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Lead With Honesty & Integrity

Kerry Guard • Sunday, August 8, 2021 • 49 minutes to listen

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Martina Trucco

Martina Trucco is the VP of Corporate Marketing at Clari, a revenue operations software. She is an award winning tech marketer specializing in helping leaders build trust through what she calls “radical transparency”.



Hello, I'm Kerry Guard and welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.

Season eight is a compilation around how to market to people and the importance of how we do that as buyers shift from meeting sales and marketers tell them what to and how to buy, to giving them the autonomy to make their own decisions. While you don't need to listen to all episodes in order, be sure to check out all eight in time because they all give you great examples of what this means in terms of how to market to the new buyer to a whole new world of people.

For this episode, I had the opportunity to chat with Martina Trucco, VP of Marketing at Clari. Martina and I chatted in Q1 and I'm so thankful I saved her episode for this compilation because it's perfect. Martina and I dig into what it means to lead with transparency as a brand and as an individual in terms of leading teams. This whole season is about the most human company wins. And what is more human than pulling back the curtain to show people who you are as a brand and the people behind the organization. Martina drops truth bombs left, right, and center. So be sure to be listening carefully. And, if you're at a desk and have pen and paper out, it doesn't hurt, take some notes. Given pride month that just passed, we talked about how brands show up and where they lead with integrity and transparency and where they just check the box. This is where the industry is headed. This is where the buyer wants. They want the truth even when it's not pretty and it's really hard. They want to know what you really stand for and what you're doing to contribute to the world and society. I could go on. I'm going to stop because you've heard enough from me. And here's my conversation with Martina.


Kerry Guard: Hello, Martina, thank you for joining me on Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.

Martina Trucco: Thanks so much for having me, Kerry.

Kerry Guard: I am really excited about this conversation. But before we get into the bigger topic, let's first introduce yourself to our listeners. Why don't you let them know what you do and how you got there?

Martina Trucco: Yeah, it's really great to be here. I'm Martina Trucco. I'm a Marketing Communications Executive and have been working in technology and kind of at the intersection of technology and business for my whole career. I'm also an author and have hosted a podcast as well in the past. So love to have the tables turned on me this time and let you be the one asking me the questions, which is always fun and a different experience. I'm really passionate about technology. I like to call myself a nerd enthusiast. And one of the things that I get most excited about is being able to understand the broader audience to understand how technology is making a difference in people's lives. And I think that that's where you really get that super awesome sweet spot of technology marketing, of actually being able to reach people both in an emotional way as well as sort of more at an intellectual level about the technology. And so that's what gets me pretty excited about the job that I love doing and excited to talk a little bit more about how to do that well here on the podcast today.

Kerry Guard: I love that terminology. Emotional and intellectual. Like what a great way to think about the tech on the tech B2B audience like wow, just to sum it up so beautifully of that balancing act.

Martina Trucco: It's funny because I think we don't always remember that the B2B audience is still an audience of people. Often when we think about B2C marketing, we can very easily envision the customer. The end consumer is the one buying the product and we can kind of think about them, but in the B2B world, you're still selling to people. You're not selling to faceless corporations. And I think that that's something really important for us to keep in mind as marketers because there is a big balance that we have to strike between having the competence or demonstrating the competence that the firm might have with what the benefit can be and ultimately kind of hit that piece where people are people and they , people and I think that's a really important thing for us to keep in mind.

Kerry Guard: It is and I want to dig in this so bad that I would have to hold back just for a second because I want to make sure I ask the same question I ask everybody. I think it's important when we're talking about people, we are talking to people right now who are in the same boat so to speak, that you are, Martina, in what you do and in humanizing that I always like to ask this question of, what's the biggest challenge you're facing right now in your day to day job?

Martina Trucco: It's a great question because I think one of the things that I'm really passionate about is also really related to something that I think a lot of us are feeling lately, which is this sort of trust deficit that is all around us. And I know that I'm not the only one that feels that sense of really not seeing any one of the major institutions that are around us as being both good at what they do, and also ethical in the way that they do it. And when I bring that up as something that I may be feeling like I'm experiencing. It turns out, when you look around the world, most people are feeling the same way. And in particular with everything that we have seen and the varying responses that we've seen to the coronavirus pandemic. It really puts that into relief for so many people that the institutions that really should be the ones that we can count on, whether that's the government or the media, non-governmental organizations, and even businesses. It's that deficit of trust of knowing where to get information, who to believe and what to listen to. I think it is really prevalent and something that weighs on a lot of us these days. And you as marketers, I think that that has a big impact on how we think about what we need to say to face that reality that is going through right now. And how do we kind of cut through that and make some changes so that people can start to trust again or at least can trust what you are telling them instead of coming in with that innate sense of not trusting what is being said to them because it is so pervasive.

Kerry Guard: It's so true. And especially when it comes to brands and data. I find that we're making very different decisions these days. I actually just had a really great conversation with a co-worker of mine, where she was making the decision for her internet about which router to get. Should she get a router from Netgear or Amazon or Google and of those three, who do I trust most of my data? And that's the question she was asking herself. Yes, I see it not just in myself, but in other people as well.

Martina Trucco: It's a really good example of those choices that people are facing almost on a real time basis today because of the situation that we're in. And I love that example. Because when you start to dig into how people feel about these things. We were looking at the Edelman trust barometer studies. And for those listeners who aren't familiar with this, Edelman is a global communications agency and they do a lot of original research on trends and communications. And how buyers are feeling. And they do an annual trust barometer survey. And they were the ones that were found just even at the beginning of 2020, before the global pandemic had really sort of taken over everything. Their study results had already shown this really eroded sense of trust by the public. But what's really interesting is that the things that are behind trust, are competence, like how good you are at doing something and ethical behavior which is essentially are you doing it by doing the right thing. And competence is only 24% of what makes up people's trust. And ethical drivers like integrity and dependability and purpose are 76% of a business's trust capital. So if you go back to the example that you were just giving about someone picking a router, you realize that in fact, the capabilities of the router, the technical specifications, which is probably what these companies are marketing on, had a very small impact on your friend’s buying decision because they were much more concerned about are they going to do the right thing with my data. And I think that's a great example. It really comes down to the core of this trust thing is if you think about building a brand, a brand is all about building trust. And yet most businesses aren't thinking about the three quarters essentially, of that that's built up in terms of doing the right thing and talking about that.

Kerry Guard: Wow. This leads perfectly right into what we were going to talk about. So I think we should just jump on in, unless you had anything else to add in terms of this challenge you're facing and I want to get to the solution but I think we'll get there through our conversation.

Martina Trucco: Absolutely. Let's jump right in.

Kerry Guard: Right, let’s do it. So let's break this apart a little bit. Because I think it's important to define these things, as it pertains to your lens, Martina, because I think everybody, especially marketing, we like to cook our own terminology and then we like to tell stories around it in our own way. So for you, competence is pretty easy, right? You make a brand promise about your ability to do something and then you deliver on your ability to do it. Would you agree with that confidence side?

Martina Trucco: Absolutely. I think that's something that we're all pretty comfortable with whether certainly those of us that are in the business world but really, in general, I would say in any institution, that's the kind of thing you interview for a job on. It's the kind of thing you get promoted on. It's the kind of thing when you talk about why your product can satisfy someone's need, or in the media when you're trying to provide information. All of those things are absolutely in that core sense of competence. What are you supposed to do? And are you good at it, right? So you're right, that that one's pretty obvious.

Kerry Guard: In terms of ethics, especially when it comes to marketing and brands? What do you see as good examples out there in the world right now of brands being ethical versus not being ethical?

Martina Trucco: I think ethical is definitely a much broader term. And you're right, that this one is harder, because I will say, in particular, we've seen a lot of what we might call woke washing which is people have realized that this is an issue that customers and partners of their businesses or their institutions, if they're seeing this as an issue, they are kind of starved for companies to take a more ethical position. But for the companies, they're really struggling with what that means on an ongoing basis. And I think, ultimately, what it has to do is it has to come back to a foundation of values in terms of what the company or the institution values are. And then that is built up over time and every single interaction that you have with your audience and not just because you're doing it in response to a particular movement or trend. I think when you see, it's easier to talk about some of the examples of where maybe it's not going so well. If you go back and you look at 2020, and you look at the grounds. Well that really happened in the United States, but didn't really happen around the world as an extension of all the movements around social injustice. And there were so many of these companies that just kind of jumped on the bandwagon of either doing a CEOs blog, saying we recognize we have more work to do, and then donating to an organization and that was kind of it. And then some of the other ones, maybe took it a little further and they said, oh, we're going to pause advertising on Facebook or things like this. You go, okay, but are you only doing it because everyone else's doing it? Or are you demonstrating that this is something that you are doing on an ongoing basis as part of a bigger strategy that’s part of a bigger framework. You're also demonstrating how you're really driving progress over time. You can't expect to gain that trust just because of one action. You have to demonstrate how those values come to life over time. And again, I think that that's one of those things that we really forget, is that as much as we like to have proof points and specific things to point out as marketers, there is ultimately a very emotional component of that idea of trust that's built up there.

Kerry Guard: Yes, I would totally agree. I actually listened to a really great podcast on Daring To Lead with Brene Brown. Have you heard of it?

Martina Trucco: I have but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the podcast.

Kerry Guard: She does an amazing podcast, and she did one with this woman called Aniko. Her last name has slipped my mind. I'll send you a link after this. And I'll include it in the show notes for anybody who's listening. But when she talks about Aniko, she does a ton of work in diversity, equity, inclusion and coaching. So it's sort of her cornerstone of what she does. And so when she talks about what you're talking about, I think what’s so prevalent and important is the accountability piece. So as a brand, if you're showing up to say that this matters, how are you showing up and holding yourselves, the company, and the people within your company accountable to make change? And what are you doing about it? And how are you following through?

Martina Trucco: And I think that that is such an important point, really eloquently put the way you summarized that is because if you say you're going to drive a change, then you have to constantly make visible what you're doing about it and how you're doing. Because I think that's the other thing that we often fall into. And that'll probably lead us a little bit more into the place where we start talking about solutions, which as brands and companies tend to only focus on the positive. And so there's been a history of, for example, diversity and sustainability, annual reports, focusing on the good stuff. But what about the not so good stuff? Are you being transparent in what your goals are and whether or not you've gotten there because that transparency is one of the things that we've really fallen into. I really strongly believe that’s a really important way to build trust. So that even when you're not doing a great job, you're transparent about that. And you get credit for that when as a brand, you come forward with transparency and put the bad with the good. But you're forthcoming and honest about it.

Kerry Guard: I totally agree that transparency is a word in our mission statement. Because I believe as well, that that is just such a big trust filter. Not just as a brand to the outside world but as a brand internally as well and what you're talking about to your team. I love that word because it is so powerful. And in my opinion, it's the heart of trust, but I also think there's a balance in terms of transparency. What that means. Doesn't mean you need to open up the entire curtain and show everybody all of the nitty gritty details behind it. It's just saying, in this matter what we're talking about, here's the things we're going to go after in terms of making this change around diversity, equity, inclusion, and then giving updates on how that's going and how you're working towards that. And if there's a moment where you drop the ball and it didn't happen, then you call that out and talk about how you're gonna move through. So it's a balancing act, so to speak.

Martina Trucco: It is a balancing act. When we talk about this idea of being radically transparent, I think that's something that both brands can think about broadly as the way they show up. But also, this is a really important lesson for leaders specifically. And I think when I say leaders, everybody's a leader if they want to be. It can be everyone from someone who is kind of early in their career, but they're trying to advocate for the work that they're doing inside their company or a scientist presenting their work at a technical conference, as much as it is a head of a department or the CEO of a company. Everyone can be a leader and think about this. And it is obviously something that you have to temper with the fact that you have regulatory requirements. Things that you shouldn't talk about. You didn't give away people's personal information, for example. So let's just be clear. We have to balance these things. And yet, that is also part of it. Transparency is saying, these are the things that I know. These are the things that I don't know. This is everything that I can talk to you about and this is why. If things change, I'm going to tell you. And building up a reputation for that really changes the way people are open to receiving the information that you've given. And that going back to what you were asking about, which is what is actually being seen as ethical or trustworthy. There's a few dimensions in there. One of them is, is this brand or is this institution seen as being purpose driven? And do they have a vision? But the other pieces of it are, are they honest at all? Are they seen as fair? Does everybody get a fair shake? Or is it just some people? Is it just a few? Or do they have a benefit for many. And I think if you look at both of those purpose driven and vision, again, easier for business to look at being able to do well at being seen as honest and being seen as fair. There's a huge component of that transparency that comes into play in how you present information. And again, It's about transparency about what's actually happening.

Kerry Guard: One's definitely easier to measure than the other. Your mission and your vision are a bit easier to measure than the honesty and fair piece. Especially from internally versus externally. Reviews come to mind in terms of the external piece of being able to see whether a company is being honest and fair. But being able to measure that internally seems really tricky.

Martina Trucco: Yeah, it really is a little trickier. And sometimes it's one of those things that you have to take a little bit of a leap of faith and start with the transparency and then it takes a while to see how much of a difference you're making. But if we dig into that piece, where we were talking earlier about how competence is maybe about a quarter of the trust in an institution and the ethical behaviors. We dig into those ethical behaviors 76%. Integrity, purpose, and dependability, those are kind of the three aspects. Half of it, though, 49% of it all is integrity. That's the thing, that's the baseline of trust. And integrity really does mean doing the right thing consistently. And then making that visible, right. And it's not again, about just proof points. They always say doing the right thing is doing the right thing when nobody's watching. So hopefully, that's the kind of culture that you've built in your organization. And then that's the kind of thing that you can communicate about your brand.

Kerry Guard: I love what you're saying about building that trust and that transparency internally and then using your marketing efforts and channels to then communicate that broadly and effectively. And I want to get into the how of that in a minute. But before we get there, I want to come back to the intellectual and emotional piece when it comes to B2B. Because I also think when we're talking about trust and a trust deficit, those two pieces are incredibly important. We've talked a little bit about the emotional. I want to dig into that for a second. Especially with all these topics we're talking about. They are incredibly emotional. How emotion needs to get through. Like we talked about consumers, they can really play to the heartstrings pretty hard in the way that they showcase their brand. Especially in visual storytelling, when it comes to B2B, that emotional piece. What do you mean by leveraging that when it comes to that audience?

Martina Trucco: I think it's a great question. Because when we say emotional, it might make a lot of us think of the commercials that make you cry. And another place for those certainly because some stories do have that resonance that creates a very emotional moment. But I think it's a really good question because emotions are obviously a really broad spectrum. And when I think about it, I think about it in a way as am I telling a story or communicating things in a way that business stakeholder on the other side, where I am not just going to be talking about this is how my product is better, or this is how my product solves this problem. But this is why this product is going to make your life better in the context of doing your job, right? Or it's even better than that, how is this product going to help you meet and exceed your business objectives? Which is really one of the reasons or almost one of the only reasons that we're here as business people. So if you have a strategic growth initiative, if you have something that is a major imperative for your business, whatever that is for your organization, or for your whole company, am I communicating to you how my product helps you achieve that because that is a very emotional thing even though it is tied to business. Success is a competence factor there. But it is also how do I help you achieve that? How do I help you do your job better? And that is I think one of the things that's really key to B2B marketing. Thinking about the dual sides of that and making sure that we're not losing sight of what drives people on a day to day basis.

Kerry Guard: So how do you take that? And I have my own suggestions around this but I definitely want to lead into you here if you have more of the expertise on this. So I'm not asking from a place of which I don't necessarily know the answer, but I definitely want to hear your side of it. How do you take something like a very technical product? And I hear you about playing into that emotional piece of it and talking about how it helps somebody, but how do you? How is that the case? How do your audience know that that's the way to their heart, so to speak.

Martina Trucco: They think it's a combination of a couple things. I'd love to hear your take on this as well, Kerry, because of course, one of the things that's valuable about transparency is being open to many, many viewpoints. So we'll put that into practice here together. On the line, I'll say there's a couple things for me that are really good places to start. And one of them is really trying to have empathy for what your audience, what your customer needs, and what's driving them. And I think this is something that particularly in the face of technology, it is really easy for us to have what we think is a superior product. A great solution and say, here it is. You should buy this because it's great. And yet we haven't thought about what the situation may be like from the other customers point of view. We may not realize that they are dealing with a bunch of legacy systems. And if we're not telling them how our products can interoperate with those, then we're not having empathy for their situation, right? I think that those are the kinds of situations where we have to flip it around and think about what is the situation for the audience? What do they need? What are their drivers and then adapting to not only talk about what is kind of the product attribute, but also how does it help solve the problem that that person has an LSA, the second technique to sort of really dive into that is kind of thinking about it. I'm sure you've heard this before, but after the five whys, a lot of times when I've worked with technologists for many years and we're trying to communicate the value of something, and this is something really common in engineering cultures, what does it do? What does this do well? Why is that important? And then digging into it a little bit. Why is that important? And when you ask those five why's very often you can get from a very specific sort of technical attribute to why is that important? It gives you faster performance. And why is that important? That is important because in this industry, let's say it's in computing in IoT. Faster performance means there's no latency. And why is latency important? Well if you have an IoT implementation in a manufacturing setting, you'll get the information in real time and the manufacturing line won't go down. Oh, and that means that we'll be able to get the information that we need about a piece of equipment that needs maintenance before it actually fails. Therefore, manufacturing can continue. And therefore the company won't lose money because they want to keep their manufacturing up and running. If you've asked that question multiple times, it sometimes can take you a while to get to that end point. But you can see that we got much further from the typical thing that we started with or the let's say, the product attribute to what it ultimately is the benefit and how does it benefit that business in terms of what they're trying to achieve?

Kerry Guard: So what you're saying is that you have to go talk to the people who've built the product. You do have to do that? I would also say that it doesn't hurt to either go sit on some sales calls and talk directly to customers. Or hang out with the sales team and ask them what they're hearing on there and in terms of pain points, as well, because the sales team is doing a good job in terms of asking a lot of questions. They should have some idea on their end. So I definitely think breaking out of the marketing circle, so to speak, and branching out to other departments is definitely a great way to find that moment of empathy. For sure. That's where I was. That's where I was headed. So we're on the same page.

Martina Trucco: I feel like you should say that again for the people in the back who didn't hear it because it's so important. You're absolutely right that that is one of the ways that you can develop that empathy when you just listen in a different way to what a customer's pain point is. What is driving them? What do they need? And you're absolutely right, sales is a very good position to understand that. Customer Success is another place in the organization where sales may be on the front end of hearing what the pain points are and they will help solve them. But on the customer success side, what are people saying about? Is it an act? Did it actually solve their problem all the way? Partially? Where are they running into issues so that you can feed that back into the product process into the marketing process?

Kerry Guard: Absolutely, go talk to everybody. Just go make phone calls and hang out? It's great. So from the emotional side, I think we have a really good basis thereof, this isn't necessarily what consumer products do in terms of tugging at the heartstrings and making something really passionate and meaningful. I certainly think there's opportunity for that a little bit with tech depending on what it is you're trying to sell. But mostly it's about going to find that pain point and leaning into here is the problem we know you're facing. And here's how we want to help you solve it. Right. I'm a big proponent of story brand. I get mixed reviews on this. So definitely go check it out for yourself and see if it's something worth investigating for you, Martina but it's basically taking the idea of a story arc. You have a hero, you have a guide, the hero has a problem. They meet the guide to overcome their problem. There's a conflict, which is that big moment in the movie normally and what happens whether they succeed in that big conflict or whether they fail? So it's taking this idea of a story arc and applying it to your brand and then telling that story using it.

Martina Trucco: I love it. I think it's a really interesting framework. I think I tried to use that in the past. And I think it can be challenging when you are trying to work with really engineer driven cultures because a lot of times the leadership isn't really comfortable in this space. But I think you're absolutely right that there are a lot of really strong parallels in any kind of brand story. And sometimes you need a strong partner. Sometimes you need a strong agency to help you develop that story. Help you tease out the nuggets that actually make up that story. Because even though you're talking about maybe the hero's journey, it's not really a literal hero. It's a product attribute that is the hero. And putting that into practice is sometimes where the rubber meets the road, which is where I think a lot of times a really strong set of marketing practitioners can help you put that together and put that sort of brand story together and ultimately help you figure out what is your brand promise. And how does it bring that story to life?

Kerry Guard: I totally agree. And it is definitely really tricky to implement. But I love the story brand, regardless of whether you use the full framework. It’s this notion and sort of this mind shift of that the brand isn't the hero. The customer is and in all the things we're talking about. It's just putting that customer first of what their pain points are and finding that empathy. And I just thought that was just such a mind shift for me when I heard that. And so I totally agree that working with an agency who really understands the brand can really help find those nuances and bring it to life much more effectively. The more brain power, the better in my opinion when it comes to these sorts of big obstacles. So yes. Just that shift in Oh yeah, I'm not the hero is sort of this aha moment. At least the one I had, I was like, oh yeah. People don't really care about where we came from in our story, they want to know how.

Martina Trucco: That's exactly right. It’s a very emotional thing. You're doing something like that for your customer. They're going to feel completely differently about you when you help them that way, when you deliver on that promise of making their life better, making their job easier, helping them achieve their goals. That's a really important thing. And it builds that trust, which is what we're talking about. And branding is the trust business. That's the business we're in indirectly, right? It should be but sometimes we forget about it that way. But if you put that at the heart of everything you do as a brand and you think about every single touchpoint you have with a customer. Every single touch point someone has with your brand, whether it is how your salesperson shakes hands. After reading, we were all looking forward to that one, but what it looks like when someone comes to your office. And when they're standing in the lobby of your building, how does your brand show up there? The traditional things that you might picture with branding is what is the identity? What does it look like? What does it sound like? What's the tone of your writing? Every single one of those things is an opportunity to put another little sort of grain of sand in there to build trust. And that's the thing that for marketers, is so important for us to think about every single time you get an opportunity to build trust. If you get it wrong, it erodes a little bit, and it's a lot harder to get it back once it's eroded.

Kerry Guard: I probably should have talked about this first. And maybe I'll do some creative editing and move some things around. Because I do think it's an interesting topic. I do think it plays into trust. And I'd be curious to hear your point of view on it. But the intellectual side piqued my interest. One, that's a fantastic word because especially in the tech B2B space, you are talking to people who are incredibly intelligent. And you definitely don't want to oversimplify things to the point you make them feel like we don't know our audience. But also within an organization, we tend to come up with our own language. And we tend to talk about things like everybody knows what we're talking about. So I'm curious, Martina, when you're talking about that intellectual side, how do you find the balance between simplifying the language so people know what you're talking about but not so simple that they're like, duh?

Martina Trucco: That's a really good question. And I would say, one of the things that you struggle with the most, especially in the B2B world, to the point where your audience is very intelligent, and has a lot of subject matter expertise. But in particular, in the technology world, where you have varying levels, I would say, depth of technical understanding depending on who your audience is. And you're right, I think you have to sort of think about things a little bit in kind of a messaging hierarchy. But you have to have clarity and consistency, across all of it. And so, if you think about a messaging hierarchy, at the very top of it may be those more sort of, kind of purpose driven statements about how you can help support business objectives, or kind of those end goals, that that your product helps support. But then below that, you do want to have some really clear supporting pillars of messaging that bring those proof points in and those can be a little bit more technical, they can be a little more detailed than they should be. Because, again, that brings a lot of credibility to the top line statement about how you can support someone's business right or help them do their job better. Because going back to that whole notion of press competence is still a part of it. We can't forget that that's there. And I'm sure, everybody that's listening has been to the has seen or experienced where something is being marketed. But it actually doesn't really have a lot of substance behind it and even kind of smells the BS a mile away. That's the kind of thing I think that , the marker you do have to be mindful of, to your point not to dumb it down too much where it sounds like there's nothing there. I think one of those really important things is to do some message testing also, and go out there. And whether that's with industry analysts in your field, whether it's going out and testing that out with customers, asking the sales team what it means to them, would they use those materials to present it to their customers to really test to see if people understand what it is that you're trying to tell them. And if they don't, then you've probably slimmed it down a little too much. And you need to go back and think about how to really bring out those key attributes. But putting it within a framework, I think really also helps because then you show and you've built a connected thread between that bigger picture and the credibility of how you actually help accomplish that.

Kerry Guard: Well, I think our audience has some marching orders. Marching orders in terms of building that trust back up with our audience and aligning that competency with the ethical by using the intellectual with the emotional. I think there’s some very clear opportunity here.

Martina Trucco: If I may, Kerry. I’m gonna leave us with a couple of lessons for leaders. How about that?

Kerry Guard: Yeah, that’s great.

Martina Trucco: You’re right, we all have marching orders here if we’re trying to pick up things right for a brand or we’re trying to do things right as leaders. So just a couple of things for everyone to remember whether you are talking to employees, to your team, whether you’re talking to your customers, your stakeholders, investors, whoever it is. The first one of course, everything we’ve talked about is, be authentic, and be truthful and consistent. Those are kind of the table stakes of doing this right. And then when it comes to going beyond that, don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t have the answers or when things have changed. I think that’s one of the things that’s most important to think about here is that if you’ve already said something, but then things changed, don’t try to spin it so that it looks like nothing actually has changed because that is going to erode a lot of your credibility and you’re going to not come across as truthful. But also think about designing the boundaries of what radical transparency means to you, your team, or to your organization. You may find that there are things that you can’t share because of regulatory restrictions or things that you can’t share because. But how far can you really go? Once you know what those standards are, how far can you go within those to really be sure that you are sharing as much as you can. And a really good example, this is where some companies have really started to share, going back to the whole diversity, equality, inclusion topic, a lot of companies have started to share what their specifics really are about their employee population, or pay equity and things like that. And sometimes it’s ugly. And they’re still sharing it. And that really does tell you how the boundary is. We’re sharing as much as we can even if it does not make us look good. And that shows a lot of credibility you can build up by thinking about that. And then you also need to consistently model the behavior both in terms of how you as a leader, or how you talk about things inside your organization, but also if you think about that from a brand perspective, bringing that purpose, driven messaging across every touchpoint of the brand is that consistency that helps create and build the trust overtime.

So those will be my takeaways for everyone there, and happy to dive in more if anybody wants more information.

Kerry Guard: Absolutely. And will break this down in the show notes and all your information, Martina, so people can follow-up with you. We definitely touched on each of these in some fashion, but I really appreciate the summary. So helpful, and I’m sure that we can dig in even further.

Before we go, I do have three quick questions for you. Are you ready?

Martina Trucco: I’m ready.

Kerry Guard: The first one is that, are there any hobbies you’ve picked up in the last year? Any new hobbies?

Martina Trucco: Yes, I have started making dumplings. And you know what, it’s easier than I ever thought it would be. So that has been a delightful hobby that I’ve picked up during the times that we’ve all been home a lot more than we need to be.

Kerry Guard: So yummy. Lovely.

If you could be in the office right now, walking the floor and seeing your team, what song would you want to be playing over the speakers?

Martina Trucco: Oh boy, this is such a hard one. Something really upbeat, because if I am back in the office and seeing people, I would really be super excited about it. It’s great that we have so many video technologies to see each other and stay connected but it’s just not the same as seeing people in person.

Maybe something like Uptown Funk, something that would get me grooving down the hallway and dancing a little bit. You can’t see me ‘coz we’re just in a podcast, but that made me start to vibe a little bit here, right here in my office chair.

Kerry Guard: I’m vibing with you. We’re gonna get that added to our Spotify so people can get vibing with us. It’s gonna be awesome.

Martina Trucco: Oh, I love that. I love the idea of a playlist from all of us, getting excited about being in the office.

Kerry Guard: Yes. We’ve been remote since day one, but I’m excited to get back and see everybody in our Annual Summit and we used to just travel and go see everybody and pull all the pods together. So I’m excited for that to happen when we can. It’s gonna be great.

Last question for you is if you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Martina Trucco: Probably just to see my family, but it’s not in one place because they’re spread out to a few different places - California, I’ve got family in New York, in Switzerland, in Chile, in Argentina, and Puerto Rico. And so if it were up to me, I’d be back in a plane as soon as I could to see family because that’s who I miss the most.

Kerry Guard: World tour. I can see it.

Martina Trucco: I’m gonna need that playlist to entertain me on all those long flights.

Kerry Guard: Absolutely. I’ll be sending it your way. And it’ll be in the show notes for all of you listeners so be sure to check it out.

Martina, thank you so much for joining me, it was such an honor.

Martina Trucco: This was delightful. I had such a great time, Kerry. Thank you so very much for inviting me to come and talk about this. Hopefully everybody can tell I’m really passionate about it but I hope everyone else gets a little bit passionate about it too. Because there’s so much opportunity if you think about it as a brand. Brands have an opportunity to step up and become a trusted and expert voice where people need it right now. So hopefully everybody that walks away from this thinking about how they can contribute a little bit to that and makes it a little bit better. Maybe the world is our place too, at the same time.

Kerry Guard: We all work together.

Martina Trucco: That’s right.


That was my conversation with Martina. Integrity, honesty, trust. Big, hard, real words that we all need to lean into as leaders and brands. I can’t say this enough but it’s worthy to see it going. And either get ahead of it and build it into our values and culture and DNA of who we are as organizations or we can get left behind. Clearly what it comes down to. And as Mark Schaefer reminds us, consumers and buyers, they always win. It might take some time but what buyers want or don’t want in the case of advertising, always wins. And right now, they want transparency. And with transparency, we build trust as buyers buy from brands and people they trust. They buy from people, that’s the key element here.

Thank you, Martina, for your beautiful wisdom. Continue to follow Martina’s journey and her passion for transparency on LinkedIn. The link is in the show notes and tell her Tea Time sent you.

Season 8 is available. Be sure to check out all 8 episodes. We wrap-up Season 8 with two amazing women who founded a marketing group called MKTG WMN. And Mark Schaefer talks about, in his book, the importance of building a community and that’s what these women are doing. So keep listening.

Thank you for listening to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders, the podcast that helps you and your brands get found via transparent, measurable, digital marketing. I'm your host Kerry Guard, and until next time.

This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.

Hosted by Kerry Guard, CEO co-founder MKG Marketing. Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis.

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