Selling Content Ideas In Large Organizations [Podcast Episode]

Amanda Milligan
By Amanda Milligan
April 28, 2020

We know, especially in the realm of SEO, that technical skills matter. But behavioral skills can be just as important, if not more important.

 

via GIPHY

Matthew Howells-Barby, director of acquisition at HubSpot, talks about his experience getting buy-in for ideas in a large company and what he’s learned about how behavioral skills can increase your chances of success.

EN_Google_Podcasts_Badge_2xUS_UK_Apple_Podcasts_Listen_Badge_RGB

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to indirectly influence the decision makers
  • The importance of accruing and using social capital
  • How different teams should be accountable to the same goals
  • Tips for having the right attitude when pitching ideas

Related resources/links:

Transcription:

Amanda: This week on the show, I am thrilled to welcome Matthew Howes Barbi. He is the director of Acquisition at HubSpot, the co-founder of Traffic Think Tank, and he was formerly the Global Head of SEO at HubSpot, which we'll touch on a bit today. But Welcome to the show, Matthew. 

Matthew: Thanks for having me, Amanda. It's absolutely my pleasure, as we were just saying prior to recording, we first kind of met what 2017 and now fast forward a few years this is like now our catch-up chat. So, it's been a while I think it's fair to say.

Amanda: It has, like there are great points where it feels like dog years in the marketing world and feels like a century ago. The growth hackers conference. Yeah, it's been really fun to touch base, to see what we've been up to over the last couple of years, and how much can change in such a short amount of time. 

Matthew: Definitely, yeah. 

Amanda: I'm really excited to talk to you because just in our brief exchange before setting up this episode, you were saying that you had some great experience trying to get buy in, in companies like HubSpot, something that almost every marketer can relate to, and they have an idea and they're trying to sell it. So, I'd really love to pick their brain on that, I think it'll be really interesting for people.

Matthew: Yeah, I think it's getting buy into one side. One thing that is such an underrated skill within any technical field, I would say but in particular, within Technical Marketing fields, this is the case because unlike in many other technical fields, like being a software engineer or a front end web developer, there is less of an expectation to interface and justify the work you're doing, because there's often an intermediary between. Within Technical Marketing and growth roles, like CEO, for example, perfect example. it's very technical in nature a lot of the time. But as a marketer, you are expected to sell your idea, be the person that's both able to articulate why, and also be the one that manages the how. And I think that most people begin that career very much focused on the how, and that's, I don't want to say the easy part. It's all quite difficult, but a skill that as you advance in your career, and as you work in more complex organizations that have more or less a bureaucracy, or the stakes are higher, or you have interesting team members you have to work with and maybe they don't have the same kind of depth of knowledge in your technical level of skill area. You have to learn how to sell your ideas like you'd be pitching business in the agency world. It's not something that comes natural to, I think a lot of people initially. 

Amanda: Right, absolutely. I feel like, this is a weird comparison, but I have a writing background. And for me, it was so much easier for me to write what was assigned to me or anything else other than writing about myself, like that never came naturally to me. And I feel like it's the same with people having to pitch their ideas. It's just a whole different perspective you have to take.

Matthew: Yeah, 100% I mean, it comes back to I mean, foundations of like sales right. And I think one person I was actually speaking to recently about this Jackie Chu from Dropbox. She's the head, kind of SEO lead over there. She's previously at Uber, and Jackie's speaking at traffic Think Tank live, which is our conference that we're doing over in Miami in May and one of her talks is going to be around, like the soft side of SEO as in like the soft skills and honestly, one of the biggest blockers that I see within people's careers especially within, as I was saying, like Technical Marketing fields, SEO, perfect example is that in ability to articulate their ideas in a non-technical way that can be consumed by a leadership or executive team or a senior team lead that isn't quite in the weeds and is technical. If you fail to do that, I don't want to say it doesn't matter how good you are, because there's always rolls back that can kind of work out. But it will create serious challenges for you to really establish yourself as a leader within your team, regardless of like whether that actually means like people management leadership, but also being able to sell ideas and get noticed and actually execute on stuff. And it's such an underrated skill, it's chronically underrated, I think. So, that's something I love talking about, actually, because I think it's an area that I very purposefully focused on developing skills over the years in doing that very thing.

Amanda: I feel like some people realize when they don't have it, how crucial it is that they have to start figuring out ways to communicate that sort of thing, it becomes, after a while and nothing you're doing is getting approved or you're realizing that you're not communicating effectively, any brains on you is like as a professional, but what you want to get done, you're not able to provide your vision to somebody else who doesn't do your day to day. And I've started to see it, I think a little bit more conferences like the topic coming up sometimes for talks like, oh interesting, it's like appearing now, I think because people are recognizing how much of a universal issue it really is.

Matthew: Yeah, it's probably one of the most common issues that individual contributors, IE non people managers, face people managers, definitely face this, but in particular, individual contributors that are executing the work. This is an incredibly difficult challenge to overcome. And I think the challenge that a lot of people face, and this is really felt much more acutely in technical roles that people are in, is that you develop these skills in a very, very different way to technical skills. Many technical skills are, and the foundation and the roots of them are context agnostic. Right? It's like you want to understand link building, right? from an SEO point of view, you want to learn that technical skill. You learn foundations that can be applied to nearly any situation. It's like, why delink Maya backlinks important? What function do they serve? Typically, how can you get them placed and then get into more tactical level and context starts to come in. We talk about behaviors, like skills that we're discussing here getting buy in, like being able to share a vision, getting the year of the executive team, that primarily context driven. This is about understanding how individuals work, what motivates them, like what kind of behaviors you should adopt to tackle each individual situation. There isn't a typical blueprint for this, there's certainly frameworks you can follow. But at the start, I think those seem very abstract to many people. It's a very difficult hurdle, and almost personally, I think failing in developing behavioral skills just hurts you a lot more than it does when you fail at developing technical skills. And to be clear, when I talk about failing, when you learn anything, you fail multiple, multiple times before you reach a certain level of, mastery is a grand word but even a certain level of ability that you feel comfortable. Behavioral or skills, wow, it's so much more personal, it's like, I guess this person does not like me, my ideas, rubbish. You have an identity crisis every time you're going through and it's very difficult to deal with those things. But it does become more natural, it becomes more like a technical skill development over time.

Amanda: I love that differentiation, the necessary context you need in order to execute that. I've never heard it explained that way, but it makes absolute sense. You can't figure that in a vacuum, you're dealing with other people, other human beings with their own agendas and securities, like literally anything you can think of.

Matthew: And it's a new thing, it's a shifting landscape that you're operating in. The perfect example is, both my situation right now and your situation right now. Your situation at Fractl right now is, Fractl revenue model revolves around, bringing in and retaining new clients primarily through pitching them great ideas that can deliver a return on investment for the company. My function in HubSpot, and the way in which we develop revenue is completely different. There is where software as a service business, we are very much focused on leveraging a few sets, we could have much more predictable channels of revenue, right. We have a product set that's sold into various markets and we generate revenue in a much more systematic way. As a result, like the way you would pitch an idea in, typically to the company, to the executive team is more through the lens of how this would be a compelling experience, a compelling offering to the client. Whereas, if I'm pitching in an idea internally in a large enterprise level, public company, it's more, why is this important to our business? And specifically, like, how does this impact the way we operate right now, and it's much more internally focused than an externally pitched idea. Both have very similar ways of being approached, but the way you would pitch in each of these ideas is going to be very, very different, right?

Amanda: I'm glad you made that point because we've had other people on the show and they all obviously come with their unique perspectives as to how they've done it in the past, which is why I think it's important that I get a lot of different types of people, because there are going to be nuances. I think you can learn a lot of the best practices, you can learn a lot of the processes that have gotten people where they are, but it's still good to get a diversity of experience there, because there is going to be those subtle differences depending on where you are.

Matthew: Yeah, and I think it comes down to who you're influencing. So, a pretty compelling case, like the most difficult way for leadership team of Fractl for example, to be able to deny an idea you have, is if a potential client or current client comes to the leadership team and says, we have heard about this idea, and we love it, and we think it'd be great. It's likely that the leadership team is going to say, we should probably do this, right, like the main, the most important and the most critical person that influences the do or die of this decision is the client. Now, within an organization, I'll go back to using HubSpot for example. 4000 employee company, very different business model, a different way of approaching marketing from a company like Fractl, it neither is a better or worse, but very different. Now when you're influencing an idea, the most important thing to understand is, who is the decision maker in this, and you may not be able to be the one that directly influences the decision maker. If, for example, you work on the marketing team, and let's say the marketing director is your manager, the main decision maker on a specific idea or proposition you have is the VP of product, right? More than likely, you're going to need to influence multiple people, but then go on to influence the VP of product who is the gatekeeper of that, and that requires a nuanced understanding of how the company work, a whole lot of patience and the ability to kind of understand when and how to both accrue and use social capital. This is something that's chronically under looked. Right? When you're thinking about having someone basically taking a leap of faith on you, what have you done for that person? This is something that's often talked about in SEO and link building in PR, right? It's like when you're reaching out to journalists, what value can you offer them versus just being very transactional? The exact same way as everyday work, right? It's like within an organization, how are you building and forming relationships? Can you do things that will help kind of develop and grow some social capital that you can maybe utilize by the day and call in favors and influence people within an organization. People that go very far in kind of the business world are often masters at being able to influence people and understand the nuances of social capital within organizations and that's not something that you are just born with, right? Like, this takes a lot of time and effort and you get things wrong, and there's nuance and it's intertwined with a lot of emotion and personal relationships. And I think being okay with understanding that every situation is going to be different. There are different approaches you need to take; you can't win every battle. And if you try to win every battle, you're going to waste all your energy that could have been pulled into winning the battle that matters the most. I know these are all very abstract right now. But I think the nature of this is quite abstract. 

Amanda: Yeah, I found that just writing my questions for these. Well, I feel like I have a lot of the similar questions for a lot of people, just because it's so case by case with the examples. Let's talk about, you said at HubSpot, you're referring to that as your example. Let's go back to when you were the Global Head of SEO, because this audience is going to be, a lot of content people are listening, right so you can talk a little bit about, well how you had a vision of how content has played into your SEO strategy, but what ideas you had related to that or what you wanted to pursue related to that, that you had to pitch out and how you began to navigate that process?

Matthew: Yeah, it's a good example, actually, because it's very much intertwined with a lot of the things in many ways. My answer is that, we intertwine many things that we just discussed. So, when I first came into HubSpot, this is five years ago. It was a particularly interesting time because we literally just IP owed. Organic search was a major driver of all of our demand generation growth, and we were seen as like an SEO powerhouse. The most interesting thing in all of that is, that I was the first ever SEO hire into the company. And I remember actually, when I was first speaking with HubSpot, and they were talking about having you come and like, run the team, and I was like, cool, how big is this team? They're like, well, initially that's going to be you, and we need you to build that team. Like once this happened, the reality is that we had an incredible content team. And the content team were like, you don't need to be an expert in SEO to be able to grow organic search traffic and execute on something that delivers a lot of value from an SEO point of view. Tons of fantastic content people out there that wouldn't consider themselves SEOs, but they understand how to deliver growth through content that really is well focused on delivering search traffic. And at the time in HubSpot, content was the heart of everything that we did, we had a well-oiled sales machine and lead generation, like mechanism within our content. But the biggest, I wouldn't say problem, it was just more we were very inefficient, it was let's produce a whole lot of content. I'm talking like we were publishing something like 400 blog posts a month at that point and there was no keyword research behind any event, I think the thing was that the content team intimately understood the buyer personas of our product, and they knew the kind of content they wanted. And by proxy, it's also was a whole lot of that, it was what the search engines wanted, my vision and really, if I had to really think about where I'm able to, as an individual add value from a search and content and general marketing point of view, a lot of my value has always been around systemizing and scaling processes. And when I came in, it was about, okay, we're doing tons of really good work, but there's also a lot of wastage that happens in this process. Let's systemize this, let's rethink the entire workflow, the way people are held accountable, the way they're incentivized, how to build a content engine that also is in sync with search goals. How do we bake in technical fixes and efficiencies and ensure that everything we're doing is set up to completely maximize the efficiency around it by efficiency? It's like, if our core focus is drive and increase organic search traffic through content, there should never be a reason why we create content that isn't at least well optimized and focused around search. Then there were also things like we want to avoid content cannibalization, we want to avoid duplication of resources. We want to be able to track and identify content gaps that we haven't gone after yet, at like 10 times the speed. So, I brought in people that could automate processes, build lightweight tools, how we could scale up things. One of my first hires in the SEO team was Victor Pan, who was previously at word stream and a fantastic technical SEO. I think in my first year at HubSpot, we increased traffic by 50% in a single week by just pushing out Tech fixes.

Amanda: Wow.

Matthew: Well that's often the reaction. It's like wow, you must have done something really amazing. No, and I'm like, it wasn't actually anything revolutionary. It was just kind of, there was a whole lot of cleanup that happens when you do stuff at scale without having someone focused on things. The best wins you get are often the simplest things and having a systematic process that say efficient content, is so important within this piece and often can get overlooked, is where you're going to get most of the gains.

Amanda: Did you encounter any resistance when you started making changes like that? Right, so even--

Matthew: Loads of resistance? Of course, I received resistance, they were like well Matt, you've come in here, who the hell are you telling us we should tear up everything we've been doing now? Do all these new things, this messes with our workflow, what we've now got these new goals. It's been working pretty well two days before your kind of like squished in and said it wasn't. I was like, the asshole who's saying things are broken and we need to fix it when realistically, they're not broken. It's just, there are other ways that things can be done, and that's a challenge, that's a real challenge. And I think this is about like winning the hearts of the team internally, being someone that seen as an ally and versus an enemy that should be resisted. And this really comes down too much wider company incentivization and alignment. So, a really great talk that Dharmesh Shah CTO, gave to the company, I think, years ago now, maybe 2017, after he'd met up with Elon Musk, actually, and they discussed some parts of this, and his talk was around how to ensure that there are no disincentivized behaviors. And by that what I mean is, person X on the team has a target to hit and that goal is goal X, right? And person Y has a goal to hit, and that goal is goal Y, two different goals. Now, for person X to hit goal X, they need to actually utilize the skills and things that person Y owns. But customer Y does that they sacrifice their own goal. Yeah, we might hit goal X, and that's good for the company. But there's only so much like out of the goodness of my heart and solving for the interest of the company that people can do before they come to their performance review. And their manager says, hey, you didn't hit goal Y? Right. So, then what Dharmesh's talk was very much about is aligning vectors, thinking about everyone in the company on a vector level, and that vector is moving in a certain direction. If two vectors are moving in different directions, the direction being the direction of the goal that they are accountable for. It creates friction points and pulls people away from one another and that is an inefficient way of working, every vector should be moving in the same direction, teams together need to be all aligned to one single thing. When I first moved into Huntsville, the content team didn't own an organic search goal. So, they would be focused on traffic but primarily output of work. And then when I came in, I proposed the content team be accountable for an organic search goal. But they didn't have everything at their disposal to completely focus on that because they were also focused on their goal against an output goal. They have to hit less traffic in terms of organic search, what I'm saying, but they also have to produce, I can't remember but let's just say, it's like 10 articles a week, either they have to individually publish something like that. Now, they could publish a load of quick hit articles, that means they hit that output goal, but maybe they're not quite as good for targeting some keywords that will grow organic search traffic, or they could write five pieces that will probably go a bit more in detail focus on content, they'll hit the organic search goal, but they will miss the output goal. Something's got to give, right. And when you have teams working together, it's incredibly important that you facilitate collaboration through the aligned incentivization of those teams, SEO team, if you are going to help them support on the content teams work and content team, if you're going to be held accountable to an organic search goal that you need to support the SEO team on, those factors need to be assigned, they both need to be assigned to the same goal, be held accountable to the same goal and be expected to work in their mutual beneficial like basis. So, that is a really important thing that you need to set up, to begin with to even begin the conversation of, hey, we need to do this thing. And I think there's always points of friction as well. It takes time, new things and it's being empathetic and understanding why and not just being black and white and saying this is a better way, you are wrong. Because when you start speaking and looking at things like that, better way might be better for you in terms of, yeah, well, we can generate more revenue this way. But like, you could also lose half of the team, you're going to lose a whole lot of revenue that way. So, I think it's like, balancing a lot of that, and it's incredibly relevant. Understanding that dynamic of, what is it that motivates this person? And what are they accountable for? Whenever you're thinking about selling an idea in, like getting collaboration is like, this idea of what direction is their vector moving? And how does that align with me? And how can I support in their kind of personal goals?

Amanda: That's a fascinating way of talking about it, because I think, like aspiring to different goals, I've seen this at so many jobs. You know, somebody asked me a favor, almost like, you know, we like each other as coworkers, can you help me out and that person will do it, but they'll know in the back of their head, like, I can't do this for too long because I'm being held accountable for something very specific, that's relative to what you're doing, but that's not how I'm being measured. So, I completely see what you're saying, where you don't have that infrastructure set up, you just don't have the environment that's conducive to that type of collaborative, you know, value that can be added--

Matthew: To an infrastructure problem. And I think if you're ever being asked to work on things, as an individual in inside an organization, if you're ever being asked to work on things that will negatively impact the thing that you are actively judged upon, purely from the angle of, you should do this because it's just beneficial to the company. This is just an incorrect assumption, right, it's like, it's an unfair way for you to be appraised. Because actually, if that's the case, and you should pass and be held accountable for the general good well-being of the company, there are certain times where, yeah, sure you gain kind of like bits of leeway. And I think the piece that I touched on near the beginning of this conversation around building social capital, a fantastic way of building social capital is doing that exact thing. When someone knows, like, you don't need to understand the nuance of building a team and creating culture and structuring teams this way. But you can always understand when someone's doing you a favor, when someone's doing something and taking time out from things that could actively impact their own, let's say like performance review or ability to hit goals, or, I mean, that all distills down to impacts their own career growth, to help your career growth, you're building social capital. And I think that's coming back to the example of an individual contributing marketer, you need to catch the year of the VP of product. There are many people around that along the way that we have the error of the VP of product and there are lots of things that you can do over time consistently, to show that you are willing to kind of go above and beyond and that you're willing to accrue social capital from them by really sacrificing your own personal short term goals, I think it's like, don't let people give deeper thought around that. And certainly, from being someone that's hired a lot of people, manage large teams. I've seen continuous situations where people fall into the trap of believing they have more social capital than they really do and trying to spend what they don't have, which is where bridges often get burned. So yeah, I think that's just like understanding and having awareness of when you have leverage in a situation and when you need to develop leverage, basically.

Amanda: It's funny because you're setting a timeline expectation here too, it's almost like the way we talk about content marketing, like this is not something that happens overnight. If you want to make a monumental shift at your organization, or even if to you it doesn't feel that way. But you are with everybody else there, if you're trying to make some kind of a change, or propose something that's never been done, you're not going to be able to just like walk into somebody's office, lay it all out on the table and necessarily succeed. Like you're saying it takes all these other dynamics with people, and over time they start to see it differently. And then they influence other people it's a long process sometimes. And I think it often counters the general narrative, especially within the tech space, that it's like, you've got on one side, like the Facebook mantra that almost give infamy to their developers and product team of like, move fast and break things, right. It's like the mantra is, don't wait, do things. If it breaks, we'll fix it, and that's awesome. Right. And I think Facebook's challenges over the past few years have probably shown that maybe we shouldn't break things all the time, and more specifically laws. But the tech industry has also this obsession of like, you've got to just move quickly expect people to do the things you're doing. If they don't, you got to just push harder and push harder and the entrepreneur scene like further embodies this and all of the VC expectations and lending that goes on, everything points towards like, don't miss an opportunity that's coming to you right now, you need to, like tackle this and I felt this was into everything that people do. So, it's unrealistic expectations on so many levels, we don't even have time to touch on like the mental health impacts and things like that. But yeah, to bring that back into just a more my new level of everyday work within an organization. If you have an idea, you can't just expect that people will drop everything to do that idea. It doesn't even matter if it's a fantastic idea, and that actually it will deliver against everything that you want to do. There are much more moving parts than just you. And no matter how good you are, no matter how interesting you are, no matter how many people like you, no matter how wonderful your ideas are, how much revenue it might generate for the business. You're not the business, the business is the combined sum of all its parts. And I think being very aware of that, that these things take time. You've got to build first of all, trust with an organization. one of the toughest things actually, that I ever had to sell at HubSpot was us to launch an affiliate program. And it was something we've never done. It was something that made us incredibly nervous as a business to open ourselves up to. It had an enormous amount of work required to build systems and infrastructure around our existing systems. It had quite a bit of upfront cost, and we had no one with expertise in like the company at that point to run this and we had no idea whether it actually deliver results. And the only way to test it was to go all in and like that is a very complex thing to pitch in. And two years of pitching in, it worked, and it came through and thankfully it has been incredibly successful. But I think you've got to be able to persevere and also understand the timeline that might be on some things like, what is the impact on the business to take on this idea, what's the risk, and if also, if you're going to take a risk, and you're going to put your neck on line, you have to be willing to actually be held accountable for things like that. I think that's another thing that a lot of people struggle with is, if you want to go in with a really bold idea, and you're saying, hey, this could completely flop, or it could be incredible. You have to be prepared to take that on and say, I am prepared to take over the massive win and the pats on the back at the end, or the massive failure that comes with it and whatever that might bring. And I think I, I would say, you don't want to have too many of those in your life at one time. But if you're going to do it, like understanding that it is a big deal, not just for you, because when things fail, everyone that backed you and put trust in you fails with you. Right, and it's like you're on board with many of your colleagues and you're staring at, and your job is to either, like, ideally, avoid the giant iceberg in front of you, and get past it. But if you don't like everyone's going down with you, so I don't want that to seem too extreme, because the reality is that most things that you take bets on, with lots of people involved and lots of people agreeing, like, they've been rationalized, they've been thought through. And while that also, that value, they're also like rooting for you, right? People want you to succeed, nine times out of 10. Like people want you to succeed when they backed you, because that looks good on them as well. So, I think also remembering that to kind of keep yourself sane and feel good about decisions and backing yourself and having the confidence to push forward ideas.

Amanda: I think you've done an excellent job at helping people even just set their own expectation for how the dynamics work in their workplaces. I mean, it's your life, so, it's going to feel like a lot of it revolves around you. You just naturally right, like you forget all the other things happening around you, the other priorities, the other goals, and you just, if you're not actively navigating that, or figuring out how to, you're going to hit walls constantly. So, this is a really great rundown of that. And the question I asked everybody, at the end of the show, we've spent almost this entire time answering. So, I would like if you have a different approach, but it's basically like, what is the most common mistake you think people make when they are pitching these things? So, maybe like more the short term, right? Because we're talking about these, like, larger structures that need to be set up and like general approaches, but when somebody goes in, and it is that time, like, I'm going to do this now, what do you think is one of the most common mistakes people make?

Matthew: I think it’s; they don't understand their audience. So, this doesn't matter whether you've got a bad idea through the lens of how this idea will, impact our goals, right, that we're trying to achieve as a company or on an individual level. Whether that does a bad job of that, or that does a good job of that, it's irrelevant. First of all, you need to understand as I was mentioning earlier, who's the decision maker in this? Who's like the final gatekeeper? And who are the people I need to influence and get on board? And second of all, how do I cater my story to each of these different audiences, this can often be like, let's use the example of the VP of product, the marketing director. And also, let's say, that's just one of your peers on the marketing team as well. Now, when you're thinking about what are the things that each of these people would get excited about, need to feel okay about and relate to, that often can be very, very different things. When you are pitching the idea, it's often not the idea that itself that you're pitching, right, the story and the narrative that you're sending around this. I'm a huge advocate of like branding ideas and concepts internally. Anything that is going to be like a thing that's like a playbook that we want to do, I'll often try and give like a name to that thing. We have like our content playbook, which is our such insight strategy that we use just basically internally. We have our link building and PR campaign playbooks, which is our surround sound strategy. One of the big reasons for this is that people understand broad concepts that they can quickly explain, and you can craft a story around, and there's nothing that helps an idea get around an organization better than repetition. You hear multiple people saying the same things, things become like embedded into the very fabric of what you're doing. And having that repetition and a story that the executive team can understand, right. You wanted a big project that's focused around, let's say, a technical SEO really, really technical piece, right? That involves us like changing some of our software stack, it might involve us hiring a couple of like specialists, back end engineers, simply just this one play, high investment, high stakes stuff. But like you need to explain that to your CMO who maybe isn't a technical marketer, right? And actually, they don't care about the technical aspect. They care about, like, what is the risk? What is the story that is around this? Like, what are the inputs that I need to decide on, like my decision. And on the other hand, you might be speaking to a direct manager and they want to know all of the inputs that go in in terms of the technical level and detail. You need to be able to jump back out of that and take a step back and craft a vision that actually applies to each individual stakeholder. That is definitely something that people get wrong and then get very frustrated about. Now this person doesn't understand like, I wish this person understood SEO and the technical stuff, like I hate having to explain this stuff to that person, if only they listened to me that, like we would make so much more money. You're not describing someone's inability to understand you. You're describing your inability to articulate an idea to their ears, right, like, and I think, always reversing that background and thinking about how could I, I could have maybe phrased that better, but why would they care about this thing? Right? Like, what are they incentivized by? What are their goals? And what part of my story could have a positive impact on those? I actually, prior to my time at HubSpot, I spent a lot of time running like strategy in the agency world, prior to HubSpot. And in the agency world, like one of my big things that I used to always say is like, my job was not to deliver results for the client, it was to get my client promoted. It's like your focus may of course, I want to deliver results for the client. But just the main thing here is right, like you want to make that person look and feel good. Do you think about that when it's like, okay, we've done a really great job, but that doesn't matter? If you can't arm the person who's your point of contact in the company that you're working with, with the information and the story to deliver that and craft it to people in a way inside their organization that they get it and they care, right? To avoid them sending keyword rankings to their CIO, right? And the guy's like, what is this? And when the CIO looks at it, she's like, I don't know what this means, does this means we made money or not made money? And I think like, this is like the nuance that comes with knowing your audience, whether you're internally, you're working with external stakeholders, etc. So, yeah.

Amanda: You know other guests have said something similar, but I love that you kind of gave things that people can actually do in order to achieve that, because it's hard like you can know, yeah, I need to do this in their perspective. But what does that actually mean? Like what does that look like? What do you have to do leading up to that, in order to achieve that? So, that's really valuable. The other thing I always ask at the end, because realizing we're out of time, is knowing the objective of the show. Do you have recommendations for who should be guest in the future?

Matthew: I've got lots of people that I would probably recommend as Yes, I mean, I mentioned Jackie Chu from Dropbox, she's a very interesting person. I'm a big fan of hers, and she's come up against a lot of interesting technical challenges. And she's, I think, someone that I look at as really kind of leading the discussion in many ways around this whole topic that we're talking about through the lens of SEO, I think in a very, like, not necessarily just SEO, but Kirstie Hulse is someone that I really respect, she was formerly in the SEO space and now is focused a lot more on training and is a fantastic speaker and really digs into a lot of like the behavioral side of business and is a great entrepreneur as well. She I'm sure has a lot of great thoughts around influencing people and decisions. So yeah, definitely those two and then maybe Cindy Chrome from mobile Moxie. Cindy is an incredible entrepreneur but also someone that's both like really fun to talk to, and has a lot of technical skills, but is in that agency world and can maybe give a slightly different perspective to like the in-house world of this as well. So yeah, that would be my three, Kirsty, Jackie and Cindy.

Amanda: Wonderful. Yeah, they sound like they would provide a lot of really great insight. Well, thank you so much, Matthew, for being on the show. I think you gave people a lot to think about. 

Matthew: Well, I'm glad and I'm more than happy if people want to find me, have any questions, I'm always around on Twitter here and tell me I'm wrong, Me, etc. So yeah, it's an open invite, whatever tickles your fancy on that day.

 

Join the Fractl community and get marketing tips directly to your inbox!