The Role Operations Plays In Marketing

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Marketing Podcast with Sara Nay

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Sara Nay. Sara is the COO at Duct Tape Marketing, Co-Founder at Spark Lab Consulting, and host of the Agency Spark Podcast.

Key Takeaway:

Marketing systems and operations systems are two halves to a whole company – bringing the two together can give you the full picture and ultimately, effective control over your organization. In this episode, I talk with Sara Nay about her responsibilities as COO at Duct Tape Marketing, the role operations plays in marketing, and how creating and utilizing systems can help you double down on what’s working and avoid spinning your wheels on what’s not.

Questions I ask Sara Nay:

  • [1:22] What does being COO of Duct Tape Marketing look like?
  • [1:48] How does the COO work with the CEO?
  • [2:51] What’s been the hardest thing for you to learn or adapt to in your role?
  • [4:10] How do you think it’s different working with family?
  • [5:25] What role does operations really play in marketing?
  • [7:29] Could you talk a little bit about operationalizing marketing so that you can deliver it consistently and in a repeatable manner?
  • [12:35] How do you view your system as a way to get better?
  • [15:18] Where could we make improvements after somebody becomes a customer and how do we connect marketing and operations and then add systems?
  • [18:31] Could you talk a little bit about what you do with Spark Lab when someone comes to you who is trying to take this operationalized approach?
  • [20:42] Could you tell us where people can find that and find out more about Spark Lab consulting?

More About Sara Nay:

Take The Marketing Assessment:

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the duct tape marketing podcast is brought to you by the salesman podcast, hosted by will Barron and brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network. Look, if you work in sales, wanna learn how to sell, and frankly who doesn't check out the salesman podcast, where host will Barron helps sales professionals learn how to find buyers and win big business ineffective and ethical ways. And if you wanna start someplace, I recommend the four step process to influencing buying decisions. Listen to the salesman podcast, wherever you get your podcast.

John Jantsch (00:44): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch, and I'm gonna do a solo show today. It's actually been a while, but I wanna cover a topic that is very high on a lot of business owners' minds. And that's the idea of retention of internal team members, internal customers, whatever you wanna call them, employees, staff, team members. This has been a really hot topic of the last year, and I think it's not going away. There's a lot of pressure for a lot of reasons on this. So I wanna talk about it as the subject that it is, obviously it turns into production issue or fulfillment or capacity issue for a lot of organizations, but it's really a marketing problem, or at least can be solved I think, with a marketing solution. So that's what I'm going to present.

John Jantsch (01:34): Hey, I also wanted to let you know that I have been working very hard on a unique marketing strategy assessment. A lot of people have these, uh, marketing assessments out there that that really are just measuring your tactic approach. What you're using, what you're doing. I've created something that really is heart and soul to the idea of strategy before tactics marketing as a system. And I'd love for you to check it out. Uh, the URL is So it's marketing go on over there and, uh, check it out to go through. It takes about, I don't know, five minutes to answer the 20 questions and, and the report that you get at the end of it, frankly, is, is enough gold to, to have you actually, uh, improve or find area of for improvement in your, in your marketing strategy. So, uh, check it out, marketing assessment dot C.

John Jantsch (02:29): All right. So let's talk today about rethinking the recruitment journey. You know, one of the things that I think that certainly I've said this many times to anyone that will listen, one of the things that I think the pandemic and, and a great deal of what went on with the, the, the chaos of the last couple years is that, you know, a lot of businesses do pretty well in good times just by being in the right place at the right time. A lot of businesses during the pandemic learn that, but boy, in tough times, growth comes from being important in the lives of your customers and your employees. And it's a constant, uh, battle. It's constant shifting there's the leverage changes, you know, so to today we work with a lot of folks that are saying, Hey, I don't need more customers. I need more people.

John Jantsch (03:12): So the leverages in many cases is, has gone squarely to the employee. And I think that changing dynamic, I think does have a tendency to allow people or, or to get people in the habit of thinking, oh, this is just a vending machine approach, need more customers, put some money in run, some ads, run a funnel and create more customers, oh, need more employees just go run. Some ads, go to the job boards, put in some and voila pops up some new employees. And I, I wanna share, I'm gonna rifle through. 'em pretty quickly a few statistics that should shed some light on how we have to be thinking about this in a much different way than the vending machine or the funnel approach. Apparently less than 15% of the, of every job that's advertised on those job boards, you know, monster indeed, et cetera, gets filled by candidates who actually apply through the job board.

John Jantsch (04:07): So we're spending a whole bunch of money there, and it's not really producing the results. 50% of candidates say they wouldn't work for a company with a bad reputation, even for a pay increase S true of customers coming to us. Why wouldn't it be true? Of course of employees as well, 79% of candidates use social media in their job search. We have to be where they are. That's, that's true. Again for customers as certainly as much as it is for staff. 92% of consumers will visit a brand's website a first time for reasons other than making a purchase, guess who is visiting your website for reasons other than making a purchase people you might hire, or you might wanna hire 71% of employees say that they would accept a pay cut for a better working experience. A flip side of that is I know I've paid more or a product or a service when I got, or was expecting to get a better experience.

John Jantsch (05:05): I think it's just the flip side of that exact same thing. 89% of employers think employees leave for more money. That's why everybody defaults to more money. That's why everybody defaults to lowering their prices when, uh, they're trying to attract new customers. It, again, it's the flip side of the exact same thing, but according to a very large gala poll, only 12% of employees actually leave for money. And I think the thing that, the point that I'm really trying to drive home here, in fact, if you're really in a hurry, just take note of this idea and, and you'll have the essence of where I'm gonna go with this, uh, today. People really aren't candidates or consumers. They're both, there's no distinction. I mean, people are just people. So the vending machine approach of let's put money in and get more customers, put money in, get more employees, lower prices, you know, advertise bonuses, you know, for getting employees.

John Jantsch (06:05): I mean that, that approach will draw some people, I suppose to you, but you know, people who come to you for a price increase or price decrease, or employees that come to you because they get a dollar, two more, an hour are gonna leave for the exact same reason. So when I talk about the customer journey and the employee journey, or how somebody, uh, comes to, to join an organization, it, it it's really in a lot of ways, it's not even a marketing issue. It, it is a strategy issue that I think can be solved with of the marketing approach. So here's the three steps for creating the perfect recruitment strategy. First one is to know who you're trying to recruit. And I know everybody says that, but what people forget to say is that you probably already have some ideal employees in your organization.

John Jantsch (06:51): Just like I talk about narrowing your focus to the top 20% of your customers, look at your team. You can do the same thing. What is it about your highest performing, uh, folks, the people that thrive in your organization? What is it about them that you need to understand? What behavior, what characteristics, what objectives, what problem can you promise to solve as an organization? That's always been true from a, an attraction standpoint for a, a differentiator for your customers is going to be true, certainly for employees. So how can you create an end to end customer journey? Think in terms of employee recruitment pipeline, it's something that doesn't, it isn't meant to be an event. Oh, I have a position to fill. We need to do X that's. What gets people in, in the mindset of, oh, I have to offer more money. That's the only way to get more people or I have to spend more money on the job boards.

John Jantsch (07:45): That's the only way to get more people. It has to be something that becomes part of the DNA of, of all of your marketing. So look to your current employees and I'm gonna give you four questions and you might come back to this, uh, part of the recording. I'm gonna give you four questions. If you need to write these down to, to try to either think about, or even even ask your employees sometimes asking is tough because it's the boss ask asking. And it's like, is my answer really gonna ? Is it gonna be used for good or bad? But here, your question to ponder, what does their current work life situation look like? You'll find that they probably have certain goals or in a certain point in their life that they, you know, have certain values. Now that doesn't, I, this is not an appeal to say everybody in your organization needs to think and look alike.

John Jantsch (08:35): It's just that there are gonna be certain situations that I think might be keys or might be signals to, you know, what you're looking for, or, or at least what you start promoting. If you find that many, uh, folks in your organization enjoy a certain type of work or a certain type of environment, they Excel in, then you wanna start talking about that. That that's what we do here. All right. Second question. What do they enjoy? What frustrates them in what work environment do they Excel? Number three, and number four, what factors were involved in them making a decision to come to your organization? If you could start to understand doesn't mean you have to have all the answers, but if you can start to at least think about the answers to those questions, you're gonna have a better idea of the message you need to take out there to the world and start talking about why your place is a great place to work.

John Jantsch (09:25): And speaking of that, one of the greatest marketing messages, this is to attract customers is to talk about your people is talk about how exceptional your place is to be an employee. In fact, we've actually moved many of the marketing messages to be, you know, for example, a remodeling contractor, our people make your remodeling experience exceptional. That is a very positive, attractive message for the people that want to remodel their kitchen, because maybe they've were worked with not such so exceptional people, but it's also a great message for the potential employee. You're leading, talking about the fact that your people are exceptional. Hey, I wanna work there now. Also, don't forget. As I reminded you many times, don't forget about Google reviews. If you're getting some amount of Google reviews, pour over those word for word first off, what you're probably going to see is that if your people are truly exceptional, your customers are going to be noting that they're going to be actually naming them by name.

John Jantsch (10:29): In fact, they might not even name your company, but they might name somebody who works at your company. So start understanding what they about your people, about the experience that they're having. Those are some real cues to what maybe you ought to be saying. The promise that you ought to start making, uh, to, to demonstrate that you can deliver a better experience. You know, customers don't actually change comp I mean companies, I mean, I don't think we want to jump around and say, well, that didn't work outs, or maybe it did work out, but I'm gonna go look for a new one. Uh, I think we want to stay with companies. And so we don't really leave them. We leave the experience that we're having with them. And now let's hear from our sponsor. Look, if you're tired of slowing down your teams with clunky software processes and marketing that is difficult to scale, HubSpot is here to help you and, and your business grow better with collaboration tools and built in SEO optimizations.

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John Jantsch (11:52): are the third component of this strategy idea is that is, is to think about this end to end journey. You know, a lot of handing these days about all the things that have changed in, in, in marketing and in business. But, you know, I think the thing that doesn't get talked about enough, the thing that's changed the most is how P people choose to become customers and employees. They have so many options today and how they decide on the company that they're going to, to hire is, is all about the research that they do.

John Jantsch (12:24): And they go out there and, and in a lot of ways are making a decision, you know, before we even know that they're looking at our organization and this, this is certainly true of some be coming to be hired as, as an employee. So we have to think about the marketing hourglass as we apply it to the employee journey. And so, uh, as a reminder, I know I talk about this all the time, but the marketing hourglass for us is, has seven stages. They are no like trust, try by repeat and refer. And so what I'm asking you to consider is what is, what are you doing to intentionally guide somebody to come to know about you and, and start to think, Hey, this is a place I might wanna work, but then as they start to dig in, you know, what message are they seeing as in terms of a story, are, are they connecting with your values?

John Jantsch (13:10): Who do they meet first? Is it easy to find out more information? If for me, how often people will have a, Hey, come, you know, we're hiring and then you click on a button. And before you ever find anything out about the company, you have a, a five and a half page application to fill out. That's like going from, Hey, you know about us now, I wanna buy you wanna buy and, you know, skipping the steps of trust, building that, that really make you, you, the obvious choice, obviously reviews, employee stories, your values and actions mentions in the media. Those are all things that are part of the employee journey today. And in fact, as I started to say, I think the, the beauty of this idea of branding your organization is a great place to work is it's a killer marketing message. I mean, how could that possibly be a, for anybody who wants to hire you or, or buy your products and services?

John Jantsch (13:59): So promoting, uh, part of your content strategy ought to be in fact, a huge part of your content strategy ought to be, to promote things that your employees, your team members are doing, how they're advancing, the fun that you're having at your organization. I mean, these are things that go in many cases in the early part of the journey, they go a lot farther than the benefits that I'm gonna actually receive, because I think people, uh, more and more are, are leaving organizations maybe even for pay cuts or, or certainly not staying at organizations because the 401k is the bonus is great. If the environment is not great, if the experience of being an employee there is not great, then none of that really matters. So then if we slip over to the try and buy and, and obviously substitute higher for buy, if you like, , it's not a real stretch in my mind.

John Jantsch (14:53): So the try process, what, what is that application process look like? The phone screening, you have so many, and again, what happens is a lot of organizations don't have an HR department, don't have a professional who's charged with the hiring experience. It's the manager or the VP of something that actually has another job, and this is just something they are doing. And so the follow up and the experience, and, you know, once they come on board, the onboarding, the who, who their manager is, you know, how they interact with current employees. I mean, all of that, their training plan that's laid up. The statistics are pretty crazy about when people leave organizations within the first night days. It's because there was, there was no onboarding. It's true of customers. You know, you've heard me talk about Joey. Coleman's great book, how to keep, I can't remember now the title, but how to keep an employee no, how to keep a customer for life.

John Jantsch (15:43): Although he is actually working on the employee one too, he tells me, but the idea behind it is make the first 90 to a hundred days an amazing experie. And you will not have the turnover that many organizations, uh, experience today. And speaking of that, you know, just like keeping customers is, is a far better way to grow a business. Keeping your employees is a far better way to grow, not just your team, but your organization. You know, the number one, uh, reason people are citing now for leaving organizations is a lack of respect, a, of a growth path or any kind of personal development. I mean, pay and benefits certainly shows up on the list, but it's way down from things like respect and, and personal development. And then finally refer, I work with a lot of organizations that have happy, happy employees and happy customers.

John Jantsch (16:30): And, and we always scratch our heads say, well, why aren't they referring us? And most of the time, it just comes down to the process. The, you know, it's almost with, with employees, a lot of organizations almost treat it like, uh, you know, an expectation, a part of the job, you know, they offer a bonus. So it just becomes part of the pay. But the biggest reason people don't make recommendations or referrals, both as customers. And it lawyers is they don't understand or worse don't trust the process. Maybe the hiring process for them was kind of wonky. Hey, they like being there now. but the, uh, the process itself was a little bit stressful. Do they wanna put their friend or, or neighbor, you know, through that kind of thing. And last thing about retention people don't change jobs. I mean, they change about, so the, again, a lot of it has to do with the experience that they're having, you know, maybe with the person they're directly reporting to, and not necessarily with the organization, I've been running recruiting ads, a skilled labor positions for a number of years, and we test different headlines in different approaches.

John Jantsch (17:32): And the number one recruiting a for the past two years simply just says, respect with a question, mark, you know, do you feel like a respected member, uh, of a team in your current, uh, position? And it beats everything else. We try, you know, time and time again, because that is the, that is what's missing for a lot of people in the, uh, positions. And I don't care what type of job it is. I think that's, uh, the piece that's really missing. So think in terms of this idea of the marketing hourglass and, and applying that journey to the recruiting process, intentionally helping move people through the stages of no, like trust, try higher retained and refer. All right, that's it for me today. Um, again, I wanted to remind you to check out the new assessment that, uh, I built it is a marketing strategy assessment.

John Jantsch (18:24): You can find it @ - - All right. Take care.

John Jantsch (18:32): All right. So that wraps up another episode. I wanna thank you so much for tuning in and, you know, we love those reviews and comments. And just generally tell me what you think also did you know that you could offer the duct tape marketing system, our system to your clients, and build a complete marketing consulting coaching business, or maybe level up an agency with some additional services. That's right. Check out the duct tape marketing consultant network. You can find it at and just scroll down a little and find that offer our system to your clients tab.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network and BELAY.

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