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Podcasts > Tea Time With Tech Marketing Leaders

Key Skills CMOs Need to Lean Into

Kerry Guard • Tuesday, November 9, 2021 • 49 minutes to listen

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Tracy Hansen

Tracy Hansen is currently the Managing Director at SBI.



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

Welcome back to season nine. I hope you've enjoyed my conversations with Joshua Kanter, Jeanne Hopkins until Delitha Morrow Coles. As a reminder, we drop our full season of episodes Netflix style, so you can venture jump around. Either way, no need to wait week after week and enjoy listening your way.

In this episode, I chat with Tracy Hansen, CMO of Chief Outsiders. Chief Outsiders is a very interesting company in that they are a team of fractional CMOs, which means if you're an organization who isn't quite ready for a full time CMO, you can bring in a fractional CMO who can help give you guidance into where marketing should go and start building that team and and create those growth opportunities ahead of schedule. Tracy is awesome. And I talked about with Tracy the importance of CMOs working with executive teams in bringing them along and why marketing. It's not a world where you build it, they will come. It's up to the CMO to help the executive leadership team make space for marketing in an effort to impact everyone's goals, especially the business bottom line. Let's take a listen.


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

Tracy Hansen: Hey Kerry, it's great to be here.

Kerry Guard: Before we dive in, I say this every time but I hope people believe me that I'm super excited about this conversation. I'm excited about every conversation. But that's just because I love digging into all these great topics y'all bring me and so yeah, so I'm just as excited about this one as I am, but all of them and we're going to dive in. Before we do that, Tracy, can you share with our listeners your story? What do you do? And how did you get there?

Tracy Hansen: Absolutely. Glad to. So again, I'm Tracy Hansen, I'm a Chief Marketing Officer at a firm called Chief Outsiders. Chief Outsiders is an executive as a service firm, we have more than 80 now. 80 CMOS engaged in 30 markets coast to coast, we're primarily in the United States. Unlike other strategic marketing and management consulting firms, each CMO at cheap outsiders has held a position of VP or higher at the companies that they work with. And so for me, I've had four CMO roles inside of companies as far as different as MarTech supply chain, FinTech, EdTech. And I bring all of that expertise to Chief Outsiders, where we help our customers really understand how to move the business that they're striving to achieve forward. In my roles, I have seen startups and Fortune 100 companies, I've seen fledgling companies trying to get off the ground, as well as existing brands trying to figure out how to reestablish their market dominance. I’ve been in marketing for close to 20 years and have really embraced it. I started in the digital side of the house and moved over to the strategic side throughout my journey and have had just a fantastic time helping to mature teams, grow teams, and help CEOs achieve their business goals.

Kerry Guard: So let's be kind and rewind, because I didn't hear that this was a thing until I met you, Tracy. So let's talk about fractional CMOS for a second. And the fact that you work for a company where you're all CMOs, but you have multiple accounts, single accounts. How does that sort of work in terms of partnering with brands?

Tracy Hansen: Absolutely. It's a great question. I hadn't really heard of fractional CMOS before joining Chief Outsiders either. But as I was going through my personal journey, what I realized is I was gravitating towards companies that were in the 20 to $50 million revenue range. And these companies are vibrant and exciting and really looking to do something transformational in their respective industries. And they want a CMO, they want somebody with that leadership expertise, that experience, the chops to get the job done. But in many cases, they don't need a full time CMO. So I was finding myself thinking, how can I bring my experience to these types of companies but only part time, only on a fractional basis. And that's how I bumped into Chief Outsiders. And I found this group of people who are in a similar mindset as me, where we love what we do, we love working with companies that are in that hyper growth stage or reinvention stage, where they don't need somebody with our experiences 100% of the time. They might need it 33% of the time, or 50% of the time, some of them might need us 100% of the time for three or four months. And then we need to shift over into an advisory role. Because oftentimes, one of the things that we do is we help build that marketing organization, we staff it up with the skills that they need, in order to achieve their business goals. And once we hire the right talent and the right skills, they still need somebody to mentor them and to have the marketing experience to make sure that directionally things are right. But they don't need a CMO 100% of the time.

So to your question, are we half time, full time, part time, it really is based on the engagement. And oftentimes we'll start out half time, go up to full time and then roll down into an advisory role. And with that flexibility comes really wonderful power, because now that brand has the expertise they need at the capacity, they need to have it.

Kerry Guard: Without all the overhead.

Tracy Hansen: Without all the overhead, exactly, right.

Kerry Guard: Magical.

Tracy Hansen: I'm gonna chime in here, it's magical on both sides. Because as a CMO getting to do this, I get exposed to so many brands, so many wonderful people, I get to see so many challenges out there and help solve them. And then for the brands that we work with, they get the benefit of this incredible cadre of CMOs to choose from. It's so cool. I sit next to people who work in CPG, people who work in industry, people who work in supply chain, people who work in all different facets of marketing, and we can draw from each other and then apply those to the clients we work with.

Kerry Guard: I love that. I'm actually reading a book right now called The Medici Effect, which is all about finding these things that don't really go together and then reinventing things by finding common ground. He talks a lot about restaurants. But it really resonated with me from a marketing standpoint, because I like to build teams where it's all cross function. And so what you're talking about is even cooler, because normally you have people of the same mindset sort of sitting together, right tech is totally different. I've worked in tech, and I've worked in CPG, they are totally different beasts. So to have to be able to learn from each other and say, What are you doing over there and what's working and learn from each other? I just think it’s so cool.

Tracy Hansen: It is, I'll echo that it's not only cool, but it's really empowering. And one of the things that we do is for every client, we do a peer review. And what that means is I'll draw upon the people in the firm. And sometimes there's 10,20, or more will come and review the work I'm doing for a client. So think about this, oftentimes, as a CMO or any skill inside of marketing organization, you're the only one, right, and to be able to draw upon all of these experts and have them validate your work or point out gaps and holes and maybe give you ideas of things that you hadn't thought of to enrich the work that you're going to give to your, the company you're working with to your client. It is educational, it's rewarding, it's humbling. And it definitely opens your mind to new ways of doing things that you don't get when you're by yourself, when you're a party of one in a team with the only skill set that that team needs.

Kerry Guard: It's so true. I could sit here all day, because you do, for as much as we're building teams internally around what we call circles. So we have each service line sitting one person from each service line supporting our clients, right. But they have these, the PPC team calls it “meeting of the minds”. And so every other week, each service line gets together and says okay, what are you working on? And what struggles are you having and how can we help each other out, and some of the best ideas come from the opportunity to sort of break out of your day to day and brainstorm with peers. It's magical.

Yeah, I just feel like it is. It feels unworldly. In terms of, I think you're in such a unique spot and we've definitely hit on that a whole time and we're going to be talking a lot more about that but in terms of what's happening for you right now, Tracy, and the current world in which we live in, which is March 2021, a year after the World shutdown, what challenges are you currently facing?

Tracy Hansen: Well, that's a loaded question. Can you help me narrow it down just so I can make sure I'm responding to something that will resonate with your listeners?

Kerry Guard: I like to keep it broad. You're talking to marketers, you're talking to tech marketers, you're talking to people who have both been remote all long, and people who have gone remote overnight. People who have, probably people you partner with on a regular basis in terms of marketing managers. So you've probably seen a lot, having worked with a couple different companies and what the struggles are, but for you, personally, what's in your current role? What's one struggle you're really feeling right now.

Tracy Hansen: So one of the things, and you and I touched upon this earlier, when we were having a different conversation is around the skill sets that marketers need in order to really create a thriving organization and to support their business goals. The skill sets have changed fairly dramatically. I'm sure many of your listeners experienced this, when trade shows and networking events. Here, there, they were gone. So if you had an events team, as an example, on your staff, their skill set in in-person events may no longer be needed. However, you've got this incredibly talented group of people. And the thinking is how do you shift those to those team members into new skill sets, new roles that are necessary for the way we conduct business now. And I would say, even going into 2021, 2022, we're not going to see a dramatic shift into all of these events coming back online, all of these activities that we used to do in person aren't going to magically reappear. What I expect will happen is a continuation and investment in more digital relationship building. How can we create networking events through digital means, or video means that are impactful and create that same kind of vibrant relationship that we're looking for in our B2B space? And then how do we take the team members that we have on our staff on that journey with us? I'm just a huge fan of assessing the team, figuring out the skills they have, the skills they want to build, and working closely with them to help achieve that goal. I also think in the digital space, we're going to be pushing the envelope on what needs to happen. So you might have people on the team who are very good at one aspect of a digital marketing strategy. But the creativity and new ways of approaching digital have to change, right? We're all doing the same thing now. We need to figure out ways to break out and break through. So how can you take your digital team and give them the skills and tools necessary to differentiate your brand through that channel?

It's going to be important to understand that we can't keep doing the same things over and over again, with the same skill sets. Other things around talent are how do you create an integrated marketing team now that so many of the channels that we used to use are no longer available to us? How do you create an integrated plan and process to get that plan in motion in a way that is sensible for the team members that you do have?

And then the last thing I'll say around this before I turn back to you, to see if any of that resonates, is when we're thinking about bringing marketing teams together and either rescaling upskilling or adding a new talent. The reality is you have to think about what it is you're trying to achieve as a business. So getting really grounded in what are the business goals that you now have in light of the pandemic, both us coming out of it, which is great, but then heading into a new world, where things are going to change yet again, and rather quickly. What is that going to look like? And how can you create a marketing organization that can adapt to that new world as quickly as we had to adapt to the shutdown?

Kerry Guard: That was actually going to be sort of my thought and question around this is I am also a very big believer in working with existing talent to help them essentially achieve where they want to go and what they want to be. But when the world turns on a dime, how do you, very quickly, because trading takes time, it's not an overnight achievement. At least not in the world I live in. So can you talk to me more about, you know, how do you make that happen by taking your existing talent and completely helping them move to almost an entirely new field.

Tracy Hansen: Like you're talking about one of the companies I was working with, where 80, 90% of our marketing, budget, resources and activity were all aligned with in-person events. And there was, it was a very difficult time to tell this team that all of the events across the world were shut down. I mean, they knew it because they were getting cancellation notices over and over again. And it created a lot of stress in the organization, a lot of angst about themselves personally. So as a marketing leader, and somebody who truly believes in creating teams that can operate and cooperate well. We brought the team together and said, what needs to happen? What skill sets do we need? How quickly can we augment the existing team with external resources to keep the engine going, while we educate the existing team in getting those new skills internalized.

So as an example, we had previously done very little digital marketing, and we took one of our really talented marketers in the event space. She was a field marketer doing country level marketing. And we offered her the opportunity to become certified in marketing automation and marketing process. And she stepped up to the challenge. And while she was learning those skills, we brought in a mentor for her and somebody who could do the day to day blocking and tackling. And while that person was taking care of just the foundational elements for us, she became certified. And what was necessary was one defining what needed to happen, identifying a person on the team or in this case, it was one, but identifying the person on the team who wanted to step into that role and take that challenge. And then giving her the scaffolding necessary to go achieve the education and certification to become that expert in the tools and systems and processes we needed her to learn by bringing in this augmented talent, and staff. So you have to be open and able to do that. Now not everybody can afford that right? Not everybody's marketing budgets are able to accommodate that kind of thing. But through creativity and some grit, I think it is achievable if you understand what your priorities are. And identify the people on your staff who can and want to step into those types of roles. And then work with your leadership team to express how you're going to fund those educational programs, and create the mindset and space to achieve it.

That's one example in this particular instance. But there are multiples. We did something similar with Google Analytics, something similar with website management, and so forth, also introduced the concept of customer journey into the team which hadn't previously existed. And all of these things were supplemented with resources that acted as doers, and mentors while the internal staff was educated.

Kerry Guard: Oh, my goodness. That's incredible, because I feel like a lot of companies probably took an easier way out, which is furloughing or letting people go. And so really looking at how can we not do that? And this isn't something that, you know, to have the forethought to say this is probably not going to change for a while. So let's work with what we got, I think it is an incredible testament to you and your team. That's amazing. So creative. And I think that lends itself really nicely into part of our conversation which is around this CMO and the need for a CMO because you need somebody with that kind of leadership to step in and be able to see those things. When we talked a few weeks ago, you had made this comment that really stuck with me. And I've been mulling it over and trying to like, pull it apart a bit. And, and I'm really interested in digging into what you meant by Chief Marketing Officers are the most misunderstood executives at the table.

Tracy Hansen: I'm sure every executive at that table feels that they're -

Kerry Guard: Possibly.

Tracy Hansen: And it's a little self serving for me to say, I'm going to be totally transparent. But I hear it over and over again and I am convinced of this. And I'm working through some thought leadership pieces myself to really articulate it. But the idea that marketing can magically turn on a dime, and can instantly create something out of nothing, has long been a tenant of the organizations that I've worked with.

In fact, I was just recently with a client who, no joke, it's been four years building a software product that is really great. So it's a very solid product, and has spent another year and a half building out a go to market team specifically in the sales side of the go to market engine. And now he's just talking about getting marketing going. And I asked him, okay, great, what's your timeline? He goes, well, let's see, it's almost April 1. So by June 1st, I want marketing to deliver everything to create two extra transactions we currently have on our platform. And I'm like, interesting. You spent four years building your product, another year and a half building out a sales organization and you want marketing to deliver to x the transactions in under two months. Why? Why do you think that's possible? And when I when I started to peel back the layers with this particular client, what became evident is the there's a feeling that because so much of what marketing does appears to be simple, appears to be easy to do that, therefore just doing it creates this demand, creates this activity that generates sales or interaction with a given product. So it kind of sets me back on my heels a little bit.

And I keep thinking this is one example out of many for their marketers, the marketing process, and the lasting and impactful activities that marketing does takes time. It takes time to build systems, it takes time to build processes, it takes time to hire the right staff, in order to create a really, truly lasting, impactful marketing organization. If you want to throw away marketing, random acts of marketing, throw away marketing, you can do that all day long. Truly impactful marketing that has a lasting impression and helps build brand affinity takes time. And that's why I think it's misunderstood. Because on the one hand, it looks so easy. And the best things often do. But the reality is doing good marketing, lasting marketing, and marketing that you can have an executive level conversation around takes time. But if the CMO at the table is always asked, what campaign are you running today? And how many leads did you generate? The whole essence of marketing is being missed. The whole impact of marketing is overlooked.

Kerry Guard: Oh my gosh, I feel like I just got a similar question. First of all, I think for all the CMOS who are listening, they're probably nodding along with me. I know I'm not really hard on it. It does feel like this, and we sometimes talk about that in terms of digital advertising, right, the PPC side of it so far. So just turn it on and like will magically get all these leads? Well, you could do that. But do you have the right CRM system in place? Do you have the right lead magnet in place? Do you have the right messaging and pillars of why people should be coming to your site to begin with? Do you have to start layering and layering and layering then all of a sudden it's like, okay, we have work to do. But because I do think we create this facade of it because, you know what, I'm just gonna pat ourselves on the back and just say it's because we make it look really easy when it's really not.

But yeah, so I'm getting a similar question from my team. I sort of play the CMO role at my company, and they asked me, how was marketing doing? And I'm like, that's a really loaded question. Like there's so many facets that I could say, I could speak to in terms of, but if you're just looking for a lead output, that's not really a fair assessment of how, “marketing is doing”, right. And I just totally agree, Tracy, marketing is huge. And, there are so many levels and facets to it. And it is not something that is just a one and done thing. If it's done well, and in the long term, and in the long run,

Tracy Hansen: I just ran up. And so we can dig this one a little bit deeper, and really love for your listeners to engage in this and share their experiences back to you, and to validate or point us in different directions. But one of the things that came across my desk was this concept of the Law of Triviality. And the Law of Triviality is that when things are really hard and complex and challenging, humans, people will gravitate towards the thing that is most trivial to try to solve. Because that trivial thing, or the thing that they think is easy to solve is allowing them to ignore the big problems, the big challenge.

So again, I'm working with a different client, a totally different client where the software product is delayed, it's been delayed 18 months now. And rather than focus on the fact that the product that we're supposed to be going out with is delayed, the focus has shifted to what color is the logo. And it's like, okay, I get it, I understand that the big challenge is hard to address. So let's focus on something that seems manageable. And that's another reason why marketing is off, or CMO is often the most misunderstood executive at the table, is because most people feel and think like they get marketing. And therefore if they're looking for something that they think they can handle in a conversation, they'll gravitate towards marketing. What's the logo? What colors are we using? What's the campaign? What's this? And again, to your point, which is so spot on, it's, well yeah, I can turn on a paid campaign but if I don't have all of these other elements in place that is wasted money. But people want to just talk about why can't they just turn on that keyword? Well, they don't want to hear the complexity on the back end.

So our job as marketers is, and I think we can do this pretty well is to package up the complexity in a way that is understandable, and raises the bar of expectations that people have about marketing, and raises the bar on what I'm understanding that it is a highly technical, deeply process driven function in the organization, and one that can have great impact when it is working in an integrated fashion. When all you want me to do is keep throwing out random acts of marketing, it becomes a distraction and becomes trivial.

Kerry Guard: I love that word integrated. And we could certainly rathole pretty pretty solidly there. But just to give it you know, I would love your definition of what you mean by integrated because I feel like everybody sort of has their own visual of what that is based on their own experience. But when you talk about integrated marketing, what's that mean to you?

Tracy Hansen: Absolutely. Integrated marketing to me is, and I love that you realize that so many people have their own definition because when I keep researching it, it seems like integrated is all always packaged into integrated in the silo. How do you create an integrated marketing plan with these three parts of marketing absent of the whole aspect of marketing. So as an example, I was looking up a piece, and I forgot who wrote it, but it was basically saying that - integrated marketing is things like, know your audience, create a message, create a design, figure out your funnel, reach your audience, get your leads, track the campaign.

Kerry Guard: That just sounds like us, the process, our system. I don't know that, okay, I'm gonna let you keep going. Sorry, I'm raising my eyebrows a bit.

Tracy Hansen: Like I was raising my eyebrows that one too. Because what it fails to recognize is the need to create a cross functional. So I think cross functional might be a better way for me to describe integrated as a cross functional/integrated marketing organization is one that understands all the disciplines of marketing, and leverages each of them in a way that creates a market momentum for the brand, the product or service. So if you're just putting it, everything for you in the world is integrated, but contained in one single campaign. Absent of thinking about what the company is trying to achieve as a whole, then you're doing, I'll say, mini integrated marketing, your mini campaigns, but you're not doing truly cross functional, high impact integrated marketing that starts from what segments are you going after? What personas are you pursuing? What does your customer journey look like? And what are all the touch points across that journey? What does awareness look like? How does your selling motion apply to what you're marketing out there? How does your service and support apply once a product is out in the market, and all the way through the complete journey that occurs for the customer in the company.

I hear over and over again, oh, let's just do the customer journey. And I can't do the customer journey absent of the seller journey. Otherwise, putting out a campaign and your sales team doesn't know about it. You can't promote a product without really getting in deep with your product team because you need to understand how it really functions so you can pull up that value, and the description of what that product is is able to do for the customer. And then from a support side, you just need to ensure that the way a product is received in the market and how it's handled once it's in the hands of the customer, is consistent with what you want that customer experience to be.

So for me, integrated marketing isn't a mini campaign, it is looking at all of the touch points, all of the facets of marketing, how they intersect with the different functions inside a company, and then bringing a program or campaign to life.

Kerry Guard: That's how I see it too. So it's nice to know that I'm not crazy. Not everything is true that you read on the internet. And sometimes that's really hard to remember. Anyway, this actually leads really nicely, Tracy, into one of the things we wanted to chat about today, which is about identifying the skillsets of what CMOs really need to be able to pull all this off. I mean, we've talked about so much today already, in regards to what you need to essentially accomplish as a CMO from turning your team on a dime to educating the executives around the table of what marketing really is to now, you know, we talk about that integrated piece of that partnership between not just your team internally, but the external teams around you of pulling all those marketing elements together. So can we break down some of, what skills do you need to actually like, pull this off?

Tracy Hansen: I am a huge fan of EQ, Emotional Intelligence, I'm sure your audience knows about that very well. To be a very solid CMO these days, you have to have deep emotional intelligence, be able to read the room and understand what's happening in the market with your customers and your employees and your peers.

So having empathy is an important skill set, especially in times like now, where we just don't know what's happening. No, I mean, we can kind of predict what's gonna go on in the next year and a half or so. But the reality is, we don't know. So having empathy to be able to navigate through what's going to occur is going to be crucial.

After you have those two things, which I think are probably the most critical. You need to have the aptitude and wherewithal to understand process and technology. I think a CMO who is still saying or still waving their hand saying I can just I don't need to know those two things. Is missing an opportunity to excel. If you understand technology and how it can be leveraged, to move you forward. That's great. I don't think you need to know how to be or you don't need to be system x certified. I'm not going to build that level of technology knowledge. I'm talking about how you can use it to further your goals. Once you have that capacity, then you want to make sure that you have the ability to create processes to build Integrated plans and execution tactics that I mentioned previously, you need to be able to do that get your teams to work, cross functionally, to work cross boundaries into other groups, and to have a mechanism to align your output with your counterparts across the organization, whether it's sales, product support, what have you. So then you get your emotional intelligence, your process intelligence, your technology intelligence, then you can bring -

Kerry Guard: Hold on Tracy, I want to just be kind and rewind for a second, because I just had a great conversation, actually, with my CEO, Mike Krass, about systems and processes, and that they are different, which you just outlined so perfectly. And it sounds like, and I just want reassurance on this. That you can't do one without the other.

Tracy Hansen: No, I don't think you can. You need both. You absolutely need both.

Kerry Guard: I know people get sort of weary like to hear this sort of process. And they sort of like, Ah, you're trying to shove me into a box and tell me all these rules of how I need to do things. And I just want to be this creative spirit to run wild. Yes. However, like, we all need to know which direction we like, we can run wild with some guidelines and barriers. And I feel and you know, you're the expert at this, I’m not a CMO at all, I think it'll make it somewhat well. So you're definitely the expert here. But I feel like, in terms of the systems and processes, it should be. They should almost not feel like they're there. If they work really well, they should enable but not it should not feel cumbersome or in the way

Tracy Hansen: I completely agree with you. I agree with you. And here's the thing, when you don't have them, you feel the pain exponentially to when you have them and they're working. And they're just part of the DNA of the organization. When they're done well, and they're clear, people should just expect it to happen. When they don't have them. That's when you end up with disconnected campaigns, probably budget overruns, delayed activities and missed goals.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, I totally agree. Okay. Thank you for just wanting to set the level there. Alright, so you have the emotional intelligence, you have the systems and process intelligence, what's the next one?

Tracy Hansen: That's when you can bring in the flavor, the flavor of marketing, and there's no such thing as a full stack marketer anymore. There's just too much complexity in marketing, to have one person who knows how to do everything. There are some marketers who excel at brand, others excel at strategy, and others excel at digital. And depending on what needs to occur at this organization, the company might need a different type of CMO. And that's where the fractional thing comes in. And is really interesting, because for companies that don't have a CMO at all, and need to bring somebody in to get the ball rolling, to start, they might need a digital CMO to get the digital universe off the ground for them. But then the next iteration, they might need somebody who's a brand savant, somebody who can come in and really help build the brand, or vice versa, the order depends on what the business goals are. That's where a fractional CMO strategy coming in works really low, because you're not locked into one CMO who has one flavor of expertise.

Another way that it works really well is if you are a full time CMO. And you're incredibly strong at brand and you realize that you need to have a mentor or skill set brought in to help you doing a fractional role to support you in that part of the the CMO role is really powerful. So if I'm a brand expert, I'm a CMO and a brand expert, but I need to get my digital division off the ground bringing in somebody who has that CMO experience as a digital expert coming in and helping you achieve that is fantastic help you build up the team have helped that get stopped and then they can roll off. That works out really well. But when you have the EQ, the process, the tech ,and now you know what your flavor is, you can really achieve the goals that you're looking to accomplish because you have the ability to navigate the organization, create a team that is highly functioning, and are meeting the business needs by delivering your expertise with that flavor of CMO that you that you are.

Kerry Guard: I had another question, but I feel like you answered it, but I'm gonna say it anyway. And just reaffirm that if you feel like, as a CMO, maybe you're missing one of these elements. There are ways to get support, whether that's a mentor, using another CMO to bounce ideas off, but I feel like this process in tech, you know, I feel like flavor is something that's very easy to figure out in terms of like, what am I good at? I just watched Sara Blakely’s masterclass, the gal who created Spanx, and she talks about, you know, when she started building her business, she thought about three things. She thought about what she is good at? What does she like doing? And what's going to impact the world? And I just, you know, when you think about the flavor, sort of nice to think about it in those three quadrants of what am I good at? And in what I'm good at, what do I actually like doing in terms of that? And then where are the gaps? And how can I go get and fill that in? From a process and tech standpoint, though, I feel like if you're missing that, as a CMO, how do you go and fill that area?

Tracy Hansen: As a CMO, missing those things, you can do something very similar. So if you're a CMO, and you are exceptionally skilled in brand, but recognize that your team lacks the process to be exponentially better, because they're not working in an integrated fashion, you can bring in a resource to help you create that skill and strength in the organization. When I say you need to have the EQ, process, and tech, if you're missing one of those, that's the time to look at a fractional resource to to help you shore that up within your organization, and to educate you on how to achieve it in the course of the rest of your career. It's critical, I'm going to really push on the idea that the process is not a four letter word. Process should be seamless. And actually looked into this process is a seven letter word and other seven letter words that that are also out there our success, revenue, working, journey, culture, like there's so many amazing words that align with seven letters and process that I think when applied will create an amazing experience for the work that you're trying to accomplish, for the team you're trying to build, for the customers you're trying to reach. So if you don't have that strength, or you recognize that it doesn't exist, reach out to a fractional resource, reach into the organization, the parts of your organization where you do see that as a strength and learn from them what they're doing and how it might best apply to you the organization that you're building.

Kerry Guard: I couldn't have wrapped it up better myself, Tracy. I usually like to do a quick 20 second recap. But I just want to leave it there. Yes. Yes to getting support and having that growth mindset in just continuing to learn and do better. I just love it.

Before we go. I have three questions. Like my three people-first questions I like to end with again, just like you're talking about from an emotional intelligence standpoint, like just bring it back to the fact that we're all people and connect beyond the fact that we're all marketers and we have other things in common. Are you ready?

Tracy Hansen: I'm ready.

Kerry Guard: All right. My first question is, in the last year, have you picked up a new hobby given COVID and circumstances?

Tracy Hansen: I have. I have taught myself how to play the piano.

Kerry Guard: Amazing. I love it. I tried. I was using Simply Piano but I just can't, I couldn't commit to it the way that I wanted to.

Tracy Hansen: That's a tool I was using. I guess they got me an awesome keyboard and I've been using Simply Piano and I have made it a priority to make sure I break away from my computer to break away from the stress of my job and what's going on in the world every day for no less than 10 minutes.

Kerry Guard: So good. I love Simply Piano. I've actually learned a song or two, it's made me feel accomplished.

If you were in the office right now with your team, or or even with a new team for, you know, as a fractional female, you walk into an office and you're walking around the floor and you're brainstorming, and you're popping by desks, and there's this flow action happening and a good vibe. What song would you want playing over the speakers?

Tracy Hansen: Oh, I didn't know, probably it will be a Dave Matthews song. Toll or Jack Johnson, I’m totally in a vibe of just music that is soothing, and storytelling and it makes me smile. And what I find is when it's too jazzy or too crazy, I think it'd be distracted by the music. I want the music to inspire me because the words that they're using in the story they're telling is so awesome. That leads me to some creative ideas.

Kerry Guard: What's your favorite? Dave Matthews Band song?

Tracy Hansen: Which one isn't?

Kerry Guard: Yeah, fair.

Tracy Hansen: Dave Matthews favorite song. I want to say Drive. It's probably my favorite. Or Crash Into Me. Crush, you name it.

Kerry Guard: Yeah. All right. I'm going to add those to our Spotify list so people can go and feel the vibe.

Tracy Hansen: Oh, make sure you add in Jack Johnson is his live show album is probably the one I've been listening to the most.

Kerry Guard: Specific song that you'd vibe. Favorite on that album?

Tracy Hansen: Yeah, all of the Jack Johnson songs. You know, one of my favorites is Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson doing a pirate look at 40.

Kerry Guard: Alright, well, there we go. We'll just do a smash. There we go. Alright, last question. For you, Tracy. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now? Where would you go and why?

Tracy Hansen: I would go to the coast of Spain. I would actually, my husband and I had planned a trip there the first week of April 2020. We were going to meet some friends. We're going to go to Barcelona and then up into the holes. And that got canceled. So we still have our plane tickets and we're ready to go.

Kerry Guard: Do it. I've done it. It's off. Amazing. We did it for our honeymoon. And it was just the best trip. The best trip.

Tracy, thank you so much for joining me. I love this conversation. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Tracy Hansen: Thank you so much. It's fantastic to catch up with you. And I'd love to hear from your listeners on any feedback, reaction that they have to this and they can always connect up with me on LinkedIn.

Kerry Guard: I'll make that happen.

Tracy Hansen: Great.


That was my conversation with Tracy Hansen. If you'd like to learn more about Tracy, you can find her on LinkedIn or visit All links are in the show notes along with the link to our season nine Spotify playlist.

In the next episode, I chat with Diana Morante, who works for such an interesting department within Richo. She is a marketing leader, obviously, for a tech company. But what she's doing is so different from anybody I've talked to, and I can't wait to share it with you. So keep listening.

Thanks again for tuning in 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 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.

If you'd like to be a guest please visit to apply.

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