Measuring What Matters (With Tegrita’s Brandi Starr)

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This is a podcast episode titled, Measuring What Matters (With Tegrita’s Brandi Starr) . The summary for this episode is: “If someone sneezed, they were a lead.” ….Can you believe that’s the way marketers used to measure things? Neither can Brandi Starr. She’s the COO of Tegrita and is on a mission to change the way marketers align and action around measurement. On this episode of CMO Conversations, Tricia and Brandi talk about why measuring ROI to lead isn’t measuring ROI at all and how marketers can use metrics to bring the whole revenue team together. Because as we all know – what gets measured is what gets done. Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the pod with your friends. You can connect with Tricia and Brandi on Twitter @triciagellman @ModernMktgStarr @HYPERGROWTH_Pod
If someone sneezed, they were a lead...
00:36 MIN
ROI has to go back to revenue
01:08 MIN
What gets measured is what gets done
00:53 MIN
Brandi's secret sauce for going from leads to conversion metric
02:18 MIN
Getting a seat at the revenue table
01:45 MIN
The CMO/CFO relationship
01:57 MIN

Molly: Hey everyone, Molly here from Drift's HYPERGROWTH Podcast Network. Today, we're back with another episode of CMO Conversations. Our guest is Brandi Starr. She's the COO of Tegrita, a marketing automation and strategy consultancy for the modern marketer. Trisha met Brandi earlier this year. And once she learned about her background and the passion that she has for metrics, well she just knew we had to have her on the show. So, that's what this episode is all about. The future of marketing and how aligning and actioning around measurement and metrics brings the whole revenue team together. Take it away, Trisha and Brandi.

Trisha: Why don't we just get right down to it. And Brandi, maybe you can tell everyone just a little bit about your company and really short on your background.

Brandi Starr: Yes. So again, I'm the COO with Tegrita and that title really means I do a lot. So I'm responsible for marketing as well as some of service delivery and I'm a strategist. So I work directly with a lot of our clients as well. And so at Tegrita we really focus on marketing technology and the strategy that goes into that. So our core focus is the marketing automation, supporting Oracle Eloqua responses and HubSpot. But we work across a lot of different platforms, helping clients to figure out what types of technology they need, how to get those technologies implemented and figuring out where it fits into their marketing stack and how to get the most of that. For me, I've been in digital marketing now 20 years. I don't feel old enough to have been doing anything 20 years, but when I started my career I was designing for fax machines. Now I've got teenagers who really don't know what a fax machine is crosstalk.

Trisha: 100%.

Brandi Starr: Yeah. And at that time it was coming through that little dot matrix fax machine, most things were really distorted. You couldn't read them. So I learned how to effectively design in a way that came through in fax. And so most of my career has been in B2B and it's been everything from design to analytics to strategy. And then I kind of got thrust into marketing technology and discovered a whole new skillset that I didn't really know that I have or that I had and it's really taken off from there.

Trisha: Yeah. I mean, I think one of the reasons I thought it would be great to have you as a guest is because you can't do marketing today without some sort of technology and tech stack, but I think younger marketers, they just step into this thinking, " Well, I have to have this tech stack. I can't do my job if I don't have this tech stack." And I think you and I are a little bit more unique in having seen what life was like before the tech stack, the problems we were solving and then really how the technology can help create this marriage of human and technology so that we get sort of that win- win versus just making that assumption, that things are technology first. I mean, there's pros and cons to each, but I think one thing that was really interesting when we spoke before is you talked about how people adopt technology and they just move forward with this blind idea that they have to have specific metrics, but maybe those metrics are the wrong metrics. So can you talk to me a bit in this 20 year sort of tech history, what have been the shifts in the measurements that you have used in looking at marketing, marketing measurement what's possible now versus what was possible before?

Brandi Starr: Yeah, when I first started it was really eyeballs on message. That was all that we could hope to measure was the number of people who saw the message because without technology, there really wasn't a lot else that could be measured. Fast forward several years to when I was in more of a lead generation role and cross sell, we were measured on leads, but what a lead was, was so loosely defined, there were campaigns and it was kind of like if they sneezed it's like, " Oh, their lead, send them over to sales." And it was really like, " Who's got a pulse on this list that acts like they may at some point care about something that we have to say and get them in front of sales?"

Trisha: Well, I just was going to say, I think there are so many marketers that continue to say that they should be measured on leads. And it just baffles me because it's just so easy to get measured on leads. And I remember earlier in my career, we said, " Hey, sales isn't making their numbers, marketing needs to help." And everyone said, " Okay, great. We're just going to increase the number of demo leads." And so we took the demo offer and we put it in paid SEM and then everyone's like, " Oh look, we have more demo leads." And it's like, "No, that's not the same quality as the person who came to your website and asked for a demo. But Hey, we have 5X, the number of leads, so I hope you're happy."

Brandi Starr: Yeah. And at that time, sales teams were a lot larger. And so for them, yes, the abundance of leads was great. It kept them busy, they could show activity. Because even think then sales was really measured on activity. Like how many calls did you make? How many emails did you send? Nevermind whether they landed or where the right audience or were effective. And so on both sides of the coin, the measurement was really loose. Fast- forward to now where marketing budgets are being heavily scrutinized in terms of where you're spending money, why you're spending the amounts on the channels or the tactics and strategies that you have in place and what the ROI is. Everything is what's the ROI, what's the ROI? And the challenge is most people can't even calculate ROI.

Trisha: I was just going to say that it's elusive for most people, because if you're only measuring on leads, then you don't have the operational infrastructure to measure ROI. I mean, ROI to lead it's like, that's not really ROI because ROI needs to go back to revenue.

Brandi Starr: And that's historically what it's been. And so now what I'm seeing and prior to being in my role as a consultant, there was a shift in no longer measuring our team on number of marketing qualified leads. And we were actually measured on the conversion percentage from marketing qualified to SQL sales qualified opportunity. And so what percentage of those leads actually turned into an opportunity. And that was where it stopped for us because as marketers, we at that time did not really have direct influence beyond the opportunity. And so then it was all different ball game in how we were doing things.

Trisha: Yeah. But I think, I mean, just to pause on that for a moment, because I think a lot of companies have a hard time building out the infrastructure to measure all the way to revenue. And if you have a more scrappy marketing team, you have to prioritize. So prioritizing on what are you doing to get people in the door to pipeline versus what am I doing after pipeline to mature and close? I think this is a good trade off that I think marketing leaders need to make is how much resource do you have? How many dollars do you have? What can you truly be accountable for and therefore, where do you want to put your effort? So I think to me hear you say that you move to measurement of conversion to pipeline or a sales qualified lead. But that to me is the money metric that people need to focus on because at a minimum, you need to get there. You need to be able to say that your marketing is making that impact unless you're doing a program that truly is just about awareness and eyeballs.

Brandi Starr: Yeah. And there are certain times where that is your objective and that's perfectly fine and there's other metrics to be measured. But, I mean, I always say what gets measured is what gets done. And so if all we're measuring is leads and activity, then you're going to have a lot of leads and you're going to have sales doing a lot of activity, but that doesn't necessarily translate into revenue. When you start looking at that to your point, that's where you start to see that you have to invest in the operational infrastructure to be able to actually measure which of your leads turned into opportunities. And the harder part to measure is which of those turned into actual revenue. And it always shocks me the number of companies that can't at least get those three metrics to say, " It went from this marketing lead to actual revenue." There's so many gaps in between.

Trisha: Yeah. I mean, at Salesforce, I worked with the ops team, which we kind of built out simultaneously and the sales team to build out all of these metrics. And it was a four year journey for us. I mean, it's so easy in Salesforce to just track leads, but to then say, " Oh, this is a lead that converted to pipeline," and making sure that you have those right processes in place with sales in terms of the handoffs and how things convert. I mean, there's a lot that goes into it. And I think that's why a lot of companies don't do it, but I really believe that marketers are missing the strategic seat at the table if they don't work on this. And they don't point out to the company the importance of it. And of course, if you have a small business cycle, which is short versus an enterprise cycle which is longer, that adds complexity in terms of how you can measure to revenue. But doing the work, it's really important for having that strategic seat at the table.

Brandi Starr: Yeah. And that's exactly it. And you think about it, it took you guys four years to do that. You look at the average tenure of a CMO right now is less than four years crosstalk.

Trisha: Yeah. Well, I would hope that it would take somebody less now because that was seven years ago and the tech was crappy. And so hopefully it can take people less time, but I mean, it is probably, I don't know a year doing implementation of marketing operations. I mean, most people just to do marketing automation tools and switch those is a three to six month effort. So I can only imagine if you're starting from nothing and you want to build up this data, it's going to take a little while.

Brandi Starr: Yeah. And in some cases, untangling, what already exists to get the data is harder than starting fresh, but yeah, that's accurate. We generally get the platform implemented very quickly in usually a month or two, but it does take about six months before you really hit your stride and actually start seeing impact. And then the next layer of that is not to go down too much of a technical route, but to get things integrated so that systems talk to each other so that you can track end to end. Because that's usually the biggest challenge is there's a disconnect between the data points and you can't actually draw a straight line.

Trisha: Yeah. And one of the things I encourage people is that they don't wait until that sort of end result. Right? I mean, in my previous role to Drift, we had nothing. There was no data, the systems weren't integrated, the ones that were integrated poorly. I think companies like yours are really valuable for quickly doing the right evaluation and recommendation of what you should do. Because like I only had so many head count, I don't want to put a full- time head count who could be doing demand gen programs on doing technical review, evaluation, set up and all of these things. So I think your type of company is... I mean, it's money, but then I think there's ways that you can identify key programs or key metrics that you can assign so that you start to get the pieces and then over time, what you're getting into is the full picture. But not sitting there and saying, " Oh, I can't do anything until this is all done."

Brandi Starr: It's like doing a puzzle. Generally most people, when they start a puzzle, you do the outer edges first to get your solid foundation and then you start kind of building on. It really is the same approach is foundationally what needs to be in place that you can see the big picture and then you start to add each piece until eventually you've got it all done.

Trisha: Yeah, exactly. I think creating that roadmap is really critical. So you mentioned how you went from leads to this conversion metric, which is like my little money metric. What did you have to do, to do that?

Brandi Starr: Really my sort of secret sauce in figuring that out is not so much secret sauce it really is just asking a lot of questions. And so generally how I tackle it is just kind of off the cuff, get everyone in the room and everyone being everyone that has a stake in the marketing initiatives. So that means not just marketing, sales leaders, product, customer success, whoever the stakeholders are in revenue. So I shouldn't say marketing stakeholders and revenue to have them in one room and to just have them throw out if you could have any data points, answer what questions would you want answered? So not thinking about the individual data points, some people will get caught up in the acronyms of all the common metrics. But if you can have business questions answered what'd you want to know? And just capturing all of that, just freeform, nothing's a bad idea. And then I go back and start to look at" Okay, for all of these questions, if I were able to give you the last two years' worth of answers, what would that change in the way that you're doing business today?" And so there'll be some questions at the end so people realize like, " Wait, you really wouldn't do anything with that. This is just something that I would like to know. This would be interesting." And other things you start to see, " Well, if I know this, I would change where I'm spending my demand gen money. I would put more focus here. I'd have head count for this. I'd get a technology to fulfill that." You'll start to get some really important things that come out of that. And so once you know what you would do with that, then you know the impact of that. So if the answer to this question is going to change the way I market altogether, well, guess what, that's a high priority. If it's something that like, " If I knew the answer to this question, oh, I might do this small thing differently," not so much high priority. And so from there, that's where we then back into what metrics will actually answer that business question, which of those are we able to get access to today, because a lot of those questions can be answered by systems that are already in place, which can be answered with minimal effort. So for example, we had one client that they needed an additional table from their CRM brought into their marketing automation platform. So not a heavy lift, like couple week project just to get this additional data. That's what I mean by those sort of light lifts that we can do a little bit of work to get access to this data. And then what are the things that would be more significant initiatives, integrations, additional technology, data structure, whatever those things are. And depending on what the priority is in the metric, that's really how we tackle that. And so not thinking about any key like, " You got to have this one metric," just figuring out what really matters.

Trisha: I really like this framework because I think one, I liked the fact that you were saying bring the whole revenue sort of team together. I think that's really the role of a CMO today is to bring this whole revenue team together. And I love the fact that you were saying those are the stakeholders. So I think more people need to connect more broadly to understand who these stakeholders are. But I also love the fact that you're saying, " Let's evaluate upfront what we would do with this," because I see people embarking on these really long projects to implement marketing technology or build out some custom dashboard. I don't know, the list just goes on and there's nothing that's going to change in the business by having this thing. And yet we wasted the time of somebody for a month, two months, three months. I mean, I think asking this question up front is so valuable and then also understanding the impact, then you can prioritize the projects really. Some might be simple, but they have high impact, so you should do those versus others, which seem, " Oh wow, they're really difficult." And in the end of the day the difficulty level of the amount of activity it takes does not mean there's a high reward.

Brandi Starr: Yes. And that's exactly it. And that's why I tackle it that way because I see so many clients, especially dashboard projects, you end up with these beautiful dashboards and it's like, " It's pretty." And then nobody looks at it because it doesn't really have much value for them. And in some cases there's really important information there, but nobody's ever drawn the line between the data point and the actual business impact and business decision. And so that's why I try to flip it on its head and start with just, " What are the questions? I don't care if there's a metric to track this." And sometimes that happens, we realize like, " Yeah, there's no way to get at that data." And that's fine, you scoot that to the side. But usually what happens is once we get through the actual reporting projects, it's what you need and people know what to do with it because there's an actual list. You said, " Once you have the answer to this question, it will drive this business decision."

Trisha: Yeah. I love the bias for action there. Now, when we spoke before and we were sort of diving into some of these projects, you mentioned a customer and they had a metric and they were really focused on it. You guys built all of this dashboarding and activity to kind of get to this metric, but then in the end you realized it doesn't really matter. Can you share that example with the listeners?

Brandi Starr: Yeah. So we work with a number of companies that are in the manufacturing space who sell through channel partners. And so with each of them, the key metric that they usually are looking at is, " How many new channel partners do we sign up?" And so marketing is very focused on activities to be at the right trade shows, to do all these different things to drive net new channel partners. And what we saw was the number of channel partners did not directly correlate to the amount of revenue driven from channel partners. What really actually drove the biggest difference is once they actually made that first deal, when they started going through the process of making that first sell, that was an indicator that once they get to that point, the likelihood of them selling more directly impacting revenue was there. And so the opportunity now is to not say that you just dropped the ball and don't focus on getting new partners because that of course is important, but you put a lot more of your efforts into getting those new partners to actually do something. Because-

Trisha: Yeah. Going back to your point of what gets measured matters and gets done, right?

Brandi Starr: ...Yeah. Because when you make that shift, it's almost like magic. All of a sudden you say something as important and then everybody's focused on that. Everybody who touches revenue has an impact. You're going to have someone that's in the channel team that is driving interactions with channel, but then you're going to have someone in the content team who's creating content. And if they know this is what's important, they're going to prioritize content that drives new deals. And so when everybody has again, a seat at the table to be a part of what matters that everybody starts focusing on that and their metrics that actually show that they have impact in the business, everyone focuses on that. It positively impacts the outcome, which is revenue and growth.

Trisha: I love it. Yeah. I think measuring what matters measuring where you can take action. I love the bias to action so that you can see the outcome you're going to get, not just have a pretty picture. And then it's a really good example of, I think now what you could probably tell your customers is the number of partners is a leading indicator as to whether you're headed toward revenue, but it's not the number for success. And so you need that next level metric.

Brandi Starr: Yes.

Trisha: So that's probably a big change because I bet those customers and other customers that you have, they're very married to these metrics, right? They think, " Oh, we have to be measured on leads. This is our thing, we celebrate when we like cross these threshold." I mean, there's emotional physical process. I mean, there's so many things related to how people process technology in metrics. So you come in and you say, " Hey, we've noticed that this isn't leading you to success and we need to change the metrics." Can you talk a little bit about how you work with companies on this change management component?

Brandi Starr: So the first thing that I always recognize going into this is the hardest part of this process is the emotional component. So I'm glad you listed that because a lot of times people don't think about that in change management. They think about the systems, their processes, all of that, but there's definitely an emotional component to it. And so that is usually where I start in sort of appealing to the emotion of what's actually good for the business. I tend to use a lot of analogies and tell a lot of stories about clients and things that I've done. And so generally I'm able to level the playing field and get everybody on the same page in terms of, " This change needs to happen." And that's always, my focus is just getting the buy- in that everybody agrees, this needs to happen. Before we start talking about how it's going to happen, what needs to change, just get everybody really on the same page as to what the impact is of going through the process of changing. I usually will try to have conversations with leadership in advance to understand if there's anybody that they expect to feel threatened or concerned by whatever the change is so that we can address that head on because we're never coming in and trying to eliminate somebody's job or any of those crazy things. But it is a very real concern for people. And so that's always my focus when I'm looking at change management is starting there. And then I tell anybody who's considering consulting, " You really have to have a thick skin because in some cases you have to go in and accept being the bad guy when people don't like change." And so once we kind of get past that hurdle of everybody's on the same page, that this is a good thing, that is where we then start to pick it apart and figure out like, " What are the steps and how to shift." And that part looks very different for every company. But for me, it is always appealing at that emotional level to what's right? What's good for the business. What's good for the team? Because inherently people want their organizations to grow.

Trisha: Yeah. I think inherently people want to grow. They want their companies to grow. They want to do the right thing. I think people get hung up on just the idea of change and the unknown. " What is that going to be like, how am I going to get measured? What is my routine going to be like?" All these things end up kind of being scary for people. And I think the best laid plan falls apart when people don't execute it day to day. Right? I mean, I just know being CMO of a company that's doing MarTech tools is like, " Yeah, we can show you how we're going to increase the number of leads. We can show you how we're going to increase your revenue by using our solution. But if people don't like it, they don't find day to day that it's easy to use it doesn't matter if they bought it. And the end of the day, they're not going to use it." And so that's a big challenge.

Brandi Starr: Yeah. We have definitely fought that battle where it's been someone else who has made the decision to buy a technology. I come in to lead the implementation and the team's like, " Yeah, we're here to do what we have to do, but just know we don't want it." And I've actually walked into a room and had someone say to my face, " We really don't want you here." And I'm like, "Oh, I love you too." But it comes with the territory because all companies function really differently. Some are more inclusive in getting buy in others things happen at the top and then the pieces fall where they may. But that really funny story, I think probably the worst change management example was I went into a client where there was a battle between marketing and sales. Marketing was trying to push something forward, the sales team felt wholeheartedly it was the exact wrong thing to do. And it had gotten heated over email. So I knew what to expect to going into the room. And my contact was still fairly early in his career. And so I told him before we walked in, I was like, " If I don't say anything, you don't say anything." And he's like, " Well, what does that mean?" And I was like, " If I don't say anything, you don't say anything." I was like, "Just go with me." And we went in and I'm proposing, I got my slides showing, " Here's what's the right thing to do." And I mean, it turned into a screaming match between marketing that was on one side of the table and sales on the other side. And I just sat there and let them yell at each other for a minute. My contact's sitting next to me burning a hole through my face, staring at me like, " Are you going to do something?"

Trisha: Yeah.

Brandi Starr: And after a few minutes, so I let everybody get their feelings out. And then I was like, " Okay, let me tell you what I'm hearing." I'm like, " So what you're saying is you'd rather spend more time talking to the wrong contacts to close less deals, than talking to fewer contacts who are the right person to close more deals." And he's like, " Well, no, I didn't say that at all. I don't want to just be talking to people for the sake of talking to people." And I'm like, " Okay, then let me show you how that happens." And then he had no rebuttal because what they were arguing to do was get all the potential leads, which marketing was like, " These people are not qualified." And so in the end they were like, " Oh yeah, no, we want to just talk to the people who might actually buy I'm on commission." And so crosstalk.

Trisha: Yeah. My productivity per rep matters. So maybe if I increase that productivity, that's good.

Brandi Starr: Yeah. And so that was one of those examples of appealing to the emotion. Just only time I've ever had screaming in a boardroom, but we had to let that happen in order for them to come to a place of understanding that what was being proposed, the fact that marketing was shifting. Because that's what happened. They shifted their metrics to measuring on conversion instead of on number of leads. So marketing is like, " We're going to hold the ones we don't are qualified." Sales was like, " No, we want everything." And they're like, " You're messing with our bonus." And they're like, " You're messing with our commission." And so in the end it works out everybody got it on the same page, but it is a part of that process in dealing with the emotions behind change.

Trisha: Yeah. Well, I also think, I mean, you said, " If you're going to be a consultant, you have to have thick skin," but I honestly think if you're going to drive any level of change in terms of this relationship of sales and marketing and moving from leads to revenue, you have to have kind of have a thick skin. And I think the conversation you just mentioned of sales and marketing fighting about what's going on, probably every listener on this podcast has sat in some conversation like that. And if haven't it's because they're just like often never, never land. I mean, honestly this is a debate that's happening every single day. And it's just that underlying thing between sales and marketing, which the more you can adapt to revenue, the more everyone can say, " This is really the one thing." It's one thing, right? If marketing is on leads and sales is on revenue you're on two separate metrics. So of course you're going to make two separate decisions. Right?

Brandi Starr: Yeah. That's exactly what it is. Get everybody on the same playing field, working towards the same goals and magically, they get achieved.

Trisha: Yeah, I think it's great. So let's go to a deeper level on this. I mean, what would you say... We talked here about this evolution toward revenue, how you were originally would focus on projects on leads, then you're in conversion. Obviously it's a little bit harder to attribute all the way down to revenue, but where do you see marketing metrics measurement, this alignment of sales and marketing going in the future?

Brandi Starr: My prediction is that there is going to be a rise of the CMO crosstalk.

Trisha: Go, go, go. We're with you.

Brandi Starr: But CMOs have been undervalued in my opinion. Marketing for a lot of years has been the, make it pretty brand people. But really the CMO is the person that is best positioned to understand all the organizational challenges because marketing touches every other role that impacts revenue. Marketing aligns to sales, marketing aligns to product, marketing aligns to success, corporate brands. Sort of, if you think about it as a wheel and spoke, marketing sits right there in the middle. And the CMO has had a lot of expectations and responsibility without the same value at the proverbial table or the same influence within the organization. A lot of companies sales is seen as the leadership driver. And so my prediction for the future is that CMOs and the role of a CMO is really going to evolve and it's going to be heavily in the measurement and the metrics tied to revenue and the technology that allows us to drive that because really it's all about customer experience. Marketing really is who's driving the overall customer experience. And so if you have a CMO that's owning that end to end, that is defining, " Here are all the metrics. Product, here's your metric that ties to all of these." If we Daisy chain everyone's metrics together so that we're all focusing on... Think about it like Domino's. Like every person is their metric impacts the next person's metric. We're all leading to the same things. And that customer experience with the metrics that support that and the technology that drives that to me, that is the future. I'm having so many conversations like you and I had an even coffee talk that we are a part of those conversations around what marketing's role is and how that has evolved and grown so much. I think that is going to become even bigger and even more significant in driving revenue.

Trisha: Yeah. I totally believe that. And it's, I'm so happy to hear you say that because it's one of the main focuses of this podcast series is, " How do we help marketers kind of go on this path to take advantage of the seat that we can have at the table?" And some people don't want to have it and which baffles me, but I'm like, " Go get it. This is your seat to have." And if you can tie what you're doing to revenue, if you can really help people see that marketing is the center spoke in this wheel... I was doing a Q and A with another CMO and I said, " It's really the CMO and the CFO that sit in this position, the CFO is also a person who kind of looks at all the costs across all these groups." And in places that I've had a lot of success, I have regular meetings with the CFO to look at, " What are we doing and what are the things that are keeping you up at night?" Because marketing probably can help in some cases.

Brandi Starr: That's a good point, which I don't often think about the CFO, but that is really the key partner to marketing. Most people think about marketing's counterpart being sales. But to your point, I do see having a CMO and CFO that are in lock step can make all the difference.

Trisha: When I was at Salesforce, I was fortunate enough to work with Mark Hawkins. He's an amazing CFO. And he is rigorous in terms of how he's looking at the numbers every single quarter. And that's one of the ways that the stock has done really well for Salesforce. And we would work hand in hand to look at how we're spending across the organization, right? You don't want to all of a sudden get to the end of the quarter as a growth company and see that you have excess cash sitting around. So that would be something that marketing could help with. And then this whole idea of building those metrics. It took four years, but in the end of those four years, we were able to see dollar spend, what is the return? What is the ROI to revenue? And we're able to move our dollars. And by doing that, we were able to our customer acquisition costs by 18%. When he told the Street, " Hey, we're not just a growth stock, but we're starting to get toward profitability. And we've lowered our CAC by 18%," the stock went up specifically through that conversation in the investor call. And so that's the power that I think marketers can have as they go on this journey that you're talking about, where you're in the center of the spoke.

Brandi Starr: Yeah. And that's exactly it.

Trisha: So I think it's really interesting that you have such a focus on analytics. You obviously have all this knowledge of technology. And something that's happened I think in the last five years is really people need to have this in the CMO role. And then yet there's all these new roles that have to come together for managing this tech stack and thinking about the architecture. What would you say is your super power that you bring to your role?

Brandi Starr: For me is really looking at any situation and being able to see the revenue generating opportunities behind it. And I mean, it happens outside of business. It was funny since we've been home, my sister- in- law and I have been cooking lunch for each other to help out. And we sort of hit on like these few recipes that were just surprisingly amazing. And so we started talking about like, " You know what, we should get us a food truck," and just like jokes in the kitchen. And literally within 10 minutes, I'm like, " Oh, well we could do this and this and this. And then here's how we get..." And it's just, my brain takes everything straight to, " How do I make that grow and be profitable?" And so for me, being able to do that with clients, a lot of times they'll be stumped in, " We're doing this thing and we're not quite getting there." For me I can always see that big picture and draw straight lines from whatever exists today, even if that's just a harebrained idea to, " Here's how we actually grow that." And that's really what I've done most of my career. It's one of those things that some people are like, " How do you do that?" And I'm like, " I don't know. It's just like eat, breathe and sleep these things. It spews out." And so that's really what I focus on in my role. I do a little less of the technical work now. I try to get my hands in there every now and again, just so I don't forget it. But for me, it is generally looking at, " Where are you? Where are you trying to get to? Okay. Let's put a plan on how to get there and how do we have the technology and proper measurement behind that so that we can measure that we're actually moving."

Trisha: Yeah. I mean, you shared some examples. I can't remember what it was now, but it was kind of somebody wrote a very small sentence on a cocktail napkin and you're like, " Oh yeah, okay. If you did that, that would double your revenue. You would be able to measure this metric." And it's like, you're looking through a specialty lens. Like you found this magic pair of eyeglasses that you can put on. And I think it truly is a super power and being able to see how the metrics impact the business and helping people lay out that plan is kind of a multifaceted superpower here. We need to get crosstalk.

Brandi Starr: Yeah. It was the same for me. I think it's also because I have a t- shirt that says, " Habitual line stepper," because I'm one of those people that not in any sort of rude way, but I don't really put boundaries. Some people are like, " Oh, well we just work with you on this." Like I have a client that I'm talking to them about how their salespeople should sell something completely different because there's a huge opportunity that I see that no one on their team has recommended. And I'm like, "If you get sales talking about this, this is a gold mine." A lot of people wouldn't have those conversations because it's kind of like, " Well, that's not my place. That's not my role. They just hired us to do this." And I'm like, " No, I see the pot of gold sitting here. You could dismiss the idea, but I got to get it out." And so having those ideas and not being afraid to sort of push my way into conversations to share those, that's the double whammy of a superpower.

Trisha: Yeah. Well, I also think because you have such this analytics focus and when we talked about it, you had... And you mentioned it here, it's just over these 20 years, you've really been focused to like almost the balance sheet in terms of, " How are these analytics coming together?" I think people don't like to step over that line because they feel like they get pushed back. But when you step over the line and you could point to a data point in terms of the benefit is going to have to a business, there are very few people who are going to say, " Hey, you're in the wrong place. Go get up, back off your line."

Brandi Starr: Exactly. Usually it's like, " Hmm, tell me more about that." And sometimes it might be months or... I had one client that came back a year and a half later and was like, " Hey, remember when you suggested?" And I was like, "Kind of," and then they wanted to move forward with it. So it definitely works out and built a career around it. So there's that.

Trisha: Yeah. I mean, I think it's great. And it's great to see how this focus on analytics is able to help you grow your career. Right? I think that is something that it gives you the seat at the table and it allows you to then open that next door and open that next door, which I think is a great lesson for the listeners as well.

Brandi Starr: Yeah. Because I was that blended marketer, the blend of creativity and analytics long before it was a thing. Now I think being technical and creative is fairly common for marketers, but I know I was a bit of a unicorn way back when, and here we are.

Trisha: Yeah. Excellent. We close out every episode with a lesson. I'm wondering if you could share what you think is the one most important marketing lesson you've learned in your career.

Brandi Starr: Don't be afraid to try something different. Don't be afraid to fail. I had an old director of marketing say that to me because I had some and I was like, " Oh, but they're kind of expensive. And I don't know if it'll work." And what she said was, " Go forward, if it completely fails, as long as you can come back and tell me why it failed and what you learned from that, it was a success." That was the message, " Don't be afraid to step outside of the norm and try something different because that's how you learn." I have adopted very much I'll always be testing sort of mentality. I read a lot of benchmarks, but I also don't put a lot of stock in benchmarks because different things are going to work for different companies. I have some clients that are really successful with this one tactic and another client that tries that same thing and it's hashtag fail. And so that's been my biggest lesson is if you don't try new things, pilot campaigns step outside into a channel or a tactic that you don't necessarily know if it'll work, you'll never actually know. And you get stuck in this rut of, " This is what we've always done." And that is like death to a marketer when you say, " Well, we've always done it that way, so that's what I do." And it's like, " No, get out there and do something else." And that has driven me a lot.

Trisha: Yeah. We had a previous episode with Gonto, the SVP of Marketing at Auth0. And he impresses me with the fact that he set up his team so that he always has two to three innovation experiments going on because he knows as a marketer, that when you find that pot of gold, whether it's a new tactic, a new way to improve a tactic, whatever it might be, three to four or five max, six months down the line, it's going to tap out, right? You're not going to get 30% growth from that brand new thing over time. And so you have to always sort of add new things into your mix if you're going to be on the hook as a marketer who's driving growth. People should go back and listen to that episode if they haven't listened to it already, because it's very impressive how he thinks about testing, failing, learning. You don't want to fail in a corner and not tell anybody about it. You don't want to fail in a corner and then forget what happened. You really need to spend that time to say, " Why did this happen? What could we do differently? What can we learn and take away from it?" And then move on. Because not just you, but everybody else in the organization can learn and grow from those interactions.

Brandi Starr: Yeah. And that's another good point. Sharing the learnings from things that, whether they go well or not like actually sharing that with other people so that everybody can learn those same lessons and apply that to what they're doing.

Trisha: Yeah. Well, this has been great. I mean, I can't thank you enough for bringing this detailed discussion into metrics. I think when we brainstormed about this episode, I was so invigorated. But now having this conversation, I think has been one of our best episodes of true conversation, because I'm really passionate about this. And I love the fact that you are not just doing this on your own, but you're in a consulting company that can help other people. I mean, that's just gold. And I hope that maybe some people in listening to this episode, even look up your company and say, " Hey, I want to work with Brandi. How can I get this secret sauce? Get that magic lens into my business?" Is there anything else you would love to add to this episode?

Brandi Starr: No, this has been awesome. I have really enjoyed it. Definitely love anybody give me a call. I'm always available. Yeah, no, I love talking, having these conversations.

Trisha: What's the best way for people to get in touch with you? Is it outreach in LinkedIn? Is it Twitter? What's the best way for people to continue this conversation with you?

Brandi Starr: Yeah. So two things, LinkedIn, I am on often Brandi Starr in Atlanta or Lawrenceville. I'm generally pretty easy to find. And then likewise on our website, Tegrita. T- E- G- R- I- T- A. com. Those inquiries on our contact form, I'm one of the people that receive those. So you can reach out to me either way.

Trisha: I love it. I love the passion about metrics. I love this idea that the CMO is the center of the wheel, all the spokes from within that. And that, that really is the future where marketers have that seat at the table. They're empowered by the metrics that they're measuring and that truly measuring metrics defines what gets done. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you everyone for listening. If you have questions, reach out to me in LinkedIn. If you love this episode, please give it five stars in whatever platform it is that you are using so that we can continue to grow the listening base. Thank you so much for your support, and Brandi thank you for joining us.

Brandi Starr: Thank you for having me.


“If someone sneezed, they were a lead.” ….Can you believe that’s the way marketers used to measure things? Neither can Brandi Starr. She’s the COO of Tegrita and is on a mission to change the way marketers align and action around measurement. On this episode of CMO Conversations, Tricia and Brandi talk about why measuring ROI to lead isn’t measuring ROI at all and how marketers can use metrics to bring the whole revenue team together. Because as we all know – what gets measured is what gets done. Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the pod with your friends. You can connect with Tricia and Brandi on Twitter @triciagellman @ModernMktgStarr @HYPERGROWTH_Pod