39: Think Fast and Experiment with Tobin Lehman

Tobin Lehman is the President and Lead Strategist at New North, a B2B digital marketing agency. He is also the author of Ride the Tornado: Continuously Improve Your Marketing Strategy in the Midst of Rapid Change, a marketing playbook that takes the mystery out of marketing. We discuss the impact of new technology on marketing, the RTS marketing framework, and using visuals and analytics to solve marketing problems. 

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Think Fast and Experiment with Tobin Lehman

Our guest is Tobin Lehman, who is the president and lead strategist of the New North B2B digital marketing agency in Frederick, Maryland. He is a graduate of Penn State University, we are, and he is author of Ride the Tornado, Continuously Improve Your Marketing Strategy in the Midst of Rapid Change, which just came out 21st of January. Already has eight five-star reviews and he has in his career he has worked with brands like Pfizer, Kimberly Clark and Thermo Fisher which have earned him the reputation for taking the mystery out of marketing with clear strategies that deliver results. So welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me, Steve. I’m looking forward to our conversation today.

It’s great to have you here. So tell us a little bit about your journey. How do you become an entrepreneur?

So, you know, it’s one of those things when, you know, you’re an entrepreneur and you’re asked, you know, how did you get here? You know, that story changes maybe as you, you know, kind of get older and you look back and you see other things. I mean, I look back now and I see, you know, a kid who started, you know, selling candy at age eight and, you know, was thinking about business ideas and starting businesses in his teens. And New North is actually my sixth business that I’ve started.

And so for me, entrepreneurism was something in my family. I’ve got entrepreneurs in my family. It’s something that was maybe encouraged, but not explicitly. So it was maybe a little bit of nurture, a little bit of drive that kind of brought me here. And I’ve started various industries in e-commerce and even music. I just started a record label at one point. So for me, entrepreneurism is a fever in a sense. And that’s one of the beauties of what I do in the marketing now. I mean, tech field is full of entrepreneurs, which is amazing. I’m just that spirit of innovation and building technology.

And I think that’s why I’m kind of, you know, lured to the tech space for the agency and the work we do. And so we have the blessing of working with lots of entrepreneurs, innovators, people who are thinking about new ways of changing the world, and we get to partner with them with marketing, and so to me it’s a little bit of the cake and the ice cream too. We get to run this business here at New North, but also partner with people who are on their journey as they go forward as well.

Okay, yeah, of course, that’s the benefit, not just your company’s entrepreneurial, but you get to work with other entrepreneurs, which is a very rewarding thing to be doing, at least I enjoy it. Tell me Tobin you had your Bachelor of Science in graphic design and photography How did that help you become a better marketer and a better entrepreneur?

Well, it’s great, you know kind of getting back to that that same conversation I mean, I knew I was always into visual aspects and I love photography. I love drawing I was always a kid who drew. And so I was kind of figuring out my path in school and life. My parents encouraged me. I really wanted to be an architect, but I didn’t really think about the implications of not doing well in high school, what that meant for getting into architecture school.

So you know, of course, be it now I’m here, but I went into design school and just kind of, I liked art, like the idea of thinking, but what was really illuminated to me in that process is that graphic design is really design, but in a visual sense, we use visual problem solving, but design and design problem solving is what I’m really passionate about. That’s the part that really kicked in for me and saying, wow, we actually solve problems using a methodology for solving problems.

And that even comes out, even in Ride the Tornado, in terms of this idea of analysis and ideation and thinking. You do the same things when you’re designing a poster or a logo, but it’s just maybe more rapid that you do when you think about a problem in a business in the same way that design thinking kind of ideas what came out and the school was great, you know, very prestigious professor that led that at that time, I’m just really brought us up as thinkers. I mean, so now in running the agency, I don’t do anything graphically anymore, I run the business, I kind of think about business, I consult.

And part of that too, was as I was, you know, kind of in the art side of things, when I went into college, I was the only graphic design major in trigonometry. So it’s like, why are you doing all this math? Well, it’s like, well, I understand math and I understand logic, and I understand these things. So for me, this idea of, you know, kind of the visual aspect, but also the analytics and things really came together. And so when I went into the working world, when digital media and analytics were big, and design came together, it was just the right time to get on that bus.

And here I am now, leading a digital agency, analytics and data are huge in what we do, and they come out in the way we think, but we’re always using data as well as the visual and graphic design to kind of build us into these marketing elements. It’s visual, it’s data, it’s all these things. Before in marketing, I’m sure we’ve all heard the adage of, you know, I do all this in marketing, I spend $10,000 in marketing, half of it works, and I just don’t know which half.

Well, the promise with digital is we kind of know now, we kind of see what works, we can understand from the data, what’s impacting, what’s not. And so we start working through that, and you can see some other data being, you know, built up in other channels digitally as well. So yeah, it’s a fun journey, but that visual side I still use a little bit, but really it’s that design thinking that comes to bear.

So that’s really is interesting when you say design thinking. So what does that look like exactly? Can you give me an example of what design thinking? 

I think for me, I mean, there’s definitely people who’ve thought a lot more about design thinking, so we can, you can Google it and check it out. But when I think about that, I think about really the process that I talk about in the book and the RTX framework, which is this idea of really almost like the scientific method, if you will, of, of kind of thinking, right. We’re going to look at data or understand what’s the problem is and unpack that problem. You know, in traction, we use the IDS kind of process. Like let’s, let’s discuss with the issue.

Let’s unpack the issues. Look at the data. What’s really happening here. To then get an idea. And then we experiment, we put a hypothesis together and we experiment, we look at what that might be. And we let that experiment come to life. And we do that. And we look back at the data again to say, well, what happened, what moved, what changed, and then we start to iterate again, it’s that cycle. It’s part of the RTX framework we should talk about in the book.

But this, this idea of thinking that the next level of results, the next level of performance is going to involve some level of experimentation because no one else has been there before. So how are you going to get to that level? You know, the great visual design really, I love where this conversation is going because you think about the great logos of the world and the great visual art world. Like most of that was experimentation. It wasn’t like Picasso sat down and thought about all this stuff and had a really detailed plan and just bang, nailed it out. If there’s tons of first versions and second versions and experimentations and those things get birthed out of this creative process.

And I think the RTX framework really starts to allow us to think about that from a, from a business perspective, you have to experiment, you have to be able to think about, let’s look at the data, let’s get grounded and build a platform, which we can then build something else to try on to experiment out here and build some progress. But you won’t get to the next level until you kind of understand and unpack that process. And, and really that’s the beauty of it.

I mean, after 20 years in marketing, I get asked all the time, the networking event or whatever, what’s the hot thing in marketing? What should I be doing right now? Give me a tip or two. And I just realized the tips are pointless. They’re not gonna help you at all because the tips are so fickle and they’re so short. What I can help you with, and it’s kind of why I wrote the book, is I can give you the thinking that goes behind agencies and people like me who have to conquer these problems all the time. What do we do with Clubhouse? What do we do with the new social media?

What do we do with the Google taking cookies away from internet marketing? How do we handle that? Well, that’s what I’ve been doing for 20 years now is figuring out how we handle these problems, how we solve them. And it all comes into the idea of assessing data, ideating, executing, and doing it again month after month, week after week, as we build out these marketing campaigns and these programs to try to effect change into organizations through marketing.

So, you refer to this RTX model several times. So what is this RTX model and how is it different from what other agencies do to figure out the best marketing for their clients?

I think the process is pretty simple. So RTX stands for rapid thinking and execution. Pretty, pretty simple. So right, it’s the idea of rapid thinking and execution. So the myth, so to speak, or what’s dead in my world, in my view, is the 12 month marketing plan. That’s gone. That’s pointless. If you had a 12 month marketing plan in January of 2020, ask me how that went, right? It didn’t, it didn’t go anywhere because the world changes too fast.

And, you know, if we talk about the acceleration of microchips and all these ideas about change management and how fast things change, the reality is in digital marketing, even in the tech field, things change so quickly that you don’t even have the ability to look at that, you know, in the EOS world, you know, we talked about that, like you look at the 90 day, you know, 90 day window, kind of that sense. That’s what we do in the RTX framework. We look at goals that are 90 day kind of process.

The core idea of RTX is looking at data, rapidly thinking about that, executing some ideas in a short frame, and taking the insights from that activity to build the next campaign. Click To Tweet

And then we iterate each month looking at the different marketing activities we can do to rapidly think and execute, kind of put ideas, hypotheses out there, build on past success to keep climbing in a direction for success. So the core idea of it is looking at data, being able to rapidly kind of think about that, execute some ideas in a short frame, maybe a month or two weeks, and take the insights from that activity and then build the next campaign and build the next campaign and do that versus just putting your credit card into Google AdWords, putting $5,000 on it, hitting go and walking away for six months. It’s just disastrous. But there’s a way of iterating and building that up.

And I think probably many agencies have a process similar to this in some degree. And I think what’s unique about it in that sense is really just how much detail I give out in the book in terms of how to do it. So as I wrote the book, part of that process was being able to lay out the process for us. I mean, our team reads this book in the first week they join, right? This kind of, this is how we market. So it’s really the inside view to the agency and how we think about this for a company that’s been, you know, leading change and growing leads and building businesses for two decades.

Now, how do we go about this process when there’s new curveballs every week. And so the process allows you to really think more like a market or think more like an innovator and apply that process to your team. So if you’re a CEO and you have a marketing person inside and you’re maybe struggling with maybe how to manage that person, how to direct them, the RTX framework can help you kind of build that program out to be able to say, this is how we’re going to do marketing. We’re going to think in these kinds of ways. We’re going to have these kinds of meetings.

We’re going to structure it out much like, you know, traction did for our business in this sense, not, I’m not holding a candle to, you know, ride a tornado compared to traction, but in that sense, it provides you that framework and that possibility to say, this is how we’re going to run marketing so we can be agile. We can think about rapidly thinking and growing our marketing, growing our results instead of just doing the same old thing month after month without really taking that process of data and understanding how we rotate that.

So, it’s kind of an agile process is, do you have like two weeks sprints, like for tech company, or is it longer one month? You mentioned monthly iterations or is it quarterly iterations? How long are your screens? And how do you, you know, how often do you change your, your approach?

It’s a great question. The, the, as I cover that in the book a little bit, part of what I say is that it’s really going to matter on the organization. I think a safe place for most businesses is a month just based on the size. If they’re a bigger organization, it might be longer, might be six weeks. I’m the shortest I’ve ever seen that is just weekly. I think the, this, the process is still too challenging to move. Plus, depending on your budget for marketing, you might not have enough data in a week to make a substantial decision, right?

If you run, if you only have, you know, five, $6,000, going to get an ad campaign, I mean, a week might not be long enough to really get statistically relevant data. So it’s gonna depend a little bit on your organization, a little bit on how much marketing you’re doing. A month is a good fair shot to say, we’re going to plan out a month, we’re going to run this month, and be able to do that. If you got a bigger team and bigger budget, you could probably compress it to two weeks, but probably not less than that, in that sense.

Okay, that makes sense. So is it long term project planning is totally outdated?

I think so. Right. And part of the premise for making in the book is, is that I mean, the reality is, you know, you may have annual goals, right? Most companies have annual goals and you gauge and understand what that looks like. Every company should have a North Star, we operate as an agency is taking the level of detail and resolution for that kind of long-term goal and going too deep into planning, kind of over planning. I think that’s one of the bigger mistakes we make in this world.

It’s kind of over planning these things. We invest too much into the outcome. And so I think, you know, as we look at annual goals and you have an idea of what you’re going to do, but, you know, even relaying that process, most people break an annual goal into quarterly. Kind of segments, right? If we’re going to be here at the end of the year, we’re gonna be here this quarter, here this quarter, this quarter. And so that quarter becomes a much more tangible, much more understandable kind of view and it prevents you from thinking, oh, everything is gonna happen just like we want it to happen, right?

Over the next three to four quarters. That’s fictitious, that’s not gonna happen. And so being able to go shorter term allows you to do that. But if you’re doing a good process, if you have some real attraction using Zells or whatever it may be, there’s some process that you have to understand that that quarterly goal is aligned to a long-term goal.

It’s not just, you’re just making stuff up every month. I mean, if you have your goals and you’re kind of organizational aligned very well, there’s not a problem with ever just thinking in 90 days because you have the right kind of alignment to the quarter, to the year, to the three year, to the 10 year, all of those things that really kind of work itself out. So you’ve got the alignment, you’ve got your core values, all those things worked out. A short planning cycle, 90 days, even 30 days, will always be aligned to where you’re going.

Okay, makes sense. So Toby, you recently launched a book and because you’re a marketing company, I assume that you did some marketing for that book too. Would you share with us what you did and what was your marketing cadence for your book and how did you refine and tweak it?

For us, this is a book that I felt like was a passion project for us, the journey we’ve gone through. Now there’s, I only know maybe half a dozen to a dozen agencies in the US that do something like what we do. It’s kind of rare, there’s not a lot of, there’s a thousand agencies, you might find two to three that do what we do, especially in the space that we’re in. So the process, the modality is very, very different. So for us, it was writing this book to be able to say, here’s how we do this.

Because when I meet a new client, meet a prospect, and I drop this idea of agile marketing on them, sometimes their head turns, like, what? What’s that supposed to mean? How does that work? Right, so in a sense, I have these conversations, I walk them through it. And so the book was both a understanding of saying, I need to be able to write about this and explain people and evangelize that process of what we do and why it works and what the results you get.

So marketing it, you know, we got, you know, all the right things in terms of the cover and all those things worked out from the design perspective. And in marketing, it’s just been a slow process. You know, I’m working on talking to people like you who are, you know, ideas about building businesses. We are a company that likes to partner with people who are growing, right? That’s really what we do. We help companies grow. And so finding like-minded people through podcasts, speaking engagements, things like that, are really what the book allows us to open up is have opportunities like this.

So the book itself, you know, I’m not looking to be an Amazon bestseller. That’s not my goal. I’m hoping to find the right tribe, the right people who are interested in this kind of aggressive growth minded kind of marketing that will take advantage of some of the material in here and use it to their advantage. They use us great. If they don’t, we can at least take a lot of what’s in here and innovate their own process. This would be in a sense, a really smart way to handle startup marketing, right? In that sense, it’s also a great way to handle a team that’s trying to pivot.

No, I think we talked a little bit about pivoting. I mean, if you have to move your company from one kind of vertical to another, or pivoting a marketing process, the reality is you may be going into uncharted territory. So you could be a century old company that’s now pivoting into a new space or you had to pivot COVID. This process applies so well to that idea of saying, well, our goals change now. How do we approach that goal in a iterative way? Because we don’t know what’s over the hill. We don’t know what’s behind that curtain. So as we do each month, we learn, we grow, we iterate, we move in that direction with intelligence, not just moving the ship and then realizing, oh, there’s a wall there. That’s not gonna be helpful. It’s allows us to look at goals and iterate through that process.

We learn, we grow, we iterate, we move in that direction with intelligence. Click To Tweet

So, Tobin, let’s dig a little bit into this because you mentioned you’ve worked with startups and I also read on your page that you help startups raise funding with the right marketing. So how does it work? How do you leverage your marketing for raising funding for startup?

So we’ve been a part and lucky to be a part of a few companies that have gone from garages to Google, you know, in that sense and seeing their journeys and worked on different stages of that. We’ve, you know, helped in some of the early funding pitches and working with investors and the kind of niche behind that. And we’ll talk specifically tech because every space has its own kind of challenges.

If you’re in life sciences, there are different kinds of investors. We’re talking tech, internet tech, SaaS apps, things like that. The real challenge is being accessible, being well understood. A lot of times we’re talking to people who are the engineers, right? They’re the guys who have the technology, they made the technology. In fact, I just had a conversation this morning with two incredibly sharp guys and I can tell they built the technology and they just got a big venture group back behind them in that process.

So they’re winning on their technology, but now comes marketing time. And now they need to be able to explain that well. How do they market that well? How do they build themselves out? And so as if your goal is to attract investors, that’s a goal and you start working towards that from an agile perspective. And so there’s a lot of it comes with messaging, being clear, being concise, it’s a smaller audience, and you get to do more specific kind of things.

What I think I struggle with and some of that with sometimes is going for investors, but also trying to sell on the side, like trying to actually build generation business that way. Depending on where you are, some people should just be focusing on investor, right? If it’s early on and it’s such a crazy new product, it’s almost harder to sell the product. You’ve never seen someone who’s a visionary like you to get behind it, start building market momentum. And we were working on a product that just is maybe two, three years ahead of its kind of curve for the working world.

And so we could do ads right now and it wouldn’t sell because no one’s really ready for it. It’s super new, it’s gonna involve some infrastructure challenges. So their whole market becomes the investor market. So what does that mean? Means we’re trying to make the company look as attractive as we can with clear operating. The page navigation changes, right? We’re not trying to sell the product, we’re trying to sell the company, right? In that sense too.

So our investor bio pages of our key team becomes way more important in the investor stage than it does if we’re trying to sell the actual product. Right, so all those decisions really start shifting. And the same thing can be said for a company that’s maybe looking to merge or be acquired or sell. That can definitely be a thing that changes in the way the marketing is done because you’re looking to, again, idealizing your customer and shifting your marketing around to really accentuate what they’re looking for in the company.

They’re going to look and see the core of the technology or looking at the team that’s behind it. Those are the common things we’re working on is really how do we best communicate the value of what’s being presented here, the team behind it, and what’s the roadmap for success, that’s typically what most investors are going to be looking at in that process. And sometimes it’s just, it’s technical too with, you know, due diligence sheets and things like that as we go forward.

So, what about the ideation? You talk a lot about the brainstorming, you call it rapid thinking, the ideation. Do you have a process for your ideation or is it just an intuitive, organic thing, or you know how you’re actually going to get those best ideas out of your client’s head and maybe your own head, even your colleagues’ head. What is your process in this regard?

This gets more on the, you know, maybe the esoteric side of things. Creative process is hard, right? So as we talked about, you know, being so data-driven here and process, I love data and process. Those are big factors in my life and agency here. The other challenge is how do you be creative? Like, what do you do to be creative, truly creative? In my view, and kind of this process, I think creativity in my mind is this process of really bridging different areas of your mind and your experiences together into something unique.

So in that sense, creativity for me always involves something new being inputted. You can’t really be creative unless you have new experiences, new information, new things to kind of process because your brain’s already settled all the decisions in your mind today. Like you’ve got everything you’ve already got, maybe some things there. And one of the things I always come back to is this story that I’ve heard. I don’t know how true it is, but I’ll believe it’s true.

You can't really be creative unless you have new experiences, new information, new things to kind of process because your brain's already settled all the decisions in your mind today. Click To Tweet

You know, Einstein, as he was working on the theory of relativity, was working on his lab, working for days and weeks and months, and he was in it taking a bus trip. And as he was stepping off the bus into a new, beautiful place he had traveled but never been to, and he finally arrives, it hits him. And he jumps over the side of the street and kind of finishes the theorem. And it just, for me, it’s always been this message of like, you gotta kinda get out and you gotta experience new things because your brain is a wonderful machine, God gave us the process and kind of understand these things.

If I wanna be creative, I’ve gotta get out there and give it some food, give it some insight, give it some thoughts. That may be as simple as going to YouTube and watching videos, going to the library, even just taking a hike, new inputs. All these things can really do it. So if I’m asking my team to be creative, I’m asking my client to be creative. I’m gonna ask them and kind of drive them in a creative sense. That’s why I like the offsite is such a great thing for a team when you’re trying to do some creative thinking. Going to the office is the same thinking you’ve always had. Going to an offsite, going somewhere out of there.

And that’s one of the challenges with Zoom, I think with, you know, the kind of work from home thing we’re in now too, is that going to the office is a break from home, like going back and forth is an opportunity. So I see the creative process as really this wonderful thing where we’re allowed to go out and look into a hobby, look into something. I mean, there’s so many things I’ve pulled from this world of gardening or woodworking into marketing or this thing from the history of Lewis and Clark into a client’s work, right?

It’s just you got to kind of feed yourself ideas and thoughts and that’s where creativity bubbles up. I mean, if you look at some of the great, great creative people out there, I mean, they were either very social, they were out there, they were doing things, they weren’t these permits kind of in a box, not being creative in that sense. They were out there, they were experiencing things, kind of doing things. And I think that’s part of the process, at least for me, and I’ve seen that kind of work with the team as well.

That’s fascinating, listening to you. I just got back from a trip to the West Coast and we did some traveling three or four days. I was also reading a book about Andy Grove and Intel and all those things that went through, they went through and it was a very fertile trip to me because I both got inspiration, excitement about the whole entrepreneurialism and you know what I should do. So part of it is emotion, it’s not kind of an idea, it’s more of a feeling.

And then I’ve got a bunch of ideas as well that I wrote down that I have to explore and try to implement. And it was on the face of it, that was kind of a break, three or four days, that no work was done. But actually a lot of work was done on the creative side. So I’m bringing back the raw material that I can put into my work moving forward. 

You’ve nailed it. One of the most essential things, which is harder for us, and I think it’s going to be even harder for agencies in the long term here, is that one of the big moments for us as an agency was our first meeting with a client. Because we would typically go to their location. So that may be flying across the US, going to look at a factory, getting in their space. I love walking factory floors. I love walking through them.

Just you know, feel the culture of certain companies as we go in there and kind of understand that those experiences are so, so rich to be able to do that. And just even on the flight, I mean, I don’t know how many great ideas that just come on the flight coming back from a client’s, I mean, cause you’ve got the time, the space, it’s different. Your brain’s traveling all these things. And so I think it’s evident for everyone to be able to take that thinking time.

I mean, and I’ve heard this, I’m sure you have too. I mean, the days of the manager who would sit in his office and just think is, is slowly going away. We’re just so busy. And I think it’s something we’ve had to build in into our cadence, into our weeks to be able to say, no, this is a thinking time. This is experiment time. I mean, imagine, I don’t know how many different business owners are listening to this podcast, but if your employee came to you and said, Hey I’m going to go to the library for an hour.

What’s your gut reaction in that? Is it like, no, you’ve got tasks to do, or is it like, well, what are you gonna do there? Like, how’s it gonna benefit? Reality is some things we just can’t measure with a time stick. We need to be able to get out there and let our clients like, or let our team explore and get ideas. And it’s a hard challenge, but we need to be able to realize that synthesis of ideas is gonna take some inputs. It’s gonna be probably more challenging than we think.

Gino Wichman calls it the clarity break. And this is the concept in EOS. You have todo a clarity break, you have to get out of your office on a regular basis, maybe once a week, once a month, whatever works for you. Adjust a sheet of blank paper and just go to Starbucks or go somewhere and just be open to the ideas coming to you and then that’s going to enhance your process, it’ll create clarity for you and so on.

Another concept around these lines is Dan Sullivan, strategic coach. He talks about, you have to have your focus days when you are doing your, you’re basically you’re on stage and you’re performing, you’re doing the podcast or you’re doing your sales pitches or whatever it is, and then you have your buffer days when you do all the bits and pieces, busy work, and then you have your free days when you’re not doing any work.

And basically what Dan Sullivan argues is that the more, if you want to grow your company, you want to make it more valuable, you have to have more free days. That’s the only way for you to be able to break through the next level. You have to free yourself up so you can embrace those ideas. You can receive those ideas and make the company self-managing because if you’re not in the office, the company has still to run without you. And that’s a discipline itself.

Take a clarity break, step out of your office regularly, maybe weekly or monthly. Grab a blank sheet of paper, go to a cafe—be open to ideas. It enhances your process and brings clarity. Click To Tweet

And then you, then you really tap into scale, right? When you’re not involved, right? Otherwise you’re just the stick in the wheel that’s causing the problem, right? So be able to get more of those free days, then you really get scale going.

Exactly. If the company needs you, then it cannot scale because you are limited to 24 hours. And that’s a big, it’s a big thing. So tell me about technology. So technology is changing all the time and how is it affect brands that the technology changing and the customers and sales, how, what is the impact of that and how do you handle that?

So I’ll kind of talk about that maybe from a high level. And I think there’s a lot of good thinkers out there in this space. And so I’m gonna kind of synthesize some of their thoughts as well, as I think about this from a technology perspective for brands and the marketing side. The technology changes so quickly. I’m talking just about mark marketing technology. We call Martek, you know, as a short phrase for a market technology changes so rapidly.

And by that, I mean, you know, the number in the first chapter of my book, I kind of break out some stats and just how fast technology has been changing and how that looks. I mean, it’s literally a hockey stick. It just goes to the roof. And so things are changing so quickly, I would suffice that, you know, in that technology maybe has a two to three year shelf life of its effectiveness in the sense that there’s probably either a competitor or something better in the market for a similar cost.

And it probably is gonna get faster and faster. So if you were a company that, you know, went on to like a Marketo or something, a big enterprise kind of marketing system. The reality is you may not be using it enough or whatever, but the point is there may also be additional features that they’re adding that keep up with. So the biggest thing with technology is that the technology companies are incentivized to grow. They’re adding new features, they’re growing the market here.

Companies have the harder time, I think, just keeping up with the implementation. As I’ve talked to many companies, bigger challenge is really around utilization in terms of implementation. What does it mean to totally use this piece of software, build all the campaigns for it, all those pieces. So technology is moving faster. And I think the hard part is what I’m seeing more so is this kind of the trains leaving the station and the caboose is maybe not keeping up. The companies are not keeping up.

Technology is getting so far out there. And so what that means is that as the mass amounts of companies are trying to keep up, those that are able to advance technology uses faster do have an advantage. And so, you know, I was just working with a small startup and they’re using all kinds of advanced technology in terms of messaging apps with their clients. I mean, they’ve not even gone to texting with their clients. They’re using, even like Marco Polo or social apps to connect with our clients and use their perspective.

I mean, I couldn’t even imagine if my CPA tried to do Marco Polo messaging with me, right? That would be so technology advanced, so aggressive in the sense of social and just being so pro technology. It blow my mind. I don’t know what effect it would have, honestly. Like I probably would like it because I could just message them and say, hey, what’s going on with our payroll or whatever and have this kind of communication.

So what I’m excited about is seeing young companies, new companies who have the ability to kind of jump on right now and they’re not encumbered by old tech. So they’re not sitting there with a HubSpot implementation that’s three years old and they’re, you know, we’ve already paid for it, we’re kind of stuck here. They’re able to innovate. I think the big lesson there is to say, well, are we using the right tech and can we keep up with it? In the same sense, should we just get off and start again?

You know, make, make a new technology investment here to be able to say, well, if we’re not keeping up, what is the latest thing? And one of the, why the things I’ve heard in a, in a client meeting recently was. You know, having a four to six quarter roadmap of technology for your organization. I think most of us think of technology as kind of bandaid fixes, like, Oh, I want to do this, I want to get a better piece of technology. Great.

We don’t think about it of, we want to be doing this kind of automation. We want to be having this kind of data presentation. We want to have this kind of data layer. We want to build in looking technology as almost like a roadmap versus just a behind the scenes thinking of, oh, we want to send better email. Let’s get a better tool. Like, no, what if you said we want to, all of a sudden we want to be using this amazing social tool that’s gonna allow us to send out posts and fast or look at video messaging and a more aggressive nature and then bring that in from a technology first perspective.

So I think there’s a huge opportunity there for companies. And again, it’s, it’s, there’s so much to it, right. As I kind of see this and look at technology, go through things and companies. I just wonder how we’re all going to keep up with it all, right. There’s just so much that’s out there. I see these younger companies kind of jumping in or jumping into, you know, video texting and things like that. And these big behemoths that are, it’s going to take them four years to catch up to that for sure.

So there really is a market advantage. And I think it’s a challenge for you. And if you have a clarity day, as a, you know, as a CEO to think about what experimentation, what ride the tornado kind of experience, what rabbit thinking can we try to bring some of these new bleeding edge technologies into our company, more proactive than just reactive? Like, can we start doing this? Can we start looking at what this means to implement texting?

If you’ve had a B2B service business, if you’re a, you know, let’s take a CPA or if you’re a, you know, janitorial service, things like that, what are the technologies that make sense you can use to just enhance your customer service? And you mentioned Dan Sullivan. I mean, he’s brilliant, brilliant thinker, but the experience economy, right? What’s the experience you can use in technologies only allowing us to preach that much, much faster. And I think those who are going to win that are those who are going to embrace technology more than those who are just looking at it as, you know, stopgap solutions.

So, it’s all about maybe leapfrogging the competition with the new technology like the Japanese did in the 1970s with cars and eighties and electronics. So lots of great perspectives from, from you, Tobin. So if my listeners would like to learn more about what you do and how you work with companies, what the RTX framework looks like, obviously they can buy your book on Amazon, which is Ride the Tornado, continuously improve your marketing strategy in the midst of rapid change. So definitely check this out, check this book out. I already ordered my copy. How else can they connect with you, Robin?

Yep, so the book has a website, ridethetornado.com. They can go check out more info there. It’s actually worksheets and examples of some of the agendas for the process on that site. So you can download those and start working through it. You can check us out at our agency, newnorth.com. That’s a place you can look at the actual B2B agency. And obviously, I’m on LinkedIn. It’s the only social media I focus on. So you can find me on LinkedIn, connect, reach out, love to kind of share stories and work through that journey with you and see where you are and see if RTX could be helpful to you in that process.

Okay, that’s awesome. So, Tobin Lehman, the President and Lead Strategist of the New North Marketing Agency, the author of Ride the Tornado. Thanks for coming on the show. I really enjoyed talking with you. And for our audience, please, if you like the show, please like us on YouTube, write a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcast. We’d love to hear feedback from you and your reviews, obviously. And stay tuned for next week. We’ll have another entrepreneur coming to the show with an exciting story. Thank you, Tobin.

All right, thank you, Steve.


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