Marketing Isn't for the Lazy Ones with Brian Kardon (CMO at Fuze)

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This is a podcast episode titled, Marketing Isn't for the Lazy Ones with Brian Kardon (CMO at Fuze). The summary for this episode is: Great marketing isn't about sending your emails at 2:08pm on a Tuesday because you read somewhere that it's the best time to send an email. Nope. It's about zigging when everyone else is zagging. But what will it take for B2B marketers to really get out of the echo chamber? DG sits down with Brian Kardon to get find out. Brian is the CMO at Fuze, and before that he served in the same role at Lattice Engines, Eloqua, and Forrester. DG and Brian talk about whether marketers put too much stock in technology, why marketing isn’t for the lazy, why you should answer your next cold call, the benefits of the right peer group, and a lot more.

DG: Hey, it's DG, and I want to send you a ton of free marketing stuff right to your door, or to your inbox, whatever you want. I'm serious, because look, we know how it is. One of my favorite things about doing marketing at Drift is that we are all marketers just like you, so we're marketers doing marketing to marketers. It's crazy. And one thing we know that in the B2B world, there's so much content out there it can be hard to figure out what to read and who to trust if you're looking to grow your business. We put together something that I call the Ultimate Conversational Marketing Starter Kit. We asked our top customers, literally turned to them and said," What resources would you give to somebody new to Drift and conversational marketing?" And we're packaging all that up to send right to your door for the first time for free. So that means I will send you a copy of the book I wrote with my boss, our CEO David Cancel, on conversational marketing. This book was an instant number one new release on Amazon in three categories. And it's already sold 10,000- plus copies to date. I'll literally send you the actual 262- page hardcover book right to your door. Also, we'll send you This Won't Scale, a digital copy of our very popular book This Won't Scale, which is a book we wrote as a marketing team about how we do marketing at Drift. It's 110 pages. It's only been available as a hard copy, but we're making it available digitally for the first time as part of this offer. We'll also send you The Modern Marketer's Playbook. You'll get a digital copy of our Modern Marketer's Playbook, which is a guide we wrote with strategic insights from 35 of today's most influential marketing leaders from companies like Slack, LinkedIn, Oka, Vimeo and more. We'll also give you the Conversational Marketing Blueprint, which is the best next step after you read the Conversational Marketing book, and it gives you a step- by- step guide for implementing and optimizing conversational marketing for your business. And, it's not over, the Conversational Sales Handbook. This is a guide you're going to need to give to your sales team to build your conversational sales strategy, aka what you do after you take everything you've learned in the book and the blueprint. All you have to do is visit drift. com/ starter and grab all this stuff right now. That's starter, S- T- A- R- T- E- R. I tried to have no Boston accent on that. Drift. com/ starter. We'll send everything right to your door, or we'll literally just send an email if you'd prefer that. Okay, drift. com/ starter and I will see you, hopefully, there. Hey, everybody. It's DG, and I'm back with another episode of the Swipe File. Today, I have one of my favorite CMOs on the podcast with me. His name is Brian Kardon. He is the CMO at a company called Fuze. You may have known him before that. He was a CMO, a chief strategy and marketing officer at Forrester. He was a CMO at Eloqua for four years until they got acquired by Oracle. He was a CMO at Lattice Engines, and now, like I said today, he's the CMO of Fuze. I love this conversation with Brian. He's one of my favorite marketers, favorite CMOs, marketing leaders out there. I hope you like it. Tune in. We were going to go outside, but it is about 200 degrees in Boston today, so I emailed you about 20 minutes ago and said," Why don't we just do it here?" I think everybody was... We saved Gonzalo. We saved me. We saved you.

Brian Kardon: I'm very grateful. Just walking over here, it was just a slivovitz show. It's just terrible.

DG: It was brutal. Everybody was moist. So you actually told me interesting stories. Joe was one of the first episodes that we've done. You have some early Joe Chernov stories. So I want to break into that because you were the CMO at Eloqua, 2008... you hired Joe to do PR, and this is when you discovered-

Brian Kardon: Well, it's so funny. I interviewed Joe very early on. He was a traditional PR guy and I passed on him. I didn't think he was right.

DG: Yeah. Did he have a beard then? He's cleaner cut.

Brian Kardon: Yeah. I'm not sure if he had a beard or not. He went through different phases as he continues to. And so I passed on him the first time, didn't seem like a good fit. And the second time I thought it was right, I love his assertiveness and his strong point of view on everything. He's not a nod your head kind of guy, which I loved. As I was telling you earlier, he joined in a more traditional communications PR/ AR role. And then we both read Inbound by Dharmesh and Brian, and this was around 2008, 2009. And we just devoured it. And it totally changed how we thought about things. We were much more traditionalists, much more outbound, cold calling... all the things that the book says is just old school.

DG: It seems like a big shift. Do you take that... because there's a lesson in there, which I think is you're looking for a new channel... And you told me earlier, you have your group, right Megan from MongoDB and Volpe and some others. Is that how you get to that point where you realize you have to make a fundamental change? Because it's hard, right? Things are going well and things are working, it takes guts to say,"All right, we're going to try something completely new." How do you stay on top of that?

Brian Kardon: Well, that was a huge shift for us. So we totally reinvented everything. Literally it was a change management exercise. So everyone on the team would discuss the book. We'd talk about how it would affect our role. So how would it affect the demand gen team? How does it affect content marketing? How does it affect PR and AR? How does it affect product marketing? So we all talked about the ramifications of the book and we sort of changed. We realized we had to do something different. Also because it was marketing automation, we're sort of in the spotlight marketing. So if you're running marketing at HubSpot, or you're running marketing at Marketo or Eloqua, there's no room for forgiveness. You are the role model and you're up there and the lights are on and you've got to be a role model for lots of marketers out there. The thing I loved about the HubSpot IPO though, it wasn't just about you guys went public and it was a great success. That you really change an entire generation of marketers about how they thought about marketing and the role that marketing could have. And that I think is going to be the lasting impact. That's a great company, it'll last a long time. But I think the real impact is how it has affected an entire generation marketers and new ways of thinking.

DG: Do you think there's a next wave? Are we past that wave now? I think we're past the marketing automation... that's table stakes now, right? crosstalk.

Brian Kardon: It hits commodity. It's like electricity running in the walls. Every building's got it, everybody's going to get WiFi. So what's the next level. What's interesting is that, this is right around the time the whole MarTech stack was emerging and the thousands of MarTechs that are out there right now. I don't think it's about the technology at all anymore. I think everything plugs and works really well, it configures really well. I think it's going to be much more about automation with artificial intelligence, machine learning, how do you do things smarter, faster. I remember when I started my marketing career, we review all the campaigns quarterly. Then an Eloqua, we do it monthly and now, of course, we do it continuously.

DG: Yeah. We have a whiteboard back there and... So right now, it's a third day of July, right? We've planned July, but we have a team and we built a team in a way where, if I walk out of this video with you with a good idea, we could go rip up that calendar and say," Hey, you know what we're going to do Tuesday." That to me is what is so fun. It can be hard though because you always feel like you're on the wheel a little bit, but-

Brian Kardon: We have a pretty high bar when we change something, so we like to run things for while and because we don't have as high a velocity sale as you do, so we have fewer inbounds, we have fewer... It's definitely a high touch, our model at Fuze. We have a nine- month cycle from opportunity to close, so it goes quite a while. So it takes us a while to run a test, to have enough conversions to see how well the A/ B tests work and how well a campaign does.

DG: You've always been, with the exception of Fuze, you've always been in marketing. Obviously you've been a CMO, but Forrester...

Brian Kardon: So it's interesting. I was a career consultant. I worked for this consulting firm for years and I was a partner there. Then we had twin boys and I realized the life of a consultant is, you never see your kids. You leave Monday morning and you come back on Friday. I got a call from Spencer Stuart one day to be CMO of this big company. And I got the job. And so unlike most marketers, I never grew up in a marketing organization. I was never a marketing manager, a director. I went from consultant with a bunch of slides and analysis, to being CMO of a multi- billion dollar company. So it was crazy. I really felt like a fraud.

DG: Did you have a moment, like what am I-

Brian Kardon: Like what am I doing here? Then I realized the guy that hired me, he wanted more leadership, much more consulting and persuasion and that sort of stuff. And so it worked out great for me.

DG: What did you do at Forrester? I'm interested in-

Brian Kardon: So I was head of marketing and strategy. I was one of the first customers of Eloqua. So I joined Forrester in 2008. This is after the bubble had burst and a lot of the Forrester money had come from venture capital funding companies that bought Forrester contracts. I had a great guy running U. S. marketing, a guy named Dennis van Lingen. And Dennis was always talking to our analysts and the analysts were covering new marketing technologies. And one of the analysts Elana, who actually ended up being CMO of Demandware, she's terrific, she had heard about this new technology out of Canada called Eloqua, or Eloqua. So we started looking at that, and so I was one of the first customers of Eloqua and we were using it and we gave them a lot of feedback on the product. And then four years later they were looking for a CMO and they called me," We love you Brian because you were one of the first adapters." They needed a CMO who didn't just run marketing, but would evangelize the category. And that became a new role for me. So I was able to speak a lot to marketers and talk about the future of marketing.

DG: What do you see still... So you came up as a CMO in that era of marketing automation, right? What do you still see out there today that is... because I feel like there's a bunch of, as technology keeps changing, there's this core of skills that I think people are missing now. As I'm interviewing more people and growing our team and talking to more people, I feel like everybody just wants to focus on the tools and the technology and it feels like we're missing something else.

Brian Kardon: Here's the thing that is missing. Most of my time is now spent dealing with sales issues. So marketing doesn't really exist unless the sales person picks it up and you have the right process and the right SLAs. We did something wrong in the beginning of Fuze. I over- instrumented the dashboards for the sales team. It's very complicated. You get some kid out of school and they're a BDR and it's like, my God. You give them like a cockpit of some unbelievable jet fighter plane. crosstalk All they want is a clock and a radio. It's unbelievable.

DG: Or you say," Hey, your job is to do a hundred of these things and that's it."

Brian Kardon: Right, that's it. So we have to simplify it. I assume they're in love with all the technologies I am. So you could go here for surges, you go here for who came to the website and go here, who's engaged here and go here for this, so we got this over there. It's unbelievable. And at the end of the day, they weren't looking at anything, they were too confused. It's back to your point, just do this, every day.

DG: That's a great lesson. I never think of that, right. Which is why I like... to come right into a new job, right. You're 22, 23 and you got to look at all these things. What do you mean searches, dashboards? I've never looked at any of this stuff in my life. So how quickly did you realize that was not the right-

Brian Kardon: Pretty fast, pretty fast. It happens that our BDRs sit very close to me-

DG: You own those dashboards, it wasn't sales and then sales ops, and then-

Brian Kardon: No, we own them. So the BDRs report into sales, but we own things that they look at, all the plug- ins, I go into the CRM. So we own all those things, so all the tools that they have. What happened was, I would sit next to a BDR and just say," I just want to see what you do." And they got very nervous because the CMO, what do you do? And so I didn't tell him what to do, I just observed what they did.

DG: And you're like," I'm not judging you. I just, literally, this is what I want, I want to watch-"

Brian Kardon: I just want to watch and see how you-

DG: It's like a test.

Brian Kardon: And I realized that they're not prioritizing things properly and being pulled in a million directions. So the salespeople that they report to, we have about a 3: 1 ratio, one BDR for three sales reps, that the sales reps says to focus on these accounts. And they're being distracted all the time. So he gets to doing something and then they get pushed over here. Then they get pushed over here. The priorities are always changing. So we needed to get a true north. Like here's what you do every day, and it's super simple. So most of my time now is spent on the integration between sales and marketing, and not on the technology at all. In fact, I find most CMOs have put in too much marketing technology that they're not using. And so we're a good example of that. The few technologies that we put in that we can afford, but that's not the scarce resource. The scarce resource is not the dollars. It's time.

DG: Because you can always make a case to the CFO, to the board, whoever... If I can show you we're going to keep growing, why would you not keep giving me more budget?

Brian Kardon: Right. I can always get more budget, but we can only onboard so many technologies a quarter, or a year. Then about a year ago I was going through the audit of all of our technologies and they said,"How are we doing with this one, who was using it?" And then I log on, I see no one's logged on in six months. crosstalk What the hell are we doing?

DG: I want to go into that. So you did an audit, who owns that? Do you have an ops person?

Brian Kardon: Yeah, we have marketing ops persons who are awesome.

DG: You say," Hey marketing ops team, I want to know our entire tech stack top to bottom, what we're paying for."

Brian Kardon: Yeah, so I have that in a system so I know exactly what we're paying for everything and we have about 28 technologies right now. We're pretty candid. At my company they gave me a private office, but I'm never in there. I sit with my team-

DG: You still sit with the BDRs?

Brian Kardon: I love sitting with the BDRs, you learn so much.

DG: I know. No that is important, I didn't want to skip over... that is a really important lesson, which is in this world of hacks and tips and tricks and spreadsheets and numbers, and hey let the numbers tell a story. To actually go and sit there, I still find the best, the most underrated thing, for me, learning here has been... the sales team sits down there... just going through a couple of times a day and walking through. And the only bummer about moving into this office is we don't sit next to them anymore. That used to be the realest form of feedback because I'm sitting next to a sales rep on a call and I'm listening, this is bobSmith @ gmail. com booked a meeting. I'm going to hear it for this one, or you can learn. I love that as a piece of advice, which is so often overlooked. So anyway, you get this audit-

Brian Kardon: Yeah. So I see what we're spending and what we're doing, but I ask Emily and I say," Emily, what are the technologies-" Joe Chernov calls it my shit sandwich, so I always start with something nice, and then there's something horrible in the middle, and then it ends sort of nice, and I do this with performance reviews. People always know what's coming.

DG: Joe is a master of the shit sandwich, even though I know it's-

Brian Kardon: He learned it from crosstalk the sandwich maker himself.

DG: Okay, good. All right, I'll get the shit sandwich after this.

Brian Kardon: So I say," Emily, what's really killing it, what's really-" Oh, everybody's using this, everybody's using this, great. What is being underutilized a little bit? And so she'll open up a little bit, she's very candid person anyway, and she'll say," Well, we deployed this a little bit early. We haven't been able to do this, we haven't been able to do this." So we have to really be able to deploy things and get them going. But we find that the choke point is the sales team. They can only handle so many new things. Marketing can handle a lot more because it's automated and we're used to it, but a sales person's day can only handle so many new things.

DG: I think the thing that people don't understand, and the cool thing about doing marketing here and we sell marketing software, is for our sales team. We in the marketing team can be the number one buyer, right. So we can give them real feedback. I think the thing that doesn't get understood a lot is it's not about the money, it's about literally look at the hundred other priorities, right?

Brian Kardon: That's what it is.

DG: And you can have a nice to have, maybe this is not a real pain... unless it's a burning, burning pain, like I am behind on leads this month and I want to do X to get there, right. It's really hard to jump to the top of the list. So it's not that those technologies aren't any good. It's just in the land of 15, 20, 30 other things, how are you going to focus on this one?

Brian Kardon: Exactly right. There's a real danger... When I was at Eloqua, it was assumed that I knew how marketers bought because my whole team were marketers. They would bring us in sales calls and everything. And now I'm selling to IT, I can't be lazy because I don't have a clue how IT buys. So I had to do the research and talk to IT people and do the personas and do all that stuff. So I think a lot of marketers at MarTech companies, I know you're not one of them, just revert back to their own behavior and they think they know, but things change and every buyer's not the same. So I like the discipline of not being in MarTech anymore. It's very cluttered right now. It's a hard market, as you know.

DG: The thing I do a lot, is I just forward... When I get a good email from a sales rep, even if I don't take the call, I send it to our team. Because I'm like, this was a great email, here's why.

Brian Kardon: Did you ever take any inbound calls from sales reps?

DG: Like on a phone?

Brian Kardon: Yeah, like your phone rings-

DG: Never.

Brian Kardon: Okay.

DG: You do?

Brian Kardon: I will pick it up because-

DG: I'm going to start prank calling you-

Brian Kardon: You and I are both anthropologists. So when you get an email that's how they're really good or really bad, we call it the hall of shame or the hall of glory. And I love good ones. I love phone calls too. So we'll get some video-

DG: Oh, I never thought of that. I never thought of was putting a phone call in the Swipe File, too, right.

Brian Kardon: It's the same thing.

DG: It was always email. I love that.

Brian Kardon: So some kid calls me, some sweaty kid... Oh, they reached the CMO. He's like" Oh my God!" And they always want to set up a meeting and I say," You don't have to set up a meeting, this is the meeting." crosstalk Go ahead.

DG: I like that.

Brian Kardon: Yeah, and so you just see what they can do, and I usually say"You've got 30 seconds"-

DG: So Brian Kardon answers his phone, if you're watching at home-

Brian Kardon: I occasionally do- crosstalk.

DG: We'll have his number pop up right here in this video. I love that. Actually, I have picked up the phone a couple of times. And when I do, I actually feel like the person on the other end is hoping that I don't answer.

Brian Kardon: They are. They want to leave a message because they have an SLA, so many emails, so many voicemails left. They don't want to talk to you. They're scared to death.

DG: That's a broken SLA. It's just number- driven. You're going to call me... The other thing now though is that the local-

Brian Kardon: I've offered a job to a kid who called me once-

DG: Because it was a good pitch?

Brian Kardon: So good. And I said, can I have your email? I said, send me an email. And then I followed up, I tried to make him an offer, I couldn't bring him on-

DG: It didn't work?

Brian Kardon: Yeah. It didn't work.

DG: Because he's probably good. He's probably killing it. crosstalk

Brian Kardon: He's making a lot of money.

DG: He might be the only one picking up the phone and making calls. The problem now, because of the local dial thing, the chance... every phone call I get is 617, is 508, is 774 and so... is this tricking me into thinking it's someone that I know or-

Brian Kardon: But it's so interesting with the salesperson because no one responds to emails anymore. It's very unlikely. So I don't know about you, but conversion rates across the board are just down to nothing, click throughs and opens. And then no one's picking up the phone except for obviously me and maybe you now... so how do you reach people? It's really a dilemma for salespeople. I think it's a whole new world and this could be the next big wave, is how do you get through, how do you really break through the people?

DG: Have you thought about that at all?

Brian Kardon: All the time.

DG: Okay. What are you thinking about? You told me you talk to a couple of CMOs you have in your inner circle, you guys trade ideas. How do you fix that?

Brian Kardon: So it has to be a highly personal message, has to be related to them and it can't be like," Hey, you went to Notre Dame and so did I, here's a hat." And people go to link this, it's" Oh, he's got a dog, I'll send them a bag of dog food." It's like, no-

DG: I have somebody's had that to me and I have no affiliation with X, I don't have no love for that. Okay, so you just lost points, but yeah. The hard part about that is nobody wants to believe that, nobody wants that advice. Because they want it to be," All right, well you automate this thing and then you do this thing and you send this thing." But the best emails that I have and respond to are people who actually have taken the time," Hey, I watched your video with Brian and at 15 minutes in, you said this thing, what did you mean by that?" I'm like, huh, okay, this person actually did the research. That's the only trick though for the future is be real.

Brian Kardon: Be real. And you got to do the research and find out and not just be flattering in a sycophant kind of way. It's got to be sincere and authentic.

DG: Okay, so the reason I want to do this series is I wanted to just hang out and have conversations with CMOs because I think that other people who want to be in this position one day will get interested in it. What is the biggest jump from managing a team, whether you're a director or manager, a VP or whatever of, five, six, seven, 20 people to making the jump to CMO? What do you think is the biggest thing that people often don't think about, or what does the progression to have to look like?

Brian Kardon: So it's really two areas. One is, we all grow up in a major. We had to major in demand gen or communication or something.

DG: What was yours?

Brian Kardon: Mine was demand gen because of Eloqua. And so that's my major, and so it was my comfort zone. I'm really good at conversions and nurturing and scoring, and I can do that-

DG: So we could go whiteboard our funnel at Drift right now, and you could be like, you should do this- crosstalk.

Brian Kardon: Everywhere I know what's going on. So it's just very easy for me. So I had to get much better at messaging communications, much better AR/ PR. So all these other areas. So to become a CMO, you have to really be multi- lingual. You're not just speaking one language, demand gen. So you have to be able to do it all. That's the first thing. Number two is you have to be a great communicator, up, down, sideways. So there's always the pressure with sales of the CEO, CFO. We're always skeptical, classically, about what marketing's doing. You have to communicate with your team to keep them really excited about what they're doing. And then you have to be able to communicate with prospects and customers. So communication is really important, frequent, transparent, compelling, leadership stuff. So the first point is you have to speak all these languages of marketing, and understand that, and then the second is this idea of digging in and being a good communicator.

DG: How do you go and that? Let's say you are director of demand gen at a company, and you've got that thing nailed. Your boss is not likely to say," Yeah, you know what, go work on some PR stuff." How do you get that knowledge?

Brian Kardon: I think you'll hopefully be part of cross- functional teams, some special projects, or you're part of the leadership team in marketing. And so you may go to the content marketing person and say," Hey, I'd like to write a blog post or I want to work on some things, or how do you think about sharing it socially? Or how do you tag a piece of content? Or the website is doing this?" Like," I've never built a website, can you make be part of the team-"

DG: Just being curious about all of the pieces.

Brian Kardon: Curiosity is the key. I always think that the real competitive advantage is this idea of continuously changing and evolving and being curious to try new things, because things aren't stagnant, particularly in marketing.

DG: One thing I think is interesting, is you still have this peer group, right? Tell me more about who's in the peer group. You don't have to name their names if you don't want to, but how do you use them in your role today? And I'm asking, because I think the one thing that every marketer wants to do is, they want to say," Hey Brian, can I pick your brain? Can I get coffee? Can I do this thing?" I think for me, the thing that I've learned is the most valuable thing, is doing that with other people who are doing the same thing that I am. I think the first time I met you was at a dinner in Boston with a bunch of other marketing people. I went to that dinner and I usually think those things can be garbage, and I loved that one because it felt like 10 people who were all off the record, all sharing the same thing, and I walked out of that, being like," That guy is dealing with the same thing, she's dealing with this problem." It's all related. It's just a different company.

Brian Kardon: There is a counter- argument that occasionally, we're in this world of B2B marketing, you're in MarTech-

DG: It's a bubble.

Brian Kardon: It's like this little echo chamber, all this world... like Phil Schiller at Apple is doing some amazing things.

DG: A hundred percent.

Brian Kardon: Lorraine Twohill is doing unbelievable stuff in Google. There are people doing amazing things. B2C... I think we got to find other examples than just the vendor echo chamber here.

DG: That should be the pull quote for this, because I think, to me, that's how you break through the whole thing you were saying earlier about... everybody has a blog, everybody has a podcast, everybody's sending email, conversion rates are lower. If you and I right now said," Hey, you know what, hey, for all you watching this video, our B2B research tells us the best time to send an email is 2: 08 PM on a Tuesday." Then that's where the opportunity is. I'm sending an email on Saturday night, I'm going to this channel or nobody in my industry is doing videos so I want to do video-

Brian Kardon: You got to zig when everybody else is zagging, but if you're listening to the equity chamber, everyone's sort of pulled in the same direction. And there's a lot to be... Some of these B2C marketers from big companies are doing some amazing things. I love what Adobe does. Ann Luna is a great CMO. I love, Lorraine over at Google, I love. There's some really amazing global marketers. There's a guy named David Edelman at Aetna. He's got an interesting background. He was at Digitas. He ran the Boston office of Digitas agency, and then he was at McKinsey writing about digital marketing and transformations, all this stuff. And now he's running marketing. He's CMO of Aetna, an insurance company. What a yawn that is. How exciting, how boring... The guy has made it interesting and fascinating. At the end of the day, he's a storyteller making insurance accessible to people, and really tear jerk stories. He's just done an amazing job there.

DG: I think the other thing is understanding people. I think, especially in B2B, we live in this, I'm in B2B, I'm in a bubble. This is what I got to do. I can go stand in line to get a coffee, and I see not a single person looking up, everyone's like this, right, and I can tell you that something's got to change in marketing, right? We don't answer our phones, we don't answer emails, and yet we were on our phones all day. There's just places to observe like that.

Brian Kardon: Do you ever unplug for a while? Do you ever have a way... I don't know about you, I see you're married... no electronics in bed, and I mean your phone. But do you have certain zones or certain times you unplug completely?

DG: So the best way for me to unplug is, I have a one year- old and so having a daughter, having a baby, has forced me to prioritize. I tweeted something the other day, it was like having a baby has been like all right, I'm a super Type A person... before I go to bed I run my list of things I want to do tomorrow, and I have my to- do list, I'm going to do this... and then I had a baby. And now it's like, okay, you have one 20 minute window, go now and do what you're going to do.

Brian Kardon: So if you're with a stroller and the baby and everything, you're not doing this, you're not doing this?

DG: Sometimes I am-

Brian Kardon: The baby will never know. She or he is only one-

DG: I think that Apple knows something, Steve Jobs knew something because she will see my phone, and she's like, what is that? We try to give her that. So that's a good question. I do have some habits. So number one is no phones in the bedroom. My wife and I got two$ 5 digital clocks-

Brian Kardon: So it's one function-

DG: The one function, just alarm, which is I actually needed 30 minutes to figure out how to make it work. I haven't used one of these since I was 12. And we leave our phones out in the kitchen. So we try to have that routine. I'm trying to do better at, when I'm doing something, going deep and doing it. I knew that today, my big thing, I have two big things. I'm doing a webinar later today, and I was going to interview you. So I just tried to say, you know what, that's what I'm doing today.

Brian Kardon: That's plenty for a day.

DG: Forget about everything else. Go deep with Brian. Make that valuable and then do a good webinar, and then I can go home tonight and be good with that. I try to go to the gym in the morning, that's my time to crosstalk be unplugged.

Brian Kardon: Are you one of these 5: 00 AM guys?

DG: Yeah. Just because by default now, I have to do that.

Brian Kardon: It's the only time you find to yourself.

DG: It's the only time I find... At night, my daughter goes to bed at seven. So I want to leave here and make sure I can go see her and give her a bath and go to bed. And then I got to go to bed early. So I have seven to nine to hang out. There's a dinner or an event or something... that time in the morning is my time.

Brian Kardon: Yeah, time... I get up very early, I just love that.

DG: What time do you get up?

Brian Kardon: Five o'clock.

DG: No matter what time you're up until tonight? If you had to go to an event or something, or do you ever give yourself-

Brian Kardon: My team will, they know that Brian does the Kardon two- step crosstalk. So I always show up at events early and I leave really early.

DG: I love that.

Brian Kardon: But I don't tell anyone. crosstalk I say I'm going to the bathroom or," Oh there's my friend Dave over there"... Dave's not even there. I just sort of... and then I'm asleep by nine o'clock. I'm in my pajamas... I'm asleep every night at 9: 30 crosstalk. But I'm all in.

DG: Don't tell too many people about that.

Brian Kardon: It's out there. It's out there. crosstalk Oh, you leave a little bit early too?

DG: All the time.

Brian Kardon: I never go to sleep at 11 o'clock it just won't happen, unless I go to a concert.

DG: Do you know Jocko Willink at all?

Brian Kardon: No.

DG: He's this former Navy SEAL and-

Brian Kardon: Oh, not Extreme Ownership?

DG: Yeah. crosstalk. He gets up early and everybody always asks him, " Jocko, how do you get up early? What's your secret?" And he goes, " Go to bed early."

Brian Kardon: Exactly.

DG: So what do you do between five and the time you get to work?

Brian Kardon: I have a cup of coffee and I read a book. I don't turn on the computer for a while.

DG: I love that.

Brian Kardon: I walk the dog, which is nice, I find that very therapeutic. We have the world's smallest dog, our landscaper calls it a squirrel on a leash. It's a four pound dog.

DG: If you're somewhere around in Boston at 5: 20 on a Tuesday morning, we might see you with a little tiny-

Brian Kardon: Little tiny thing, it's unbelievable.

DG: What you read?

Brian Kardon: So I try to read more fiction than nonfiction. And I try to read things that are of interest to make children. As a parent, I think one of the really good things that I did was, whatever my kids were reading at the time... so they could be reading JD Salinger, Of Mice and Men... whatever books they're reading in high school, I would read that book at the same time crosstalk. And we'd talk about it. So my daughter is now a sommelier. So she went to college-

DG: And you have twin boys?

Brian Kardon: Yeah, identical twin boys and a daughter. Yeah. So she just graduated college and she wants to be a sommelier. So her thesis in college was wine in the Divine, so wine through different religions over a thousand years. And so she weighs all of 90 pounds, she can drink me under a table. So we'd go out to a restaurant, she never orders wine by the glass, oh we'll get a bottle of this to start. And I'm thinking, what the hell it's the two of us. So I'm sipping a glass, and she's just-

DG: She's she knows the industry. That's how-

Brian Kardon: She knows the industry, knows her wines. And then we start a second bottle, a third bottle, and so she's unbelievable. And so there's several books about wine now she wants me to read, and also I am taking a wine class as well. So Tuesday nights I go to a wine class and we do tasting and everything. So I try to do those things.

DG: I love that. So you have that curiosity. I mean, it's a mindset. You'll always be learning. As a thing, you do learn from fiction and from wine, things you can apply it to marketing. That's what people I think miss a lot.

Brian Kardon: Well, part of that fiction is I'd like to get into a story. My wife runs sales for her company and sometimes they'll have the President's Club thing and I'll be the spouse and I'll go with her. And I always bring a really great fiction book. And they'll say to my wife," Barb, is Brian okay?" Because I'll be in the corner crying. My kids say," Dad, you're so emotional." But I love these stories. And it just takes me to a completely different place, and it uses different separate muscles. The other thing I do to get in a different place is I play the piano almost every night. My mother was an opera singer. So I love piano. I think people need something different. It could be something physical they do or something emotional they do or something literary, or artistic.

DG: I love going back and reading old school marketing books, like David Ogilvy...

Brian Kardon: Are you serious?

DG: I swear to God, yeah.

Brian Kardon: Oh my God.

DG: That's my favorite stuff. I'll show you my desk on the way out. I have all the old school classics, classic ads. It just teaches you everything about people, and all the triggers that you need in marketing today are buried in those books crosstalk.

Brian Kardon: So Ogilvy and his inaudible at the time, Ken Roman, wrote a great little book called How to Write, and it's probably 60 pages, and I still have it.

DG: I love that.

Brian Kardon: I'll never forget at my first marketing job, because I kept all my marketing textbooks from college, someone on my marketing team said," Brian, I'd love to read one of your marketing books." So I gave her the book. She never gave it back. I will never lend out a book crosstalk. Do you ever lend out books? crosstalk They just don't come back.

DG: Not anymore.

Brian Kardon: It's was all highlighted with my notes when I was 18 years-old.

DG: I never cared about books. Now I love them, but there's only a select few. If I don't love the book, I put it somewhere else. I want my desk and at home, I want to have my books. crosstalk I have a bunch of sales, copywriting books and all that stuff. That's my favorite stuff.

Brian Kardon: Have you ever seen the show Cribs?

DG: Yeah.

Brian Kardon: It's like these very blingy houses.

DG: Of course.

Brian Kardon: My kids when were eight or nine were, they're watching some show- crosstalk

Speaker 3: It's the best, they take you in the fridge, like look at my Vitamin Water in the fridge.

Brian Kardon: I got 90 Vitamin Waters. My kids, I'll never forget, we're watching an episode and they're saying," So Dad." I said," Yeah."Do you notice anything about that house?" I said," What?"" They have more TVs than books." I've never seen a book in any house in Cribs. But they got TVs everywhere.

DG: So it doesn't validate the theory that if you read you're going to make more money and be more successful. But I brought up Ogilvy because their whole thing was, at an Ad agency, you're paid on your ideas, right? And he had all these chapters about how to come up with better ideas. And he calls it Unhook Your Subconscious. And so it's like, be learning and be stuffing your mind with all this stuff, but it's probably that when I'm at the gym or you're playing piano, that's when crosstalk your stuff happens because you're not actively thinking about it.

Brian Kardon: I always keep a 3x5 card in my pocket.

DG: I like that.

Brian Kardon: Yeah, it's very old school-

DG: What is that, your to- do list?

Brian Kardon: No, it's usually some ideas that I get. You can see how much I'm writing during our meeting this morning, but I get creative ideas throughout the day-

DG: You don't have a pen-

Brian Kardon: I don't have a pen right now, but I write things down because I'm always learning in different spots.

DG: Me too.

Brian Kardon: So my wife knows, like outside the shower we have a little hot tub, I've got a place to write things down. Everywhere crosstalk there's something crosstalk.

DG: I carry a notebook with me. And my wife knows, she always knows what I'm doing. When I'm in the other room and she doesn't hear me, she goes," Dave?" I'm like," Yeah." She goes," Are you writing in your notebook right now?" And I'm like-

Brian Kardon: You went silent.

DG: I love the index card thing. And do you ever, will you take action on that?

Brian Kardon: All the time.

DG: File it- Hey, I got to talk to Lauren about whatever.

Brian Kardon: Nothing gets filed, I have to do it immediately. My biggest fear, and this is my own paranoia, is that I'll forget to follow up on something. Because I always find that a person's character is like, do you do what you say you're going to do? So if I say to someone I'm going to call you back today, I have to call them back. And my worst fear is that I'm going to forget to do it.

DG: So if you're walking back now and you have a thought on the way home, like I got to follow up with X, you'll scribble it on your card-

Brian Kardon: Yeah, I'll scribble it on my card.

DG: I love that.

Brian Kardon: And I'll do it immediately.

DG: Read me one thing off the card that you can tell me about, that you scribbled.

Brian Kardon: One thing is a birthday gift for my wife.

DG: I love it.

Brian Kardon: So that would be the number one priority. I am so screwed-

DG: Is this all from today, your note card? Do you start a new note card everyday?

Brian Kardon: Yeah, everyday I have a new note card.

DG: It's like 11 o'clock and your card's already full-

Brian Kardon: Yeah, it's full of a whole bunch of things. One thing we're doing is we're testing a direct mail piece. We test different direct mail pieces, and I'm always interested. Just like if you get a good email, if I get a direct mail piece, the whole marketing team stands around, it's like of giving birth to a baby. And we look at the box and we see how it goes, and we open it up very, and we see how the corners are. You all want it to be like an apple. Everything is gorgeous and everything is a gift, and it's-

DG: The unveiling of an Apple product.

Brian Kardon: The unveiling of the product is the same. So we want to see how it all works, and did they put a video thing in there? They put a thing, is it a bottle of wine? Is it a golf club? We're always interested. And so I got some ideas based on some direct mail crosstalk about what we could do to improve things.

DG: I came into work today. I had a package on my desk. Before I even turned on my laptop or took my stuff out of my backpack crosstalk, I opened up the-

Brian Kardon: It's unbelievable. I think a lot of marketers have figured this out though. Nobody just wants to email, people aren't returning calls, but direct mail-

DG: But it's got to be math though, right? There's got to be a threshold of what your deal size is to make sense to do that?

Brian Kardon: So we have large deal size, which is really great. So I can spend a lot when generating a meeting. So our deal size is$ 300,000 a year and the three- year deal, so like a million dollars.

DG: So you have some funds to play with.

Brian Kardon: I have some money to play with. For me to get a meeting, if I spent a couple thousand bucks for the right decision maker, everybody's really happy.

DG: All right, well Brian, I could do this forever. crosstalk.

Brian Kardon: This was a great day. Thank you very much.

DG: I appreciate it, thanks for doing it. Hey, thanks for listening to another episode of the Swipe File. I'm having a lot of fun doing this podcast. Because it's fun for me, I hope it's fun for you. And it would mean the world if you could leave a review. Reviews really help. So go leave a review, go to Apple podcasts, leave a review, let me know what you liked about the show and what you didn't like, want to hear more of. And also if you're not already subscribed, make sure you go subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify... the show is everywhere that you get your podcasts, probably where you're listening right now. But if you want more content like this, if you want to go a layer deeper, join me on Drift Insider. It's drift. com/ insider. We're teaching courses, we're sharing videos and we have exclusive content for people just like you in marketing that we do not share publicly. So go and check it out, drift. com/ insider.


Great marketing isn't about sending your emails at 2:08pm on a Tuesday because you read somewhere that it's the best time to send an email. Nope. It's about zigging when everyone else is zagging. But what will it take for B2B marketers to really get out of the echo chamber? DG sits down with Brian Kardon to get find out. Brian is the CMO at Fuze, and before that he served in the same role at Lattice Engines, Eloqua, and Forrester. DG and Brian talk about whether marketers put too much stock in technology, why marketing isn’t for the lazy, why you should answer your next cold call, the benefits of the right peer group, and a lot more.