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Prioritizing People in a B2B World with Kerry Guard

Kerry Guard • March 19, 2024 • 35 minutes to read


Kerry Guard, our CEO, joined Lee Moskowitz on the podcast to share her innovative approach to work-life balance in the digital marketing world. Kerry, a proponent of flexible working environments, discusses how MKG thrives by blending success with employee well-being. The episode delves into MKG's specialization in SEO and digital advertising for B2B sectors, emphasizing authentic content and strategic SEO to engage technical audiences. Kerry's insights into evolving client-agency dynamics and the critique of traditional marketing tactics highlight her forward-thinking leadership at MKG Marketing.

Key Moments

Cyber Marketing Maneuvers – Challenging the norms of marketing to the tech-genius skeptics – we crack the code on making authentic connections in an armory of software and systems.

SEO Frontiers – Unearthing the treasure of long-tail keywords and pillar pages to elevate our stance in the digital realm, it's not just about being seen, it's about being sought after.

Take a listen:

Learn More

Discover more about MKG's B2B SEO Services and how our expert deliver strategic recommendations to solve complex challenges in cybersecurity.


Lee Moskowitz [00:00:00]:

Welcome back to Lee two B, the sassiest podcast for B two B and beyond, and your goto place for fun and actionable conversations with industry leaders. I'm your growth marketing host, Lee Moskowitz. Today I'm speaking with Kerry Gard, CEO of MKG Marketing. With a fierce dedication to reshaping work life balance, Kerry's driving philosophy is turning heads in digital marketing sphere. As a mother of twins and a true believer in the art of balance, Kerry is on a mission to redefine company culture by proving that flexibility and success go hand in hand. She is also the host of tea time with tech marketing leaders where she interviews digital experts such as yours truly. I had a great time talking with Carrie on her show, and I can't wait to spill some more tea on this episode of Lee to be.Kerry Guard [00:00:53]:

I'm excited to be here. Thanks for the invite. It was wonderful having you on my show. So I'm excited to turn the tables here.

Lee Moskowitz [00:01:01]:

Yes. Well, as soon as I saw it was tea time, I'm like, I can't wait to talk with you. So we had a lot to say last time because I'm all over the place, but we're going to spill even more tea here, if that's possible.

Kerry Guard [00:01:13]:

Let's do it.

Lee Moskowitz [00:01:15]:

So first question for you is you live in Guernsey. Is that how you say it?

Kerry Guard [00:01:20]:

That's right. Yes.

Lee Moskowitz [00:01:21]:

Okay, so what is Guernsey? Is this an island? A town? Is it in France? Is it in England? Tell us about this.

Kerry Guard [00:01:31]:

You're going to go to Google Maps and you're going to type in Guernsey, and then you're going to scroll for a really long time because it's basically a teeny tiny sec of an island in the Channel between England and France. It's interesting because it acknowledges the monarchy. The english monarchy. All hail king Charles. King Charles. Yes. Although I missed the queen, she was wonderful. But because we're so close to France, all of the road names are in French.

Kerry Guard [00:02:01]:

So typical american British, as we do, everybody pronounces the french names with a very thick british accent. It's really glorious. Yeah.

Lee Moskowitz [00:02:13]:

So do you speak French?

Kerry Guard [00:02:15]:

I took French in middle school, high school, and then I've been hanging out on Duolingo pretty hard, so I'm trying to freshen up. But you don't really speak French unless you grow up speaking French.

Lee Moskowitz [00:02:29]:

But can you read it or do you still have trouble with the street signs?

Kerry Guard [00:02:34]:

The funny thing is that I pronounce it in French, and so everybody sort of looks at me and then doesn't know what I'm saying. And then they pronounce. Sure, yeah, that place. The funny thing about it is that to get around the island, people don't give directions by names of roads because nobody can pronounce it the same way. Instead, it's all by landmarks. So you have to know where the red lion is and where Jeffrey's is.

Lee Moskowitz [00:02:59]:

The hospital, honestly, that's better for me because I use my GPS. If somebody asks me for directions and I can actually tell them, I'm so proud of myself. So that's better for people like me who rely on GPS to live.

Kerry Guard [00:03:15]:


Lee Moskowitz [00:03:16]:

Other questions. Are you around french toddlers ever? Because I've been around just in a store and I'll hear a toddler talking sheer nonsense, and then their mother will respond to them in French. And I'm like, oh, that child was not speaking nonsense. That child was speaking French. So it's a very fun thing for an idiot like.

Kerry Guard [00:03:41]:

Have. It's interesting because even though we live so close to France, we don't really hear a lot of French until tourist season when the giant, gross big boats show up, the cruise ships. But yeah, I don't actually hear a lot of French here until sometimes we're working on trying to go to France. I'm looking forward to that this summer. But no, would run across the street.

Lee Moskowitz [00:04:04]:

Or what does that look like?

Kerry Guard [00:04:06]:

It's just a boat for like 2 hours. So, yeah, you just take a boat and you're there in 2 hours. So it's close. It's weird. Yeah. I don't know why we haven't done it yet, but we're going to do it this summer. It's going to be great. But my kids did pick up british accents pretty quickly, so that was kind of like hilarious.

Kerry Guard [00:04:22]:

After being here for two weeks, they were full on Brits. I was.

Lee Moskowitz [00:04:27]:

Did you. I don't detect a.

Kerry Guard [00:04:32]:

Was it.

Lee Moskowitz [00:04:33]:

Did you marry into this? Because this is a new place for me that I learned. How did you get there?

Kerry Guard [00:04:38]:

Yeah. So my husband, he grew up here. His mom is from Guernsey. She was born and raised here. She actually remembers. I love hearing her stories. So Guernsey was part of the german occupation in the 40s, so when the Germans showed up and most of the children were actually shipped off to England, but some family stayed behind and her family was one of them. So I get to hear these really lovely stories.

Kerry Guard [00:05:06]:

It's not lovely. It was a really hard time, but it's just to hear a real know. Growing up in America, we were so disconnected from it. Right. Unless you had a war veteran in your family. We didn't really have firsthand stories of this huge event that happened in the world. So to be in a place that has so much of that history and then to know people who lived through it just brings it to so much life. She grew up here.

Kerry Guard [00:05:37]:

And my husband left Guernsey when he was in his twenty s and headed to America, where he worked for Microsoft. And we met on vacation in Hawaii, as you do. And I then moved from New York to Seattle to be with him. And after we had kids during the pandemic, we realized that Guernsey had been COVID free for 30 days, because being an island, they were just like, do not enter. And if you do, you have to quarantine for two weeks. Congratulations. And so we could send our kids to school as normal and live normal lives. And we're like, we should really just go do that

Kerry Guard [00:06:11]:

So we sold everything, and within six weeks, we relocated halfway around the world.

Lee Moskowitz [00:06:17]:

Did you have to? Was it like big tents and everyone was wearing quarantine outfits? What was that period like?

Kerry Guard [00:06:25]:

It was wild. We had to take a flight. There was barely any flights flying to anywhere, right? So we had to take a flight from Seattle to Chicago. And that flight was fully booked. It was actually terrifying. This was July of 2020, so early days of COVID we were all masked. You had to mask up. We had masks, hats, glasses on, even for our kids.

Kerry Guard [00:06:48]:

We got them hats and everything. Sanitizer sanitized everything every step of the way. And then the flight from Chicago to Heathrow was empty. So we had plenty of space on that flight, which was great. The airports were empty, and so we went through customs with a breeze. So that was nice. And then we got to Guernsey and we had a quarantine for they were doing this. The reason why we moved in such a short amount of time in six weeks was because Guernsey decided to do a test run with only making you quarantine for one week.

Kerry Guard [00:07:27]:

And then you could at least. They recommended and advised and request that you didn't go to really busy places, but that you could at least go outside and have some fresh air. And so we only had a quarantine for a week, thank goodness, because we were in this small apartment with no garden or anything. So we were literally inside for a whole week with no fresh. We were, like, trying to open. Every once in a while, we would just open the door just to get a breeze, something to feel like we had some fresh air. And then after that, we went outside. And then after the full two weeks.

Kerry Guard [00:08:04]:

It was normal. Nobody was masking, nobody was social distancing. It was bizarre because my whole family back in the US was still not really going out anywhere yet.

Lee Moskowitz [00:08:18]:

Yeah. Wow. I just have a knack to getting into interesting things like that. This is a B, two B podcast mostly, I promise. Or just marketing. But that's so interesting also. So glad we're done with that part of our lives for now, until the next pandemic. But let's get into MKG marketing.

Lee Moskowitz [00:08:40]:

And I'm pretty sure I know what the KNG stand for. I'm not quite sure what the M stands for, though. But tell us about MkG marketing.

Kerry Guard [00:08:49]:

So when MKG started, it was just me and my business partner, and we pitched a piece of business before we were even a company to see if we could do a thing. And so we needed a logo, we needed a name. And so we were originally MKKG, which is Mike Krass, my business partner, and Kerry Gard. And then we realized that the double K is stupid because we're marketers and we like to optimize. So we merged the KS, which is why it has a double line in the logo, and we became MKG. And little did we know, people actually thought the MKG stood for marketing. So that was a happy accident.

Lee Moskowitz [00:09:26]:

It kind of sounds like the short, like marketing marketing. Almost.

Kerry Guard [00:09:32]:

Lovely little accident there. We are a digital marketing agency specialing in SEO and digital ads for B. Two B companies, primarily in SaaS and cybersecurity, really measuring business outcomes. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that we're helping those businesses grow. That's what we're supposed to be doing, right? That's what we're all here for.

Lee Moskowitz [00:09:55]:

Yes. Cybersecurity, it's a very competitive space. Just in general, it too. There's a lot of saturation. Of course, there's the same thing with SaaS tools, but that's a bit broader. How do you go about differentiating and really owning that organic presence? And we can just talk about SEO for a while, but you'll see everyone in the same space in cybersecurity will have a similar tagline, or the page title is the same, or their blog posts are just the same. How do you really go about differentiating and standing out

Kerry Guard [00:10:36]:

Yeah, it really comes down to the core audience of who's buying and what pain. I always like to ask the question of the founder, right? Like, why did you start this thing? What was the pain you were feeling that you felt like you needed a product to solve that issue, right? Because at the end of the day, features get added and the product gets kind of watered down. But there was a core why. And so it's got to, in my mind, come back to that. And then from an SEO standpoint, it's really what is the audience searching for? What questions do they have? What do you need to answer? And how can you show up in a really valuable way to help them get the answer as quickly as possible, really authentically to what your product really does right and why you're different than other people. And a lot of times the differentiation comes down to the way the product operates and what other products it syncs with and the terms in terms of month to month, subscription based, or is it more of an enterprise annual? Do you need a tech team to come in and set something up? Those sort of things are those different types of differentiators. At the end of the day, they're all trying to do the same thing of stopping cybercrime. How they go about it is slightly different product to product, and it's just helping an audience decide what product is right for them and showing up in a really valuable way to make that decision really easy for them.

Kerry Guard [00:12:03]:

And accepting that you're not always going to be the answer and know a no is just as good as yes.

Lee Moskowitz [00:12:11]:

So in addition to being the most super competitive, super saturated, I've marketed to cybersecurity people before and companies I know. So I know this cybersecurity people are some of the most skeptical people out there, and they're just really hard to market to. They don't trust anything. They're not going to click a link. They have ad blocker on. Let's just talk about that.

Kerry Guard [00:12:39]:

Yes to all of those things.

Lee Moskowitz [00:12:40]:

That's why organic, that's, to me, part of why organic is so important for this audience. But it's also like, it's super technical a lot of the time. So you can't just go and write a blog post and be like, all right, SEO is done, guys, because again, they are skeptical. They don't like a lot of the standard marketing stuff.

Kerry Guard [00:13:02]:

Marketing is a necessary evil. That's how we're.

Lee Moskowitz [00:13:06]:

Because you also do SaaS and SaaS, again, it depends on the industry, but it's a bit more like people are a bit more open to the marketing stuff and it's a bit more depends too, right?

Kerry Guard [00:13:19]:

Because if you're talking to a CEO versus a practitioner, it's always going to be easier to talk to a CEO than anybody who's actually doing the work, whether that's in finance or in cyber or even us marketers are some of the biggest skeptics when it comes to our own.

Lee Moskowitz [00:13:36]:

Us too. I don't pick up a phone.

Kerry Guard [00:13:39]:

Me neither. So I think it really comes down to, again, that technical content is absolutely key. It's actually one of the things I really advise companies to do in house. I'm a big proponent of owning your website, owning your content, owning your CRM and newsletter stuff in house, because you got to know what you're talking about. And while you could outsource that to a vendor, you still need people internally to triple check that it's technically correct and you're not saying anything wrong because it is very easy to lose this audience and to lose their trust by being just simply incorrect on anything at all. So I'm a big proponent of that. How we show up for our clients who have that capability in house is really about the strategy of it. Making sure their website is technically sound, that they have all of your page load speed, their images are webp, those normal things, doing a big audit that way, and then really comes down to the keywords and about the signals to Google at this point, right, of making sure that Google knows where your expertise stands so that you could help the whole website rise up for those very particular keywords.

Kerry Guard [00:15:04]:

And I mean particular. Like, if you're in cybersecurity and you're going after cloud security, you got to have more attached to it than cloud security, otherwise, good luck. So what is it inside cloud that you do in particular? And go after those long tail keywords, go after the questions, what are people asking? What do they want to know? Start high level, right? Glossaries are wonderful for that to tell Google, like what glossaries aren't for the end user. It's very rare that you're going to get the right end user in a glossary and they're going to come through your website with swimming colors and sign up for your product. Probably not going to happen, but it's a really great indicator to Google to say, these are the keywords I care about. Here's what I know them to mean, here's the pages I want to link off to. And let's help raise that website for us. It's less about, we don't want to do any of the writing, we want to provide those teletags and those meta descriptions and some page recommendations based off of what competitors are doing, making sure that they are differentiated in their core offering.

Kerry Guard [00:16:11]:

Going after those long tail keywords, of course. And like I said, building those pillar pages to really help the whole page, the whole website rise to the top in terms of how you help your audience. SEO is definitely a cornerstone to a marketing go to market strategy in the cyber world because there are researchers at the core of what this audience does is they research. So you got to be there first and then they're going to go to their network and they're going to ask their network what's going on and who they're using and why, and that referral piece. So those are the two big opportunities in terms of making sure you have good customer success and you got a good SEO strategy.

Lee Moskowitz [00:16:53]:

Two very important things. So one, I want to just talk about how big of a deal it is. So you heard this here, people, we have an agency owner saying you should do that stuff in house. So I just wanted to hit on that. Love hearing that. So you talk a lot about how the content should be in house. What is that proper workflow for you? Are you giving them SEO briefs? Are they giving you content? What is this successful relationship that people could either come to you for or maybe try to do themselves? How are you getting the best of both worlds?

Kerry Guard [00:17:26]:

It's collaborative, right? It's got to be collaborative. You can't just chuck stuff over the fence. If you go to our website and you look on the homepage, our tagline is meaningful relationships, measurable results. Because at the end of the day, when it comes down to these technical clients and these technical products and these complex audiences, you have to be in step with one another from a vendor and client perspective. And so it's really important to us that you have content in house and that we can work together. We love to give briefs out of the gate so that you're not spinning your wheel. So we know that these are the keywords you want to rank for. Here are some topic ideas based off of what people are searching for.

Kerry Guard [00:18:06]:

But you're the technical expert. So you tell us, what do you think makes the most sense in terms of approaching this piece of content? They'll go off and write it, they'll throw it back to us. We'll say, okay, here's what we recommend in terms of title tags, meta descriptions. Here's where we think some keywords could be really handy and then they will publish it and we'll get into a really good workflow that way of these things being passed and forth, back and forth to each other and not just chucking it over and saying, see you later.

Lee Moskowitz [00:18:35]:

Collaborative yeah. So let's give our listeners here like a mini playbook of either a good template for a brief or what absolutely should go into a brief. I'm a big fan of SEO briefs. I mean, I have my own template and stuff. What's your playbook or advice for people on a good SEO brief?

Kerry Guard [00:18:58]:

Yeah, so it's got to be, again, based in research. Really digging into now that we have this beautiful thing called chat GBT. From a research standpoint, do not let chat GBT write your content. I want to be very clear on that. Chat GBT is great for an initial. Sometimes we'll do that for an initial draft for clients because it's hard for them to start from a blank page. But we'll never publish the straight up Chachi BT. But it's really helpful in getting content ideas and understanding what users are searching for, the questions that they have.

Kerry Guard [00:19:30]:

And so a brief for us will really be baked in that research of like, here's some questions we're seeing pop around this topic. We'll write an initial title tag and meta description just to give them some ideas. We keep it pretty high level because we want, again, it's that collaborative piece of sitting down with a technician who can say, okay, here's how I would approach this. To really give value back to the audience, to be able to go really do a thing right. At the end of the day, when you're writing a piece of content, it can be all leadership and high level. Sure. But really, when you're talking about the cybersecurity audience, you got to give them something they can go do. It's got to be actionable.

Kerry Guard [00:20:09]:

And that's why it's so important to be working with somebody in house who can write from that POV. So for us, our briefs are pretty high level, pretty just directional in terms of what's happening in the space from a competitive standpoint, from what people are searching for standpoint, getting that first draft done and then really coming in over top and working it from an SEO perspective.

Lee Moskowitz [00:20:32]:

Yeah. So shifting gears to maybe a less technical topic, but something that you're very passionate about, and I mentioned it in your bio, and that is work life balance. So before I go any further, what's your definition of work life balance? What does that mean to you?

Kerry Guard [00:20:51]:

Well, I'm still working on it. When you're a business owner, when you're an entrepreneur, it definitely has its own definition. And so I just want to be really clear.

Lee Moskowitz [00:21:04]:

That's a great point. Let's go on. You're the owner here. And then let's give what that means for your employees.

Kerry Guard [00:21:11]:

Yeah, because it's different.

Lee Moskowitz [00:21:12]:

It's different.

Kerry Guard [00:21:13]:

And I have to be so careful about how I show up for my employees because I don't want them to show up the way that I do. Please don't. Don't do what I do because I work pretty much all the time. Why? Because it's my life. I've built this thing. It's a joy, it's my career, what I have to show for the last twelve years. Right? So I try and be very thoughtful when it comes to my family and making sure that when I'm with them, I'm with them. So between I try and work from twelve to five, take a good break with my family from five to eight, and then I'll come back online from eight to ten, and then the weekends, I try very hard not to work.

Kerry Guard [00:22:03]:

And then I'm with my kids. And now if my kids go off and go do their own thing and I have a minute, then I'll go knock something. I definitely fill the space with work, but I do try and carve out for me as an entrepreneur, I do try and say these times are sacred, and if my kids want to spend time with me, I will drop everything to make that happen. I do. I'm a workaholic, but I love it. My husband says that he's like, I feel like you're always working. I should start working at twelve. I start working at nine because I'm trying to solve problems.

Kerry Guard [00:22:33]:

I'm trying to keep a company going.

Lee Moskowitz [00:22:34]:

You're an agency owner?

Kerry Guard [00:22:35]:

Yeah, I'm an agency owner. Welcome to the show. Right. I want to be really clear. That's how I show up. I do not expect my employees to show up that way. I do not want them to show up that way. I am very clear from the onset with my team of the way that we do this is we have something called velocity.

Kerry Guard [00:22:50]:

So we know that you have 7 hours a day, five days a week, and we plan accordingly in that and only about, for most of our folks, 80% of their time. Of those 7 hours is billable. So the other 20% is admin time, internal meetings, coffee chats, growth time. So if they want to dig in and learn something new, so I want to make sure that we give them that space and then, so we plan accordingly. And then the other thing we do is their hours are their hours. So you're not tied to a standard nine to five if you're not a morning person. I'm not a morning person. Then you showing up at ten and working till six is your prerogative.

Kerry Guard [00:23:32]:

It just has to be consistent because we have to be able to have meetings on a regular basis. We have standing client meetings every week, two weeks, a month, each month. So we have to know when you're going to be consistently available to be able to make those planning decisions. Right. But in the day, whatever you want your hours to be is what your hours are. And people sign off like at their 05:00 or whatever, their day ends, they're out and we don't hear from them again until they sign on in the morning. It's actually quite glorious. I am very proud of my team for really holding true to what their hours are and sticking to it and not.

Kerry Guard [00:24:12]:

Sometimes they'll pop online in the evenings, but they'll piece out early. They're like, you know what, I'm going to go. It's a beautiful, sunshiny day. I don't have any meetings today. I'm going to head on out and enjoy it and then I'll be back on in the evening. And we use Zoom chat and we have a general channel and we just keep each other up to date on where we are throughout the day. So it's all about accountability, right? Your time is your time. You're consistent with your hours.

Kerry Guard [00:24:37]:

You make sure you show up for meetings, you make sure your work gets done and just let us know where you are. Because if somebody's trying to get something done and they're blocked and they need it and they have a question and they think you're there when you're not, then they're waiting around. Right. But if you've said you've headed out for lunch or whatever, then they know you're going to come back and they can move on to the next thing. So it's that accountability piece that's really important when it comes to that flexibility. But, yeah, I'm a true believer in work life balance, and if one more person tries to tell me that remote work can't work, I'm like, no, you're just trying to operate in a remote environment as if you're in an office and you can't do that either. So stop that. But yeah, I'm a true believer in treating your people like humans and adults and holding them accountable, but also giving them the work life balance we all deserve.

Lee Moskowitz [00:25:25]:

Yeah. So one thing you said was about, like, they sign off at 05:00 I had ptsd flashbacks to one of my early jobs where the agency owner would call that banking hours. It was like a joke. Not joke. He'd be like, oh, guess this person is on banking hours if they leave at 05:00. Toxic to me. I have a simple definition of work life balance. It's like I need to feel like I have energy to do something else after the workday or during the day, thinking about it, just that work isn't the sole thing, the sole thing for that day.

Lee Moskowitz [00:26:13]:

And I think that looks like a lot of different to a lot of people. To me, I have a hard time seeing how commuting into the city and taking an hour, hour and a half train ride and waking up early and then taking a train ride, but I can't see how commuting when I don't have to, to be something that really is work life balance. Obviously it can be, but to me, that's something in my boundary where I'm like, my entire day is going to be around work if I'm literally going there every day. The other thing is, but literally, I need to be able to. I am done with work. I can go and do something else, and I'm not thinking about in my mind how much work I have to do when I come back or something like that. So that's what that is to me.

Kerry Guard [00:27:06]:

Yes, I think that's exactly what I'm striving for. And I'm a system, process oriented person, so I got right into the weeds of how I make that happen. But yes, I think that's a beautiful way of thinking about it, of being able to have the energy to go, you should work to live, not live to work. So that's exactly energy to do other things.

Lee Moskowitz [00:27:33]:

So these would be two questions. And again, I really like how you made the distinction of, there's the owner and then maybe the average employee question. For other bosses or owners out there, how can they help roll out either work life balance initiatives or just make sure that their team feels that they have proper work life balance?

Kerry Guard [00:27:55]:

I think it comes back to the policies and the systems and processes that you put in place. Right. So if you're at your core, a people first organization where you believe in work life balance, then all the decisions you make and the policies you put in place need to ladder up to that. So it makes your decision making our value one of our values. We have four. One of our values is people first. Right. Point of values is so that it makes decision making really easy.

Kerry Guard [00:28:20]:

So just think about if you're asking somebody to stay late, well, how does that fit into your values? And do they absolutely need to stay late, or can you assign it to them in Asana and ask them to get it done tomorrow and move something else off their plate? Because you can't push them over their capacity either. Right. So it's just having some of those clear. We live in Asana. Everything happens and dies in that place for that reason, so that we can make sure we are measuring people's capacity, not because we want to make sure that they're getting their work done, although that's helpful. The accountability piece is for sure, key when you're in a remote environment. But it's more to make sure on our side, the leadership side, accountability side for us is that we're not putting too much work on people, that they can't actually get it done. So, yeah, I think it comes down to defining your values, baking work life balance into them, and then holding yourself accountable to all the decisions you make.

Lee Moskowitz [00:29:25]:

To actually live up to that one. That's great advice for the owners, the bosses. On the flip side, what would you say to just an employee who might be struggling with their work life balance and they don't know what to do?

Kerry Guard [00:29:41]:

Own your calendar. Own your calendar. Block off when you are not available or don't want to be available, or need to be heads down on something. Block off your calendar. That is where you have the most control of your day. Yeah, own it.

Lee Moskowitz [00:30:01]:

Yeah, just own your calendar. Manage it. Obviously, be flexible. Don't be like, no, I can't every single time. But you need to carve out the non meeting time for yourself. You also don't need to respond to every slack message right away or zoom message, especially if it's after. So one more advice question for you is there's so many people looking for jobs these days. What is something that as an agency owner, you'd give advice for people who are trying to get jobs at agencies?

Kerry Guard [00:30:38]:

That's a tricky one. It really comes down for us. I'll speak from experience. Right. So for us, it really comes down to two things, and it depends on the role. Right. So if we're hiring somebody who's only got a few years of experience or straight out of college, it's generally about the culture fit and the hunger. Do you want to learn? Are you ready to learn? And can you learn? Can you soak it in? Can you take it on quickly? And can you pivot with it? When you're in an agency, you got to be able to learn on your feet.

Kerry Guard [00:31:14]:

And that's not for everybody, and that's okay. And that doesn't make you a failure. That just means you got to look elsewhere, probably within a bigger company that has more structure that can really allow you to take the time that you need to learn. Agencies don't have that luxury. So I would say if you're a fast learner and you're hungry for it, show up and show that. And then on the expertise side, if you're somebody who's got ten years or more of experience, for us, it's really the technical piece. Right. So we want somebody who can come into the culture, who's going to be.

Kerry Guard [00:31:47]:

One of the big things with us is to over communicate. Right. When you're a remote company, you got to be able to say and not be worried. There's a little, like, we sort of joke about it, that there's a ptsd period where you got to shake off your previous agency life and realize that we're not asking you questions because we're trying to micromanage you. It's just a remote life of needing to know what's going on and where you are and make sure you're okay. If you're not saying hi on Zoom, our first instinct is, has anybody heard from this person? Are they okay? It's weird that they're not here, and that's hard for people. Normally, they're in trouble, right? So they have to sort of go through that ptsd period. But at the end of the day, you're an over communicator again.

Kerry Guard [00:32:35]:

Learning is still really important. You want to work with people who are experts and you're willing to take feedback. Right. Feedback is also really hard. We're a feedback oriented organization. We want to make sure people can come in and learn and learn from others and learn from each other. You got to be able to take feedback and that you have the technical chops. Right.

Kerry Guard [00:32:54]:

So, so many times I found people to fake it till they make it, and you can't do that in any agency. I'm really sorry. If you don't have the chops, it's going to show up real quick, and then we're going to realize we hired the wrong person and you're going to be out of a job again. So be honest with what you can do with what you want to do and what you love to do. Right. And lean into that.

Lee Moskowitz [00:33:21]:

Yeah. Fake it till you make it is just like, bad advice. Literally. If you don't know something, ask, and then you'll learn it. And if you're too afraid to ask in that environment. Get out of that.

Kerry Guard [00:33:37]:


Lee Moskowitz [00:33:38]:

It's time for our next segment, which is fill the tea with Lee. That's right. This is the sassiest podcast for B to B and beyond, and we are going to get juicy. All right, Carrie, so I wanted to have some time for this because I know it's a very passionate topic of yours. What is your hot take on cold outreach?

Kerry Guard [00:33:59]:

Oh, man, I am getting this everywhere now. I'm sorry.

Lee Moskowitz [00:34:03]:

You've made it your thing. We talked it about on our episode, so we had to continue it here.

Kerry Guard [00:34:08]:

And I totally just was on another show, so I'm sorry. If you've already listened to some of my other podcasts, you're tired of me talking about it. Feel free to skip ahead. No, I believe that for our industry, for cyber, in particular, for SaaS, that our audience, as we've already mentioned, a very technical audience who really hates sales and marketing begin with, do not want cold outreach. They don't. And especially. Oh, my gosh, between phone and email, they're such skeptics. As you mentioned, Lee, they're not going to click on links.

Kerry Guard [00:34:37]:

They're not going to open emails from people they don't know. It's just they've been burned way too many times from both scams as well as pitch slaps. They're over it. So we need to get with the times. We need to listen to our audience, and we need to move with it. And, yeah, I think marketing needs to pull their weight in getting the right information to the right people to help them make a decision, and then they'll raise their hand when they're ready to talk to sales.

Lee Moskowitz [00:35:04]:

That's my hot take. And we'll go into kind of a meaning session of what we did on your show. But the demand gen growth marketing part of that is all about making sure that when you are selling and reaching out to the person that it's not the first time they've heard of the brand. Exactly where all that comes in and plays. But, yeah, let's get into a really quick one here. Arfs or semrush?

Kerry Guard [00:35:33]:


Lee Moskowitz [00:35:34]:

Or a different one? Okay.

Kerry Guard [00:35:36]:


Lee Moskowitz [00:35:37]:

Do you say semrush like they want you to, or Semrush?

Kerry Guard [00:35:40]:

I say semrush.

Lee Moskowitz [00:35:41]:

It's just faster. I refuse to. I refuse to. I refuse to call it SEM.

Kerry Guard [00:35:48]:

You. Do you?

Lee Moskowitz [00:35:49]:

It just doesn't make sense to me. It's search engine.

Kerry Guard [00:35:51]:

Whatever it is, it's SEM.

Lee Moskowitz [00:35:54]:

We don't say co, we say SEO.

Kerry Guard [00:35:56]:

It's true. It's true. But that's good branding on their end that we're calling it the thing they want us to call it. So there's that.

Lee Moskowitz [00:36:04]:

Well, I am not. I'm still a detractor.

Kerry Guard [00:36:08]:

You do. You. You got your thing going on. I love it. Own it. All right.

Lee Moskowitz [00:36:12]:

Yeah. So not asking to violate any NDAs or name anybody, obviously, but we are spilling tea here. So you are an agency owner. Have you ever fired a client? When I say this, what's a spill? The tea story that comes to mind, what happened and why?

Kerry Guard [00:36:30]:

Yeah, so we did fire a client. I'm not going to say who. Big brand, big tech brand. They had a lot of turnover and the new VP that came in wasn't a values fit for us. The expectations were out of alignment. Right. And no matter how hard we pushed for our boundaries and what our expectations were in terms of the initial agreement, he wanted things when he wanted them. And that's just not who we are.

Kerry Guard [00:36:54]:

We have SLAs and we sprint plan and we have systems and processes to, again, protect our team and our people. First culture. And so when clients push on that and as thoughtful as we push back to say we want to work with you, we understand things are really tough. Where's the give and take? Like, okay, this is really important to you right now. What can we move then and deprioritize to get this thing to you? They want it all and they want it all now. Okay, well, we're willing to do that every once in a while, but we haven't even built a rapport here and you're just stomping all over the relationship we have and you're not using us. Like, if you're coming in as a new person, whether you're VP down to practitioner, your agency is like a gold mine of information. If they've been there a while, which we had, we'd been there for over three years.

Kerry Guard [00:37:46]:

We've worked with the company for over three years. So in terms of helping them get up to speed, we could have absolutely been a 100% wonderful ally. And they didn't see us that way. They saw us as the vendor and they treated us like one, and that doesn't fit for us. So we parted ways.

Lee Moskowitz [00:38:06]:

That is. Again, I don't want to say it's good to hear, because it's not. But it's like we're talking about work life balance before that's part of it. That is identifying that these people are not the right fit and or they're making your team's life miserable, and it's not worth that retainer cost or whatever it is, it's more worth it to keep your employees happy. And, yes, that's just part of it.

Kerry Guard [00:38:33]:

I will say when you're a small agency, you sometimes run into the fact that you don't have the luxury of always letting clients go right away. And so if you're on the employee side, you're working with a really tough client and you've let leadership know, and they have these values like we do. Like for us, we run into this and we can't let a client go right away. We work our butts off to figure out how we can offset those costs or get right on the right side or figure out the client relationship and get it right. So just know that if you're in that situation and you've talked to leadership and they're telling you they're working on it, believe them, they probably are.Lee Moskowitz [00:39:09]:

It's tough. Well, I don't mean to end on a sour note, but I'm sorry. No. Here, let me ask you another spill of tea question. This one will be more fun. So we mentioned how you're a mother of twins. I am curious, what is similar between being an agency owner and being a mother of twins?

Kerry Guard [00:39:32]:

I don't want to say master, but I've become a pretty good negotiator. Yeah. When you have twins and you have children in general, you are constantly negotiating. So try to hold firm boundaries, but trying to find the balance of that give and take, and that's what you're doing with clients all day long, is trying to make sure that you're meeting their needs while also holding your boundaries. No different being a mother.

Lee Moskowitz [00:39:58]:

I love it. Well, this was such a good episode. I always like to give our guests a chance to shout things out. Let's shout out tea time again. Let's shout out your website. Anything else you want to say?

Kerry Guard [00:40:08]:

Thanks. All the things. So, yes, tea time with tech marketing leaders is live on LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube on Thursdays at. Well, it's normally 03:00 p.m., Eastern, but we got daylight savings happening right now. So I believe it's 02:00 p.m. Or maybe it's four. I don't know which way it goes. Anyway.

Kerry Guard [00:40:26]:

Yeah, Thursday. Thursday evenings, you can check me out on LinkedIn to find out what time it is for you in particular. It also comes out across Spotify and all of the channels if you want to listen on the go and you can't make it live. That's cool too. Our website is and you can find me on LinkedIn. I live, live and breathe it.

Lee Moskowitz [00:40:46]:

Yes, everybody go connect and follow. Go listen to my episode of Tea time if you haven't already. And yes, thank you so much again, and I will see everybody for another episode of Lead to B next time. Enjoying lead to B. Please rate and review us wherever you get your podcast. Your reviews go a long way in supporting me. Thank you so much.

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