You Should Talk To

Tara Robertson, CMO of Bitly, on Effective Marketing and Embracing AI

May 22, 2023 YouShouldTalkTo
You Should Talk To
Tara Robertson, CMO of Bitly, on Effective Marketing and Embracing AI
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we dive into a rich discussion with marketing maven, Tara Robertson, exploring the landscape of modern marketing. Tara shares her insights on the importance of customer research, asserting that understanding your customer's pain points is paramount to creating effective marketing strategies. She emphasizes the value of data-driven decisions and highlights the crucial role of strong client-agency partnerships.

As the conversation progresses, Tara articulates her excitement about the rising influence of artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing. She contends that ignoring the growing impact of AI could be detrimental, urging marketers to stay ahead of the curve. The discussion also touches on the potential of AI to facilitate a more strategic approach in marketing.

On a personal note, Tara expresses her concerns about the current economic climate and the increasing layoffs. She emphasizes the need for building a more diverse workforce, advocating for more opportunities for diversity, equity, and inclusion in marketing.


💡 Name: Tara Robertson, Chief Marketing Officer at Bitly

💡Noteworthy: A dynamic marketer with a keen focus on data-driven decisions and diversity in the industry.

💡 Where to find them: LinkedIn

Key Insights:

The importance of data in marketing decision-making. During this episode, Tara Robertson emphasized the critical role of data in marketing decisions. She highlighted that relying on intuition without data backing often leads to costly mistakes. By harnessing data, marketers can validate their hunches, and improve the effectiveness of their campaigns. The conversation highlighted a real-world example of how Tara's team saved $50,000 by opting for a data-driven approach over a traditional customer research project. This insight reinforces the idea that data is an invaluable asset for any marketing team.

The necessity of firing clients who don't fit. One of the intriguing topics brought up during the episode was the concept of firing clients. Both Tara Robertson and Daniel Weiner agreed that it's important to terminate relationships with clients who hinder an agency's ability to deliver results. They mentioned that while this might initially lead to difficult situations like layoffs, in the long run, working with the right clients ensures the agency's growth and its employees' job satisfaction. This insight drives home the point that client-agency compatibility is crucial for mutual success.

The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing. AI's impact on marketing was a key theme in this conversation. Tara stated that ignoring AI's advancements in the current era is not an option for marketers. AI is not only accelerating the pace of progress in the field but is also allowing marketers to focus more on strategy than execution. The discussion emphasized that understanding and leveraging AI can lead to innovative strategies, thereby keeping businesses ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive market.

YouShouldTalkTo - Tara Robertson

[00:00:00] Tara Robertson: If you're hitting the goals, great, if you're not hitting the goals, why? Because that's no different than the way that you support with your internal team, sometimes you're gonna crush it, and sometimes you're not gonna crush it, but if you know why you're not crushing it and working together then that's what will maintain your actual results.​

[00:00:54] Daniel Weiner: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the YouShouldTalkTo podcast. I am your host, as well as your sponsor, all the things, I'm Daniel Weiner. YouShouldTalkTo pairs brands and marketers, for free, with vetted agencies and, or freelancers for virtually any marketing or technology need because finding great agencies is a giant pain in the ass. I am super excited to be joined today by Tara Robertson, who is CMO of Bitly. Tara, thank you for joining us.

[00:01:18] Tara Robertson: Thanks so much for having me, Daniel. Excited to be here.

[00:01:21] Daniel Weiner: This is round two. We just did one question and had a technical difficulty, so hopefully, we can, uh, make it through this entire thing without having that happen again.

[00:01:28] Tara Robertson: Always a fun way to start the day.

[00:01:30] Daniel Weiner: Yeah. But we'll dive right back in. What is an unpopular opinion or a hot take of sorts that you have in the marketing world?

[00:01:36] Tara Robertson: Hot take. I do not believe that marketing is about generating demand, I believe instead that it's about generating value and the more value you can bring and understand your customers, the more demand you will then in turn drive. 

[00:01:48] And so, if you're going after it with just getting leads and trying to drive revenue without actually paying attention to who you're bringing in the door, you're not gonna grow. And so, that's a big hot take that I like to bring first and foremost, front and center.

[00:02:02] Daniel Weiner: I have a hot take question then from that hot take, who dictates what is valuable?

[00:02:07] Tara Robertson: Ooh, what a great question. I mean, truly your, your customers, you know, whoever it is that you're building, your product, your service, whatever it is you do for. And so, spending time with them and then partnering with, you know, for us it's our product team and looking at overall innovation to make sure that whatever we're building will in turn create the value that, you know, our customers are coming in to look for. So, I think it starts with your users.

[00:02:31] Daniel Weiner: That makes total sense and that's a totally fair answer. I, uh, usually, we're gonna talk about the LinkedIn stuff since that's how we got connected. Uh, I find there's a narrative online about, like, oh, you must provide value, and I think if you get, 

[00:02:42] like, so caught up on what is valuable, you'll, like, never post or do some of these things 'cause if you create something and you're like, eh, it's not valuable enough, like, but who gets to decide that? So, I was just, uh, curious of your answer in that regard.

[00:02:55] Tara Robertson: Yeah, and I think, Daniel, it's really looking at the KPIs, right? If it's creating content, like you just mentioned, are you getting reads or people spending time on the page? Are people actually consuming that content, engaging with the content, sharing it on social? Then you know how you're doing, if it's, you know, not really driving any traction, then, you know, how do you decide whether or not it's value? It's just based on your numbers.

[00:03:16] Daniel Weiner: Sure. You've started your career agency side, which is the exact experience we love on this podcast, then you made your jump to brand side. You've been at some pretty notable brands, Hotjar, Sprout Social, Teamwork, and now Bitly. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to where you are now and kind of, like, what's the biggest change you've seen in consumer behavior in the last few years?

[00:03:36] Tara Robertson: Sure. And I truly believe a big part of what's brought my change over the course of my career and being able to go on and work with, and be very lucky to work with some really incredible brands, is that experience in starting out on the agency side, as I'm sure most people know, if you're coming from agency or if you've worked in agency, it's a completely different world, you wear

[00:03:56] all the hats, all the different hats and going from days where you're running marketing to days where you're the technical support, trying to figure out how to get the computers working. And so, in my agency days I learned how to really grow and scale and build out a business and, you know, made the shift to moving in-house.

[00:04:12] And, you know, certainly I think both of them have got incredible pros to them, there's certainly differences between the two of them and where I see consumer behavior shifting, kind of shifting as a whole, outside of, you know, what's happening within agencies, what's happening within in-house teams is really just how we consume information as people or as humans.

[00:04:34] You know, it used to be, when I first started out my career, there was a big push with inbound marketing and everyone was all focused on trying to drive more social engagement, bringing people in with great content, you get really great at SEO and you get really great at being found, and now it really is to that first point that we talked about,

[00:04:50] how do you find value and how do you make sure that whatever it is that you are building is going to capture the right kind of demand? And so, if, as a marketer, we really can't afford to not pay attention to the fact that people have more choice than ever in what they wanna

[00:05:06] consume and how they wanna interact and how they wanna buy, and we've gotta pay attention to customer growth, we have to pay attention to communities and make sure that you are providing value in order to make yourself stand out.

[00:05:19] Daniel Weiner: No, that's awesome. Uh, that's a good segue into the next question. You mentioned we have more, you know, buying choices now than ever, we're inundated with information all day. What's your advice to other CMOs out there, especially in this current, 

[00:05:33] I don't know, weird pre-recession, somewhat in recession type world where discretionary spending may be low? What do you tell another CMO who's figuring out how to stand out or what to do with budget and stuff like that?

[00:05:47] Tara Robertson: Sure. I think it really does depend on stage and where you're at in your business and what your business actually does because our goals, in general, in marketing can be very, very different, whether you're a startup or a public company or kind of in that growth to scale, scale-up stage. 

[00:06:04] And so, the first piece of advice is know your KPIs, know what you're responsible for driving as a whole, and then balance that against how you are able to, you know, make more with less, as you mentioned, right now it's a very, very cautious time for marketers because we wanna spend, 

[00:06:21] but we also wanna make sure that we're being more efficient than we ever have. And so, paying really close attention to what are the areas that foundationally you wanna spend your budget on, that you know you have to spend your budget on, like paid acquisition.

[00:06:35] And then what are the things worth taking bets? And probably one of the most important pieces of advice is this is not the time to pull back on taking risks, we still have to do it, actually, if anything, we have to do it more so than in the past because just doing the foundational work, 

[00:06:50] it's just not enough because you are working on trying to stand out and you are working on trying to be innovative and different from your competitors and to create very compelling content and ways to humanize your brand. And so, it's really balancing the foundational stuff that you need to do, 

[00:07:07] but also not being afraid to take some risks and take some big swings out there and know, in partnership with the rest of your executive team, you know, how much you're willing to invest, you can do a lot with very little, but you definitely can't afford to not take those risks.

[00:07:23] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I think it's interesting. This is episode, I think, 28, once it airs, you know, and I ask pretty similar questions and get such differing things, and I think it comes back a lot to, like, your executive team as well. The last couple we talked about, I had Bryan Law, who's the CMO of ZoomInfo and Jamie Walker, who's EVP of Marketing at Keyfactor, and we talked about in times like this.

[00:07:43] It, it's so dependent on the leadership team when taking those big risks because right now it's, like, the time where everything, you use the word efficiency, people want everything tracked more than ever, an attribution and all of that stuff, and if you just, 

[00:07:57] you know, stop the creativity, and like, taking some of those risks, like, when we come out, undoubtedly, I presume on the other side of whatever this is, like, you're, you're worse off fourth than if you did take some of those swings.

[00:08:08] But it's also that delicate bounds, right? Like, if you take a big swing and miss, having a leadership team that doesn't freak out and say like, "What's going on? Why did we do that?"

[00:08:17] Tara Robertson: Yeah, I mean, I couldn't agree more with that, too. I think it's really not just about what you're doing in marketing, but what you're doing with the rest of your executive team. And so, there's a whole separate topic and podcast that can go into how you work through communicating your strategy, communicating your plan, getting buy-in before you actually push those risks ahead.

[00:08:37] But I think that piece is necessary 'cause you don't wanna take a risk, like you mentioned, and take a big swing and miss and then not get the support on, you know, this is something we're doing together. So, anything we work with in our marketing team as a whole is in partnership with the support of the rest of the executive team.

[00:08:54] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, absolutely. Let's talk about agencies some, I had originally reached out based on a LinkedIn post that you had, uh, made regarding agencies and finding good partners and stuff like that, which we'll get into in a sec. 

[00:09:05] But what's your overall opinion on agencies? They get a, uh, I work with them predominantly and they get a bad rep overall, everybody's got a, a bad agency experience. How does Bitly think about agencies and vendors fitting into their ecosystem?

[00:09:20] Tara Robertson: Big fan of agencies, big fan of whether it's a, agency, whether it's a smaller consultant that works, you know, as, you know, a fractional leader or support. I would say we're very pro in working with the right agencies and the right fractional leaders to come in and console in the areas that we need to.

[00:09:39] What's interesting is, I think the way that I think about this is we're very lucky to be in a position as a product right now that we're still growing and the challenges that we have, you know, are, are lucky challenges to have in the economy right now. And so, and part of that that comes with rapid growth and rapid innovation is that you have a need to move quickly.

[00:10:00] And even though we're in a space right now where we feel confident in our growth, and, you know, everything is moving in the right direction, you can't ignore what's happening in the market and what's actually happening with our economy, and no one really fully knows what the next few months to the next year is really going to look like.

[00:10:17] And so, something I think that has served us very well is that we are not a grow-at-all-costs, hire-at-all-costs business. But we see that there is a huge opportunity to invest in bringing in experts, external agencies or consultants that can come in and help us fill the gaps so we can maintain that growth,

[00:10:36] but also maintain the stability of how we're growing within a business without bringing on too many people all at once. And so, we tend to actually think agency or consultant first, one for speed and time to value, but then also the stability in making sure we're managing our budgets efficiently with how we're thinking about headcount.

[00:10:54] And I think there's a couple really important standout moments of what makes an agency successful in that model or what makes a consultant successful in that model. And the way that we actually partner with all of our agencies is about bringing them in and treating them as if they are a part of the team, not necessarily somebody that's just supporting

[00:11:13] a part of the function or a part of the business, and that's serving us really well, and it's something that I've actually done prior to even coming with Bitly, there's a few agencies that I'll always continue to work with because of the way they work and the results that I know they can bring.

[00:11:27] And I see so much value in bringing in an agency that's trusted that you know you are gonna get results within one month, within two months, versus you bring on a full-time hire and it takes six months for somebody to get fully up and running, let alone the actual hiring process and getting someone in the door.

[00:11:45] Daniel Weiner: Pro agency. We love to hear it. Folks that I speak to, which are mostly CMOs, largely VPs of Marketing as well, with your title, though, especially are getting hit up every 12 seconds, LinkedIn, Slack communities, everything being sold by agencies and vendors. Is that the case for you as well?

[00:12:02] Tara Robertson: Oh, my gosh, it, I can't even keep up with LinkedIn, at this point, I've given up, and I feel bad about it.

[00:12:06] Daniel Weiner: Well, I'm flat, I'm so, I'm so flattered then that you, you, my, my message to come on, uh, stood out then.

[00:12:12] Tara Robertson: I mean, and it did, and I think part of it is the personalization that comes into the messaging, it, and to your point, I can't keep up with LinkedIn because it is so many messages, and candidly, so many messages that are just, you can tell that someone's just taking the same message and spamming it across every CMO that they're trying to reach out to.

[00:12:31] And so, if I see personalization come in, I'll often try to respond back to that because you know someone's taking the time and doing the research and connecting with you on a personal level, but the what comes in between all of that is impossible to actually keep up with.

[00:12:47] Daniel Weiner: I was once one of those monsters many, many years ago sending, well, truthfully, I think everybody had to at some point in their life to eventually send good messages, but yeah, I mean, even now, like, I'll connect with somebody and we'll be communicating, I'll scroll back to, like, 2015 and see that I sent a ridiculous, like, cold message that makes me want to cringe that I'm, like, apologizing for almost a decade later.

[00:13:08] But, uh, yeah, is there anything when you're not in buying mode, though, that somebody can say or do to get your attention? I find generally, like, the answer is no, truthfully, for most of the folks that I chat with that unless they're looking like they just don't have the time to, to do that.

[00:13:23] Tara Robertson: Honestly, for me, often no, to that same point, and part of it is because a big part of what we're balancing right now, and we just talked about this, is budgets, it is prioritization, and it is a level of focus that's critical. And I would say that regardless of what's happening in the market right now, as a growing marketing organization, as a growing software business, where's a lot of things going on,

[00:13:47] and a lot of things that we constantly need to be doing, and as a result, we have to maintain focus. My days are constantly context switching, jumping from call to call, reviewing different strategies, trying to make sure that we keep up on it. The last thing I have time for is a sales call for something we're not actively looking for, and so often

[00:14:06] we're not actually willing to jump on a call right away and get a demo and see how this one thing is going to bring us 10 x the leads than we're expecting. However, I will say there are components in where something will get on my radar, 

[00:14:19] especially from a personalization perspective, and maybe it's not right now, but if we go down the habit of wanting to review a software of this kind or a service of this kind, then maybe it's something that we'll start to consider.

[00:14:32] And so, the things that probably make me put that on the radar is, one, personalization, and two, actually understanding the overall impact. And I'll often send that along to someone else on my team to say, "Hey, this might be something worth evaluating over time." But it's often not that first call. I will give a disclaimer,

[00:14:50] I do have some colleagues that I know in the space that often, you know, they'll use a tactic of, "Hey, if you donate to a certain charity, a certain amount of money, send me the receipt," then I will hop on a call with you to kind of build up some of the philanthropy 

[00:15:04] and goals that they have overall as a business and a growing leader. And so, that is something I know that works for some people, and if it's something I'm looking for, like, maybe, but typically not a tactic I run.

[00:15:15] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I feel I, I'm torn on that 'cause overall it's good, like, giving to charity and philanthropy is great, but like, does it just, does that vendor have any chance, you know, it, I go back and forth on my thoughts on that, I know people who run that as well. It's interesting, you know, to your point, like, the message about 10 xing results and stuff like that, we've grown so cynical that, like, say somebody could do that, which most of those are BS, I would presume, but even if they could, there's so much bad that even the good outreach gets lumped in with the bad. 

[00:15:45] Tara Robertson: Totally.

[00:15:45] Daniel Weiner: I talk about that all the time, like, don't get lumped in, you know, if your message has anything like that, I generally defer to, like, I don't know what results we're gonna get to, we're gonna make your life easier, and I'm a normal human being to chat with, like, I think people lean in over-indexed too much on that stuff,

[00:16:01] I dunno if you follow Will Allred, who runs, uh, Lavender on LinkedIn, at all, who has all the data around this stuff of what people say, and it's just wild to see, there's still so much bad, 

[00:16:09] Tara Robertson: I don't, but I will now. 

[00:16:11] Daniel Weiner: there's still so much bad practice, it's wild, but there's so much of it, I don't think that you can stand out, like, even the good just gets lumped in with the crap.

[00:16:20] Tara Robertson: Yeah, I will say there was one that stood out to me recently where it was someone of a competitor of a company that I used to work with, and they're like, "Look, I know you're using the software, I used to work there, I got a shot in the dark, that's not gonna happen, but just in case, I'd love to talk to you."

[00:16:35] And that was very, it was very personal and in a way that kind of made me laugh, in general, am I gonna get on the phone? Probably not, just because, you know, they were right, and the challenge they were putting out there, but I appreciate that shot. 

[00:16:47] Daniel Weiner: Fair.

[00:16:47] Tara Robertson: And to your point, every message I get is something along the lines of, "Hey, would you like to increase the traffic to your website or 10 extra leads?" I'm like, of course, I would, of course, I wanna increase those things, but certainly not from an outreach email of someone coming in and telling me this is the time I need to work with them 'cause they've got the magic bullet that's gonna help us get there.

[00:17:08] Daniel Weiner: My favorite ones are, "Daniel, could you handle another, like, 20 clients next month if we sent them to you?" So, those are always good. When you are in buying mode and say you're looking for agencies and evaluating them, how can an agency stand out at that point, or like, what are you looking for from an agency or vendor?

[00:17:24] Usually, I find, like, the biggest things that I'm chatting about are category experience verse, like, service experience. Do you want somebody who is worked with your competitors or who is experts at this actual thing that you need done or somewhere in between?

[00:17:37] Tara Robertson: For me, it comes down to two things. One is specialization, and so often we are looking for, well, we're looking for agencies or somebody to come in to help support an area of the business. It is often very specific to a use case that we need to drive. And then, the second thing is I would couple that with referrals.

[00:17:56] And so, I would say, in general, my network is amazing and I've learned so much from all the people I have across my network, and I'm a part of a lot of different CMO huddles or CMO networks as well where we'll just go in and ask questions for referrals because often you don't wanna go down the path of a completely cold, uh, research because you don't know

[00:18:19] and we've all had our wins and we've all had our horror stories of where we've worked with different kinds of agencies and the ones that stand out versus the ones that, you know, have really fallen down. And often when I have a strong referral coming from someone that I trust, that I know that I've partnered with throughout the course of our, our careers together, then I'm gonna trust that agency that much more.

[00:18:41] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, it's interesting you bring up communities, I think it's, they're wonderful for you as CMO, I think they're terrifying for agencies.I hear so many, I'm in, you know, a ton of communities as well where I'll see somebody ask if anybody has heard about, you know, X agency and a CMO or VP will chime in like, "Oh, I had a horrific experience with them,

[00:19:01] don't work with them." And I think it's dangerous a little bit on that front, nobody asks for context. Luckily, I've never seen any of my agencies get torn apart online or I, I don't know what I would do, maybe jump in at their defense, but, uh, yeah, I think that's the scary proposition for agencies on that side because rightly so, even if you don't want context, you're probably weary of that

[00:19:22] agencies, eh, there's a million other agencies for me to chat with and you won't give them the time of day. So, I think it's a unique time for agencies in terms of communities of now more than ever doing what is right from a customer service perspective, and, you know, if, if something does go awry, doing everything in your to save face or come out at least not terrible on the other side.

[00:19:44] Tara Robertson: Yeah, and that's such a strong point and I was thinking about that while you were saying that about kind of the terrifying piece of working within communities. I have had agencies that I've worked with that it just hasn't gone well, but to your point, their customer service was beyond amazing and they went out of their way to try to say, "How do we make this right?"

[00:20:04] And whether or not it didn't work out, I'm less likely to then say, "Ooh, don't work with that agency" because just because it wasn't right for us doesn't mean it wouldn't be for someone else. And in the same way I think about our people, and this is where I partner in the way we think about full-time employees as the agencies that we work with.

[00:20:22] If someone's willing to lean in and say, "Hey, let's work together here, we're a team," then that means all the difference between agencies that I've worked with that I wouldn't recommend, and part of the reason is, you know, maybe they got defensive, maybe things didn't end on the best possible way, or they didn't care about the customer experience, and I do think that has to go two ways.

[00:20:43] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, absolutely, uh, you alluded to it before of specialization, when you're looking for an agency, I've seen a big shift, a little bit prior to COVID, 'cause I worked at a small agency, but especially since COVID of, quote-unquote, bigger name brands or brands in general moving towards smaller independent agencies that are specialized, in like, one to two things. Have you seen that as well? Is that more appealing to you than working with a big agency?

[00:21:06] Tara Robertson: A hundred percent, and I would say, in almost every case, the smaller agencies that I've worked with, the ones that are specialized, they're the ones that really embed themselves into the team and work as if they're a part of your team, where in the larger agencies, you know, depending on how big your wallet is and how big your budget is, it's how much they're going to give you when it comes to even the customer experience.

[00:21:28] And that's really not what we're looking for, we don't wanna work with a large agency that's just gonna, you know, assign an account manager to us that's just clocking in and doesn't really care about the brand and the way that we do, and I think that is a huge component of when we decide do we want an agency or in-house?

[00:21:45] The only way it works for us is when we are working with someone that would act the same way as an in-house team member. If we've got an agency coming in and we're just a fraction of what they do and they're not spending time trying to learn our brand and trying to learn, you know, the different nuances between our competitive suite,

[00:22:01] then it really doesn't quite work out, and those are the ones we end up parting ways with. And unfortunately, my experience has been with the larger agencies, that tends to be more the rule than it is the exception versus the other way around.

[00:22:13] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, small agencies, I, I'm super blunt about it, small agencies care more 'cause they have to care more. Bigger agencies and less, again, your checkbook is enormous or, you know, a specific portion of their revenue, like, yeah, they're not as incentivized in my opinion, to, uh, do great or care as much 'cause they don't have to, truthfully.

[00:22:32] Tara Robertson: Right, exactly.

[00:22:34] Daniel Weiner: You wanna do the positive agency experience or the negative agency experience first? I give everybody an option these days.

[00:22:39] Tara Robertson: Oh, what do most people pick? That's a question I.

[00:22:42] Daniel Weiner: I don't know, truthfully, I can't think of what everybody picks, I feel like most people pick the positive first.

[00:22:47] Tara Robertson: I was gonna go with the positive, so 

[00:22:47] Daniel Weiner: We, we, we end, we, we end with the negative, okay. 

[00:22:48] Tara Robertson: why don't we go negative then, let's start with the negative and then we'll end with the positive.

[00:22:52] Daniel Weiner: Lay, lay it on me. Gimme a negative agency experience you've had, and in particular, what made it negative, I'm curious?

[00:22:58] Tara Robertson: Yeah. I will give you two different, very different examples, one on the brand side and one on the acquisition side, just to, you know, give a whole well-rounded experience of what we think about in marketing. 

[00:23:08] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, yeah, yeah, let's be super negative this morning, double, double negative.

[00:23:10] Tara Robertson: Yeah, that's not really, that's not really my MO, but I will try my best, and so

[00:23:14] Daniel Weiner: If you don't, truthfully, at your, once you're at your level, you have to have a negative agency experience, 

[00:23:17] Tara Robertson: You do. 

[00:23:17] Daniel Weiner: like, everything can't just go per that, I think that's a big, like, misnomer as well. I posted about it a little this morning actually, uh, like, people think hiring an agency, like, oh, we hired and we made the decision, like, we're guaranteed stuff, like, you have to cultivate it, and like, you know, do a lot of stuff to make sure an agency is successful as well, it's on both sides, so.

[00:23:36] Tara Robertson: Definitely. Okay. So, on the brand side, we worked with an agency at a company that I was with that was coming in and helping support our brand campaign efforts, and to your point, didn't, it was a larger agency, didn't really have a lot of skin in the game, didn't really go in and do any customer research, any competitive research, and put together these

[00:23:55] brand campaign designs and creatives that just, one, did not align to who we were, but two, were just completely off the mark. And so, that happens, especially with creative often, and you'll come back and give feedback and then hopefully go through couple rounds, but it just kept getting worse to the point of where

[00:24:15] we were getting emails from the e, agency, basically, every single time we would try to come in and say like, "Hey, this is just off the mark." They would start charging us more and start to go down the rabbit hole of like, "Hey, this is scope creep, 

[00:24:27] we need to spend more money." And the amount of money that we ended up spending with that agency for a campaign that we didn't even end up launching was just absolutely astronomical. And so, that was one where we actually

[00:24:38] Daniel Weiner: Can we, can we get the number?

[00:24:40] Tara Robertson: It, no, I mean, it's, it's, it's painful, it's painful, we'll just say it's, uh, hundreds of thousands. And so, at the end of the day, we did get something that was out there and it did fine, but it wasn't actually impactful and that experience was so bad that we decided to actually build the entire team in-house.

[00:24:57] And so, that was an experience where we were like, "No more, we are not outsourcing creative, we are not outsourcing brand, we need to have an in-house team to do this," and, you know, that was the right decision for the business, but I think a lot of it was prompted by just continuous failure within that space.

[00:25:15] So, I'd say that's on the brand side is, my advice to agencies is, if you are working in brand and creative, spend time with your customers, spend time getting to know the brand, and spend time getting to know the leaders within the business,

[00:25:30] and what's going to resonate versus what isn't. A lot of what was falling down was that, you know, the actual creative itself was so far off from what our brand had ever done that it didn't really align with who we were, both internally as well as externally.

[00:25:45] So, that was on the brand side. Acquisition side, boy, do I have a lot of examples of what's gone wrong on the acquisition side. Probably my favorite worst experience and least favorite, but favorite experience is a paid, 

[00:25:58] Daniel Weiner: Makes for a good story.

[00:25:59] Tara Robertson: I will say I will never work with a paid agency again after this one, ever, I have, like, have not gotten to the point to where my trust is back to the point of wanting to work with the acquisition

[00:26:07] Daniel Weiner: If you, I hate plug myself live, but if you get to a spot where you need one, I like to think I have some good partners, but I'm curious, since you've had such a negative experience, what you think, truthfully, I'm, 

[00:26:17] Tara Robertson: I will let you know. 

[00:26:17] Daniel Weiner: this is, this is what makes me terrified, when people have had such negative experience, they're like, "Danny, who you got from me?" I'm like, I'm so scared, like, my agencies aren't, like, magicians, you know, like, I'm terrified to hear what you think, so

[00:26:29] Tara Robertson: I would say, I mean, so I would say this is the, you know, masterclass and what not to do. And so, we, we really went down the rabbit hole of trying to find a really good paid agency, the person we had in-house moved on, we needed to move quick, saw an opportunity, 

[00:26:43] went out, did a ton of scoping, a lot of different companies coming in and pitching to us, and the one that we actually went forward with had the best pitch, had a best experience, you know, everything looked like it was going to be

[00:26:55] phenomenal, really good sales process, seemed like a really good team. Should have known from the day once we signed the contract, the whole team changed, and so, suddenly, we weren't working with the people that we were working with during the actual process itself.

[00:27:10] I started to jump in and get into analytics and started to point out things that maybe were wrong in analytics and that needed to be fixed, and we're like, well, that makes sense, you know, everyone's GA is never perfect, let's go in and work together on fixing some of those things. 

[00:27:24] But while we were doing it, they made a mistake in our Google Analytics while also bidding and ended up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars over our budget within the course of, you know, a week or so, and we captured it, brought it back, and we're like, "Y'all made a big mistake,

[00:27:41] you need to fix this." And refused to actually take the fall on the actual mistake that they made, which we can point back to, very quickly moved on from them, they blew through our budget within a very short period of time, and instead of, and I would say that this was the part that really irked me about this experience,

[00:28:01] they worked directly with my VP of acquisition, and when he came back and was kind of coming to him, you know, certainly was working with me, too, I'm like, this is what we wanna say, this is how we wanna approach this. As he continued to send them emails, they went around him and sent me a bunch of emails talking about, you know, a bunch of concerning things that they had and they needed to have a conversation with me only,

[00:28:23] which I will say, as a CMO, don't do that, like, please don't do that because at the end of the day, the person that's signing your checks is the person that you're working with, I'm just here to serve and support my team. And so, the fact that, one, I could see the mistake, two, it was brought to my team,

[00:28:38] three, they then tried to blame our VP, which we knew was not the case, by going around him and had all these defensive emails, it was just a hot mess across the board.

[00:28:49] Daniel Weiner: Unbelievable. It is, uh, wild, truthfully, I, I hear these things all the time and they never cease to amaze me. I'm curious, what did they say to not reimbursing you, like, what was the, what was their, 

[00:29:00] Tara Robertson: It's just not in their terms. 

[00:29:02] Daniel Weiner: what was their side? Just not, you know,

[00:29:02] Tara Robertson: It wasn't in their terms, yeah, it was a, you know, they tried a new bidding strategy, no big deal, they got a bunch of leads, but it was a bunch of garbage. And so, they were looking at it as like, "Oh, we, we hit the numbers and then we succeeded with it, we spent the budget, but look at all this great result."

[00:29:17] We're like, "None of that is actually going to convert, like, none of it will turn into revenue because it's garbage leads coming from areas that we would never bid on outside of our top countries." And so, there was a strong lack of alignment, and I would say a big part of it came back to, again, they didn't really care,

[00:29:34] like, we knew that we were just one of their clients. And then, two, when it was pointed out, they just tried to play the blame game on, like, "What we did, what we said we were gonna do, and your, your VP of acquisition sucks," which was not the case, he was wonderful.

[00:29:48] Daniel Weiner: You're making people's years with these mistakes between the brand and hundreds of thousands and this thing, these agencies are billing and not even having to do work, it's a great, uh, scenario for them, it sounds like.

[00:29:57] Tara Robertson: Right, exactly.

[00:29:58] Daniel Weiner: Unbelievable. Do you think that a ne, not in that scenario, obviously, but do you think a negative situation can be salvaged or once, like, the seed of doubt has been placed it's hard to get back to a good spot?

[00:30:11] Tara Robertson: I definitely think a negative situation can be salvaged, using that example, like, if they had reached out, and maybe it wasn't even by reaching out to the VP of acquisition, if they reached out to me and were like, "Hey, we messed up, we're so sorry, here's what we're gonna do to make this right." And we work together,

[00:30:28] and that wasn't even in saying, you know, "Hey, we're going to eat all the cost, but this is what we think we can do, how do we work together? Let's get on a call and just see how we can salvage this." That is a very different experience than, "Y'all aren't, you know, your VP isn't doing their job and we need talk to you about this not working out" because, at the end of the day, no one wants to play the blame game.

[00:30:50] I will give a negative experience that turned into a positive one as an example. I worked with an agency many years ago that came in to help support some of our efforts in conversion rate optimization, and they just could not get a win, you know, no matter what all the tests that we are running, we just couldn't get a win and we weren't getting to the results.

[00:31:07] And they actually reached out and said, "Hey, we recognize this isn't going the way that we thought it was, we're gonna work for free until we can get you a win because we feel like that is, that's what's important in our relationship, and we are so confident that we're going to be able to continue to drive the right results forward."

[00:31:25] You know, we actually did not continue working with them because at that point we had, you know, made some shifts and some structural changes, but I would refer that agency still to this point because that's an agency that, you know, we were working with that, 

[00:31:39] one, never wanna be in a position to where people are giving away free work, but if it's like, hey, just let us prove out to you that we can do this because we're recognizing things aren't going in the right direction, that was a strong example of moving in the other direction, but something that I will never forget and continue to refer them on, even though we didn't really get the results that we were looking for.

[00:32:01] Daniel Weiner: No, that's fair. I feel like I need a drink after those, uh, after those tails. Should we move on to positivity now?

[00:32:06] Tara Robertson: You and me both, Daniel, I, yes, definitely. 

[00:32:10] Daniel Weiner: We, or should we just keep doing negative stories? These are the more, the, those are the more entertaining ones, I presume. Tell me some, tell, tell me anything positive, a positive agency you've, experience you've had and what made it so positive?

[00:32:21] Tara Robertson: Yeah, I mean, I guess I just ended on the negative with a positive one and that was a really positive experience in working together. I will say there are some agencies that I would take with me everywhere and I think that's how we initially got connected 'cause I made a post on LinkedIn just sharing that because the positive experiences all come down to really two things for me.

[00:32:41] One is strong communication, that they are really good project managers, that they are really great communicators. And then two, embedding themselves within the team and showcasing results. And so, often, whenever there is a positive experience with different agencies, you know, those agencies have taken the time

[00:32:59] from the beginning to get on the phone and say, okay, let's talk about our goals, what are we working on together? Let's talk about our research, what do we have access to that we can use in order to, you know, work on the overall goals? If we don't have the research, we're gonna need to do it. 

[00:33:15] Daniel Weiner: If I have an agency that comes in the door and says, I'm gonna charge you $50,000 to do research because you don't have this and it's going to make your results that much better, I would much prefer to go in that direction than to say, "Hey, cut some corners and let's just execute some stuff." 'Cause then you're just throwing spaghetti at the wall. And so, the agencies You're gonna get a bun, you're gonna get a bunch of messages offering to do research for $50,000 now in your LinkedIn inbox, just so you know.

[00:33:39] Tara Robertson: We are not accepting any $50,000 research projects right now.

[00:33:43] Daniel Weiner: Well, I'll cut, I'll cut that line out for you.

[00:33:46] Tara Robertson: That sounds good. Thank you. So, I'd say on the positive side, the things that really stand out are the agencies that we work with that embed themselves into the team, they ask a lot of insights, they know what your goals are, and that they're consistently coming back to them. If you're hitting the goals,

[00:34:02] great. If you're not hitting the goals, why? Because that's no different than the way that you support with your internal team, sometimes you're gonna crush it and sometimes you're not gonna crush it. But if you know why you're not crushing it and working together then that's what will maintain your actual results.

[00:34:17] And so, to make that tangible with some examples. One agency that we work with for, you know, conversion rate optimization is constantly running tests, sometimes they win, sometimes they don't, sometimes they're inconclusive, 

[00:34:30] but everything has a learning goal as a result and something that they do I think that stands out way beyond most other agencies that I've worked with is the one embedding themselves within the team, spending time, getting to know all the different people.

[00:34:44] But being a really good strategic partner, reaching out and saying, "Hey, here's what we're seeing, here's a roadmap that we're working on, and here's where we're prioritizing," and not being afraid to push back on the things that maybe aren't a priority or maybe aren't necessarily the thing that's going to drive the 10 x growth that we talked about before. 

[00:35:02] Daniel Weiner: Sure.

[00:35:02] Tara Robertson: And so, I think often coming back to your goal was to do X, here's how we were able to deliver against that, here's what we're working on next to continue. So, it's really working as a partner. And that would be the same for really every agency we worked with, 

[00:35:16] whether it's content optimization, whether it's, you know, conversion, you know, someday we have a paid acquisition team that we need again,it's really just kind of coming back to those roles and working as an in-house team member.

[00:35:28] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, you, uh, kind of furthered my belief of one of my, I guess it's a hot take at this point that results are not what make an agency good or bad, in my opinion, to your point, like, you work with an agency where sometimes they win, sometimes they lose,

[00:35:41] but the overall thing is proactivity and doing what they say they're gonna do and presumably making your life easier and your job easier and stuff like that, you just cannot hit a home run every single at bat, as an agency or in-house or anybody, truthfully.

[00:35:55] Tara Robertson: No one can hit a home run every single time they try, if we knew how to do that, we would all be billionaires, you know, in our yachts living the life, that's not the way that the world works. And so, I think I completely agree with your hot take in that, if you're working with somebody that comes back to your KPIs and showcases the why behind it, makes a substantial difference.

[00:36:16] The other thing I would say on the positive side, for agencies that we've worked with, that, you know, really work well, they know you, they understand your brand, they understand your customers, they understand your competitors, they can speak to them. 

[00:36:27] All of those negative experiences we've talked to prior to this section, you know, none of them actually spent time going in and doing the research or could speak to who our top competitors were off the top of their hand. 

[00:36:40] Every positive experience I've had with an agency, you know, they've spent the time really understanding our customers, who our buyers are, and who our top competitors are, and can speak to that to the same level we would expect an in-house team member to do.

[00:36:54] That sets you completely against the pack, and I would say very few agencies actually do that to the level that, you know, you really need in order to be able to have confidence that I don't need to hire in-house, I can work with this agency as an arm to our in-house team because they're just as bought in the work that we're doing on the day-to-day.

[00:37:15] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, I can't remember which podcast, I think it was, might have been the last one with Jamie, where we were talking about exactly that and how it was the people, truthfully, and, you know, at one of the agencies that they work with, like, it's one person who is just so, you know, ingrained with their team.

[00:37:30] And I, I can't remember her answer exactly, but I was like, what if they leave, you know, and that's what I hear a lot, like, you know, there's 90,000 agencies in the US alone, or at least companies that identify as agencies, you know, that could be, like, one person in a garage I presume. 

[00:37:42] But, uh, yeah, at the end of the day, like, it's people and process is, it sounds a lot of what I heard from you as well, you know, you talked about project management, you talked about people who actually care and give a shit about your business and stuff like that, and I think I see so many agencies over-index for the week 10 x your growth versus, like, actually humanizing what they're doing and 

[00:38:04] Tara Robertson: Completely. 

[00:38:05] Daniel Weiner: making your life easier.

[00:38:06] Tara Robertson: The number one pushback that I hear from other business colleagues or even people I've worked alongside on why not to work with an agency is, oh, well, an agency is never going to be as embedded into the brand as an in-house team member, and that's where, when we talk about the positives, I've seen the other side of that,

[00:38:25] I, I've worked with agencies, and I continue to work with agencies that are as embedded in your product and your brand as an in-house team member, and those are the ones that I'd refer anywhere, they're the ones I'd take anywhere, the ones I know that are in it because they truly do want to work on the results together and build your brand together versus the ones that are coming in as a cog in the wheel.

[00:38:46] Daniel Weiner: Yeah, another hot, another unpopular or hot take opinion of mine. I think the vast, I think more agencies than not, I, I don't know the percentage split, want to do that, like, be a team member, and I think more marketers than not say that, but keep their agencies at arm's length to a certain degree and don't give them as much access as they would probably like oftentimes, and I don't really know why,

[00:39:11] I think it's prob, I think a lot of people, uh, like, hire agencies and then they beat them up, like, that's the thing, they think they're doing that thing and they don't give them kind of, like, the keys to the city 'cause they don't think they need to, whereas, like, access and information and all that sort of stuff presumably makes everybody's life easier.

[00:39:29] Tara Robertson: I've got total reactions to that. So, on both sides, actually.

[00:39:32] Daniel Weiner: It'd be better if you just walked off, you're like, "Uh, no way, Danny, I'm done with this interview."

[00:39:36] Tara Robertson: I'm out. On both sides of that, I think that there's some truth and then some hard realities. And so, having worked on the agency side, agency life is hard, no question, like, that is just a hard life with context switching that you're working on, that still exists actually on the in-house side

[00:39:54] also, your context switching is just a little bit different in what you're doing on the day-to-day. And what's fascinating is I think I, you know, for me, having worked in an agency, I have a ton of empathy for agencies coming in because I, I've lived both of those worlds and completely understand that need to wanna come in and showcase the results and then need to go to the next client,

[00:40:15] and managing margins, which is a very different world than what you're working on within software. On the other side of that, as now an in-house CMO, I've actually had really interesting experiences where, you know, we'll treat every single agency that comes in the door exactly the same, we want them to be embedded into the team,

[00:40:34] we want them to be working with us and bought into the brand, but at the same time, we often don't remember to say, like, okay, new agency, here's the onboarding that a new team member will go through, here's all the research that we have access to, 

[00:40:49] and I think it's often the agencies we work with that aren't afraid to ask the questions, that aren't afraid to come in and have humility to a certain degree of like, "Hey, we're learning right now, help us learn," versus the agencies that come in and say, "We're gonna 10 x, let's get going, we're gonna get your results next month and start moving really quickly."

[00:41:07] And then not ask for those same things. What I've seen is then those second agencies are the ones that tend to fall down and say, "Boy, I wish we had access to customer research, we really should be doing this, how do we get this into the process?"

[00:41:21] And I'm like, "Oh, my God, we have all of this, like, it's right here, here's all this access to all this great information that will help you." And so, sometimes we have so much information that it's hard to actually know what to give to the agency.

[00:41:34] And that's kind of where I came back to the point on coming in and doing a research project from the beginning or coming in and getting access to all those insights from the beginning because if you don't ask for it, then A, you might not know that it exists, or B, you might not be able to have visibility.

[00:41:51] And some of the best consultants or smaller agencies I've worked with are the ones that come in and say, "Here's how I work with you, I wanna get access to your Slack, how do I join your marketing all-hands? How do I get involved in really being a part of the team?" And seeing those people out there and knowing that they exist, and that's the way that some companies can come in and work,

[00:42:12] it's really changed my perception of how we also are going to work with the agencies that we bring into the door. And I do think it makes a big delineation. So, I, I would say, at least from our perspective, there's never a trying to keep an agency at an arm's length, but I think it's a hand-in-hand,

[00:42:27] like, we want you to come in, but we also want you to ask to be engaged and come in and not force you because, you know, you're coming from a different world and a different experience. And so, if it's something you wanna do and you're an agency, don't be afraid to ask, don't be afraid to say this is how we like to work,

[00:42:44] how do we get more embedded into the team? And if you're having a struggle with getting the team buy-in, like, how do you work with your champion in the business to get more visibility into the work that you're doing because that thing can trickle down pretty quickly if you don't, you know, build those relationships upfront.

[00:43:00] Daniel Weiner: No, it's good advice. What do you think is something that agencies oftentimes get wrong, or what is the one thing if you could pick one thing that you wish more agencies, quote-unquote, got?

[00:43:10] Tara Robertson: Ooh, that's a good question. I feel like we've talked about this one a little bit, but customer research is probably one of the biggest areas, uh, I think a lot of agencies that I've worked with do not have the growth marketing experience, and if they don't have the growth marketing experience, then know how to go in and really consume themselves in your research,

[00:43:29] whether it's, you know, if your job's to be done, shop or personas or ICP, just really making sure that you're going beyond the table stakes into really understanding what's gonna capture impact, it gets back to our first conversation around value, making sure you really understand that value from the beginning.

[00:43:47] And then, I think, to your point, it's almost this need to want to showcase those 10 x results that sets you off in the wrong direction from the beginning, and that recognition of joint shared alignment on goals and coming back to what's realistic and what's not realistic because if an agency doesn't come in and, you know, I've worked on that side,

[00:44:09] I totally know how it works sometimes when you get, sold a project that you really can't fully deliver on, or you're in a situation where you're trying to keep up with it, like, that is a conversation you have to have from the beginning, that is something that you have to be talking about when it comes to what's in scope and what's not in scope in order to make sure that there's joint alignment on how you can achieve those goals.

[00:44:29] If you don't have that and you're saying, "I'm gonna come in and 10 x." And then you're not coming in and 10 xing, then, like, your expectations from the beginning are misaligned.

[00:44:37] Daniel Weiner: You're giving me PTSD. One of my most challenging and last clients at my agency before, uh, COVID hit and before resigning from agency life, I think at one point said, "If Danny brings up scope one more time, like, we're done," or something. And it was such an egreg, normally, you know, if you're bringing it up every call, it's probably weird, but it was, like, such an egregious, uh, there were, like, huge, massive things we'd, like, never even discussed that,

[00:45:01] like, you know, in our internal Slack, I would have, like, junior team members being like, "What are they talking about? Like, did this get sold?" I'm like, "I've never heard of this project or this thing in my entire life." And, you know, bringing that up. So, it's inter, just funny to hear, uh, yeah, about all of the, uh, the scope creeps, uh, that occur.

[00:45:20] Tara Robertson: The other side of that, that I would say, and this is actually speaking from the agency side, fire clients that aren't the right fit, like, that is something that I, I just recall so many agencies were talking about, continue to talk about. It goes both ways when, you know, I'm saying this as the in-house leader, but also on the agency side

[00:45:38] sometimes that partnership just isn't the right partnership and you're not gonna get to alignment. And so, don't be afraid to walk away from the clients that either, A, aren't a good fit, or B, to your point, are keeping you at arm's length and not actually allowing you to get to the results that you know that you're capable of,it's really important that that partnership goes two ways.

[00:45:58] Daniel Weiner: I hear from a lot of agencies, "If we fired all the clients we want to, we wouldn't have any clients left." So, either they're working with all the wrong clients or, no, I think it's a catch-22, like, in that particular scenario, we talked about it a lot, a ton, you know, we would've, I think, had to lay off, like, two full-time employees potentially and stuff like that, so it has other ramifications, so we,

[00:46:17] Tara Robertson: No, that's though. 

[00:46:17] Daniel Weiner: you know, I was there punching back for a few months before, uh, COVID hitting. But no, I mean, good agencies, I, I agree with the firing, I think the best agencies I work with, one of their key traits is how selective they are on the front end, uh, before even, before they're even a client.

[00:46:33] So, no, I totally agree. A couple more questions for you and then we'll wrap up with some fun ones. What are you most excited or bullish on in the marketing space in general at the moment, we've got artificial intelligence taking over the conversation, I think there's still a Metaverse, uh, in-person stuff is still back. What about you?

[00:46:49] Tara Robertson: I would be a bad marketer if I didn't say AI, I feel, like, at this point right now, as you mentioned, it's taking over the conversation, and it's funny, I was on a different podcast last week, and we were 

[00:46:59] Daniel Weiner: A rival podcast? 

[00:47:00] Tara Robertson: Rival podcast, not a rival podcast, just another one. And they, and the question was similar but different, it's like, "What are you so tired of hearing about?" And so, I'm almost speaking out of both ends right now in that, my answer to that one is the same answer to this one, which is AI. 

[00:47:14] We cannot afford to not pay attention right now, we cannot be in a position to where we're not actually consuming and thinking about the impact that AI is going to have in marketing, in our businesses, in the industry as a whole, it's just the advancement of this technology 

[00:47:32] over the last few weeks, even, it's just mind blowing. And so, I think, in general, it's probably the most important thing that we have to be paying attention to in order to make sure that we're continuing to stay innovative.

[00:47:45] Daniel Weiner: This may be the same answer as well, I was gonna say, what keeps you up at night from a marketing or business standpoint? Could be AI, I suppose.

[00:47:52] Tara Robertson: No, I think AI actually, it's more, it's exciting, it's not keeping me up at night just yet, there was a whole doom and gloom in the beginning of, is AI taking over? And then, you know, my mom is like, "The robots coming." Like, I'm not that worried about that

[00:48:06] Daniel Weiner: Does your, does mom want to come on podcast and talk about 

[00:48:08] Tara Robertson: She might, 

[00:48:08] Daniel Weiner: AI, she sounds awesome. 

[00:48:09] Tara Robertson: she might and, and I think I, you know, I was at a dinner last week with a bunch of CMOs and we were talking about AI and sharing how other people were using it, you know, in their marketing, it's very exciting, I think in a lot of ways when you think about the opportunity that it can compound your ability to move faster

[00:48:25] and start to become more strategic, like, no one's ever been able to say, I can focus on strategy because they're so bogged down in execution and now we're starting to see that shift. So, that's not as much keeping me up at night. Honestly, what's keeping me up at night right now is just what's happening in the economy and seeing the number of layoffs happening across multiple other businesses, my empathy fires are going off in every direction, I mean, we've got positions open

[00:48:51] and we've never seen such incredible demand coming in for them, from people that were either impacted by layoffs or worked at a company that was impacted by layoffs, and that just breaks my heart.

[00:49:02] So, that's probably the area that keeps me up the most is knowing the amount of incredible talent that's out there, and maybe there is that connection to AI and how that's gonna impact the growth of marketers in the world and the opportunity to grow. And then, personally, building a more diverse workforce for the future and starting to really, you know, make sure that we're creating opportunities for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and growing marketers in the space, there just isn't enough diversity, and so that's an area that, you know, I wanna see us continuing to grow in.

[00:49:34] Daniel Weiner: Well, I hope you get a good night's sleep, most of the time at least.

[00:49:38] Tara Robertson: Thank you.

[00:49:39] Daniel Weiner: We'll finish with a couple fun ones here. What was your very first job growing up, or maybe after growing up?

[00:49:44] Tara Robertson: Very first job, I was a barista when I was younger and in my early, early high school days. And so, fun fact, still make myself a cappuccino with fancy foam every morning. 

[00:49:54] Daniel Weiner: Do you?

[00:49:55] Tara Robertson: Uh, I do, it's my fun party trick.

[00:49:57] Daniel Weiner: Do you Instagram it every morning, I hope?

[00:49:59] Tara Robertson: I don't know, no. 

[00:50:00] Daniel Weiner: No. What's your, uh, preferred coffee method?

[00:50:03] Tara Robertson: It's usually just a cappuccino with, uh, cashew milk or almond milk.

[00:50:07] Daniel Weiner: Okay. Do you think that that job prepared

[00:50:09] Tara Robertson: Little cinnamon sprinkled on top. 

[00:50:10] Daniel Weiner: Even better. Do you think that job prepared you in any way for what you do now?

[00:50:15] Tara Robertson: No, not as much as my first job in college was being a door-to-door salesperson and managing

[00:50:20] Daniel Weiner: Oh, boy. 

[00:50:20] Tara Robertson: a telemarketing agency. 

[00:50:22] Daniel Weiner: That's so 

[00:50:22] Tara Robertson: That job prepared me for where I am now.

[00:50:25] Daniel Weiner: Jamie, who I interviewed last week, her first job was door-to-door knocking as well, maybe that's a trend of marketing leaders, uh, 

[00:50:32] Tara Robertson: It might be, I tell you

[00:50:33] Daniel Weiner: starting as door-to-door salesmen, I don't know.

[00:50:35] Tara Robertson: It's a hard career to have, you know, you deal with a lot of rejection, 

[00:50:38] Daniel Weiner: I can imagine.

[00:50:38] Tara Robertson: and then, you know, there's apparently crazy turnover for CMOs. So, door-to-door salesman, like, it really gives you some thick skin.

[00:50:45] Daniel Weiner: Okay. What would your final meal be?

[00:50:47] Tara Robertson: What would my final meal? I am a steak and potatoes person, so.

[00:50:50] Daniel Weiner: What kind of steak? 

[00:50:51] Tara Robertson: Usually a nice rib-eye.

[00:50:53] Daniel Weiner: I'm a rib-eye enthusiast as well.

[00:50:55] Tara Robertson: Yep.

[00:50:56] Daniel Weiner: And the final question, who is somebody who inspires you, both personally or professionally?

[00:51:01] Tara Robertson: Cheesy answer, but my mom, you know, I think I just

[00:51:04] Daniel Weiner: She's an AI expert, apparently, as well. 

[00:51:06] Tara Robertson: She's an AI expert. Um, my parents, you know, both of them just really, they came from nothing, and they built a career and showed us what hard work mixed with, you know, great parenting looks like, and kind of were, they were my motivators. 

[00:51:19] My mom owns her own retail business, and so watching her kind of build that and grow that over the course of the years and then go through hardships when big brothers started to take over for retail, um, 

[00:51:29] Daniel Weiner: Shout out your mom's business. Where is it?

[00:51:31] Tara Robertson: R J Mars, it's in New Jersey.

[00:51:33] Daniel Weiner: Okay, everybody go to R J Mars. I don't know what they sell, but, uh, yeah. 

[00:51:36] Tara Robertson: It's like a little retail everything store.

[00:51:39] Daniel Weiner: I love it. All right. Awesome. Well, thank you very much for joining us, this was, uh, truly awesome, and I look forward to more, uh, LinkedIn posts from you in the future that I'll probably reach out about, and I hope you don't get a bunch of people offering customer research for $50,000 a pop. But thank you very much for joining us.

[00:51:56] Tara Robertson: Thank you, Daniel, this was great.