No More Holding Back

Episode #001: Stephanie Cox, VP of Sales and Marketing at Lumavate

We spent so much time obsessing about the first REAL marketer we would feature in the first episode. The first episode really helps set the stage for the entire show. It provides listeners with a glimpse of what to expect in future episodes and can influence whether or not they continue to listen to the show. It was a big decision.

That’s why we decided to have the first episode share how Stephanie is a REAL marketer.

Stephanie's Strong Opinions

  1. Ask forgiveness, not permission. Start implementing changes in your business until someone tells you to stop.
  2. Marketing is not a committee. No one is better suited to do marketing at your company than YOU.
  3. Crazy ideas are only crazy because you haven’t done them yet.

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Episode Transcription

Stephanie Cox: Welcome to REAL MARKETERS where we hear from marketers who move fast, ask forgiveness, not permission, obsess about driving results, and are filled to the brim with crazy ideas and the guts to implement them. This is not a fireside chat and there’s absolutely no bullsh*t allowed here. And I’m your host, Stephanie Cox. I have more than 15 years of marketing experience and I’ve pretty much done about everything in my career. I believe speed is better than perfection. I use the Oxford comma. I love Coca- Cola, have exceptionally high standards, and surround myself with people who get sh*t done. On this show, my guests and I will push boundaries and share the real truth about marketing and empower you to become a REAL marketer.

Welcome to the first official episode of REAL MARKETERS. This is where they would cue the drums and the horns and the symbols, but we’re not doing that. But just imagine that was happening. So as we planned for the launch of the show, we spent way too much thinking about which real marketer we should interview for the first episode because in a lot of ways, that first episode really helps set the stage for the show. It gives you a glimpse of what to expect in future episodes. And it’s one of those marketing decisions that we obsessed over. And all of you know what I’m talking about when you obsess about something that really no one else will notice but you, but this felt bigger than that. So one of the kick-ass marketers in my team, Michelle, suggested why isn’t the first episode about you? And she meant me. And I immediately thought of a hundred reasons why I didn’t think that was a good idea. Most of all is because I’m not a big fan of being the center of attention and self-promotion isn’t something I enjoy doing. You got to love those Midwestern roots at heart. But the more I thought about Michelle’s idea, the more I realized she was right. How the hell can I host a show called REAL MARKETERS if I don’t share how I’m a real marketer first? Plus the show is supposed to be about not holding back. So there really wasn’t a better time to rip off that bandaid than in the first episode. So here we go. So I’m Stephanie, I’m the host and I know one speed. It’s fast. I don’t know how to go slow. If I don’t have a never-ending to-do list, then I don’t know what to do. I’m literally paralyzed. And I know some people get stressed out by a long to-do list, but it’s something that energizes me and I’ve been that way since I was little. I was the kid reading a hundred plus books each year for Book-It, and you’80s kids know what I’m talking about, to earn your free personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut. I also planned out my entire high school course schedule when I was in eighth grade. I was a triple major in college and graduated in four years without any summer school. Yep. I just had to take 21 credit hours sometimes and I was involved in countless organizations. And my career hasn’t been any different. I move fast and I expect everyone I work with to have a similar pace. In fact, I always tell people that I interview that if you work on my team, you should really expect to have a healthy level of stress. Now it should never keep you up at night. I’m a big believer in that, but you should always feel like you have a lot going on. I’m really upfront about it, because in today’s world, speed is a huge competitive advantage. And REAL marketers, they get sh*t done. And I’ve been one since a kid, apparently.

I’m also a big believer and asking for forgiveness, not permission. Now I wasn’t always this way. In fact, I was raised to be a rule follower and a so- called good girl. But at some point in my career, I realized that good girls don’t really get ahead because they don’t get noticed. And that’s when I started looking for opportunities for improvement in the business. So wherever I worked, I look for areas where I thought we could use an improvement. And then if no one was paying attention to it or no one was managing it effectively, I just took over. And I started implementing changes until someone told me to knock it off. Guess what? They don’t tell you to knock it off. They actually start noticing you. So that’s what I did. And then I started doing the same thing with my marketing efforts. I stopped asking people for permission to do something. I start asking them to review my marketing plan. I stopped asking them to review my messaging. I just started doing all of it. I’m an adult. I was hired because I’m an adult and I know what I’m doing. And I do what I think is best for the company. More marketers need to be taking control back for their marketing efforts. Marketing should not be by committee. I can’t tell you how many times I hear marketers saying,” The entire leadership team decided on the messaging for our campaign.” You were the head of marketing. You should be deciding that and then telling everyone what it is. No one is better suited to do marketing at your company than you, no one. The sooner you start believing that and start acting that way, the sooner you become a REAL marketer.

Now let’s talk crazy ideas. I have so many of them. Really anyone who’s worked for me can attest that I’m likely to bring up a new, crazy idea about once a week that I want us to implement. And honestly, crazy ideas are one of my favorite parts about marketing, because they’re all about doing the unexpected and pushing boundaries. And I love to push boundaries. I’ve implemented countless crazy ideas in my 15 plus years of being a marketer. But let’s talk about a couple of my recent favorites. Both of them happened while I was at Lumavate. So back in 2017, my first year here at Lumavate, I had this crazy idea of doing an animated whiteboard video every week. I remember when I first told the marketing team about it, which was me, a marketing specialist and a freelance designer that I eventually hired full time. They both looked at me like I was crazy, like batshit crazy. How are we supposed to handle the bandwidth with everything else we have going on? Who’s going to do this? We have so much other stuff to do. This is impossible. It was too much of a crazy idea. What, are you crazy? Have you lost your mind? Those are just some of the statements I heard. Yeah, it was a crazy idea until we did it, successfully for more than 80 weeks. We only stopped when we ran out great content ideas for the video series and wanted to implement another crazy idea instead. Same reaction happened when I wanted to use personalized video for outbound prospecting efforts at Lumavate. The entire sales and marketing team thought I was crazy. There was no way we could do this at scale. And wouldn’t it be a waste of time, were comments I heard. Until we did it, and we were soon recording hundreds of personalized videos for prospects every single month. Here’s the thing that no one tells you. The crazy part about crazy ideas is that they’re only crazy because you haven’t done them yet. And they seem to go against what’s logical about the resources you might have, your potential reach, the results you’re expected to drive and so on.

So how do I make these crazy ideas successful? Well, here’s my secret. Every crazy idea I have is a big vision of where I want to go or the crazy results I want to drive. And that’s why everyone reacts the way they do. I want them to freak out. I want them to go like,” Oh my gosh, how are we going to do this? Well, that’s crazy. Have you lost your mind?” I want that reaction. And then what I do is I tell my crazy idea. They react, and then I break it down for them and how we’re going to get there. And it’s all designed to give us a quick win, so everyone gets on board and we get momentum. For example, the personalized video crazy idea. I had to start by filming 20 videos to companies I let the sales team pick. Of course, they picked huge brands. So my mistake for not setting better limits on it, but we did it anyways. And we did the research on each person. We wrote the personalized scripts. We actually helped the sales team film them. And we sent them out on a Friday afternoon around 3:30 because I was just grateful to be done with them that week. It was a long project. And you know what happened? By Monday morning, we had meetings booked with some well-known enterprise brands and you know what happens then? Everyone’s attitude about my so-called crazy idea starts to change. And soon we were filming hundreds. Now one more thing you should know about me for this show is another thing that Michelle and my team says, which is 2020 Stephanie is done holding back. And that is such a true statement. And it’s really what REAL MARKETERS is all about.

We’re going to have honest conversations with kick-ass marketers on this show, marketers who move fast, get sh*t done, have crazy ideas, drive incredible results and fail. We’re going to talk about failure, too. We’re going to tell their stories and we’re going to tell mine. So if you’re looking for a fireside chat where everything is perfect, you’re going to need to go somewhere else. This isn’t it. But if you’re wanting the real marketing truth, the conversations you would hear from experienced marketers who have been there, done that and have the war wounds to show for it, then you’re in the right place because we’re about to get real. You’ve been listening to REAL MARKETERS. If you love what you’ve heard, make sure to subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. And don’t forget to tell a friend. All of this marketing goodness shouldn’t be kept a secret.