really important, how you make money, what’s important to the brand in this moment, those are really important things for them to understand. You do not need to take them through every single nuance of your brand. And they don’t need to meet with every single person that’s working. But there should be an element of collaboration that you guys understand each other. And in you all you as a client also understand what the agency’s motivation is, what is it? What are they out to? Why are they taking this work to begin with? What does it matter to them? How’s that building their agency, their reputation, their credibility, the agency, understand what’s in it for each other so that you can actually collaborate effectively?
April Martini 24:34
Yeah, I think that that is so smart. And, you know, and I’m going to use one of your expressions that you say all the time, which is good ideas can come from anywhere. Yep. And I think that on both sides, this needs to be the inherent understanding mantra belief of both teams, because number one, it’s true, quite frankly. But also if we leave our egos at the door and we embrace this i idea the work happens much more fluidly and much more naturally. And there isn’t the worry of, am I contributing enough or you know, or is the agency paying for themselves or those types of things that become distractions, to the work getting done. And then I think on the other side of this, it’s being open and honest and realistic when it comes to the capability of the team around what tools actually can be taught, and which ones cannot. So to Anne’s fiver example, that drives me crazy and really hurts my heart from just being a designer and, and for the designers on our team who are amazing, it just, just just credits right and take so much away from what they do. But the other reality of the situation is, you have to be open to having the conversations about what the work actually takes, and what makes sense for things to be done. So I’m gonna give a really tactical example. So we have a client right now. And they have someone who has a desire to be a brand manager. And one of the things that we’ve talked to them about is how to audit brands at the brand level. So not necessarily what do you what Intel Do you have? Because they’re in your industry, or you know, someone that works there, et cetera? But
Anne Candido 26:16
how do you actually audit the other brands in the space, and so we’re gonna go in and do a couple of them and show them how it works. But then the expectation of the management is that that person is a brand manager is going to be responsible for keeping a pulse on the competition in that way moving forward. And so there have been conversations about, you know, well, this is the type of profile person that is really good at this. And this is what you know, they’re able to identify patterns, and what do certain visual things mean, and how to identify tone and those types of things. And so it was about talking about the team, and then who raised their hand and is excited, but then also who has transferable skills, that it’s going to make sense for us to train them, but then for them to be effective in that role moving forward. And so that’s the kind of stuff we’re talking about here. When we think about collaboration, it is being really intentional, and really realistic, and making sure that all parties are set up for success at the end. And when you’re working together, yes, and I’m gonna get in my time box first. Okay, because I think what you said is so super important that I really want to emphasize, especially the good ideas can come from anywhere piece, which is so often said, and so often not believe that, yes, and when we talk about modern agencies in the collaboration, the big thing that needs to change is that the egos need to be left at the door. And we say this a lot. But it’s very, very true, because we define our self worth based on the traditional roles of agency client, if I’m hiring an agency, I obviously expect them to come up with all the good ideas, which means Therefore, I must not have any, and I must, therefore must not impart any of my ideas on them. Because they therefore should be smarter than me because I hired them. Right? That is not how it works anymore. People, you can’t do that. Because there’s not enough information transfer, in order for them to be in your head to be you to have the same experiences you bring to the table. That is ridiculous. Same thing on the agency side agency, if you’re being hired in, you come in and you have a conversation, and your client has a good idea, you need to acknowledge that, even though it didn’t come from you. And it’s so easy. I know. And you might you might say like, oh damn, am I really worth it? Are they gonna feel like I’m worth it? Let me tell you, Yes, you, they will think you’re worth it. If you take that idea that and you build everything else around it, that you facilitate the process of being able to cultivate their good ideas into something that they can go use, because I guarantee you they can only take it so far themselves, yes, whether they have the expertise to do it, when they have the time to do it, whether or not they have the capability to do it. They can only take us so far, if you can take their good idea and actually acknowledge that they had a good idea. That is what starts forming the partnership or like, oh, we work really, really well together. It’s not like, Oh, I didn’t need them. I came up with the idea myself. It’s only if they come up with an idea. You come up with an idea and don’t even listen to their idea. And they think their idea is better than the idea that you came up with, then they don’t think they know that you were worth the money that they pay us. Right. Make sure you’re listening to each other. That is so critically important. Okay, I’m done. I’m off my soapbox for now.
April Martini 29:16
All right, I’ll let that one line. Alright, so just to recap the four ways companies should expect modern agencies to behave. Number one, they seek to understand the makeup and capability of your team. They believe that partnerships are key versus doing only the work of the work. Number two, they train you to build your capability. They look for ways to elevate your team and its abilities as well as the work. Number three, they provide a tiered way of approaching the work. They give you options of ways that you can work together so that you as the client also have a say in how things are going to get done. Amen. And number four, they believe the best work comes from collaboration. You know your business better than anyone as the client They no branding and marketing. All right, and our next segment in the trenches where we give real world examples specific to industries and situations, but with broad application for anyone to digest and put into action. Number one, we are in the old way of operating with our agency, can we fix this? Or do we need to move on? And this is from the clients perspective. All right, my favorite answer applies, I haven’t done this one in a while. And it depends, feels good to bring that one back. Alright, so out of respect to the relationships or doing your due diligence, you really need to have the conversation. And this goes back to you know, and was just under Tide box. And you heard, you heard a lot of things out of her mouth. But my takeaway from that I have to forget sometimes. But I mean, very, very seriously, it’s about listening to each other. And that, you know, you heard and say that, and so if you’re really going to take a run at fixing things, and you believe that it is a possibility, or even just out of respect for them, even if there isn’t a lot of respect at this point in time anymore, you need to express your desires, based on everything we’ve talked about in this episode, and what you want to see and then see what their appetite is, what their responses and what ability, you believe they can confidently bring back in the way of changing things. And so some specific things that you can be looking for, because this can be a little bit tricky. I mean, I’ve said before, agencies are known for agreeing to do things and then leaving and scrambling to figure out how to do it. So you don’t want that that’s an old agency way of doing it. So you’re looking for things like do they have examples of partnerships that are working effectively, currently? How do they respond? What I mean by that is, what are their ideas on how to morph the relationship? Can they have that conversation back with you? Does it become a dialogue on how this could look? What is their excitement level for this? Do they appear ready to invest in the change? Are they enthusiastic about it? I mean, there were times when this would happen in a positive way in my history, where we would be given feedback. And when I was able to respond like, Oh, thank you, I was thinking the same thing, you know, and then it flows from there. We’re both, you know, disarmed from an emotional perspective and able to have the conversation. So you want to feel like they are wanting to be a true partner. They appreciate and understand the feedback, and they understand what’s broken, and what needs to happen to kind of course, correct, basically. And then there’s some other things to really look at. So do you have the right people on the agency side for this? So we’ve talked before, and I think you mentioned it in this episode earlier about the bait and switch that can happen, you know, one team pitches you and then you get a different team that comes in and does the work? Do you have a really young team? Do you have more doers than thinkers, you know, what, who are the types of people you need to enact this change and do they exist among the other players within the agency, it’s a really good time to reevaluate and maybe pull in some fresh blood or bring in a different perspective or ask for the senior strategist, if you feel like you’re not getting that from who you have on the team, whatever that looks like. You also need to protect yourself client by establishing a timeframe and success criteria for getting this to work. Three months is probably the max, you have to understand and be patient with the fact that it’s going to take some time to reroute the ship. But it shouldn’t take forever. And there should be a timeline and an end date and some goals in between to make sure that the course correct is happening appropriately. And then also, there’s likely some things that need to change immediately. So change those things immediately.
Anne Candido 33:55
This will help jumpstart the mentality it will show that you are serious about what you’re asking for. And it will also allow you to evaluate whether you believe they’re actually going to be able to and want to course correct the situation that you are in. I mean, if there needs to be a session coming out of this conversation scheduled for tomorrow, make sure that the things that can change right away do because if you let too much time go by then people start interpreting different things, the conversation gets lost. People remember things differently. You know, the whole idea is it’s going to take some time, it can’t take forever. So you need to make the ask get the agreement and start today. Yeah, and just to build on that point is it as a client, you have to keep in mind that the agency is going to take their lead from you, because they want to keep you as a client. So however you want to behave is generally the way that they’re going to mirror it back. Yep. So if you want something to change, it’s really up to you to instill that change and to really outline what that change looks like and then you have to ask behave appropriately with an hour or two have that change come to fruition consistently and consistently, especially if consistently, alright? Now, if they refuse if they say, Well, this is just not how we operate, or this person has to stay in here, because then you need to have a really hard conversation about whether or not this is the right agency for you, or whether or not, you have to go back to the agency lead or the owner of the agency and have a bigger, tougher conversation with them. Because they should want to be able to morph and like, you know, what you said April is, they’ve had to be feeling some sort of anxiety on their way to you. So a lot of times just comes to relief for them. But it does sometimes require them to make changes within their agency to accommodate. And I’ve had to do that in my past where I’m like, Listen, your agency structure is just not working. Right? We need to change the agency structure. Well, we don’t do any of that for our other clients, oh, my, I get that. But if you want this to work, we can’t continue to operate like this. It’s just not conducive in order to be able to live, deliver good work, deliver good work on time, manage the budget, whatever that looks like. So I say all that to say the client, as a client, you need to take a lead on this, if you want the change to happen.
April Martini 36:12
I think that’s a really good perspective. I was having a moment to where I’m like, geez, will pizza my bashing on my former agencies a little bit, which is not my intention. Hopefully everyone hears that. But I mean, I do think the point is the onus and where does it lie? For effectively changing things and also giving each side some grace and understanding what your role specifically is? It is in everything, whether you’re on the client or agency side, everybody’s accountable if this is actually going to work? And don’t make it at agency evaluation time this conversation? Oh, my gosh, no. Oh, geez. Please don’t do that. That’s for nothing brings us to our knees faster. Yes. All right. Number two, in the trenches, we don’t have any true, quote unquote, marketers on our team, can this approach still work? And I will say, Absolutely, I will not say it depends here. This is really one of our favorite places to play at for three people, quite honestly, it does require and we’ve said this in the episode already vulnerability on both sides to express what you have, what you don’t have, what experiences there were your team struggling. And then the agency has to be ego lists in assisting you to train people up. So this isn’t about I know more than you I have more experienced than you, I’m smarter than us some of the other things that have been brought up already. It’s about a genuine desire on both sides, to figure out how to make this work and make it effective. I will say that you client, your team has to be ready to put in the work and learn. Generally, I mean, I said before, that there’s some tools that are better done by agency and some that, you know, businesses can learn. But for the most part, if the level of investment is there, there are very few things that I believe the client can’t learn to do. There is definitely some heavy lifting on the front end for the agency. But for the most part, if your desire is to have a highly functioning brand marketing team within your company, it is a possibility. And then I was I would say to do an assessment at what people have strengths in today, and then use your agency to help frame what that can mean for building capacity beyond where they are. So we just recently we have a new client that we’re transitioning from coach to a train do model. And one of the things I did was sit down with the manager of the team and have her run me through each person and what their experience and skills were. And then I sat down with them as a team too, and just listened to the comment made about listening really listened to what they have done in the past and sort of probed on certain things so that I could come back with a recommendation on where I thought there were transferable skills. Yeah, and that was a really valuable exercise. Because since the owner of the leader of the team, isn’t a marketer by trade, right has learned what she’s learned by picking it up. When I could turn the lens and say these are the types of skills that then I can use to help train this, you know, then it was like, okay, I can see a path forward and why this can work. And I will put my faith in the fact that that’s a possibility, given your expertise. It’s also an ongoing dialogue. So this isn’t one thing where I can be like, okay, perfect that person we’re trying to do that and we’re gonna be done. Yeah, it is an ongoing Okay, we’re gonna have this session and we’re gonna go through this step and also a lot of over communication on all sides. So the owner of the work I’m over communicating with the boss of the team, I’m over communicating with just so everyone understands where we are in the process, because no two clients are the same. And getting to that training being trained up, you know, place is just different each and every time. So, I don’t know, that’s sort of my I just talked a lot so I’ll let you
Anne Candido 39:55
give your No I mean, I think that’s all right on and I think It goes back to the point I made earlier to you at least have to be proficient. Yeah. Because a lot of times it’s a respect daily, if you’re a business leader or manager, it would be like, Oh, I’m gonna be a business leader, but I’m not gonna understand finance. Yeah, right. I mean, you have to understand all the parts of what’s going to make your business go, it doesn’t mean you have to be an expert there, right. But it is a respect thing in order to understand what the work is, where the work is coming from, you don’t have to have all the right answers. But you need to have enough knowledge in order to be able to have the conversation, if you want to get good work. Yeah, it’s just really as simple as that. But then you also need to manage expectations for how smart or savvy your group is going to be in our marketing space. Yes, because some people have you have like, tapped him and said, Hey, you are going to be my brand manager, I would expect that person to become very educated in the world. Even if their backgrounds not in their minds, not I’m an engineer by background, I learned marketing at P&G, you can argue that’s probably one of the best places to learn marketing. But I that’s where I learned marketing, a lot of my marketing was experiential, it wasn’t like somebody sat down and said, Here’s the principles for marketing, you’re gonna go take these marketing classes, you’re gonna get MBA, I didn’t do any of that a lot of it’s experiential love, it’s being in it, seeing how it works, seeing what doesn’t work, seeing how this transpired this way, and how the environment changes, it’s about being in it. Right? So but also just managing expectations that if your folks are not going to be in it, there’s only so much knowledge you’re going to be able to acquire, because it is one of those things that you have to be in it on a regular basis, to be able to become very proficient at it. But that’s where you start collaborating with your agency to become extensions of you. And you can work together and fill different roles in order to be able to deliver the work that you want to deliver, based on what everybody’s time responsibility, capability, capacity, expertise, experience all of that. Yeah.
April Martini 41:54
I mean, I think that that is right on as well. Because the other thing is we’re looking for not just the aptitude. But the attitude is so this new client I have extremely high hopes for because they were like sponges when I came into the room for the first time. Yeah, right. It was just give me all the things you can give me. I mean, they asked for a list of podcast episodes. And I’m like, usually I send three to five. And we’re like, we want all of the ones that you think pertain to our problem. I’m like, Well, I’m going to piecemeal those. I don’t think I overwhelm you, I think three to five to start, and then we can continue to roll with it. But my point is that they were like, look, we know we don’t know, and we want to learn, give us the tools to be able to learn and there was just that energy in the room. So I think your point is right of making sure that while it’s the right people, but also there’s the openness to it.
Anne Candido 42:43
Openness is a big thing. I’ve gotten screwed on that. Doing keynotes on marketing and walking into room a bunch of people who think they know marketing. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s always fun. Yeah. I’ll leave it at that. All
April Martini 42:56
right. Our third and final in the trenches: Are there specific criteria I can use to vet an agency in order to tell if they are a modern agency. And and this is all you?
Anne Candido 43:05
Yes. And so obviously, you can distill down everything that we’ve said and put those in points to we’ve given you a lot of tips for what to look for behaviors that you should be condoning and behaviors that you should consider red flags, but let me put a finer point on that and give you a few and then it sort of an April, I’m sure.
April Martini 43:24
This first one makes me laugh so hard.
Anne Candido 43:27
But me it’s right. Okay. So and we see this a lot. So if they have a certain trademark process or processes, you have to be very wary here. Amen. All right. So this means you have trained our people to think a certain way. You want flexibility to accommodate your industry, business challenges, business, maturity, marketing, savviness, all those things we just talked about. So if they took us come and say, here’s our process, if it works for everybody, if it’s everybody, you need to be very, very worried, because what they’re going to do is they’re going to churn and burn on your business. All right, they’re going to put that in place. If it doesn’t work, it’s going to be your fault. And then they’re going to take their money, and then they’re going to move on. Alright, instead, they should be able to speak to their expertise, again, about getting to know the team and being able to show through case studies how that expertise is translated into a buried buckle work like across multiple industries, right? Because the key here is that marketing and branding is industry agnostic. Alright, so this is the funniest question we get all the time, where we do our marketing, branding, and we go into pitching to the client they like, but do you have you done it in our industry? And we’re like, it doesn’t matter. If an agency is really good, and marketing and branding, or marketing and branding subset, if it’s social, digital, whatever those things are, they should be able to show that they’ve been able to apply their expertise across a very book of work and have been successful on multiple different places. Yes, because marketing and branding is agnostic, right? That’s the only reason why we could have these clouds. As from all across the board and all these different industries, and we can help them be successful in their businesses across the board, well, it also
April Martini 45:08
builds experience in a lens in a way that the businesses will never have.
Anne Candido 45:13
Right. So you’ve crossed pollinate. Yeah. And education, that knowledge and you can learn from different industries, right. And I would even say, to some extent, you should be very wary if the agency is very niche, unless that is a niche you need. So for example, there was a time and I’m thinking it’s still the case that a lot of businesses wanted or beauty businesses wanted influencers, right. Yeah. And I know they want influencers, but they specifically will then tap into an agency that does beauty influence, yes. If that’s what you need, and you need something very tactical, then fine. But if you expect that agency to be able to provide you a strategy for how to leverage your your influencers in a bigger, broader context, you are barking up the wrong tree. Absolutely. Alright. So be very careful there. You also want to make sure that they’re looking to understand what the business results look like, versus just marketing specific KPIs. So you really, really need to push on this, okay, and they should be pushing on you. They shouldn’t just be like, Okay, here’s your social content strategy. It’s all on you. Right? So if you get, you know, 20 likes, you get 100 likes, oh, isn’t that really kind of fun? You know, you got more likes than you did before? Okay, fine. What does that mean? What does that mean, for my business? Your agency should be asking, Okay, I hear you want to play in social? What is the rationale? What is the reason for playing in social? What do you do when you played in social? What have you seen with regards to the business? Is it generating more people coming in? Are you getting more people to click on links? Are you getting more people to watch videos, what is your intent here, and so therefore, we can design content that actually is going to generate that call to action, or that that response to that call to action that you want, versus just putting up some pretty pictures, some nice content, and then you get some likes and some comments, and you know, we call it a day. So you need to be working that with them again, you shouldn’t, you’re going to need to understand what that looks like, your agency is not going to be able to tell that to you, you need to understand what drives your business. And if you don’t, then it’s a testament that you can work that with your agency and your agency to know what that looks like, again, if they’re trying to take what is working in Instagram, while this is working over here, and you’re gonna we’re just gonna lift this and put it on your business, and you’re gonna be in great shape. That, again, is a red flag that, again, is just reapplying without really thinking about what your business needs. So those are the ones that I would say you can use to screen whether or not your agency that you’re vetting is a modern agency or not. April, what’s your builds on that
April Martini 47:40
one? Yeah, I mean, I’m going to emphasize with like, I don’t know, as many exclamation points as I can, the whole idea of the business results, and having a strong understanding of that. Because I think when we think about historically how agencies have run in the fact that they’ve sold themselves based on the best creative idea, those ideas from the very foundational, and I’ve mentioned madmen before, it’s just like so true the way the world used to operate, not that I was alive, then but manifestation of where agencies were then and where they are now. It was based just purely on creativity. And that is just not the case any more. So if your agency cannot, and does not seek to understand the business, and then your goals associated with that, and how they can deliver and tie the branding and marketing back to that wrong choice. The other thing I will say is, and this goes back to my point before where I said about the bait and switch of the teams, you want the people you are talking to to be able to give you really meaty examples of how this has worked for them in the past. And to Anne’s point, it’s not about having a case study in a specific industry. That’s not what I’m talking. Right. Right, right. But if you’re vetting them to be a modern agency, then you want them to be able to tell you stories, I mean, agency people, the good ones are really great storytellers. But they’re great storytellers because they’ve done the work of the work and they in it. And so you want them to give you case study examples, not just the pretty pictures like and said, but the ins and outs of how they’ve been able to succeed and do this with other clients. That is what you are listening for. You’re not looking for. I’ve done this in your, you know, business sector before in these adjacent categories. That stuff doesn’t matter. It’s certainly not the process thing. I can’t even like address that because I’ll just then I’ll get on my soapbox and we’ll be here for another hour. But the whole idea here is and where I used to have the most success in selling new business was when I would get put in the hot seat. And I remember one particular CEO as clear as day I can remember the whole conversation where he just kept firing questions at me because He desperately wanted to catch me and not really knowing my stuff, right? And I very calmly answered every single question. And it was because I had done the work of the work. And that applies here. If they’re a modern agency, then they’ve done the work of this work, you are not their guinea pig, they are not pulling a bait and switch, they’re not going to go back to the agency, you’d be like, Oh, shit, now what do we do with this, they’re able to explain to you what this looks like, in their world. And to me, that is the very best thing you can do for yourself, in addition to the points that Anne brought up here, and making sure that you’re covering yourself, and you’re choosing the right partner. Yeah, and
Anne Candido 50:35
big bonus points, if they’ll tell you where they failed. Yeah, also, right. Yeah. And that’s a big thing to have modern agencies. I mean, testing and learning is a big deal. You hear us talking about that all the time. If they don’t know exactly what’s going to work, you should expect them to say we’re going to do a test similar, and we’re going to figure it out before we double down and invest heavily in a particular area. And you should expect some failure as a result of that. And you cannot go back to your agency in in basically ridicule them for testing and learning unless they were they took advantage of you in some way your money or whatever. But like in a true test and learn, you should expect some some failure and they should be able to clearly articulate where things didn’t quite go that well. And they shouldn’t be asking you to if you’re not providing KPIs, they should be asking you well, how did that go? Let us know how that went. We want to refine it, we want to fix it, we don’t want to just justify the way that we did it and say that we’re done for the day. Right. So but as far as that they can tell you that they failed. And you should respect that
April Martini 51:36
Guerlain quite honestly, if I’m being you know, open here about for three people, the way we came up with the tiered approach to proposals was because we had a run where people were not signing up, right. And we couldn’t figure out what it was. And so to the point of testing and learning, we tried several different strategies. And then we realized that in approaching the proposal that way, it made it more of a conversation versus Do you want to buy it? Exactly. And that like just completely shifted our business? Yep, does a great example. All right, in our third and final segment is where we highlight companies or brands that may or may not be using their marketing smarts, and may or may not have anything to do with this episode. Kinda does. Me, I don’t know, we’ll see. And last time, I gave a negative one, which I feel like puts bad karma out there. So I’m gonna give a positive one bounce that out here today. But this is a brand and it’s been around Cincinnati for a long time, it’s a bakery called Busken bakery. And they are super top of mind for me very transparently, because I pass one on the trail every day. And I really thought the other day, I was like, I feel like if I go in once, I’m going to end up paying like 300 pounds, because it’s unbelievable. But the thing that I, I want to say about buskin. And while it’s top of mind, one thing that I have always admired about them is that they have a very simple, clever, cute marketing approach. They do and their campaign wins with me every time. So they embrace the fact that they are a bakery, providing sweet treats, and then they pair their marketing with whatever’s going on the Bengals playing in Cincinnati, the holiday that’s coming up, whatever that looks like. And they also get major points with me because I was trying to count I think this campaign has been going on for 10 plus years, at least, that I can think of like when I first saw it. So don’t quote me on that. But they’re always coming up with stuff that at least I don’t think I’ve seen before. So when you have the ability to create really simple, clever, cute marketing, but also reinvent it in a way that people continue to smile or chuckle or whatever. It’s amazing. So I’ll give you some examples. So like one of the Easter billboards, and they’re just playing my billboards, feature product shortline a copy. It’s Anybody hungry? Right? So it just like it just just gets a little does a tongue in cheek, it’s cute. They embrace the fact that they’re a bakery, they’re providing treats, that is what it is right? They’re not overcomplicating, or like I saw a Bengals billboard the other day and it says Show your stripes and the cookie has the Bengal tiger you know like the Bengal uniforms basically. Or even like ones that it should be like a negative statement but it’s cute because it’s them so they have their smiley face cookie, but the line is have a crummy day. Right? The other halloween one I think this is not one that’s currently in rotation. But it was I see hungry people and stuff. I see dead people, right. So you see where I’m going with this right? There’s a blue Licious billboard down the street from me there was Valentine’s one that was that said my Achy Breaky Heart. But just like super sweet, super clever it embracing who they are what they are not overcomplicating. And then to me just the extra points that the consistency of tone with the innovative messaging where I don’t feel like I’m seeing the same thing every season. It’s just it’s very, very well done. And so I give them lots of kudos.
Anne Candido 55:16
Yeah, I like that example. I’m unfortunately, I can’t eat a lot of it anymore. Gluten-Free, but I mean, in the baked goods tastes good. Yeah. Oh, yeah. But quality of product is really great. But their sugar cookie is like their key their ice sugar cookie is their key product. Yeah, they have found a gazillion ways of being able to market that sugar cookie, in order to suit like, anything that’s going on from a holiday standpoint, at corporate events, birthdays, I mean, you could get your face on the sugar cookie. And now, I mean, it’s a big thing. It’s like everybody orders the sugar cookies, because it’s become such a it’s such a core part of Cincinnati. And so the hyperlocal, like, let me be in my community, and let me show up as being part of my community. It’s like one of those things that you don’t even think about that you’re like, oh, yeah, I need to get the bus configured. Yes. Because that’s what you do in Cincinnati, you know. And so, I’d say that’s a really great lesson for a lot of businesses who are trying to resonate with their, their local communities. It’s like, how do you get out into the community? And how do you show up in a community to build that emotional connection that makes you top of mind when people are needing something, especially with such a simple product, but it’s their core flagship product, right? And they keep, like you said, reinventing it, in order to make it feel novel and fresh and new. And you kind of look for it, and you kind of anticipate it, right?
April Martini 56:39
Yeah. But I mean, I’ll say on the other side of that they’ve had the same location here in Hyde Park forever. But when the Watson way trail was built, they very smartly tacked on to the back of it in order window. And like little, where you can just get to basically they won’t sell all the products, but they’ll have like a selection for just the trail people. And then I just talked about the smells that come on in there anyway. Well, one, there’s fresh baked goods right there on the trail, you know, so they’re there, they pay attention. And I think your your comment about the community sparked me thinking about bringing that piece up to where it was like they could have stayed just how they were, and they would have been fine. And they’re in a very hot spot for the neighborhood and location. But they went that much further to ingrain themselves and make it easier for the community to be able to be a part of that. Yeah, so yep. Anyway, so there you go. There’s my, my sweet HA HA HA HA example for the demo already. All right, with that, just to recap four ways, companies should expect modern agencies to behave number one, they seek to understand the makeup and capability of your team. They believe that partnership is the key versus doing just the work of the work. Number two, they train you to build your capability, they look for ways to elevate your team and its abilities, not just focusing again on the work. Number three, they provide a tiered way of approaching the work. That means they provide options of ways that you can work together so you also as the client have a say in the decisions. And finally, they believe the best work comes from collaboration. You know your business better than anyone they know branding and marketing. And with that, we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: ForthRight-People.com. We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now go show off your Marketing Smarts!