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E17: Katie Martell: Taking a Stand: The Anatomy of Thought Leadership


Join us in this episode as Katie breaks down the anatomy of true thought leadership: What it is, what it isn't and why it's so important for brands to choose their battles and ultimately take a stand.
Katie also shares:
  • PR advice for executives
  • A recent challenge with a client (market leader at risk of losing mindshare)
  • How brands can uplevel performance instead of pander under pressure


👉  https://bit.ly/3ap9rB9  👈
Katie Martell is an on-demand communications strategist based in Boston, MA. At the time of this recording, she is working on a documentary exploring the intersection of marketing and social movements. She's also host the live socialcast, Exceptional Truths.
Katie has been a startup CMO and entrepreneur and served as the Executive Director of Boston Content.
She is a frequent speaker and emcee at industry events (and virtual events)!





But I'm telling you, you know, every executive out there that isn't investing in their own personal brand, personal PR, um, they can learn a lot from PR people. It's, um, it's a skill to be able to toot your own horn and it, it kind of gets you to the next step where you can earn more opportunities. Um, this world is not merit based. This world is very much perception based. So, um, we're just going to kick off with that truth. But no, I, uh, thank you for having me. Awesome to be here. Yay. Big fan of you. Um, and you, what you are doing in your career and, uh, with, with customer intelligence, you know, Institute, um, my background is in marketing to marketers primarily. And so this world that you're in with buyer personas and customer research and market intelligence is just this through line that, uh, I think is the most important thing for companies to get right. So that is an unabashed endorsement for you. Uh, everyone hire Lauren, she's awesome

Lorin: (03:20)
loving it.

Katie: (03:23)
Um, but my, my career, like you said, has spanned everything from starting my own company in MarTech to working in house at [inaudible], um, B2B data services from a net prospects, which was where I started my career before it was sold to dun and Bradstreet in 2013 or 14 ish, um, where we grew a startup from 12 people when I started to 200 and something when I left, um, many, many millions of dollars later. It, it was a crash course, my early twenties in a entrepreneurship instead of life in B to B marketing. And I was very grateful for that. It gave me a perspective on where the industry was going and how I could contribute. I know I've done it since then is working at, like I said, a PR firm and analyst from my own firm and now consulting for the last almost five years, which is you're having fun. And what I do now is help companies be seen as the leaders that they know themselves to be kind of a playing on that background in PR and personal branding to help others embrace the opportunities of the digital world to say, this is who I am, what I stand for, um, and why anyone should pay attention, trust me and then hire me. So, um, that looks like content marketing in some cases that looks like communication strategy and others. And for some it's just a lot of therapy. So [inaudible]

Lorin: (04:40)
I love it. And it's, we were kind of chatting about this before we started recording, but it's like that rich background really does play so well into what you do now and the value that you offer and how you can, you know, come in, I'm sure to kind of any of these companies that you're working with and you can make recommendations that are really right for them. It's not necessarily, you know, let's see what everyone else is doing. So I, and I, I love, I love watching what you do. I love, you know, just seeing everything that you're up to and it obviously works. Um, you know, you're an amplifier. You really just lift up anyone who you're in connection with and I appreciate that so much. Um, so obviously you have a million things going on. You were just in LA. Mmm. For anyone listening. We've been trying, I've been trying to get you on the show, honestly, 12 months. It's been a long, long time. So it's [inaudible]

Katie: (05:39)
it's not you, it's me. It's my calendar and it's certainly not the meeting being a diva. It's me for getting tickets. If the thing on the calendar, it's not as glamorous as it seems.

Lorin: (05:48)
You're a busy consultant and marketing leader. And um, so actually with all of that going on with everything that you're working on, let's talk about one thing that you're most excited

Katie: (05:58)
about right now. Well, you, you made a good point that uh, having a background in PR and all that, it kind of, it bleeds into my personal life. And as a independent freelancer you can pretty much go in any direction you choose, which for some that ambiguity is terrifying. Um, I find it liberating and what I've kind of recently in the last 18 months or so realized is, um, what I have been advising clients know things like, uh, thought leadership, content marketing, PR. It all requires original thought at its core, which I know sounds obvious, but I mean, think about it. Like most thought leadership out there is not considered helpful by buyers. This is a brand new stat out that 88% of executives in B to B say, yeah, we need original thoughts companies. But something like 14% of them say, yes, we're finding it, you know, so this is the gap in market between like what companies are publishing and what buyers need.

Katie: (06:49)
Um, and what I find closes that gap is typically just some kind of exceptional truths and kind of just something that everyone is thinking, but nobody is saying or nobody has either had the guts to articulate or been able to articulate simply. Um, and that's always been a through line of any PR practitioner, content marketing consultant. That's, that's what makes great original content and narratives. Um, and so, but about four years ago, I started applying that lens on myself and I, wow. You know, following my own advice, uh, writing about an issue I'd been noticing in marketing where brands have started to use the ideals of feminism, you know, girl power, equal pay. We love women woo pink, um, in their heads, everything from a Superbowl ad to an activation and an event ads I was seeing on TV, you know, two o'clock in the morning, simple, you know, anywhere I was looking, there was feminism on screen with, you know, major brands behind it, KPMG dove and secret.

Katie: (07:45)
And I started to look a little bit behind the scenes and realize that these companies, I mean, no surprise fail to live up to these values. Um, in a lot of ways, whether it's the representation of women as on their executive boards, the actual payments of women. Like there's one example where, uh, it's KPMG had this great ad featuring a woman golfer with Phil Nicholson and she hits the ball off the tee and the glass ceiling breaks in like a lab in a board room. You get it. It's a great ad. I love it. It says, you know, here's the next generation of women leaders that same year, the same year that the ad went live, KPMG was a subject of a multimillion dollar lawsuit alleging a pattern of pregnancy discrimination and paying women less than their white male counterparts or their male counterparts. It just was this like narrative happening in, you know, in, in PR and in advertising versus the reality of being women at work. It's pandering, right? It's, it's a problem. What it does is create the illusion that the world is more equitable than it really is. It makes people think that these companies are supporting these causes, but not doing the work. They apply that to environmental concerns. Greenwashing, you can apply that to LGBTQ equality in June. How many companies do you know have pride logos on their social media feeds in June?

Lorin: (08:59)
Are they protecting?

Katie: (09:01)
Are LGBTQ workers? Where by the way, a lot of us can still get fired in certain States. There's no federal statute protecting, um, this class of, of workers. So the reality of the situation versus what marketing is so good at doing, right? We create perception. Um, it's a problem to me and it's something that marketers can fix. So this message that I'm, I'm really trying to, I started to blog about, I'm not doing a documentary about this is the project, um, and a book and the speaking tour and all of it trying to get marketers to change but also consumers and employees there, there is power in the voices of the people that buy from the company and work for that company. And so if we apply pressure from all sides, I think we can change this issue. So I will have this documentary live later this year if you want me to, you know, hire me to come speak at your events on this. I'm happy to do so. Yeah, it's really important to me and something that I think we really need to address or we face further destroying the reputation in our industry and of course co-opting these causes, um, that really do need more support.

Lorin: (09:59)
Yeah. And you are a huge voice for all of these things. I signed up for your newsletter. Actually anybody listening should sign up for your newsletter. I was already a fan. I was like, Oh, Katie, why haven't I, you know, seeing this person go, Oh my God, like I'm, you know, I've been living in Rome. I went to sign up for the newsletter and I, I went to the site and it was like the world's best newsletter. And I was like, I was like, okay, Katie, I liked you, but I mean, come on that I'm like, I'm going to sign up. And I swear I read it every week and I'm like, Oh, thank you. That means it is, it lives up to the name. It's amazing. You never fail to bring, really to talk about really important issues in a very relevant way. And I learned so much just from like this digest that's coming for you. So yes, world's best newsletter. I endorsed. Um, but so tell us more about this like documentary and you said it's also going to be a book and a speaking tour. So let's like dig into that a little bit.

Katie: (10:58)
Well, the documentary looks at all the voices involved with this, this collision between advertising, marketing, and social movements. And so, um, I sit down with executives from major ad agencies, you know, in New York to the creators of the femvertising awards at a company called she media. Um, two people that are actually in the communities themselves. The, yeah, the movements trying to fight for real change to journalists in the space. Um, even students that are the future of our profession. All just trying to get a sense of [inaudible] essentially reporting. I'm moving from marketer to reporter, although I have a, I have certainly have an agenda. Um, but what's happening is weird moment in our history as, as marketers. And I think it's just, I, my goal is to just reveal the truth of what's going on this exceptional truth, like I mentioned, um, and provide some calls to action at the end for all of these audiences, marketers, employees and consumers. Um, and the book is just, you know, you kind of have to have a book, but nobody reads. So thought the documentary, the video and alive speaking tour and me being willing to get on stage and do this was going to be the best instigator and catalyst for change and the new home inspired by. Do you, do you know Jean Kilborne?

Lorin: (12:05)
I don't, I don't,

Katie: (12:07)
some people do. So she is actually a, a bossman neighbor of mine in Boston. Um, Jean Kelvin was a pioneering activist who in the 70s started to collect, uh, advertising featuring women. She would just put them up in her fridge and notice of course a pattern, right, of how advertising of that, of that, that time treated women. And of course you started to find patterns of, you know, objectification. Do you, I, um, just, uh, treatment of women, the portrayal of women, the pressure to be thin and beautiful and to fit the white idea and just all these things that we now know, at least we think we know as modern consumers, we see a backlash from, um, millennials and gen Z against this diet culture and this, you know, uh, Photoshop reality. But Jean was the first to really, you know, put a stake in the ground academically and otherwise to say this is problem.

Katie: (13:00)
So her documentary was killing us softly and you may have seen it if you had a gender studies class or more progressive health teacher growing up. I saw it in a women's studies class years ago and I remember thinking to myself, this is somebody changing the industry of marketing by putting yourself out there. And so I am following in Jean's footsteps and Jean just agreed to be part of my documentary. She's going to be part of it. I'm freaking out. I'm so excited. And um, what she said to me, one of her emails was actually that, uh, thank you for the recognition. Not many people thank her for this work. And I thought what a shame this work was transformative and changing the narrative around women's bodies and advertising and we all should know Jean Gilbert and we should be able to articulate her point moving forward. So pay, that's my goal. That's my inspiration. I'm hoping to reach that bar of Jean Kilborne and we'll see at the really high bar to set [inaudible]. That's why I'm doing this. And I hope to use all these skills I've learned in PR and content marketing and speaking all of it for this change. I really do believe it's an important, a critical, critical issue.

Lorin: (14:01)
And you're not just reporting on it, but I think by putting this out there, you are generating more demand for change, which is really, really crucial. So I just wanted to be mindful. We somehow, we're coming up on time. So do you have a hard

Katie: (14:13)

Lorin: (14:14)
Nope, I'm good. I will call that person back. Yep. Change is happening. It can't be stopped. We're galvanized in the world. We can't stop for this technical. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay, cool. So we have some time to kind of dig into this a little bit more. Um, so I mean, this is, this is really amazing and you know, before we, before we move on from this, um, you are so, um, I think you're so good at talking about relevant. Um, and obviously this topic has so much relevance. Um, you know,

Katie: (14:52)
you've opened my eyes to so much that's going on. That's really important. Um, I think that this is, you know, hands down all the change that you're advocating for is really beneficial to consumers. But what about for these big companies? What's at stake if they don't roll with this change and take it seriously, like really, you know, um, change from the inside out, not just we're going to pretend like we're changing, but it's really business as usual. Why, why is that not a viable strategy for businesses anymore? Yeah, I mean you have to look at where the market is going. Anytime you're, you're a brand, I mean, you have to look at where the narratives are changing, get ahead of the trends that you can be the one to set the agenda and set the pace. I'm no stranger to the fact that, you know, the reason the companies are suddenly, Oh, wash in rainbows during pride month.

Katie: (15:43)
Um, I'm sensitive and very aware of the fact that that is not a proactive move. That is a very reactive move. The attitude in the country that now support for LGBTQ rights, is that an all time high? Right? This is just a reaction from the company to be safe and to say we are on the right side of history and to not be called out in what is now canceled culture. What brands are celebrities, anyone in the public eye is instantly villainized if they kind of run a foul of she's segments. Um, that's not to say that brands shouldn't take a stand on issues. In fact, my favorite phrase here is that, um, the only thing you find in the middle of the road is roadkill stand. And you really do have to take a stand on certain issues, but you have to be confident in that stance.

Katie: (16:28)
So I think that the new reality for a lot of these brands, whether it's a massive consumer brand or even a tech brand, look at Salesforce, right? Look at, look at companies like Google, which are B2B that are, you know, selling predominantly to a business buyer. All buyers today are looking to understand what values exist at a company. And so if you are kind of wishy washy and kind of going with the flow in the tide, you don't stand for anything and therefore buyers don't know what to do with you. You now just become one other option and you miss a chance to differentiate. It. Just stand out and it's actually tell the world, here's who we're for, here's what we stand for, here's what we're about. Um, that helps to focus yourself. You'd mentioned relevance. It helps to identify the right buyer for you. Um, and it, it does come from the inside. It's not something you can just hang a shingle on. So I'm, I'm a gay family company. Now. It's, are you really? Do you walk the walk? Um, your employees can also walk out. It's a big risk and this is a power, right? It's not like they might do it if it's been done and it will continue. Here in Boston, we had the Wayfair walkouts. Did you hear about this? I heard about it through your newsletter.

Katie: (17:40)
Yeah, it was, it actually made national, national headlines. What happened was Wayfair was um, through actually, uh, pretty much a pretty obscure supply chain. They were not, I don't think they were selling directly, but anyway, they were supplying beds too. The camps on the border, which are highly, highly controversial and likely a massive humanitarian crisis. Hello. So it's an issue that is polarized. Let's not go there on this podcast or this call, but let's look at it as an issue that is a hot button issue. Um, the thing that you cannot do with those issues is to be neutral. There is no such thing as neutral. I know that sounds counterintuitive. You are selling to and providing your services to this issue so you are no longer immune from that issue. If you have nothing to do with it, then you can distance yourself. But if you're in it, you have to have something to say.

Katie: (18:30)
You have to be willing to say, or at least our talking points about it. What happened with Wayfair is that some employees found out that some beds that, you know, the site was selling. We're going to these these camps and they said, this is not in alignment with our values. We don't want to see kids in cages. We don't want to see families separated. All this stuff that was happening. What are we going to do about it? Company. And it was an internal discussion that was met with, well, we don't want to get political. Well we don't have a stance on it. Well it's not our issue. And this, this kind of, uh, unwillingness to engage both with their employees in this larger world, which comes from a very risk averse place. I get it as a PR person, I get where that comes from.

Katie: (19:10)
No longer appropriate, no longer, Mmm safe to do so today. And what happened was 500 employees walked out stage a big protest right in the middle of Boston national news, national coverage. Now the issue is way worse, way worse than it was. If somebody had taken, taken a stand either way on it to say for against, or at least just say, here's our fair use policy around, you know, our products and services. Look at PayPal. PayPal just got called out by an activist group called sleeping giants, which helps brands identify if their ads are running on, um, you know, kind of hate filled websites. Yeah. Yeah. Activist group is worldwide and it's got tons of followers and it identified the fact that the KKK was using PayPal to raise funds. It's 2020 the KKK is using PayPal. She raised funds. That was an issue and so sleeping giants is activist group, which by the way, it was started by two marketers.

Katie: (20:02)
It is not hard to start a movement. Two people said something's wrong how to fix it. They identified this issue, made PayPal react and say, we're gonna. We're going to shut this down and we're going to clarify our fair use our use policies and who can use our services. It just takes some soul searching. I think it's, I think it's a different muscle for some companies to actually have to exercise. Marketing is been so much as a way to just manage perception, but now it's not enough. There's so much more that's visible. An age of transparency. Accountability. Brands have to be ready for that. This is not requiring us to know our buyers better than ever know what issues are important to them and really look internally therapy again, looking inward. Um, find out where we sit on issues. Are we ready to have a stand on these are we, is our house clean before we are inviting scrutiny? Yeah. Yeah. Chances are the answer's no, which means fix it and then you can have a conversation about it and you can Wade into the discussion.

Lorin: (21:00)
Yeah, I love it. I mean it's really well said and it just, it reminds me, it's like now that disruption is kind of constant and it's the [inaudible]. I think the old risk averse stance was to just do nothing and now doing nothing is the ultimate way to kind of really just expose yourself to risk

Katie: (21:23)
sometimes. Yeah. Sometimes I don't, I don't agree that every company needs to have a, an opinion on every social issue. You know what I mean? If you are not involved with guns, don't have an opinion on gun rights. If you're not ready for the, the, the process. Don't have an opinion on controversial issues like abortion or anything else that gets people instantly polarized. If your company doesn't actually intersect with that, that world, you don't actually have to take a stand. But again, with Wayfair, they were actually involved. They had a connection to it. They had to have something to say about it.

Lorin: (21:56)
Yeah. Okay. So let's just real quick, I think that you have a couple of rules for brands and then let's move on to the next thing while you're taking, you know, in, in taking a stand, so it sounds like relevance is number one, don't take a stand on every issue. Are there one or two other things that you can just kind of, um, you know, leave for anybody watching who's thinking about, Ooh, you know, maybe we should think about this and

Katie: (22:19)
in our company, where do we start? Yeah, it's, it's don't take a stand on any issue that isn't important to your buyers. I mean, this is, again, back to your point, know who you're selling to and who matters. Um, you can't be all things to all people. I learned that in college. That is not a new marketing, uh, you know, advice. But remember it's, it, you don't actually have to appease all sides. It's, it's really about knowing who your best audience is and being willing to tap into that and understand the narratives, the themes and the values that are important to them so that you can connect, um, or at least highlight where you, what you have in common and maybe dispel or quiet down the things that you don't have in common. That's, that's really what it's about. Um, the other thing is is, you know, it's um, there's an, there's a, a narrative zeitgeists game here.

Katie: (23:04)
It's, um, get ahead of the trends, which again requires you to really be talking to buyers, understanding what's on their trends. Buyers are looking to you to set the pace of the industry. We now to your point, live in a world of constant, constant change and disruption, not just in marketing. We are like, we have to stay on our game. We're going to lose our jobs. That's fine. The unique experience. I mean I T buyer is going through the same change, give them and there was a study in HBR, there's a great article called [inaudible] elements of trust. Google it. I know there's the BD, the elements of value.

Lorin: (23:36)
Google it. Look, Mark, you're going to call. Yeah, I recommend that I show this to every client I work with because it's so important and so misunderstood. Okay. Front topic. Um, but we'll kind of drop it here.

Katie: (23:51)
Can we, should, we'll link to it and Sean, I don't know what you do with this, but it's, the reason I really, I took away from that article is that, um, they interviewed it infrastructure, it management, um, buyers is something very innocuously boring, very B2B, like very, very nitty gritty. This is, who cares about this, you know, somebody does. And to them they looked at the top 10 value drivers and then three of the top 10 or something like that. Hope, vision and expertise in otherwise. In other words, can you guide me through the next five, 10, 20 years of my job? Am I going to lose my job because of these changes? And how do you vendor help me navigate that? So when you're thinking about what issues that they can stand on, find out what keeps that buyer in fear of losing their gig.

Katie: (24:36)
I know that's if FID is the tone, it's on issue. But um, for me it's about finding out what really is at the heart of uh, you know, where your buyer is scared that the world is going and getting ahead of it so that you're ready with insights, thought leadership, um, commentary that they can look to you and say, this person, this company is going to give me hope, a mid and uncertain future. This is where the people place their trust in you. Um, this is where shared values are created. This is where that idea of thought leadership takes hold and creates kind of longterm buyers. Okay. Are willing to invest in, take a risk. I'm putting their career in your hands.

Lorin: (25:14)
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Phenomenal insights and something I think anybody listening can really kind of grab onto and start to run with. Um, okay. So let's change gears now and let's talk about, um, a recent challenge that you've experienced with the client in your own business and talk us through that challenge and how you solved it.

Katie: (25:34)
It's actually perfectly relevant to this, which is thankfully cause otherwise this interview would just be all that I know, which it can be with me. Have you seen me? You know, it can go anywhere. Um, I was working with a company, they've been in there, it's a B2B SAS tech firm based in Boston. Um, and they've been in their space for 20 years. They are one of those companies that just been around long enough in SAS to be able to say we pioneered the space. Um, SAS is a very compressed timeline, right? So 20 years you can say that you were a pioneer. So, uh, they for 20 years have done a remarkable job helping and solving problems for clients. Um, Harry complex operational type problems with their, with their tools and with their services. [inaudible] they face this interesting inflection point where after 20 years or so, okay, they were the market leader and they still are the market leader in their minds.

Katie: (26:26)
But what was happening was a lot of these startups, um, [inaudible] upstarts and you know, it's never been easier to start a company, right? So people are seeing this space and going, Oh dollar signs, dollar signs, I can throw in, you know, some automation there and some sass tools here and boom, I'm going to create a startup. And that was happening to the point like exponentially more competition every year. Not so much in terms of like product by product. There was really no comparison. The issue was attention. Hmm. Other startups were getting more traction in terms of setting the industry agenda. Simply put which terms are priorities for buyers, which, you know, concerns are top of mind. That's a PR game. And these companies were winning in PR. They were winning in making certain things more priority, a margin. So this company said, and they had really never invested in PR.

Katie: (27:15)
It just to them it was, it was enough to, they were even self-funded for the majority of the life cycle. Once they got some institutional funding, it became clear that growth was the, you know, agenda. This is not like a lifestyle company anymore. Um, and to do so they were going to have to be seen as the leaders that they knew themselves to be. Right. And so this is where I kind of stepped in and it wasn't new advice. This is not, uh, innovative stuff, but this is the appropriate time to start thinking. Actually five years ago would have been, but better late than never about instituting a really, really clear communication strategy. And PR strategy for the modern PR games is not just about media placements, although that's important. This is about combining content marketing thought leadership and media relations, um, to form a kind of machine that would provide this, this company that had, had a leadership position, uh, much more of a consistent, steady drum beat in market so that they were the ones setting the pace.

Katie: (28:12)
They were the ones seen as the disruptors for the next 20 years. They were the ones seen as the innovators, not these upstarts with a fraction of the revenue. Uh, you know, a fraction of the experience. Um, perception is everything. And even if you've got this history to draw back on, you know, there's a great book by kit [inaudible] um, the new kid decoding the new consumer mind in which he says, uh, something like, well, you know, tried and trusted is, is old and irrelevant or something along those lines. Buyers need in our world to know that new and innovation is part of your DNA. Move forward regardless of your history. And a lot of executives don't like to hear that they worked really hard the past 20 years to build this, this brand. But now you've got to put the tools in place to remind companies, buyers, we are the ones setting the agenda, not these upsides that required a great PR team.

Katie: (29:03)
We did a whole audit. We did a whole RFP, you know, very traditional PR, um, process. Um, but we kind of audited their internal muscles as well. Um, their, their own ability to kind of generate original thought, original research, things like that. How they were using PR to amplify content, what they were doing in social. Like all the pieces of modern PR have to work together. If you want to become these, this pace setter. Otherwise startups are gonna takeover and they're going to steal the attention and eventually the market share when people that really should be buying you in the first place. Yeah, this is amazing. And so relatable I think whether it's the company like the one you described

Lorin: (29:42)
that's been in their space and been a leader for 20 years or a company that's even just struggling to maintain the market share that they have, even if they're not a market leader, we are wanting to become, it's so [inaudible] controlling that perception or being more of an influence in that perception. Totally relatable. Um, and so we'll move on because we're where we need to at this point. But, um, one last question before we do. So in that process, what does that timeline look like? What does that, you know, um, so anyone else again who's listening? Um, and we can roll this into, you know, a piece of advice that you might have for another company who's facing the same challenge. You know, what does the timeline look like and what, what could you recommend, um, to them about just where to start?

Katie: (30:30)
Yeah, I think the question in my mind that, um, a lot of startup founders have a lot of executives have in these high growth firms. I mean, you just got just got funding. The question is like, when do I need PR and what do I bring it on and what can I expect? Which is the subject of a whole nother interview that we can do. But it's really to me about setting expectations, um, earlier than you think. I think once you have institutional funding, the decision should have already been in place that with that money you will invest in PR. Because institutional funding to me is just, um, it's fuel for the fire for growth. And if you're a startup, right, you don't have time to get the money and then think, well, what, well, how do we grow? What should we do now? You have to have a game plan ready.

Katie: (31:08)
And part of that game plan has to be, how are we going to create air cover for the next six to 12 to 18 months? So everything else we're doing from another round of funding in 18 months to sales today too, you know, um, uh, building credibility with our key accounts, the ones that take 12 months to close, yeah. Have to start early in that process. It should be ready to ground day one, you know? And so it takes a while for PR to work. And by work, I mean generate all that trust. Buyer's philosophically aligned with you. Uh, you generate that word of mouth, but once it does hit, you're suddenly on the radar. It's, it's just the momentum builder for the rest. And it should be something you started investing in early for that. It takes a while to get going. It doesn't take forever though.

Katie: (31:54)
You can do a lot with a small budget today, um, to start getting early wins. Um, but I was just actually just got a text when a former client of mine, when I started, when I started consulting, you know, because I have a PR background and people look to me for help with that, which is fine. But I'm really bad at pitching reporters. I'm really bad at doing PR. I'm very good at strategically giving recommendations about PR. I will admit that freely, anyone who does this work is amazing, resilient, creative individuals. They are, they are the strongest people I know in the business. Um, and so I was helping this company, uh, who at that point hadn't invested in PR at all at all. Um, but had a great story, had a great product, well loved. They had, co-created it with the market. Um, big brands, clients, kind of like a dream for anyone in PR.

Katie: (32:40)
And so I took them on and I got a text today, this is four years ago. And he said to me, Mmm, you know, people have started to tell me that they, they, they, we started popping up on their radar about three years ago and I realized that's when we brought you on to do this. Which is not about me. It's just the beauty of PR. It just puts you on the radar. That's a first step for anything else. Any kind of relationship to be built, whether it's buying, investing, working for the company or in general, you cannot afford not to have, you should TJ initiative. I'm in PR today. I'm sorry. You say PR is dead. I disagree. I think it's more important than [inaudible] ever

Lorin: (33:15)
in today's world. Oh, I will echo that. It's every company we work with, one of their pain points is not enough people. No. About us. You know, and there's their sales team. Like, why, why am I picking up the phone and getting on a call and they know about our competitors, but they don't know who we are or they don't know about our, you know, our new products align or whatever. Um, and it really hurts by the time they feel that pain if they're not getting out of it really the bottom line. So, um, that's just amazing. Um, okay, so is there a business resource, like a book or a podcast that you're just getting a lot out of right now that you can recommend?

Katie: (33:54)
That's a good question and I, I should've had a good answer for this. I will say one new podcast that I'm tuning to is like somebody I just had a chance to meet in LA. Um, and he's, it's a good podcast for anyone who is seeking to find their voice. Now this could be an individual, it could be a company, again, trying to find their unique perspective in this world. Highly recommend called Mike [inaudible]

Lorin: (34:14)

Katie: (34:14)
and it's from Mike Dinino. Um, [inaudible] he's got a really wonderful way of, uh, illustrating some of these hard truths that I've mentioned earlier. Um, but in a way that helps people take it and run with it. Um, his whole thing is you've gotta be, you gotta be you. Like, you can't try to become a thought leader and then replicate what Seth Godin is doing or, you know, try to have an original point of view and then replicate what you see HubSpot and drift and very visible MarTech brands doing that is their playbook. You know, my takeaway with doing your own thing, what works for you, what works for your buyers, your industry, and your personal, um, you know, skillset. I think that's a very scary thing for some people because that means doing something different and it's a lot easier to do what you see others doing. It just, yeah, that doesn't work in marketing. Sorry, the name of the game is original. You know, it's, it's the name of the game is relevance and you really have to, again, therapy look inward. You have to figure out what you bring to the table and be willing to amplify that. Why don't you do things that's a fall in place and you're happier too. It's, it's a more genuine way of living.

Lorin: (35:19)
Yeah, I love it. And I am a fan of the podcast and Mike is great.

Katie: (35:23)
He like you like wait, yeah, that he just had a Ash Ambridge on the today. It's a new podcast, but a new book. So go listen to this. She's amazing too for anyone who's listening, Ash and Berge love her.

Lorin: (35:34)
Great. Oh, I'm totally going to check it out. This is fantastic. Okay. And Katie, you're everywhere, but just in case someone you know like me a year and a half ago has been living under a rock and doesn't know who you are yet and they find you. I [email protected]

Katie: (35:50)
where you can also sign up for that newsletter. But I'm very Googleable if you just Google me, you'll find more than you ever want to know about me. Um, but again, I'm really excited about this new documentary. So, uh, if anyone out there sees this and wants to get involved or uh, bring it into their organization, their college, the university, their anything. Um, I'm talking to a lot of internal employee resource groups about this. So that is, uh, perfect way to get me in and start to create this change within your organization. Um, whether it's just because they're consumers that are now conscious or they are marketers who just want to be more accountable and you know, more credible. I think marketers want to love what we do and I think there's a way to do it. We have to admit some hard truths first.

Lorin: (36:29)
Yeah, I love it. Okay. And by the time this episode actually comes out, you will probably have another link. So if it's available I'll, I'll drop it in the, in the show notes, description box. And um, so wrapping up, Katie, what is the best piece of business advice that you've ever received?

Katie: (36:47)
Business advice and life advice except no one's definition of your life. Define yourself and everyone from Harvey Weinstein to, you know, Oprah has been quoted with that quote, so I have no idea who actually said it. So

Lorin: (36:59)
we're going to attribute it to you. It's, yeah, today Katie, more tolerated. Okay. Thank you so much for coming on. This has been a blast. I'm so stoked that we finally connected to record this then for anybody else watching. Thanks for making it this far, and we'll see you on the next episode of [inaudible].

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