Holy smokes! What a season! Eighty episodes under our belts here at MKG Marketing, and what a ride. This season has really been some of the best collection of guests I've had. I'm so thankful for Amber Anderson for coming back and talking to us about the power of marketing as a recruiting tool. Lisa McDermott, my hometown girl, talked about the importance of content and making money from one. And from Rachel Jordan and her passion for purpose and brand and all our other guests. I don't have all day to list here. I'm so thankful for each and every person. All of these episodes linked together around the real challenges we're facing as marketers right now, and each person showed up the solid solution that I hope kicks off your 2022 to hear.
My last episode this season ends with a real solution, one that we're going to lean into this year as we continue to face staff shortages and hiring challenges in Rev Ops. Christina Kay, Vice President of Marketing at ResellerRatings, joins me to talk about how, given her lean team, she’s had to lean on Rev Ops and how it has impacted ResellerRatings business and helped find major and important efficiencies across the whole organization. Let's take a listen.
Kerry Guard: Hello, Christina.
Christina Kay: Hi Kerry, how are you?
Kerry Guard: I'm good. I'm so excited to have you.
Christina Kay: I'm very excited to be here.
Kerry Guard: Yeah. Full disclosure, I said this in the intro, but Christina and I worked together many months ago. It feels like it wasn't that long ago. Was it last year?
Christina Kay: Yeah. It was almost a year and a half ago, I think now.
Kerry Guard: My gosh, time flies. Christina was on the agency side with us, and she jumped over to the client-side, and it's been a ride.
Christina Kay: It has been for sure.
Kerry Guard: Well, Christina, why don't you kick off with your story? Where are you? What do you do? And how did you get there?
Christina Kay: Awesome, yes! So I am VP of Marketing at ResellerRatings, and when I first started here, I was their sole marketing person, and my title was Head of Marketing. And then I’ve been the person I am, dove in. They won and saw what we needed to do, not on the marketing side, but on the side of just our processes and like the technology we're using, data cleanup, and all that fun stuff you have to do. When you start a new job, you don't know what you're walking into sometimes, and from there, I connected with our executive team. So Nishan and Bradley, just saying ‘’Hey, this is what I'm seeing in the business’’ ‘’I know my title says this, but I think we're really focused on changing the data and cleaning up things and just getting everything streamlined because we can't really have great marketing, campaign, or basis without all of those things in place first’’ So I worked with him a lot and then I moved up to VP. So now I am really that person to work with Omnish on our go-to-market and then as well as that person, that's just our marketing stack guru because I love marketing technology. I've loved it for a while now, and I think it's because I grew up, but I say that in quotes. But you guys can't see me in this with my career because that's kind of when it was hot and new. And when I was in college, I kind of grew up with it, and I love it all. So, I just found those different areas that are good for our business, and so now I run our robots and then as far as our marketing.
Kerry Guard: Cool! Well, you definitely grew up with technology because we actually totally stole you from BrightEdge many months ago.
Christina Kay: Yep, correct. Exactly!
Kerry Guard: So, yes to that, I can attest to that. Before we get into the bulk of our conversation, I'm really excited about it because it's what you're doing today, and I think it's a lot of challenges. It's going to help a lot of marketers out there who have similar needs and things. But before we get there, Christina, what is one challenge your current currently facing,
Christina Kay: Oh, goodness. I would say that this is a blessing but also a challenge. So being that go to like, person for marketing technology but then also having other things to do during the day. So my challenge is finding those champions internally to help me so I don't always have to be that go-to like ‘’Hey, this is not working, how do I do this?’’ Find those champions internally, and give the reins to them. And for me, that's trusting them, but also just not worrying, and that's like staying up at night making sure things are still connected. But beyond that, just like go to about how you reset your password on a certain platform, things like that. Because yes, like, I'm fine people asking me it, but I just find these champions internally, you're going to help me save time and be more productive, which is an operation in itself. So I think that's the biggest challenge for me right now.
Kerry Guard: Tech support?
Christina Kay: Yes, basically. I mean, I love my team. It's so funny, but if they asked me more than once, I'm like,’’ I haven't Googled it’ ’It's like because I'm pretty sure it's there as well in our team as a young team. So I know you guys know how to use Google. I call it the Google machine. I know how you use it, so let's Google it first, let's take a step first, and then once I like someone that doesn't all the time, he's like my go-to for our AI software. I don't have all the time to respond right away because it might be a thing that is urgent to them, but not urgent to me, so finding that champion internally is definitely a thing to do. I'm working on that, which is a challenge for me to let go. It’s definitely a challenge.
Kerry Guard: I'm finding this shift sort of in the universe of people being problem solvers. Right? Like, it's just a different mindset, and I think it comes in line of fear of failing, scope, and making a mistake.
Christina Kay: Yes, exactly, and I will say, though, with our team, being like a younger team, I will give them a lot of props that they do ask the questions how it works, or how to do something because some people are nervous to do that, they want to look like they know. So I give them that prop 100% because I'd rather them ask, and then me habit to read, or some automation. So it's a double-edged sword with that one, but it's problem-solving, as I think it's a skill someone has to work on. Some people have it naturally, and some don't because of so many blocks, and it’s an internal block. They don't want to be perceived a different way, and they don't want to do a certain thing like what you were saying. So I feel a lesson that we all can get better at problem-solving because we will tend to solve the same way we do every time, but that might not be the right time or the right way for certain things. So I feel using your brain in different ways is helpful, and I describe it as I like to think of my brain. This is gonna sound so crazy, but kind of that we all have a brain. It's like a waffle, and each compartment is different, and sometimes jumping to that part might be new to you. If you think about it with maple syrup, it hasn't like ooze to your side yet, but eventually, it's going to mix and come together. So you just kind of have to trust yourself to like jump to the next square when you're problem-solving.
Kerry Guard: Let's switch gears and talk about you know because I think in line with what we're talking about, of you having a really young team and the challenges of that and in of itself. The other challenge was having just in the marketplace today in terms of hiring. Christina, I, and a few other friends will host a live roundtable on LinkedIn in Q1, and we're going to talk about going from the agency side to the client. A big part of that conversation has to do with the market, where it is today, and the Great Resignation. I mean, it's a hot topic, and for a good reason. People really want to carve their own path in terms of their career and journey, so hiring has become. I don't want to say impossible.
Christina Kay: Yes. So you got to jump to that next square and your waffle to feel like, okay, let's find a new way for this. I mean, it's hard for sure, just because you're competing with so many other companies that could be giving so many things to sign on. But also, then you have that fear of that person going somewhere else because there's something shiny or new that they're offering because talent is so scarce right now. And it's not like people aren't talented. That's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying just like to find those perfect people for your business. It's hard, and I know MKG people first is so huge, and you guys do in your interview process. It's really big on who the person is not just like, they're an expert in a field, which is very important, which is what you guys have, but it's also just the culture people fit. If you're a good person, sometimes that's hard to read on the Zoom or like the intentions behind it.
Kerry Guard: Yeah, so I think the Great Resignation is twofold from what I'm hearing from what I'm seeing and reading out there in the universe, across LinkedIn across a part of a bunch of groups. And really, I think it's coming down to two things. People are demanding a culture that fits into their life now rather than work fitting into it. They're prioritizing life, which is huge and especially with the pandemic, still not over. It's not nice, and it's hard. I got to make that waffle job hit that I can start over. So I think that's part of it if people are in an environment where they're being pushed back to the office, they're going to throw their hands up in the air and say ‘’I can find better’’. So there's that. And then I think the second part of it attests to you having a younger team is the talent we haven't invested as a collective universe in marketing and advertising. We had we've been trying to move so fast and furious. We haven't invested in people coming out of college.
Christina Kay: And the thing too, is as I am seeing, because we like had someone that was not freshly out of college, but like, cut those not far from graduating. And he knew stuff sometimes that I didn't because those courses are different. They're learning stuff or hands-on things that maybe we learned in our senior year or last year because of our internships. But just like any textbook, with college, sometimes you have those books that have been around since like the 50s or something, but when it comes to marketing, I feel like those could change quarterly and not even reading a textbook and maybe doing some type of collaboration with a publisher that's in the marketing space, like demand gen report or something like that and using those because those are true, like real-time marketing things. I feel like the class of marketers coming through the next couple of years is going to be a different breed, which is good for all of us. And it's going to be a breath of fresh air because they woke up. They're basically babies with social media. They work their algorithms, especially like Tiktok; they know everything because they live and breathe on it, so I feel it will give a different light. Building that talent, keeping that talent, keeping them engaged, wanting to learn and grow because that's why people stay and because money's one thing. Perks are not amazing benefits, stuff like that, but feeling challenged and having a growth path is one huge part. I feel like people leave or with the site Great Resignation. I definitely agree with that kind of investing in that new class coming through because they grew up with technology. They grew up with social media, and they probably have more followers than a company does, and you don't judge them as a person. So they probably know what to do, like obviously, like influencer, content creation of personal stuff a little different from business, but it's all the same in the back of it and it just like knowing that audience and I feel the class coming up really does know that or how to find it.
Kerry Guard: Yeah, and I think they're gonna be your point. I love what you're saying about needing a career trajectory because I think they're gonna be hungry learners.
Christina Kay: Yep, exactly
Kerry Guard: Yeah, they are. As companies, we need to think about the infrastructure of our organizations to bring a blend, because when we're trying to move so fast, and grow so quickly, sometimes we feel like we don't have the time to invest in that, and I think we're gonna have to figure that out to your point. I think they're going to be savvier than we've ever given them credit for. So we got to lean into that; we've got to figure it out now because hiring is hard.
Christina Kay: Exactly. But the good thing is, with things like Rev Ops, it's new, but not new. It's definitely a hot topic. But that's something that people could grow into. It's not something you just start because you have that background. CS sales and marketing to have the operational mindset for it and that strategy mindset. But again, that's like a way that someone could grow into it, even if it's a new salesperson like an SDR and they go into CS, and then maybe they dabble in some marketing, or they work for a marketing technology company. I feel like the career projection is changing as well because of things like DevOps and AI. There are many things we don't even know that is coming, which will be good for all of us.
Kerry Guard: Yeah, to your point, Christina, we're talking about recruiters, and hiring is a challenge, and there are definitely steps that we can take to help with that. In terms of finding the right people, or training them, one solution you're looking at, and you just brought it up, is Rev Ops. And I feel like this is becoming more and more important. I think it's been important for the last five years, but I feel like it will be the foundation of any organization because you're going to need to figure out how much you can automate so that people you're bringing in can be more strategic rather than doing executional work that our tools can do. So let's talk in terms of Rev Ops where you're sitting right now; you're facing all of these challenges. Where do you begin? Rev Ops is huge, and there are so many tools out there, and there are so many challenges. Where do you even start?
Christina Kay: Yeah. Where I started, and where I would tell everybody to start is just look at your current tech stack. I have a template that I will share with Kerry, and she can send it out. It breaks down each kind of area of technology that your business would use and even comes like the finance side and everything on the spreadsheet. And I used logos because I'm a picture person, and I like visual stuff, so I use logos in my boxes, but you can use just words. That's fine, too. And I saw, like the crossovers, where we could eliminate attack because one technology that we currently use has that or upgrade or switch completely based on our current goals for growth and scaling. So I would look at your tech stack and see what you have first because that's asking questions to people you might not talk to all the time. Because I uncovered so many different things that we were using and paying for, I shouldn't be wasting money, but essentially, kind of. And then what I did from there is I created this ideal dictionary per se of the tech that we use every day as you log into every day, and I have this template as well. I wrote down basically an overview of what the tech is, so this would be almost what you can use for onboarding for people or just for the exec team to have that viewpoint or that high-level view. Then I broke down use cases for each person logging in. And from there, I saw what could be automated, what could be changed completely, how we can get out of Excel spreadsheets and Google Sheets because I always say if it's especially not like on the cloud ‘’what if someone's sick and they like their car snowed in a place where it snows?’’ That's where my brain went, and they can't come to work, but someone has to take their meeting. But really important notes are stuff around Excel. I mean, those processes to automate in the sense of having on a cloud or making building like your CRM or CS tool, or whatever it is that you're really focused on to do that, essentially excel sheet. So you don't have ever to worry, and everything can be in one place so everybody could talk the same and walk the same in the sense if someone had to jump in for that meeting. So start by looking at your current stack with a high-level view, and try not to go in so deep in the sense that you want to change everything right away. I would say it's definitely a process, which is part of my quote-unquote definition that I say Rev Ops says it's a process and they could change within a quarter. Obviously, you don't want it to change all the time because you probably should have taken a deeper look at things in the beginning. I feel starting off with just writing it out and even if it's like a whiteboard, a piece of paper, putting pen to paper, putting logos on the screen just to see everything, and then diving in deep into each of those. If you don't obviously read about it, or even talk to the person who owns it, like technology or that contract, to see what's going on and you can have that full view of it and have that conversation with your exec team and come with knowledge and come with that backing because essentially, you're gonna save them money in so many things with if it's with the technology or if it's an automation side. You don't have to like hire three heads to do a certain thing that could be very automated. So just start slow, look at your current tech stack and then from there, dive a little deeper into those and write and use cases for each. You could even write your wish list of things that would happen in automation.
Christina Kay: So I am actually talking about it in a way like, for instance, in my doc, it'll say like SDR, CS, account manager, marketing, and then exec team. I write down each a reason why they would be in there or reasons they could possibly use that software eventually, how it could connect with other technologies for them to make automation, or just honestly, their life easier. Those are the use cases per se that I used or am relating to because in my mind, that's how you can see the full view. You could look at it just with the logos and have little idea but talking with those people interviewing the people in the business that you don't know what and how they use the software, so it could be their main thing and you don't know. So talk to those people, and that's what I did, where I really showed me the depth or not, or lack thereof, I should say, of the technology or the things that are missing with it, or the things that we just don't even have integrated or connected and or maybe didn't have time to do a certain thing—just seeing that full view because it helped me plan out the process for our robots modeling. And I mean, it also helps the tech you work with because, in this doc, I like how's it working for your company and like wins losses and may be room for improvement because we all personally have room for improvement and technology does as well. So having that relationship with that tech partner could also help your role modeling.
Kerry Guard: I feel like this would also help identify whether you even need the tool.
Christina Kay: Yep, exactly. And that's where the saving money portion happens, and we kind of went through that this past, I think in July, I started really ripping and replacing, I guess you could say, certain technologies or even enhancing or upgrading ones that we currently have—and establishing that relationship and partnership with that vendor. Because that's important too, and it's like a win-win for both of you. Because you could do case studies together, you could be a customer resource for that, and they could even help you and talk about your business more. Instead of the software on your CS calls, it could be more about strategy and planning for 2022 to having those relationships and having me being that vendor partner relationship person. I guess you could say, and our tech stack goes to ‘’I'm on those calls a lot of time,’’ Those calls are a lot sometimes because they might be like, monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, maybe quarterly. But having that pulse on the business with your tech stack is going to help you scale and grow, especially getting rid of ones that may not work for your goals right now. I’m not saying that it won't forever, but you can see it in how it is growing and helping us. Is it more work than it needs to be? And if that being said, me being that technology person I am and I go to a conference and see all this shiny swag and stuff like that, and different like vendors like ‘’Oh, I want it all’’ my brain goes that way. Just because I do love tech and marketing technology, ecosystems with that, and integrations, it's a double-edged sword in my mind because it's like ‘’Oh, I want it all’’ but then it's like ‘’No, Christina, don't!’’ that's Rev Ops and so in a nutshell.
Kerry Guard: Oh, yeah. Because I was gonna ask when you have so many tools. So my use case is, and this isn't a marketing use case. This is an operations one. We just moved back over to Gusto for our payroll, and Gusto has this handy dandy little feature, where when you add a new employee, you can sync it up to your Google ads, Google email, and Google Drive and all of that, where they create the user for you. So courses are awesome but also terrifying. So how did they get created? Was it the right thing? What happened? Do you trust the technology that it did the thing it needed? Or do you take baby steps? How do you do it? I feel like there's this balancing act between making sure things actually do what they're supposed to.
Christina Kay: Yes. I mean, it's definitely like you close your eyes and click the button. You're like, ‘’hopefully, this is it,’’ and you are worried, obviously. But I feel like it’s baby steps because we made similar things and two bigger moves. I guess you could say ‘’So we went to HubSpot, CRM, and then we switched from DocuSign to Panda doc’’ and one teaching internally how to do certain things that were obviously in itself. Things that we're still working on those things, but the panda doc connects very integrated with HubSpot, so having the team trust that when they create a deal, and they create it within HubSpot, and they click ‘’create a document’’, the right proposal will stick. They clicked the right proposal, which they normally do, and all the information from HubSpot and their token or contact or company record came in correctly. Hopefully, it happens, and so we obviously look and everything like that, but for me being the person who built it, I'm like, ‘’Oh, crap, there's hope this works,’’ and I've tested it so many different times. I have like three stake companies within our CRM, and if I change something in the document, I test it again. I did this whole automation process that a layman eliminated about nine to ten steps that people had to do, which really equal probably two to three hours in the sense of manual work. But with the automation now, it does in seconds—and talking like I had no idea that was going on until I talked to the person and I was like ’’what? No, we can do this way,’’ And that is part of Rev Ops because the person is our head accounting person. She can now really focus on forecast modeling, how those meetings with the execs, and budgeting and forecasts. So it's more time to focus on those things versus the manual steps, which I'm not trying to over-engineer and automate everything. But there are some things that can be automated, especially if you have a system like HubSpot or even if you used Zapier to do some things. It's the crazy world of automation. It’s super cool but, as you said, scary. It's like, does this work, right? Did it? Did they send the email to put their credit card in? There are just so many things that you can think of, but for me, I just kind of go with it and trust it until I have a reason not to. Then I see where it fell through the cracks.
Kerry Guard: Yeah, it's especially scary when you're talking about email. I know emails have been around forever, but when you're trying to put all these automated systems that are much more complex than just sending out a newsletter or scaling, it's a little worrying whether you're talking about 1000s of people going through automation. It's scary.
Christina Kay: Oh, yeah. Especially if it's signing up a new customer, email them to create their profile and make sure that profile has the correct amount with their contract. That's why I tested it so many times, and I even have someone else on our account execs who does this day, and he's amazing. He's one of the best salesmen I've ever seen in this tech space. He's crazy, but I'm making sure it works for him because I know how it works, what I should do, and what to do if it doesn't work. So I want to see what he does so I can help him with that and make it error-free, and I don't have to worry about it not working or if it doesn't work, what happens.
Kerry Guard: So when you have all of this tack, and all of these plays, or all these automation steps, you haven't written down somewhere. How do you keep track of it all?
Christina Kay: So I have it in the video. I have looms. I create looms of me going through all the processes and just talking, like just face on camera talking no screen about it. And I have a folder with all of that in it, and I also want to talk before about those common questions people asked me about our tech stack or how to do certain things. If I get a question more than once or twice, I create a loop for it, and I am like, ‘’Okay, so there's a gap that I need to remember to do a certain thing’’. When we add on new technology, I need to be more clear on a certain thing. So for me, it's like a learning experience on that side of it. But loom has been a saving grace per se because you can see who views it. If someone is messing up every time you showed them, and they haven't viewed the loom, you know, that's an issue, you're like, Okay, so this is a problem. This is a problem that we need to work on together, so Loom has been a saving grace in writing it down. We also use Coda Doc to write down all of the automation, especially when it comes to talking about marketing specifically, workflows and things like that, just so I can send it out to the team saying ‘’This is what's going on’’ so they know, especially for new prospects. They know what we're sending out, so if someone does call or book a demo from that email, they know what to talk about, and it's not just like a blanketed, oh, this is our software or type of conversation. They really can be focused on what that person's interested in, and that is automation that helps with tasks within HubSpot, and then also can be automated sent to slack, and there's just so many things that help everybody kind of talk and work the same. That's just an example of the marketing side.
Kerry Guard: Loom videos are the best.
Christina Kay: They are, and I love the wrap-up email they sent out. It's like the Spotify top five, but it said how many loom videos you created this year, how many views you got, like your top interactor. I was like ‘’Oh my gosh! I love this,’’ And I want to create this now for our software. You know like this is the worst email ever, but then also my brain being the competitive person I am, I'm like, oh, I want to be the PERT like our Nish. Like our CEO, he does a lot of live videos, especially on our software for our team, and I'm like, I want to beat the number of videos he makes. But I saw his number, and I was like, oh, I want to beat that up, but that's just my brain being the competitive person I am. Yeah, Loom is great.
Kerry Guard: Do you have any final thoughts for anybody stepping into Rev Ops, and trying to figure this out to help with their headcount? Are there any major learning lessons you've had that you're like, I wish I knew that going into this?
Christina Kay: Honestly, I would, if you're really new to it; there are so many resources out there, in the sense of just like blogs and ebooks, but not even that just the associations now that I have come about. Because robots are a hot topic or a thing that people are doing for a career, one of them is like women in revenue, and if you're a woman, even if you're a man, I'm sure you could learn something from it. But it's an association, and I learned something all the time with them. Their Executive Director, Deanna, is one of the sweetest, smartest, awesome people out there. She does amazing things for that business, and just people in general, and I definitely would get your feet wet in some type of organization. There are a lot of agencies out there now that are Rev Ops agencies, and learning from them, reach out on LinkedIn because this is a new space. If you are newer to just in general, or even you're thinking about going into it, send someone a direct message or a private message on LinkedIn, and have that conversation with them and talk to them. Because in the RAPs world, what I've learned is people just want to help people. People want to eliminate that ‘’oh, I should have done this’’ because we in the robots world are all process-oriented. People who have backgrounds in sales, CS, and marketing, or one of those, and you've kind of dabbled in different things, but we want to help each other because essentially, it's going to help businesses all like collectively. So just reach out and don't be afraid to ask questions. And the first step, I would say, definitely just talk to each of your team members and in every department. I'm talking even finance, procurement, like everything. Look at everything because it will help you not have to go ‘’oh, crap, I didn't think about that’’ and have to go back and rework your stack. Then we rework those processes, and then rework your thinking of automation definitely would be a thing. To start with is just talking to people. I guess that's really my advice on talking to strangers on LinkedIn and maybe talking to people in your business internally because that's how you're going to find those use cases. That's how you're going to find your value props for each of your different technologies. And the integrations that integrate or don't integrate with like instead of you having to do that research on yourself, which you can do. Someone at your organization probably knows something because it's there for a reason. But then you're gonna find something that you didn't even know you're paying for. And no one knows it at all. And that's going to have that conversation with that technology, obviously, but just start talking, talking to people talking to people on LinkedIn, and disengaging because robots are different for everybody because everybody's like, process people. And their platforms are going to be different. So but it's all relatable. So I would say talk and just be really like a sponge and be and absorb all that information, because you never know what you're gonna learn from it. And you never know how it's going to help your business.
Kerry Guard: So, just to wrap up this conversation, because there are just some key elements I heard, and I want to get your take on it. So I heard you say first, figure out your source of truth to identify where your data lives and all the systems you have, and know what those systems are. Second, identify your customer experience journey, and that goes across. That goes outside of marketing, and customer experience touches all business units, essentially. So make sure you really understand from the time a customer has learned about you from that very first impression all the way through to purchase to even beyond within the product of what is that full-blown customer journey. Because then you're going to understand what technology fits in within that customer journey already. And you're going to be able to see where you can automate, and as your journey, you figure out through talking to everybody in your organization,
Christina Kay: And I will say when you don't have Rev Ops, or it's not like a priority, it really is going to show and like your data surrounding prospects and customers because especially if you have a bigger stack or even just a couple of little things. Pulling that data in that you don't think might be key data is definitely something to learn from, and that's what I learned from the beginning. Don't say like ‘’no ‘’right away, just kind of hear the reasoning out because you're going to have low in the B2B space in the tech space. You'll have low platform adoption if you don't have your Rev Ops in place. So if you don't have that full view, you have your own customer journey from pushing the button to book a demo to close your platform. Adoption is going low, which will also mean your renewal rates. And your last experience with the company like everything is gonna go kind of tumbling. So definitely, having that full view and talking to people will help your robot strategy go in ways that you don't imagine.
Kerry Guard: And I feel like people have come to expect it as buyers.
Christina Kay: Yep, agreed 1,000%. I mean, we're the people. People are marketing to the sense of marketing technology, and sometimes you can see that, and they don't. So it's definitely becoming a 1,000% party like your GTM in your strategy because it runs your business, essentially. Your tech stack is part of the nucleus, and I guess you could say that Rev Ops is a nucleus, but I feel your tech stack is within that orbiting. I guess you can say the Rev Ops space is something to start with your tech stack.
Kerry Guard: Thank you so much, Christina. I think this was really helpful in helping people figure out how to get started with our Rev Ops. If they haven't been thinking about it in terms of a solution to this hiring challenge, they may be their wheels are spinning now, which I think is a good thing to really find some efficiencies. We're going to need it. Before I close, I do have people first organization over here; we like to get to know people beyond just being marketers. There's more to that than just being a marketer, Christina, I know from experience. So let's share that with our audience. Are you ready for my questions?
Christina Kay: I am hopefully.
Kerry Guard: Alright, first question. Have you picked up any new hobbies these last almost two years?
Christina Kay: I thought about it as a hobby, and you're probably going to laugh at this but also be not surprised. This summer, I kind of missed bartending, so I went back this summer. I just realized how good I am at making fun drinks, so my fun hobby at home is making different types of drinks like I get this cedarwood. I smoke it with a torch, and I put it over the glass, and it gets a very fancy and speakeasy vibe in my apartment, but I think I don't sound so crazy. But a new hobby is just like making craft cocktails, and then when I was bartending this summer is just testing the number of people.
Kerry Guard: You’re right, not surprised, but also the super cool answer I've had. So yes to all of those things. It's an art, and I love that. So I have curiosity, what drink landed the best. What's your new concoction?
Christina Kay: Yeah, so it's probably a Jalapeño Blackberry Margarita. And it's all like fresh blackberries like jalapeno. It's not sour mix or anything. It's all pretty healthy, and you can say this as healthy as Tequila Kinley. So yeah, probably that one.
Kerry Guard: Healthy, yeah. I would never put those two things together but if you'd like a little zing, I could see that working. Alright, second question for you. I mean, it's an advent flow; we're in winter right now, so I think it's going to add pretty drastically right now. Assuming there's no pandemic and there's no advent flow to cases rising and omicron approaching, you can just travel to be anywhere you want in the world without any restriction; where would you go and why?
Christina Kay: Oh, gosh. I feel like I have a bucket list. I have a laundry list of it because COVID kind of screwed up my travel plans the past two years. But I would say I would go to Europe for like a month and just go to all the different places I haven't been and try to dive into the culture, not stay at a hotel, maybe find a cute little cottage like the holiday vibe. And just really immerse myself in a different culture because I feel yes, America has a lot of differences like the variety of people here. But I want to immerse myself in that culture that I haven't really experienced a lot. I have had the opportunity to travel the world and live in a different part of the world, but I missed that part in my nomadic self, itching to get out of the US to experience a different culture for a minute.
Kerry Guard: Well, If you land in the UK or France, let me know.
Christina Kay: Oh, I mean, Europe is going to be. I'm thinking of taking six weeks once this is all said and done per se, which will probably be like two years from now. But that means more money to save, so it's great but like lately—Greece like Italy, France. I've been to Italy. I love Italy. I've always wanted to go to Greece, France, and then go back to Spain and see Mike site study abroad there. I don't want to see my host family because I haven't seen them in 13 years. So I want to see the girls now in college.
Kerry Guard: That'd be so cool. All right, last question for you. You are in an office, and let's say all your people are there and everybody's walking the floor, and you're all together in person, and I'm not. I want to be clear. I am not vouching for people to return to the office. I am vouching that it’s good to come together every once in a while, meet each other, see each other in real life and get to know one another in person that I am vouching for. Just to be clear, if you were all together, Christina and you could have a song playing overhead. What song would you want to play?
Christina Kay: Oh my gosh. Okay, this is so funny. It probably sounds like 2000 hip hop because we all love that era of hip hop and like the gigging twins and just fun music you think of basically college with because whenever I walk into the office and play music, I know who was here first on the music. It's so funny because some people love hip hop, RNB and some are more of like that rock band type, so whenever I walk in, I know that because I love music. So heard that, but when I was moving, the team helped me move out of my house into my apartment. I had a throwback mix-on, and they all were just like jamming to it, so definitely some of my throwback to 2000s RNB Hip hop mix that would definitely go down in the ResellerRatings office.
Kerry Guard: Shoot me a song to add to our playlists.
Christina Kay: Okay. Oh, can I please send it to you? I don't even think of one right now.
Kerry Guard: Have a think and It's going to surprise listeners to head over to Spotify playlists and see what Christina has picked for you all.
Christina Kay: Yes, for sure. Be ready, for it's gonna give you a lot of energy.
Kerry Guard: Do it! Christina, so good. Thank you so much.
Christina Kay: Thank you so much, Kerry.
That was my conversation with my good friend, Christina Kay. It has been so good to reconnect with Christina. I can't wait to have her back with me on a live Roundtable with Lisa McDermott, where we're going to discuss going from agency to client site as a marketer. I think this conversation is going to be important right now. In terms of how we work together as agencies, clients and brands, because there's a shortage of staff and agencies have stuff all ready to go. I think there are many challenges when it comes to brands, hiring agencies, the overhead of that, a partnership of that, and the work it takes to get agencies online and I think I think we can do better. I think we as agencies can do better. I think as brands being onboarding agencies can do better and this conversation with Lisa and Christina and two other female folks who've jumped between agencies and client-side. Over the last few years, they're going to lend a great deal of knowledge to all of us on how we can work better together. I hope you feel empowered to dig into your data list, outline your systems and start finding ways to maximize the power of automation this year. Christina was kind enough to share with me her framework, which you can find in the show notes.
This wraps up season 10. Hopefully, these eight episodes gave you the boost you need to kick off this year. Here is to wonderful and challenging 2022. Let's lean into it and find creative solutions just like these eight guests have. As my coach likes to remind me, it's not happening to me; it’s happening for me. Let's make 2020 happen for us. Be sure to subscribe so you can be the first to know when season 11 drops in early 20 Q2, where we'll continue to lean into making 2020 happen for us. Who's with me?
Thank you for listening to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders, the podcast that helps 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, 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.
Christina Kay is the Vice President of Marketing at ResellerRatings, an online ratings site where consumers submit ratings and reviews of online retailers, and online retailers participate to respond to reviewers and to gather reviews from their customers post-purchase.