Hello, I'm Kerry Guard and welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.
Welcome back to season 10. I hope you've enjoyed my conversations with Steven Shapiro, Lavanya Ganesh, and Amber Anderson. As a reminder, we drop our full season of episodes Netflix style so you can binge or jump around. Either way, no need to wait week after week. Enjoy listening your way.
In this episode, I chat with Rachel Jordan, Head of Marketing at Teach FX. Rachel is a purpose-driven marketing leader and change agent with more than 20 years of experience guiding brand strategy, content marketing, and marketing-sales partnership in B2B SaaS startup, B2B enterprise, and B2C nonprofit brands.
Given Rachael ran her own marketing company for more than four years, she discovered that a strong brand strategy is the lynchpin to a successful business. It fuels everything from product to sales to marketing. And she even has a framework to help us build one, and that's what we dig into today. Rachel and I will nerd out a little bit in terms of education, as TeachFX is a product for educators. But then we'll get right to the heart of building a brand strategy. We'll talk about its importance, why it matters, and how to get started. So grab your notebook, and let's take a listen.
Kerry Guard: Hello, Rachel. Thank you for joining me on Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.
Rachel Jordan: Thanks, Kerry. Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
Kerry Guard: I'm so excited to have you. Before we get into the heart of our conversation. I just want everyone to know your story. So, why don't you kick us off with what do you do, Rachel? And how did you get there?
Rachel Jordan: Absolutely. Today, I am the Head of Marketing at TeachFX, an Ed-Tech startup that uses AI to help teachers drive meaningful dialogue in the classroom. I could talk all day long about how awesome this is, but I'll start with giving my kind of the story of how I got here. I have a very non-traditional path that led me here. I actually went to Berklee College of Music, and when I finished school, I had never considered doing anything other than music. And that's what I did the first year or two that I was out of school. And I played in bands, taught music lessons, worked behind the counter at a guitar store, and quickly started to question what I really wanted out of my working life and how I could connect to kind of a larger purpose and something larger than myself. And that's how I landed in a global human rights organization, doing fundraising communications basically. I started an entry-level position, stayed there for almost ten years, and worked my way up. I ended up leading a national network of volunteers. I had about 700 volunteers who implemented this huge kind of annual fundraising and engagement campaigns across the country. And that was when I learned the power of story to drive action. I coined stories of hope when I was there that helped teach people about human rights through a total one-on-one connection. Instead of talking about the massive human rights challenges that we were addressing all over the world, I would tell one story about one person whose life had been affected by our work. And they actually still use those today but while we were running that program, I ran, I boosted our numbers, both in dollars and people participating in the program every year, to historical rates through that approach. So I knew I was onto something here. But after close to 10 years there, I was ready for my next kind of challenge.
I knew that I wanted to do something different, but still very mission-driven. I wanted to grow out of the 50% nonprofit that I was in and that's how I landed leading corporate marketing at Bright Horizons, which was the leader in early childhood education. But on the corporate side, I was marketing complex work-life solutions, like backup care and elder care and a whole bunch of other services that we kept adding on while I was there. I joined that amazing time. It was 2010. So inbound marketing was just becoming a thing. I got to help shift the company from a traditional outbound sales-driven approach to real inbound marketing and grew the content marketing practice while I was there. I stayed there for several years until I had this kind of now or never moment I took Seth Godin altMBA. I was like, if I'm ever going to take the leap out of the corporate safety net, I have to do it right now. And I took the leap out, started my own consulting practice, and had this amazing two-year adventure kind of working with lots of different kinds of clients until I found this niche working with tech founders who had hit a growth ceiling. And I realized that this had to do with the same kind of constellation challenges, either sales selling to the wrong people, or what they're selling isn't aligned with what marketing is promising, or product is building something different for different people than what sales and marketing are focusing on all that kind of stuff and all of that ties back to having a clear brand strategy. It's really hard to do if you haven't been steeped in marketing your whole career. And it's really hard to do at a really early stage; you have to have enough experience in the market to build a strategy that can be your lynchpin for growth. But once you have been out there selling and marketing your product for long enough, it's time to get serious and build a strategy that can really help you grow, and that's how I landed as Chief Marketing Officer at the last startup. I was at BoardOnTrack, where I joined to run my brand strategy process from the ground up, but then stay and own marketing and grow the marketing practice after we relaunched the brand, which is an amazing adventure. I went from Chief Marketing Officer there to Chief Experience Officer to own the whole customer lifecycle and make sure that the way people experienced the brand from first touch all the way through kind of land and expand was really consistent. And now I'm here at TeachFX, continuing the education trend that's been a theme throughout my career as well.
Kerry Guard: Just because I'm a curious person and can't help myself, I have to know what instrument you played at Berkeley.
Rachel Jordan: I played electric bass at Berkeley
Kerry Guard: Nice, I gave it a good girl. I played the viola. I'm total organized. I did give the basic ago for a hot second, and then I realized that I just was way too dependent on reading music and couldn't keep up.
Rachel Jordan: That was actually like my saving grace at Berkeley because I started a classical piano and sang for a while when I was a kid. I didn't have as much experience playing the bass as all the other guys in the department, and it was almost all guys. But I had been reading music since I was six years old; at least I had that I could fall back on. So I can sight-read better than a lot of the guys who are just learning to read music, at least have one strength in my pocket.
Kerry Guard: That is awesome. Yeah. So good. I can't wait to have our conversation in a second, which is around this framework that you've built and that you've got to test at BoardOnTrack, and now you're going to take it to TeachFX. So before we break that framework down for everybody, what would you say as you've only been in your role for like a hot second here but just in your experience in general, maybe in the last few months at TeachFX, or even before that. What's one challenge you're currently facing?
Rachel Jordan: Great question. It's hard to name one. The first Head of Marketing, I think, the biggest challenge is probably to look at all of my challenges and priorities and just try to pick one that I'm going to focus on at any given moment. I am a marketing army of one right now and getting ready to build this brand strategy, relaunch the brand, and scale the marketing practice into the next year. It is all about prioritization, whether I'm focusing on building our Tech Stack or content marketing, marketing sales partnership, or the product marketing partnership. It's all about doing the absolute most important thing that I can do right now and being okay with letting go of all the other stuff.
Kerry Guard: So hard because it's so big now it's like not just one channel or one output. It's so big, and you're not alone in that prioritization. So what are you starting with? What's the thing you're working on right this second?
Rachel Jordan: So the thing that's taking the most time right now, and my biggest priority, is definitely the brand strategy because everything will flow out of that. It's so tempting, right, to just go ‘’Okay, we need a new website that's really going to drive leads. Let's just do that right now.’’ Or, like ‘’let's just put out five lead magnets and start driving leads because we know people love us and we just need to get more people and more traffic and stuff.’’ But if you start diving into the tactics without having that overall strategy, framework, and brand story that can flow through everything, you just end up redoing it over again. You end up revisiting the same decisions like it's the first time every time because you don't have this one script to fall back on. This is who we are for who we're not for, who we are, who we're not, our voice, all that kind of stuff, even like your content buckets that should structure your website, all that stuff comes out of the brand strategy.
Kerry Guard: I feel like… correct me, you know, I'm on the agency side. So I only get to see this little sliver of the marketing strategy, in terms of like, how we support and brand is certainly sometimes a part of that, but that's always crystal clear. Do you feel like, especially with lead gen/ demand gen? Does that brand get overlooked? Or do you feel that's totally where people start?
Rachel Jordan: Yeah, I do. That's a great question. I had some really interesting conversations over the summer with both agencies and founders around this too. Because when I was looking for my next adventure, I was thinking about what works and doesn't work about how people interview marketing talent. And that kind of stretched into how people interview and hire marketing agencies. And the most common thing that marketing agencies would say to me about, especially when they experienced something that was not a fit with a client, would be that the client didn't have a brand strategy before they hired the agency. They were hiring an agency as a replacement for a team instead of an extension of a team, which is also often a sign that you don't have someone in house leading the strategy. And it's surprising to me that this is something that's overlooked because it's just how my brain works. That's where I've been focused for so long. But you absolutely can't; whether you're hiring an agency to do the tactics or diving into the tactics yourself, you first have to have that strategy. And I think it's not like the soft and fuzzy thing that a lot of people think of when they hear brand or brand marketing, they imagine like, some really simple deck of like five slides of this is who we are, or like the copy that can only be used internally. That describes kind of what you're about and what you're doing in really like esoteric terms or super marketing buzzwordy terms. And I take an approach that your brand strategy is literally the words you use out in the world. So whether you're hiring freelancers or agencies that are expanding your sales team or marketing team, not only have a structure in place of who this is for and all these other things we can get into the framework but also literally the words you should use.
Kerry Guard: Right! Because brand strategy is just a logo and a website. Right?
Rachel Jordan: Exactly. Just make it pretty, just make it pretty.
Kerry Guard: Well, since we were being incredibly sarcastic, in case people weren't aware, we should jump into the framework because I do think that's what people think the bridge is like,‘’ Okay. I need this pretty logo, and I need this really beautiful site’’ like the words will come.
Rachel Jordan: Yeah, right. And that's the difference between branding and brand strategy, right? It's like, you need one before you can have the other, and they're not the same thing.
Kerry Guard: They're not the same thing. So let's break that down. What elements of a brand strategy should everybody be leaning into?
Rachel Jordan: So the first thing is thinking really deeply about who you're for and who you're not for, and this is another one of those places where I think that everyone thinks about it exactly the same way that I do. I find that founders know way too much about what they've built. So it's hard for them to put themselves in the shoes of the person they're trying to sell to, or the person they built this thing for, who doesn't yet know or care that they exist, right? Like you've been eating, sleeping, and breathing this thing for such a long time. It's hard to remember that probably a good portion of the addressable market has no idea you exist, and they don't even know or care why. So when we think first about, like ‘’Who are we building this for? What do they actually care about?’’ Totally independent of that because when I first ask these questions around, like our customers, priorities of founders or sales teams, I will always get like, ‘’well, this is what they say to us on a sales call’’. It's like, ‘’Okay, well, those are the people who already know they want you’’ Let's take a step back and think really deeply about what their daily work life is like? I have tons of variations on the steps of questions I asked people about who we built this product for, depending on what kind of category we're in and the nature of sale is the complex sale or it's easy to see that kind of stuff. And then once we've gotten into who this is for, I do try to get people to get really specific about who is not a fit and that definitely includes who doesn't get it, why don't they get it, and how can people misunderstand what we're doing. But it's also like, who's turned, why did they turn, what are the key characteristics that we can figure out that would be just customers who are not a fit. And the reason that both those things are helpful is if you want to be a kind of a challenger brand, you can be really direct about that stuff in your marketing, right? You can stay on your website. If your XYZ, we're not a fit for you, and that's totally okay. But it's also really helpful in the marketing-sales partnership if your brand strategy is very specific about who we're selling to and who we're not selling to. Because when you get into lead qualification and are these leads actually sales ready, how are we pushing the right people through the pipeline. You're talking about the same things.
Kerry Guard: So first, you want to start with the humans you're selling to, whether you're B2B or B2C, you're selling to people.
Rachel Jordan: Yes, absolutely. And then once we've gotten really deep into who this is for, that is who we are. And like I said, I'm a super mission-driven marketer, so I like to use an overused phrase, kind of the company and individual levels. I literally have these conversations one-on-one with every person I can on the team when I'm running a brand strategy. So, for instance, at TeachFX, I've talked with our sales leader and with our CEO. I'm going to have conversations with our product lead and the folks who lead our professional development courses, each separately, to hear directly from them, how they talk about what we do, why we do it, how it works, and why they do this work. And then I start to find kind of the connecting points, right? What are the things that people are saying the same way? Where are we differentiating? Like, where are we explaining things differently, showing different points of view on what we're doing? How do we do it? Why does it matter? Then getting into, what problems are we solving, how do we solve those problems, what's changed for our customers after they become our customers, and how do they know that’s what changed. And by the end of it, we have a complete brand strategy that includes who we built this for, our brand pillars, what makes us different or new, what makes us believable, how do we back up, and what are we promising that people will get out of working with us.
Kerry Guard: And that's the end of our show. Well, it sounds simple on paper, but the real magic comes in my guessing of your ability to sit down and really talk to people and hear from them, which as a podcast host, I can obviously say takes an enormous amount of time. And so, for you, is that just a natural skill that you have or have you figured? How'd you figure out these questions to ask? I'm just so curious about your ability to sit down with people and really get to why they're working here and what they care about in terms of the product?
Rachel Jordan: Yeah, you're absolutely right. The magic is in the conversation. I have tried doing this in a Google forum kind of way where people can sit down and write out their own answers, and it's just not the same because while I have a standard set of questions when I listen to people, I kind of push on certain things I'm hearing. It's all in those follow-up questions that you can't plan ahead of time and part of it is that I think I've always been a natural communicator. It’s what I'm doing, and part of it is training. When I was thinking about my next adventure when I was in nonprofit forever ago, I briefly considered becoming a mediator, and I went through mediation training. I did a 40-hour certification program and actually did mediation in small claims courts for a while. And mediation is basically it's like everything is marketing. But mediation feels very much like marketing, right? Because you're learning how to listen actively, understand people's motivators, and ask open-ended questions or closed-ended questions, all these kinds of things that definitely I have used in marketing in general, but especially in these conversations. So and then you asked how I figured out how to ask what questions I asked. And this approach is definitely a mix of a whole bunch of different things that I've learned over the years as a marketer. I'm a huge fan of Seth Godin everything, who is it for his part of his platform and has been forever. When I was getting started as a consultant, I also did a boot camp with Pia Silva, who's the author of Badass Your Brand. And I learned a lot from her approach to this kind of stuff. She does these crazy today’s brand ups where she completely relaunches brands in Today’s. Yeah, it's a really interesting process. And so yeah, I learned a lot from her right now. I am deep into everything that category pirates are putting out into the world. I just read Play Bigger last week, and I'm thinking about how to apply that to this framework. And a lot of the questions in that process are the kinds of things that I'm already filling in as far as who was this for, who were we, but there are bigger strategic questions that you have to think about when you're trying to build a category versus just build a brand that is really interesting to try to fold into kind of the next iteration of this process.
Kerry Guard: Okay, this might take us on a tangent or we might need an entirely different podcast episode, but just in setting the stage, category versus brand. So category being like sneakers and brand being Nike.
Rachel Jordan: Conversational marketing would be a category versus marketing tech, which is like a vertical. So the idea of building a category is something that is completely I will probably get this completely fudged because I'm still new to this thinking. But basically, building a category is something that's completely new and different. Like one of the great examples in the book that I love is the story of Birdseye frozen vegetables. So like, nobody had frozen food. But this was totally new, and this was not a common thing. It was not something that people thought they needed or wanted, but it was something that the founder knew. If I make this, and I show people the problem that this is solving, this is a problem that can be solved, and there's a totally different way to do it than they ever thought of before, then they will want it obviously, it worked. Because frozen food is a massive category now, there had to be the first one and, of course, like everyone likes to point at Uber, people didn't take for granted that taxis were the way taxis were. They didn't think that this was a taxi or a problem that needed to be solved, or that there would be a way to solve them. Right. And so, Uber created a whole new category, or like Airbnb is another one, right? That people weren't thinking, ‘’ Hey, hotels are broken. We need something else’’. That's like, what they call community-driven hospitality but now, of course, that's what we have.
Kerry Guard: Of course! How could we ever live without it?
Rachel Jordan: Right, exactly. So that's category creation. It's really fascinating, and of course, the marketing tech people drift is an example that everybody would understand. Right? or HubSpot that you could argue, please say created the category of inbound marketing, and they weren't the only ones, obviously, coming up at the same time. But if you think of inbound now, you think of HubSpot, then draft with conversational marketing, and now conversational selling and everything else.
Kerry Guard: Great examples of people who create an entirely new category. So in terms of asking the right questions, I just want to go back to this because I feel like this is where everything begins and ends. Luckily, you're on a relatively new team. So it sounds like you definitely have a lot of people to talk to you, but when you're walking into more of that scale-up scalar environment, what would you say? Who would you say are the priority people you really need to go sit down with, assuming you can't sit down with every single person in the organization?
Rachel Jordan: So absolutely the CEO. In every instance where I've run this for a startup, the CEO is also the founder, so if I was doing this in a place where the CEO was not the founder, but there's a founder who was still involved, I would definitely want to have both people involved in the conversation. And I've run this process where the founder CEO was the only person I talked to, and I've also run it where I talked with most people on the team or just some people on the team. So, for instance, it might be the founder, CEO, the head of sales, Head of Customer Success at bare minimum. Then maybe if you layer in there also products, depending on the nature of the product and product team, how they work, where they sit in the company's structure, and if there's anyone else running sales. For instance, at TeachFX, our Chief Operating Officer is involved in the exploration of new markets. So I'm absolutely going to sit down to talk with her because I need to not only build a brand strategy that works for us today but that can work as we scale.
Kerry Guard: Yeah, and if you're talking about different markets and bills. Oh, my gosh, I mean, for me, it gets really challenging.
Rachel Jordan: Yeah, and like Dan Martell is famous for saying ‘’niche down so hard’’ it hurts, right? There's really good evidence. That is the way you have to do and especially in a startup, but what I've learned as a brand strategist is that you also have to be really careful that you're not building a brand strategy that completely boxes you in and makes it almost impossible to keep kind of stacking dishes, which is also part of his advice that you do grow stacking, not growth hacking, right, where you know where you are today, you know, what you're gonna stack on top of it once this first one works?
Kerry Guard: Guess who all of that, oh my gosh, I love that. And I feel like when we're talking about your product, and the difference, you're just going to have a lot of intersectionality between where people are, what schools are out, are they public or private, are they teaching, are they stem or traditional. Your markets from Florida to New York to California and LA are going to be completely different. So I'm very fascinated as you get into this. What's your brand strategy? Will you have different brand strategies for each market? I mean, it'll be one, you'll have like an overarching brand strategy, but then will you have these sort of subsets for each market? Or how do you approach that?
Rachel Jordan: You need to think really clearly about the personas, and this is something that B2B marketers often face that your end-users, decision-makers, or buyers aren't necessarily the same people. We have tons of teachers who come to our website and sign up for a free trial to get a sense of what it's like to use our product. But teachers are not the people who make decisions generally about the tech that gets layered into the classroom or the professional development programs that get layered in. So you know, you have principals, and you have superintendents. In charter schools, you have CEOs or 5000 other versions of the title for a school leader. You have the difference between NK12 from elementary to middle to high school, urban versus rural. All these different elements drive how different decision-making processes work and what drives his decision-making. You get into the populations of those schools because that's how they're focusing on their goals for this year. Some school districts actually have clear goals about how many students talk when they want to be happening in their classrooms. Because they know the research that students who talk more learn more clearly, those are like ‘’You already get us, you just need to know that we exist kind of people’’ Whereas other school districts might say, ‘’Well, you know, our goals right now are really around test scores or math achievement, or opportunity gaps’’. And there's a story that we can tell there as well about how this tech helps address any of those goals. So yeah, it all comes back to getting really clear about who your personas are, what their priorities are, and how you can find where their priorities overlap with what makes what you do better.
Kerry Guard: I want to go back to you, talking about how the words are so important in the brand strategy because it's really how you talk about the brand outside of the company. I think it's really easy to talk about the brand inside the company because you're not trying to make it sound polished or public-facing. You can use a lot more words when you get it on the website. So as you're very good with words, Rachel. I think that's just Something that comes naturally to you. I mean, as you're talking about it, I can see your brand strategy sort of unraveling in front of us. You clearly know how to talk about this thing in a very succinct, very thoughtful way. Where does that come from? Is that just one of your natural abilities? Or do you feel like marketers need to be able to do that? What's sort of your sense about what you're talking about the words mattering so much? And for this, marketers who might look like a deer in the headlights right now who are like’’ Where are my strong suits? what do I do?’’ What do you say to those marketers?
Rachel Jordan: Right. I'm a tech-driven marketer. I don't like long-form content, that kind of stuff, or I'm not a writer first. Well, so yes, part of it is just innate. I've always been a huge reader and a huge writer. That's why when I was figuring out what I was going to do if it wasn't to be a rock star when I grew up, it was not a hard leap to make to say ‘’well, it's going to be something around words’’ because that's always been my second love. So part of it is definitely that innate interest combined with just practice, right? The more you read, the more you write, the better you are at it. And then I would say the reason why words matter so much in this context is, first of all, if you try to present a brand strategy to your team, and it's totally theoretical, they're not actually the words that you want the team to use, they're not going to get it, they're not going to understand why it's useful. They're not going to understand what they're supposed to do with it, or worse; they'll just start picking it apart. They're like,’’Why are you saying this way? You should say it that way. We don't use those kinds of words’’ And it's like, they miss the whole point of what this thing is supposed to be because it's not actually useful for them at the moment. Even marketers don't always understand brush brand strategy. So somebody who's never thought about marketing a day in their life is not going to get it unless you put it in front of them and say, this is the thing that we use. The other thing is, you know, talking about scaling, especially in startup scale mode, you're pulling in external talent, as well as growing your internal team rapidly. The only way to make sure everyone is telling the same story every day is if you literally hand it to them, and it doesn't mean that your sales team needs to get on a call and clearly be reading from your brand deck in every way, that would be terrible, but they have to internalize the language well enough to be able to tell the story.
There are certain words that make sense to your market that don't make sense to anyone else, or that would really turn off your market that you want to avoid. And you write the brand strategy in a way that fits who you're talking to and who you are and make it really clear to the team. These are why we've very carefully chosen these words. These are the words that will go up on the website whenever we want to figure out how to explain XYZ's product or feature or why this benefit matters. Most of these people, we're going to drawback to this story. It doesn't mean the story can't evolve with us. But it does mean that we all are starting from the same place.
Kerry Guard: This makes so much sense, and for somebody who's been doing it for so long, it feels like you're saying it feels so innate. So I'm feeling for those marketers right now who might feel like a deer in the headlights, and I got to say, like, take a breath and just take a step back, and I think it really comes back to a regular, let me know if this is right or not, but what it feels like is if you can just talk to these important people in the organization. Ideally, everybody in the organization is not that big are the key people who are part of the function of the organization on a regular basis. If you can just go have really meaningful conversations with as many people as possible, the words will come.
Rachel Jordan: Yeah, I think that's true, and I think, to do this right, and to do it thoroughly, takes a ton of time. That's okay, you know, thinking about that deer in the headlights, feeling that some people might have, or, what we talked about the top of the conversation, about how prioritization is probably my biggest challenge. It would be so easy for me to just start, like posting on LinkedIn every day, Twitter, and focusing on the tech stack that really needs to be built. I need to be making better use of HubSpot and make sure that HubSpot and Salesforce play nicely together. There are 5000 things I need to do on a daily basis that might feel like I'm moving the needle but aren't laying this important strategic framework for everything else that would follow. So I'm putting the time in the first month or two that I'm here to have all these really lengthy conversations, and they are lengthy. I mean, I sketched 90 minutes with each person and this team. I had to do follow-ups with a couple of people because we got so in-depth that I couldn't even get it done in 90 minutes. But that's okay. It was relationship building and kind of priming their brains for understanding what this brand strategy is, why we're doing it, and getting tons of just words from them about what we do before and all that other stuff. And, yeah, so it's going to be, you know, the first two months that I'm on this team before this is finished. But once that's finished, we will be able to go so fast. It's like the perfect example of going slow to go fast, and if you are crazy overwhelmed, it all sounds totally theoretical. I have my standard questions for a brand interview on my website. I did a blog post about it earlier this year, so we can definitely put a link in the notes for that and take them, use them as you want to change them, edit them, tell me how they're useful or which ones sound crazy. I would love to hear how it goes.
Kerry Guard: I love that, Rachel, and also you came up with a ton of resources on how to ask questions, and we'll put those in the show notes as well. I'll also add that Chris Voss who wrote the book ‘’Never Split the Difference’’. He has a masterclass on masterclass and talks about negotiations, but he talks about how to ask the right questions in a way to get people to continuously talk. That's what I find very helpful in these conversations as well. So I'll chuck that in there.
Rachel Jordan: Kerry, I would be remiss if I didn't say I'm asking the people and the data questions. It's so important to do both. Otherwise, you could be working totally on assumptions, and those assumptions may or may not be right. It's very important to know what the leadership on the team is, assume or believe about what we're doing, why we're doing it, and who it's for. But you do definitely also need to dig into the data, you know, what can Salesforce tell you about, who your current customers are, where they are or who's turning or all that kind of stuff, or HubSpot, or whatever your tech stack looks like.
Kerry Guard: Yeah, you mentioned that at the beginning around the WHO piece, you brushed over it very quickly. So I'm so thankful you came back to that in terms of thinking about it as the data piece. Actually digging into that and making hypotheses, thinking like scientists here people, yeah, so said that we're going to find the data to back it up or not.
Rachel Jordan: I love exactly how people find us. What do they say they're looking for, you know, we have something on one of our forums that says ‘’what's the biggest challenge you're trying to solve right now?’’ And so I have the actual voice of the customer data on what they're looking for when they reach out to us for a call.
Kerry Guard: I would say SEO is probably a little piece of there just in terms of seeing what people are searching for and how they're searching for this category. If they're searching for it at all, or if you have to create a new category. I'd say that's a little piece of data that would be helpful.
Rachel Jordan: Definitely. And I love Spark Toro for understanding who the influencers are in the space and what sources the people in this space are looking to for trusted information about solving whatever challenges they're looking for.
Kerry Guard: Well, we will put that in the show notes as well. More tools, more data for everyone. Rachel, this was so good, and, oh, there's so much good information in here. I hope everybody doesn't feel too overwhelmed because it's so powerful. What you're doing and that you actually have a framework that people can pick this up and go do it. I actually feel like I could pick it up and go do it and I think I might even give it a shot. Thank you. Thank you for that. Before we close out here, I do have my three people first questions because like we're talking about, and the fact that we are talking to humans all the time, it's nice to pull back the curtain, and you've given us such a great glimpse into who you are, which I so appreciate. And just rounding this conversation out with a little bit more about you, Rachel, I just have these three quick questions. Are you ready? Alright, the first question for you is, have you picked up any new hobbies in the last year and a half?
Rachel Jordan: So, I don't think college is new, but I did start picking up the bass every now and then, which I did not do for a really long time. It's funny how you know work and parenting and all these other life things can get in the way, but yeah, I am. I'm picking up, I've got two basses hanging on the wall behind me, and I pick one or the other one up, you know, maybe once a week now, which I can't tell you how many years it's been since either one of these things got picked up more than like once a year. So that's my new hobby.
Kerry Guard: Do you have a go-to song or go to a category and music you like to jam out on?
Rachel Jordan: I listened to absolutely everything. I'm definitely very opinionated about my music, including my favorite bass players. But what I've been loving, I think that my go-to if I just want to have fun is everything by the Meters like that's the stuff that I learned a bazillion years ago, and so I love to go back to that stuff. If I'm thinking back to my 16-year-old self-learning to play the bass when I still had CDs on the first day, I brought my bass home, and I was like throwing CDs in trying just to figure out everything I could figure out it was stuff like, Nirvana was the big one. That's what I tried to get my 12-year-old to start with now because that stuff is easy but so fun to do, and a couple of things.
Kerry Guard: But maybe that leads nicely to my next question was if you were to go back to an office with a team and meet people and be on a floor, walking around lobbies, working and going desk to desk, what song would you want playing overhead?
Rachel Jordan: I'm thinking about going out to California last week and meeting with my whole team in person. I'm thinking, like, what song was I listening to while I was doing that? I am on a huge Queen Herbie kick right now. So I think it would probably be something by her like mission or Gucci's vision. It probably is one of those two
Kerry Guard: Mission. How appropriate? Vision as well. Look at that mission. Yeah, I love it—last question for you, Rachel. If you could travel up, but I mean, maybe you are, but not to California, so maybe you're on the train now. But if you could travel anywhere with no restrictions or any sort of pandemic hanging over our heads, where would you go and why?
Rachel Jordan: No restrictions, no pandemic. So there are so many places that I haven't been to that I would like, you know, big trips that I would love to take one day. I've never been to Fiji. I've never been to Australia, and I've only been to London once, and I loved it so much. I would love to go back, and I feel like my kids would kill me if I didn't say I would take my kids to Disney World because they're eight and 12. But I haven't taken them yet. So we'll throw that one in there, but it is not at the top of the list.
Kerry Guard: Fair enough. I love it. Rachel, thank you so much for joining me. This was awesome.
Rachel Jordan: It was so much fun. Thank you for having me.
That was my conversation with Rachel. Do you have a brand strategy? If not, I'm sure you're convinced that you need one. I certainly was in Q1, and I'll be focused on developing one firm cagey using Rachel's framework. If you'd like to learn more about Rachel and her framework, you can find her on LinkedIn. The link is in the show notes. Rachel, if you're listening, thank you for joining me and sharing your passion and brand strategy framework. I so enjoyed our conversation and hoped our paths crossed again. And thank you, listeners, for tuning in to this episode of season 10.
In the final episode, I talked to my friend Christina Kay, who used to work here at MKG Marketing and about 18 months ago jumped from the agency side to the client-side, and it has been a ride. In working on a lean team, she has learned a thing or two specifically about rev ops. As we lead into that Great Resignation and younger associates, having automation and repetitive tasks in place has been a game-changer for CK, and she'll walk us through why, so keep listening. Thanks again for listening to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders, a podcast that helps brands generate demand via transparent measurable digital marketing. I'm your host Kerry Guard and until next time.
This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing, our digital marketing agency of agile experts who specialize in SEO, digital advertising, and analytics, and is hosted by me, Kerry Guard, CEO and co-founder of MKG Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis, and if you'd like to be a guest, please visit mkgmarketinginc.com to apply.
Rachel Jordan is the Head of marketing at TeachFX, an Ed-Tech startup that uses AI to help teachers drive meaningful dialogue in the classroom.