In this episode, Brooke Janousek, a skilled brand builder and fractional CMO at The Grow CMO, shares her insights on successful marketing strategies and why she thinks Taylor Swift is a marketing genius. She highlights brands that are nailing marketing, such as Dude Wipes and Everyday Dose Mushroom Coffee, and emphasizes the importance of staying true to your product and focusing on what you do well. Brooke also discusses the power of customer insights and the role of authenticity in marketing.

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πŸ“ŒTALKING POINTS

00:40 - Brands that are Nailing Marketing

03:10 - Staying True to Your Product

08:24 - The Power of Customer Insights

10:20 - Taylor Swift's Authentic Brand

12:42 - Prioritizing Joy in Life

14:00 - The Role of Data and Surveys in Marketing

20:47 - Overcoming the Stigma of Being Alone

23:23 - Effective Tools and Tactics in Marketing

30:04 - The Importance of Clear Messaging

32:10 - Starting a Marketing Engagement

35:03 -Finding Joy and Focusing on Growth

πŸ”—CONNECT WITH BROOKE

πŸ”—CONNECT WITH TOM FINN

Tom Finn (00:01.54)

Welcome to the show, my friends. Today we are sitting down with Brooke Janousek. Brooke, welcome to the show.

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Brooke Janousek (00:08.456)

Hi, thank you so much for having me.

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Tom Finn (00:10.748)

Well, Brooke, we are thrilled to have you. And if you don't know her, let me take a moment to introduce you to this very skilled brand builder who executes strategies to increase revenue, profitability, and customer loyalty. She has worked with several newly launched startups and some legacy brands that we've all heard of, including Disney, Toro, GE, Sonic Restaurants, it's making me hungry, Bridgestone, and Career Builder. The Grow CMO is a fractional leadership solution for effective marketing growth. And she founded that after two decades as an expert in the marketing industry. So Brooke, let's start right there. As an expert in the marketing industry, tell me who is doing a good job today. What brands are really nailing it from a marketing perspective?

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Brooke Janousek (00:59.214)

Oh my gosh, I love this question so much. And I'm gonna fangirl for a moment because if you follow me on LinkedIn, you know that I talk about Dude Wipes constantly. And are you familiar with the brand? Okay, that's okay.

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Tom Finn (01:11.44)

I am familiar with the brand. Yes, I don't have any in my home, but I do understand and have seen their marketing message.

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Brooke Janousek (01:17.706)

Okay. I was going to say, and you don't have to divulge if you have them or not, but, um, it is a fantastic brand and they are killing it for a couple of reasons. One, they are so on brand, like they unapologetically use poop jokes. And I think it's fantastic. It's so funny and fresh. People don't even expect that is going to be, you know, what they read or see online. And they are very focused on the fact that they're disrupting the toilet paper industry. That is their mission, and they're gonna do everything they can to basically wipe the, no pun intended, wipe toilet paper off the shelves and have this be their main product. And one thing I noticed that was so clever is during the whole pumpkin spice craze, this fall where literally everything is pumpkin spice, they made pumpkin spice dude wipes, and they called them dumpkin spice.

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Tom Finn (02:11.805)

Nice.

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Brooke Janousek (02:13.822)

It's just like, it just is clever, funny on brand. And Sean Reilly is their CEO. If you follow him on LinkedIn, his posts are hysterical and everybody just jumps on board because, you know, the eight-year-old in us comes out and we want to participate in these jokes. And they've had a couple really funny plays on. So Ozempic, if you're not familiar with Ozempic, it's the weight loss drug that people are taking and there are some side effects. And there was a article with a headline that said, people that are taking ozempic are having issues at night. And they're basically going to the bathroom in the bed. So he's like, his headline was I'm going to adjust our forecast accordingly. So again, like just so clever and I, and I'm talking about them. This is, you know, this is crazy. I don't, I don't use the product and it's not clearly marketed towards me, but I think they're doing a fantastic job.

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Tom Finn (03:10.504)

That's a really interesting take on a brand that you might not think of, but they're doing everything right to promote their brand of dude wipes. What's funny is we tend to think of marketing as hard and trying to find the right customer fit and the right connection and those types of things. These guys are selling a modern toilet paper and I think it's almost like a wipe if you're a parent. I have four kids. We have wipes all over the house. They don't say dude on them, but they're just wipes to wipe my kids.

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Brooke Janousek (03:36.038)

Right. No, it's a baby wipe.

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Tom Finn (03:40.625)

And clean them up. So I imagine it's probably a similar formula just packaged a heck of a lot better.

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Brooke Janousek (03:46.994)

Yeah. And he, um, they were actually on Shark Tank and, uh, Mark Cuban invested in them. And I saw he just, uh, Sean just posted again, they're one of the most successful investments on Shark Tank. So definitely doing something right. They also have not deviated from their product offerings. So they have, you haven't seen them come out with a bunch of different variations or excuse me, like going into a different vertical like a powder or anything like that. They are staying true to the product because they know that's what works. And maybe they're changing up a formula or again the Duncan spice flavor, but they're not trying to diversify too much and get outside of what the true essence of their product is.

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Tom Finn (04:30.716)

And why is that important for us that are thinking about marketing for our own companies or if we're part of a large company, we're just trying to understand this a little bit better. Why is it important that in this particular case, they're staying within their existing product set and not trying all these other things.

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Brooke Janousek (04:46.258)

I think it's human nature to say, okay, we've conquered this area. Let's see what we can do next. And without going without doing proper research or without trying to understand the market better or the needs of the market better, sometimes there's a tendency to just say, oh, we'll go to market with this new variation and hopefully it goes well. And you kind of lose sight of what you do really well. It's that old adage. You can do 10 things half ass, sorry, or you could do a couple of things really well. And I have seen time and time again, even organizations I've worked in where we try to diversify, it's almost like you get so excited that something worked really well, that we're going to try this other thing and it's like, stick to the basics, stick to what we know really well, what our products or excuse me, what our customers know and love about our products and, and don't try and mess up a good thing.

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Tom Finn (05:40.348)

Yeah, look, that is a great way to scale also. So when you think about it from a production standpoint, if you have one product and you're producing one product in a factory, uh, you are able to move more units faster if it's all the same. And I imagine with their bumpkin spice, uh, fall flavor of 2023 that they can, uh, move a couple of ingredients, but keep the assembly line pretty consistent to, to move more units. So when you're thinking about scale as an entrepreneur or you're in a large organization, having a simpler product set is always easier to scale. And if that's what Cuban wants, that's what Cuban gets.

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Brooke Janousek (06:21.818)

Right? That is an excellent point, especially, and also from a supply chain standpoint, like it's very easy, they only have a couple skews. When you try to go to these different retailers, you say, we've got three skews for you. We'll make it super simple. This is what's gonna get dropped off. And it makes it easy in that regard too.

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Tom Finn (06:40.264)

Yeah, it does make it easier from a process standpoint as well. So I think it hits all the high notes. All right. So that's one for the fellas. Um, but what about one for the ladies out there? Is there a brand that's hitting you sort of right between the eyes or the ears?Β 

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Brooke Janousek (06:58.000)

Yeah, there is one that I am actually a consumer of. Now, I wouldn't say that this is totally for the ladies, but it is maybe for someone that's more health conscious and is looking for alternatives to, I don't know, the regular vices in your life. So there's something that I drink called Mushroom Coffee, and the brand is Everyday Dose. So it's not, doesn't taste like mushrooms, it surprisingly tastes like coffee but it's made from mushrooms. And the plant-based caffeine is more, is better for you. You have less jitters. So the reason why I love this product, and I will say I got served an ad on Instagram for this product the very first time. I, and I had an instant reaction, which many of your listeners are probably like, she drinks what? But I was like, that can't be good. It's made out of mushrooms. There's no way that's, that is a good product. But the… They sold me on the benefits. They sold me on, they knew from a messaging standpoint, my problem. They've basically been tracking me. They know that, you know, I get up in the middle of the night, I have jitters from caffeine. I'm a very health conscious person. Let's, you know, address the problem and kind of poke the bear a little bit and say, hey, do you experience this when you sleep? Do you experience jitters from caffeine? Here's the solution for you. And that hit me right between the eyes and I thought, I'll try it.

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And I fell in love with the product, how it tastes. But then I also fell in love with the customer experience they offer. And they are talking about a brand that is killing it. Their way of getting more consumer insights out of their existing customer base is, is the best that I have seen in a really long time. And I've talked about this a little bit on LinkedIn before, but they just do these quick one-question surveys of their customer base and I fill them out, no problem. No, you know, I don't feel like it's a waste of time. I'm intrigued by the questions they ask. And as a marketer, I know what they're doing, but I willingly participate. I willingly give them more information because I know it's gonna help them develop future products or iterations of the product.

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Tom Finn (09:08.388)

I love this. You're into dude wipes and mushroom coffee.

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Brooke Janousek (09:14.419)

Oh man, I am a catch, people.

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Tom Finn (09:17.432)

Wow, I yeah, I mean that's you are really nailing it from marketing perspective But I think I think what you're highlighting in all in all seriousness is that it doesn't have to be the most innovative Robotic artificial intelligence product that captures our attention. It can be Modern toilet paper and a new type of coffee

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Brooke Janousek (09:39.734)

Right. And also, I bet many of you thought I was gonna say, kind of the big five that are doing a really good job. I wanna highlight these companies that are up and coming that need to be rewarded for what they're doing and how they're breaking through the noise because there is so much noise out there. And every channel that we consume our content, there's noise. And for these two to stick out to me, to the point where I'm able to regurgitate what I think their mission and their structure, their brand purposes are, is pretty impressive without even being inside the four walls of the organization and having any insight into it.

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Tom Finn (10:20.596)

Yeah, that's a great point. I would like to go back to something you said, you said, without being the big five. So if, if people are not marketers by nature, what is the big five?

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Brooke Janousek (10:29.738)

Yeah. Oh, I just threw, I literally just said that, but I think when you ask the question of a marketer who's killing it right now, the default answer could be a Nike and Apple, Disney. You know, I think people default to those really big, big brands that are household names Starbucks that we all just assume I'm going to talk about. And I don't know that there's a definitive big five. That's just, I think some really big brands that people always

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lean on or it's kind of the easy answer to default to.

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Tom Finn (11:01.884)

Yeah. And I think some of those things are legacy, right? I mean, I always think of Disney and I think, look, let's be honest. They haven't really changed the pitch in 60 years. And that's okay. It works. It totally works. Uh, no, no issue with it. I just, I just think some of it, like you, you pointed out, uh, very clearly some of these new and upcoming brands. Um, the one that got me a few years ago that ultimately sold is a dollar shave club.

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Brooke Janousek (11:04.321)

It works, exactly. Yeah.

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Tom Finn (11:30.228)

And for the fellas out there, you'll remember this. The CEO's like kicking through a warehouse and they made this five minute ad on, I don't know, $70 and a case of beer. And it was amazing. And then ultimately they sold to a conglomerate who purchased them. And I feel like that's what Dude Wipes is doing. They're taking the same model. We're gonna be weird, we're gonna be quirky, we're gonna be new. And oh, by the way, you know, somebody's going to come and buy us at some.

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Brooke Janousek (11:59.474)

Right, right. And speaking of Dollar Shave Club, Billy Razor, if you, that is a women's razor, but that one is, they've, I'm a consumer of that product as well. And they put, they had a board game that they sent me an email about. And I was like, why is a razor company, you know, soliciting a board game? But it was just, you know, they're, they're doing some fun and interesting things that really caught my attention. But that's another brand that I think does a really good job and they are clearly focused on their niche audience which is women.

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Tom Finn (12:33.872)

Yeah, I love it. Speaking of somebody else that has a pretty good brand, what are your, what is your take on, uh, my good friend and yours, Tay-Tay Swift?

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Brooke Janousek (12:42.098)

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, you are speaking to my heart right now. This is, I could talk about it. I could talk about her forever. And again, not for the reasons I think most people are going to think. I didn't like her music at first. I'm going to be honest. What I fell in love with was her brand, her personal brand, what she stands for and how she is so consistent with how she behaves, how she speaks, how she portrays herself that no one can argue that is not how she truly is. And just the effect that she has had, and when we're recording this, she was just announced as the Time Person of the Year. And so that article is fantastic in talking about the Taylor Swift effect. And I even talked about how the sales, I talked about this on LinkedIn, how the sales of jerseys, the NFL jerseys, especially Travis Kelce's went up when people found out that she was dating him. And so there's a real effect there because this woman is being real and she's not apologizing for who she is anymore. She went into hiding and decided like, I'm not doing this anymore. This is who I am, take it or leave it. And it's refreshing for people to see somebody be real with that amount of exposure.

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Tom Finn (14:02.652)

Look, here's the deal. And here's what I love about Taylor Swift. She is like a normal person, just making way more money. Right? And she's cool about it. She's like, yeah, I'm just a regular person and I'm making a ton of money. It's fine. I don't have any issue with people making as much money as they wanna make. But here's what I will also say. All of us go through that evolution. All of us. All of us show up as a representative of ourselves for a portion of our lives. It just happens in modern society. All might be a stretch, maybe it's not everybody, but there's a vast majority of us. At some point we say, enough's enough. I just wanna be accepted for who I am. And if I'm not, that's okay. I'm just gonna be who I am. And I think we, it's called growth, right? It's called maturity. We all do it. And to watch her do it in such a public way, I think is what we're all so impressed with because I got to do it behind the closed doors of my home and my office, and my friend circles and those types of things. She's doing it with cameras in her face.

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Brooke Janousek (15:08.798)

Exactly. And you're exactly right, is that she is being real. People buy from people. And that's something they don't want to buy from a brand that's trying to be something just to get the sale. They want to buy from people who are themselves. And she's just had to do it on a much larger scale. And it's refreshing to see. And to your point, it's maturity. Some of it has come with time. All of us go through that you know, emotional, that EQ growth. And some of it happens in our 20s, 30s, and 40s, and even 50s. And she's just, you can see a change in the 17 year old version, obviously, to the 33 year old version. I can even see a change from 30 to 33 in her. Like she's just a much, she's much more self-assured.

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Tom Finn (15:57.756)

Yeah, look, and I hope for that for everybody. I want everybody to be more self-assured, right? It's a frightening world out there. And we all have different parents and different upbringing and backgrounds and we've lived in different places and speak different languages. But the reality is you've got to find your own footing, your own confidence, your own love for yourself. And I think what Tay-Tay did is she found that love for Taylor and she recognizes, look, I love me some me.

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Brooke Janousek (16:21.358)

She did.

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Tom Finn (16:25.709)

And I'm just going to be who I am and I'm going to let the chips fall where they may.

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Brooke Janousek (16:29.31)

Yeah. And that, and I think also that hits on a personal note for me because I set off on this journey this year to intentionally live life joyfully. And I thought, you know, I'm in my mid forties and I need to make things happen for myself now. And, you know, I'm taking myself out on dates and I'm doing all of these things that I never thought or I've, you know, never felt comfortable doing before.

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And I get so many people commenting, sending me messages saying, how did you have the courage to do this? How did you finally, you know, go out on your own and do these things? And, you know, I didn't just jump into the deep end. I kind of eased into it, but I also thought it's now or never. I have to take control and I have to do things that make me happy and bring me joy because no one else is gonna do that for me. I have to find it.

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Tom Finn (17:19.24)

You do. So what does Brooke taking Brooke out on a date look like?

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Brooke Janousek (17:25.182)

Well, we were talking about this earlier, but this summer I decided to do a digital nomad journey where I, because I run my own business, I can work from anywhere. So I got Airbnbs in different cities in California for a month at a time, kind of worked my way up the coast, but I started doing random things. I just use this mantra of go do random stuff, Brooke. So I tried drum boxing which was something in Malibu that I did, which was fantastic. So it's exactly what it sounds like. You are beating on drums, almost like a kickboxing class. So that was really cool. I went to some wineries. I'll tell you, that was difficult to go by myself. That's different than going out to dinner by yourself and sitting at the bar. This was wineries where wine tastings are usually girl groups, like bachelorette parties, girls' weekends, or couples. And so that was one of the more challenging ones for me. And then when I came back to Texas, just this last weekend, I took a gingerbread house decorating class and I walked in and the woman said, oh, are you here with the group? And I said, no, just me. And she goes, oh, okay. And so she sat me down and she looked at me and she goes, I'm really proud of you for being here by yourself. And it kind of, I mean, not kind of, it got me. Like I felt a deep pain and I kind of teared up okay, this is uncomfortable and I can leave because as people are walking in, it's grandparents and their grandkids, parents and their kids, and then there was two couples. And I thought, okay, I can, like, this is very uncomfortable. And I thought, no, like, I wanted to do this. It's a creative thing outside of, you know, marketing and writing and all those things that I do. It's being creative and I'm gonna get something from it. And so those are just a couple examples of things I've done lately. I have a list of other things I wanna do.

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Tom Finn (19:20.48)

But look, I love that because it's so important that we experience life for ourselves. And sometimes, socially, certainly in the United States, we tend to see that when somebody's by themselves, you're like, oh, why are you by yourself? You go to other places in the world, people are by themselves a lot, right? You're in the train, you're going to work, you're having some sort of dinner afterwards, whatever it might be, you're all over the place.

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Brooke Janousek (19:38.551)

You're right.

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Tom Finn (19:50.52)

Feeling that being independent is maybe frowned upon in some way socially? Do you feel that?

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Brooke Janousek (19:56.542)

I do 100%, but I will say, I think if there's anything that I have gotten out of this whole, well, I've gotten a lot out of this whole journey, but I think the inspiration that I've provided to others and how they message me and say, hey, I just want you to know I took a salsa dancing lesson by myself last week, you inspired me. And that makes me feel good because to your point, I don't want us to feel the stigma or to feel pity because we're out by ourselves. And sometimes I think that's the look that people get in their eyes. And I could tell that's what that woman was implying, but not in a bad way. I think she just, I think she sort of felt sorry for me. And I was like, no, like I chose to do this. I am choosing to do these things by myself because I'm growing. And it's definitely out of my comfort zone. And I just hope that changes.

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Tom Finn (20:47.872)

Brooke, the first thing that I did by myself, obviously I've been to a bar by myself or had dinner at the bar area of a restaurant. As I got older, traveling, whatever, you kind of get used to doing that. But the first thing that really took some courage and took some thinking through, I went to a movie by myself once. I've been a couple of times since by myself, but that was terrifying to walk in, buy one ticket make that walk into the movie theater, sit by yourself. It's just, it was terrifying to me to do that, but I did it.

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Brooke Janousek (21:26.326)

I 100% agree and I only did that for the first time last year. That was my first time. So I'm in my mid-forties and so I went to see Air by myself last year. That was the yeah, last year. That was the very first movie I've ever been to by myself and it was lovely. I had a wonderful time, but I'll tell you, I was really freaked out. I was like, this is, this is typically something you go to on a date or with a girlfriend. Like this is just not- And especially I'm so extroverted. It was just, that was a challenge.

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Tom Finn (21:58.14)

Yeah. Well, look, that's what growth is all about, right? Is finding these little things that challenge you, saying, I can do this. I can handle this. I've got this. And even though there's fear and there's always a little fear, you do it anyway. And you just put one foot in front of the other. And then what happens afterwards is you, you build more confidence. You feel better about yourself. You feel more you. And those are the things that we build on to be better humans, better friends, better contributors to society all of those things that are super important.

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Brooke Janousek (22:29.582)

100% and that's where authenticity comes from. And again, bringing it full circle to marketing. When you, if you work with a content creator, people wanna work with authentic content creators because that's what people buy from. They buy the story, they buy the fact that it was relatable. And they're like, yeah, like I feel exactly the way she does. I do like, I do need mushroom coffee. I do need dude wipes. He's talking to me about it. I get it.

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Tom Finn (22:56.276)

So you mentioned something a couple minutes ago and I kind of went past it and I want to circle back. You talked a little bit about questions and surveys and how mushroom coffee sends you one question and you're happy to answer it and those types of things. Where does sort of data and information come from when we're thinking about consumer or customer insights in our messaging? Like where do we get all this data from?

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Brooke Janousek (23:23.81)

Fantastic question. To short answer is by asking the questions, by surveying. And there are several ways to do that. But the long answer is when I was in my 20s, I started at an ad agency and my boss said to me, something that I'll never forget, ask the customer, they will tell you what to do. And that has always stuck with me because that is such a mantra for consumer insights, consumer research.

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And there's a stigma that consumer research has to be expensive. It has to be lengthy and we don't have time to do that. We have to get this product to market right, right now. And if we just take a beat and do a quick survey, you can do surveys. You can do polls on LinkedIn. You can do survey questions as stickers on Instagram stories. I'm talking like get scrappy here. You don't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars. If you have a hunch, go out and get some validation. Ask the question. You have a customer base. You can email.

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Hey Brooke, do you have time for a one question survey? That was the subject line. And I was like, sure do. Let's see what you have to ask me. And it was a type form and I just clicked the answer and it was great. And I knew that they were validating a product that they wanted to launch. And so I just want people to think about whether they're listening and they're a marketer and they're a leadership position as a CEO or even the CFO. It doesn't have to be, you know, have that $100,000 price tag that we are used to thinking that it does. You can do things very quickly now and you have a ripe database already of customers that have already bought from you that would willingly answer your questions.

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Tom Finn (25:01.544)

Yeah, there's so many different companies out there that can help you do this with surveys. There's, you know, you, you Google surveys, uh, you're going to get 20 different great options can help you pull together some quick surveys, depending on what your scope is, and then launch it to your whatever 10,000 email addresses that, uh, are your customer base that have subscribed. So I think, I think there are easy ways to do this today. Um, what should we expect? When we see those results. I mean, it's never 90-10, Brooke. It's never, oh, launch the product with 90% accuracy. If it was that easy, we'd all be zillionaires. There's always a mixed bag. I'll give you an example. So I remember I did this with a marketing company when I launched my company, LeggUP, which is a professional development coaching company. This is not a plug for the organization. It's a plug for how we chose the name. So I had come up with this name after writing it over and over and over. I had, I had hundreds of names that I wrote in a notebook over the period of a couple of years. And the whole idea was I felt attracted to this name LeggUP because you're giving people a leg up and it's the cornerstone of the company, the marketing agency, the head of the marketing agency said, Oh, you couldn't be any more wrong. I hate the name. It is awful. Like you, you are, you're in complete left field. So I said, okay, how do we solve this? And he said, to his credit, he said, let's run some inexpensive surveys, just like you're saying, Brooke. Let's go test the market and let's see who likes it and who doesn't. So it came back something like 60% were for the name, leg up, 30% were against the name LeggUP, and 10% just didn't give a damn, right? That's wrong.

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Brooke Janousek (26:54.848)

Yeah, they were like, well.

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Tom Finn (26:56.232)

So I won 60 30. Now the challenge is I went for it because I felt it in my soul and it was just very meaningful to me. But I don't know if I'm right still to this day. I mean, I could be trying to sell the 30% constantly every day and they're just going, what a ridiculous name. So how do you deal with these sort of discrepancies in data when it's not 90 10 or 95 five? And you've got a little bit of a balance you have to think through.

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Brooke Janousek (27:27.71)

I think some of that is survey design, to be honest. And I don't know if you even remember all the questions you asked or if you only asked the one question, because creative is subjective. If you're naming a company, there's always gonna be people that don't like it because they just don't like it. It's why people don't tell people the names that they're gonna name their children, because they're like, I don't want your opinion. If you don't like it, what am I gonna do? Change the kid's name? No. In that instance, and for anyone listening, if they're thinking about naming a company,

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I would design a survey that had a couple options. And then after they select the option, say what was it, you know, please explain in one sentence what this means to you. So you can kind of get some context because if in the free form fields, they're saying, oh, it means I'll have a leg up on my competition. Boom, you know that they completely understand what the meaning is. And if they start typing all this stuff out of left field, you're like, oh, we have a problem. We have a problem with clarity. I might need to refine it by adding a tagline or something to explain it.

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You could also ask questions like, how does this make you feel? If you saw a company named this, what services do you think they would offer? Those types of things will give you a little bit more context and also give you some confidence in that 60-40 or 60-30 split where you can say, yeah, I know 30% don't like it, but the 60% that did also understood that it was a consulting business. And they also said that they would buy from somebody that was named this or whatever. So I think...

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Again, it goes back to survey design as well.

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Tom Finn (29:00.296)

Yeah, in this particular case, I won't keep everybody wondering. The other thing people think of with LeggUP is that we are some sort of cabaret that we have a show in Vegas and it's gonna be fantastic. But contrary to popular belief, we are not the alternative for Thunder Down Under. And we actually are a professional development organization which who would have thought?

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Brooke Janousek (29:30.23)

Yeah. Well, when you said it, I did get it. When you said it was a professional coaching or consulting company, I knew exactly what you meant. So again, you have to kind of give people some context too. If it was just a blind survey of what do you think about the name, like, well, then people might be like, oh no, am I being trapped? Like, is this a, you know, I kind of get some kind of...

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Tom Finn (29:30.448)

give somebody a leg up I thought was pretty straightforward but I've been told the alternative. Yeah, I don't know. I think if we're being honest as, um, you know, average marketers, which the rest of us are, uh, we're trying, we're just trying to figure out how to make it sense, make sense for our customers and try to tie everything together. So, so let's kind of bounce off of that for a second. So what, what are the tools and tactics that you're seeing in the market that are just effective for people, um, in marketing right now?

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Brooke Janousek (30:18.326)

Well, I will say regardless of the tool, if your message is not clear, it is not gonna matter what tool or tactic that you're using. So when you confuse, you lose. So if people are confused about what you offer or they don't understand the value proposition or the benefit of that product, you're out. You've got five seconds to make it really clear what they're doing, what you're offering. And so regardless of the… the channel that you're advertising on or what you're using to automate things, make damn sure your message is clear. Now, to answer the question directly, social and content is king right now. Everybody is using content to build their brands to sell their products in really clever ways. And what I love about that is it's really, it's opened the door to all of these creators. I mean, just people that… never had a chance before of being seen now have these platforms to allow their creativity to shine and they're, you know, these micro influencers are getting picked up and they're helping major brands get a name, you know, get their name out there to new and different audiences than before. And so I think if you don't have a content strategy, you're really missing the boat to be honest. I mean, that would be a huge miss. I can't think of very many companies that probably aren't doing or have some kind of content strategy.

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Tom Finn (31:42.752)

And so when we think about content strategy and we think about this role of a fractional CMO, Chief Marketing Officer for hire, like where do you start when somebody hires you, Brooke? Because there's, marketing is a big space. I mean, what's the first conversation look like? How does somebody know that they're going to get value out of people like you in the marketing space?

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Brooke Janousek (32:10.126)

That is a great question. I do a lot of due diligence prior to even signing up with a client because I want to make sure that they have their business in order. And what I mean by that is do they have clear business goals? Do they know, you know, from a revenue perspective, from a margin perspective, do they have talent goals? What is it that marketing is going to be able to do to affect and move the business forward like they have laid out?

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So that's a very clear question I start with. And if they aren't able to articulate that, then I say, we need to take a step back. I can certainly help you with this, or here's a partner that I recommend that can help you at least get your business goals in order. Because I can't do anything from a marketing perspective if I don't know where this ship is going. I learned that very, I learned that the hard way, but then I will say one tool that a company I worked with and worked for many years used was EOS which is entrepreneurial operating system. And it is so crystal clear about this is what we're doing this year and each quarter, this is how we're chunking it out to achieve that goal by the end of the year. And our marketing and just the effectiveness grew by leaps and bounds by having that clarity alone. Because it's a moving target sometimes. They want, a CEO will say, I wanna do this. And most CEOs are very visionary and they squirrel quite a bit. They come into your office and say, hey, I saw so-and-so doing this. Can you just do this? Or what about AI? Or why aren't we on Pinterest? And throwing all those things at you. And if you can just point to the North Star and say, I will check and see if that's going to help us hit our revenue goal. If it's not, I will put it on the table to discuss later.

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Tom Finn (33:52.32)

You can't if you're not watching me on video, I can tell you I am just quietly laughing in the background trying not to, you know, breathe into the mic here, because I am that guy, I am the guy that walks into the marketing team. And I say, Why aren't we on Pinterest? Like what? Like, why are we not on Pinterest? Or I come in, what? How are we going to build AI into our product set? Or, you know, whatever the thing of the day is, right? You're 100% right. And then I leave. Yeah.

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Brooke Janousek (33:53.922)

Thank you.

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Brooke Janousek (34:18.614)

Yeah. And then you leave, right? You just like drop that and then you leave and you're like, Oh, figure it out. And that's, yeah. And so I like to make sure first and foremost that the business objectives and goals are laid out. And then also ask the CEO usually is who I'm talking with. How do you think marketing is going to help you get there? And what challenges have you faced with marketing helping you get there before? Cause I also want to understand what have they tried before that has worked and not worked?

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Tom Finn (34:22.384)

Yeah, totally. I do it. I do it all the time. I think that's fair. And it's a great way to start to understand what the potholes have been along the way because there's no marketing plan is perfect. And what's the old adage? 50% of your marketing works, you just don't know the 50%. I think we're getting a little bit past that, that we do have data that can indicate where things are working and where things aren't. But I would agree with you that the marketing message piece is so critically important. If you don't have that first part right...

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Brooke Janousek (35:03.95)

Correct. We are.

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Tom Finn (35:18.268)

It actually doesn't matter what your net promoter score is, what your star rating is, how, how really exceptional your product is. None of that stuff matters if people don't understand it.

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Brooke Janousek (35:29.134)

Agreed, agreed. And that is evidenced by click through rates, that is evidenced by conversion rates, and or people calling in and asking for something that you don't even offer. That is a clear indication that the message is off.

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Tom Finn (35:44.312)

Yeah, well, good news. Uh, nobody has ever asked for tickets to the cabaret. So I think we're, we're getting closer to being on brand and on message.

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Brooke Janousek (35:48.968)

Ha! Oh good, good.

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Tom Finn (35:55.016)

Brooke, what is one thing that you want to leave sort of the young marketers with that are starting their career and thinking about, you know, how to be Brooke when they grow up? What should they be focused on early stage in their career as a marketer?

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Brooke Janousek (36:10.734)

Fantastic question. I think I'm gonna give two answers. One is a professional, like I have my professional growth hat on and then I have my personal growth hat on. From a personal standpoint, I would tell the young marketers listening to prioritize joy first. So no matter what, like it is this really tough battle of, I need to move up in the company, I'm working my butt off, I'm gonna have to do all these hours but also you're not gonna be able to be your best self if you haven't rewarded yourself and taken care of yourself. And that is something that I did not learn until my 40s. I worked myself to the bone in my 20s to the point of burnout in my 30s and it took me till I was 40 something to figure out I have to prioritize me. And I'm a much better marketer because of that. And then from a professional standpoint, I think marketing changes so much. It changes every single day. So just educating yourself and finding one thing that interests you the most. You're never going to be the expert at everything in marketing. And I'm the first to admit, I know little, little much about AI. And also it doesn't interest me as much as consumer insights do or brand building and brand promise does. And so that's where I focus my efforts and learning more and growing in that side of my learning.

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And I'll let someone else be the expert in AI. So I really think find the one thing that makes you, that brings joy to you and where you feel alive and start becoming the expert in that. Is it content strategy? Is it, what is it that is gonna fuel that fire? And then really read articles, listen to podcasts, ask people, don't be afraid to ask people and reach out to them to mentor you. That is also something that I feel like I should have done a better job of in my 20s.

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Tom Finn (38:02.94)

So wonderfully put thank you for summing those kind of key points at the end of this conversation Brooke Well, well said we all need to find more joy and stick to what we love to do and focus in on that And that's what will make us successful and happy in the long run help us love our job So I'm behind you a hundred percent with that message Brooke if people want to come chase you down and find you and work with you or just tap into you and your knowledge How can they go about doing that?

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Brooke Janousek (38:23.606)

Good. The easiest way to find me is on LinkedIn. So Brooke Janousek, you'll know it's me because I have a little green seed emoji after my name because I'm all about professional and personal growth. So LinkedIn, best way to find me.

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Tom Finn (38:46.044)

Yeah, Brooke, don't worry. We'll put that link in the show notes so that people can track you down and can't thank you enough for being on the show. And the way that you look at the world is of equal importance to the skills that you bring to the table. So thank you for being you and taking the risks that you've taken, including taking Brooke on a date, which I think is fantastic.

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Brooke Janousek (39:05.022)

Yeah. Oh, well, thank you very much. This has been an amazing conversation. I've enjoyed it.

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Tom Finn (39:11.516)

And thank you for joining the Talent Empowerment Podcast. We'll see you next time.

Tom Finn
Podcaster & Co-Founder

Tom Finn (he/him) is an InsurTech strategist, host of the Talent Empowerment podcast, and co-founder and CEO of an inclusive people development platform.

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