#Marketing: Coffee With a CMO - Brian Kardon
DG: Hey, what's up everybody? It's DG. On this episode of Seeking Wisdom/ Coffee With A CMO, we're back with another episode of it. I'm really loving this series. I've learned so much from doing it, I can't wait to do more. On this episode, I sat down with Brian Kardon, he's the CMO at Fuze. He was also the CMO at Eloqua, Forrester back in the day. Super interesting guy, I really hit it off with Brian. Actually, hadn't spent a ton of time with him before, and so it was really cool to just be able to pull up a chair, grab a coffee, and talk. It was a million degrees out when we filmed this one, so we just did it in our office at Drift, but I learned a ton from Brian and I know you will too during this episode. Fun fact, my favorite thing about Brian is... so, I'm a crazy guy that has this notebook and I'm just always writing down ideas and stuff in it. Brian has an index card. He literally keeps an index card in his jacket or whatever, shirt pocket, where he scribbles stuff down on. So we nerded out on that and a bunch of other stuff. Here's another episode of Coffee With The CMO with Brian Kardon. I'm wired up too, you wired up? You wired up?
Brian Kardon: Yeah, I'm wired up.
DG: Okay, cool.
Brian Kardon: Yeah, I'm wired up, I'm wired up, it's just sneaky.
DG: Okay. So this is Coffee With A CMO, with Brian Kardon.
Brian Kardon: Hey.
DG: We were going to go outside, but it is about 200 degrees in Boston today, so I emailed you about 20 minutes ago and said," Why don't we just do it here?" I think everybody was... We saved Gonzalo, we saved me, we saved you.
Brian Kardon: I'm very grateful. It is... just walking over here. It was just terrible.
DG: It was brutal. Everybody was moist. So you actually told me, interesting story. So we have a... Joe was one of the first episodes that we've done. You have some early Joe Chernov stories. So I want to break into that. Because you were the CMO at Eloqua, 2008, you hired Joe to do PR and this is kind of when you discovered —
Brian Kardon: Well, it's so funny. I interviewed Joe very early on. He was a traditional PR guy and I passed on him. I didn't think he was right.
DG: Yeah. Did he have beard then? A cleaner cut?
Brian Kardon: Yeah. I'm not sure if he had a beard or not. He went through sort of different phases as he continues to. So I passed by him the first time, didn't seem like a good fit. And the second time I thought it was right, I love his assertiveness and his strong point of view and everything. He's not a nod- your- head kind of guy, which I loved. And as I was telling you earlier, he joined in more traditional communications PR AR role. And then we both read inbound via Dharmesh and Brian and this around 2008, 2009. And we just devoured it and it totally changed how we thought about things. We were much more traditionalist, much more outbound, cold- calling all the things that the book says is just old school.
DG: Do you, how do you do... it seems like a big shift. Do you take that because there's a lesson in there, which I think is like, you're looking for new channel and you told me earlier, you kind of have your group, right? Megan from MongoDB and Volpi and some others. Is that how you get to that point where you realize you have to make a fundamental change because it's hard, right? Things are going well and things are working, how do you... It takes guts to say,"All right, we going to try something completely diff—," how do you stay on top of that?
Brian Kardon: It was a huge shift for us. So we totally reinvented everything. And we had a little bit of a change management exercise. So everyone on the team would discuss the book. We talk about how it would affect our role. So how would it affect the demand gen team? How does it affect content marketing? How does it affect PR and AR? How does it affect product marketing? So we all talked about the ramifications of the book and we sort of changed, we realized we had to do something different. And also because it was marketing automation, which should have been the spotlight marketing. So it's... If you're running marketing at HubSpot or you're running marketing at Marketo or Eloqua, there's no room for forgiveness. Like you are the role model and you're up there and the lights are on and you've got to be a role model for lots of marketers out there. The thing I loved about the HubSpot IPO though, it wasn't just about you guys went public and it was great success. Then you really change an entire generation of marketers about how they thought about marketing and the role that marketing could have. And then I think it's going to be the lasting impact. That's a great company and will last long time, but I think the real impact is how has it affected entire generation marketers and new ways of thinking.
DG: What do you, what is... do you think there's a next wave? Are we past that wave now? Because I think we're past the marketing automation, that's table stakes now, right? You have to—
Brian Kardon: It's commodity, it's like electricity running in the walls. Every building's got it, everybody's going to get wifi. So what's the next level? So what's interesting is that this is already around the time the whole MarTech stack was emerging and the thousands of MarTechs that are out there right now. I don't think it's about the technology at all anymore. I think everything sort of plugs and works really well. It configures really well. I think it's going to be much more about automation with artificial intelligence, machine learning. How do you do things smarter, faster? I remember when I started my marketing career, we review all the campaigns quarterly. Then at Eloqua we do it monthly and now of course we do it continuously.
DG: Yeah. We have a whiteboard back there and so right now, it's a third day of July, right?
Brian Kardon: Yeah.
DG: We've planned July, but we have a team and we built the team in a way where if we walk out, if I walk out of this video with you with a good idea, we could go rip up that calendar and say," Hey, you know we're going to do Tuesday?" That to me is what is so fun, right? It can be hard though. Because you always feel like you're on the, you're on the wheel a little bit but —
Brian Kardon: We have a pretty high bar when we change something. So we like to sort of run things for while and because we don't have as high velocity sale as you do. So we have fewer inbounds, we have fewer, it's definitely a high touch, our model of views. And we're interested in... we have like a nine month cycle from opportunity to close. So it goes quite a while. So we don't... so it takes us a while to run a test, to have enough conversions, to see how well the AB tests work and how well a campaign does.
DG: You've kind of always been, I guess with the exception of Fuze, you kind of have always been in marketing. Like obviously you've been a CMO, but like Forrester.
Brian Kardon: So it's interesting, I was a career consultant. I worked for this consulting firm for years and I was a partner there. And then we had twin boys and I realized the life of a consultant is you never see your kids. You leave Monday morning and you come back on Friday. And I got a call from Spencer Stuart one day to be CMO of this big company. And I got the job. And so I'm like most marketers, I never grew up in a marketing organization. I was never like a marketing manager, a director. I went from consultant with a bunch of slides and analysis to being CMO of a multi- billion dollar company. So it was crazy, and so I just, because it really felt like a fraud.
DG: Did you have a moment, what am I —.
Brian Kardon: What am I you're doing it here? And then I realized the guy that hired me, he wanted more leadership, much more consulting and persuasion and that sort of stuff. And so it worked out great for me.
DG: What did you do at Forrester? I'm interested in —
Brian Kardon: So I was head of marketing and strategy and interesting, I was one of the first customers of Eloqua. So I joined Forrester in 2008. This was after the bubble had burst and a lot of the Forrester money had come from venture capital funding companies that bought Forrester contracts. And I had a great guy running US marketing inaudible Dennis Van Lyngan. And Dennis who was... I was talking to our analysts and the analysts were covering new marketing technologies. And one of the analysts, Elana who actually ended up being CMO of Demandware, she's terrific. She had heard about this new technology out of Canada called Aloqua, Eloqua. And so we started looking at that. And so I was one of the first customers of Eloqua and we were using it and we gave them a lot of feedback on the product. And then four years later they were looking for CMO" and they called me," We love you, Brian, because you were one of the first adapters," and they needed a CMO who didn't just run marketing, but would evangelize the category. And that became a new role for me, so I was able to speak a lot to marketers and talk about the future of marketing.
DG: What is, what do you see still? So you kind of, you kind of came, came up as a CMO in that era of marketing automation, right? What do you, what do you, what do you still see out there today that is... Because I feel like there's a bunch of, as technology keeps changing, there's like this core of skills that I think people, people are missing now. As I'm interviewing more people in growing our team and talking more people, I feel like everybody just wants to focus on the technology, the tools and the technology. And it feels like we're missing something else.
Brian Kardon: Here's the thing that was missing, most of my time is now spent dealing with sales issues. So marketing doesn't really exist unless the sales person picks it up and you have the right process and the right SLAs. So we did something wrong at the beginning of Fuze. I over instrumented the dashboards for the sales team. It's very complicated. You get some kid out of school and they're a BDR and it's like my god, you give them like, like a cockpit of some unbelievable jet fighter plane. All they want is a clock and a radio. It's like, unbelievable.
DG: Or you'll say like," Hey, your job is to do a hundred of these things and that's it."
Brian Kardon: Right, that's it. Yeah. And so we have to simplify it. So I assume they're in love with all the technology as I am. So we got, you could go here for searches. You go here for who came to the website and go here, who's engaged here and go here for this. So we got this over there. It's unbelievable. At the end of the day, they weren't looking at anything, they were too confused. Back to your point, just do this, every day.
DG: That's a great, that's a great lesson. I never think of that, right? Which is, which is kind of why I like... I mean to come in, to come right into a new job, right? You're 22, 23 and you got to fig... You got to look at all these things. What do you mean searches, the dashboard? I've never looked at any of this stuff in my life. So what, how did you, how quickly did you realize that that was not the right —
Brian Kardon: Pretty fast, pretty fast. So it happens at our BDR sit, right?
DG: You own the da, you own those dashboards? It wasn't sales and then sales ops?
Brian Kardon: No, we own them. So the BDRs report into sales, but we own things that they look at, all the plugins that go into the CRM. And so we own all those things. So all the tools that they have, what happened was, I would sit next to a BDR and just say, I just want to see what you do. And they got very nervous.
DG: I love that.
Brian Kardon: Like what do you do? And so I didn't tell him what to do. I just observe what they do.'.
DG: Yeah. And you're like, I'm not judging you. I just, literally, this is what I want. I want to watch.
Brian Kardon: I just want to watch and see how you say it. And I realized that they're not prioritizing things properly and being pulled in a million directions. So the salespeople that they report to, we have about a three to one ratio, one BDR for three sales reps, that the sales rep says to focus on these accounts and they're being distracted all the time. So it gets doing something and then they get pushed over here. Then they get pushed over here. The priorities are always changing. So needed a true north. Here's what you do every day and it's super simple. So most of my time now is spent on the integration between sales and marketing and not on the technology at all. In fact, I find most CMOs have put in too much marketing technology that they're not using. And so we're a good example of that. The few technologies that we put in that we can afford, but that's not the scarce resource. The scarce resource is not the dollars, it's time. So we —
DG: Because you can always make a case for... to the CFO, to the board, whoever. If we're growing, if I can show you we're going to keep growing, why would you not keep giving me more budget? Yeah.
Brian Kardon: I can always get more budget, but we can only onboard so many technologies, a quarter or a year. And then about a year ago I was going through the audit of all of our technologies and they said, how are we doing with this one? No one was using it. And then I log on. I see no one's logged on in six months. What the hell are we doing?
DG: I want to go into that. So you did an audit, who owns that? Do you have an ops person?
Brian Kardon: Yeah. We have marketing ops, they are awesome.
DG: Do you say, hey, marketing ops team, I want to, I want to see, I want to know, I want to know our entire tech stack top to bottom, what we're paying for.
Brian Kardon: Yeah. So I have that in a system, so I know exactly what we're paying for everything. And we have that 28 technologies right now. And so we're pretty candid. So at my company, they gave me a private office, but I'm never in there. I sit with my team.
DG: You sit, you still sit with the BDRs?
Brian Kardon: I sit... I love some of the BDRS, you learn so much.
DG: I know, that is important, I didn't want to skip it, that is a really important lesson, which is in this world of hacks, tips and tricks and spreadsheets and numbers. And he'd let the numbers tell a story, to actually go and sit there, I still find the best. The most underrated thing, for me, learning here, has been sales team sits down there, just going through a couple of times a day and walking through. And the only bummer about moving into this office is we don't sit next to them anymore. That used to be the realest form of feedback because I'm sitting next to a sales rep on a call and I'm listening. This is bobSmith @ gmail. com booked a meeting. I'm going to hear it for this one. Or you can hear, you can learn. I love that as a piece of advice, which is so often overlooked. So anyway, you get this audit.
Brian Kardon: Yes. So I see what we're spending and what we're doing, but I ask Emily and I say, Emily, what are the technologies? Joe Chernov calls it my shit sandwich. So I always start with something nice. And then it's something horrible in the middle. And then it ends at a nice, and I do this with performance reviews. People always know what's coming.
DG: Joe is a master of the shit sandwich, even though I know it's —
Brian Kardon: He learned it from the sandwich maker himself.
DG: Okay, good. All right. I'll get to sa, I'll get the sandwich after this.
Brian Kardon: So I said Emily what's really killing it. And what's really, oh everybody's using this or using this, great. What is being under utilized a little bit. And so she'll open up a little bit. She's a very candid person anyway. And she say, well, we deployed this a little bit early. We haven't been able to do this. We haven't able to do this. And so we have to really be able to deploy things and get them going. But we find that the choke point is the sales team. They can only handle so many new things, marketing can handle a lot more because it's automated and we're used to it. But a sales person's day can only handle so many new things.
DG: The other thing is that it's not, I think the thing that people don't understand and I, we talk it to a lot, the cool thing about like doing marketing here and we sell marketing software is for our sales team. We in the marketing team, can be the number one buyer, right? And so we can give them real feedback. I think the thing that doesn't get understood a lot is it's not about the money, it's about literally look at the a hundred other priorities, right?
Brian Kardon: That's what it is.
DG: And you can have a nice to have, maybe this is not a real pain, like unless it's a burning, burning pain, like I am behind on leads this month and I want to do X to get there, right? It's really hard to jump to the top of the list. And so it's not that those technologies aren't any good. It's just in the land of 15, 20, 30 other things. How are you going to focus on this one?
Brian Kardon: Exactly right. There's a real danger, when I was at Eloqua, it was assumed that I knew how marketers bought inaudible. My whole team were marketers. They would bring us in sales calls and everything, and now I'm selling to IT. I can't be lazy because I don't have a clue how IT buys. So I had to do the research and talk to IT people and do the personas and do all this stuff. So I think a lot of marketers at MarTech companies, I know you're not one of them, just sort of revert back to their own behavior and they think they know, but things change and every buyer's not the same. So I like the discipline of not being in MarTech anymore. It's just very cluttered right now. It's a hard market, because you know—.
DG: I love, the thing I do a lot is I just forward, when I get a good email from a sales rep, even if I don't take the call, I send it to our team because I'm this was a great email here's why.
Brian Kardon: Do you ever take any inbound calls from sales reps?
DG: Like on a phone?
Brian Kardon: Yeah. Like your phone rings —
Brian Kardon: Okay. I will pick it up —
DG: You do?
Brian Kardon: Because —.
DG: I'm going to start prank calling you.
Brian Kardon: You and I are both, you and I are both anthropologists. So you get an email, that's had a really good or really bad. We call it the hall of shame or the hall of glory. And I love good ones. I love phone calls too. So get some BDR —.
DG: I never thought of that. I never thought I was putting a phone call in the swipe file to write too, right? It was always an email, I love that.
Brian Kardon: So some kid calls me, some sweaty kids. Oh, They reached the CMO. He's like, oh my God. And he always wants to set up a meeting and I say, you don't have to set up a meeting, this is the meeting.
DG: Yeah, go ahead.
Brian Kardon: Go ahead.
DG: Oh, I like that.
Brian Kardon: Yeah. And so you just see what they can do. And I usually say you got 30 seconds—
DG: So listen, Brian Kardon and answers his phone. If you're watching it—
Brian Kardon: I occasionally do —.
DG: Will have his number pop up right here in this video. I love that. Yeah actually, I have picked up the phone a couple times. And when I do the pitch, I actually feel like the person on the other end is hoping that I don't answer.
Brian Kardon: They are. They want to leave a message because they have an SLA, so many emails, so many voicemails left. They don't want to talk to you. They're scared to death.
DG: That's a broken SLA. It's just number driven. You're going to call me the other thing now though, is that the local —
Brian Kardon: I have offered a job to a kid who called me once.
DG: Because it was a good pitch?
Brian Kardon: So good. And I said, can I have your email, I said, send me an email. And then I followed up, I tried to make them an offer. I couldn't bring —
DG: it didn't work?
Brian Kardon: Yeah it didn't work.
DG: Because he's probably good. He's probably killing it.
Brian Kardon: He's making a lot of money.
DG: He might be the only one picking up the phone and making calls. The problem is now because of the local dial thing, the chance like every, every phone call I get is 617 is 508 is 774 and so, is this tricking me into thinking it's somebody that I know or anyway.
Brian Kardon: But it's so interesting with the sales rep because no one responds to emails anymore. It's very unlikely. So I don't know about you, but conversion rates across the board are just down to nothing, click throughs and opens. And then no one's picked up the phone except for obviously me and maybe you now. So how do you reach people? It's really a dilemma for salespeople. And so I think it's a whole new world and this could be the next big wave is how do you get through, how do you really break through to people?
DG: Have you thought about that at all?
Brian Kardon: All the time.
DG: Okay. But what is the, what do you, what are you thinking about? Or what do you, you told me, you talked to a couple of CMOs you have in your inner circle, you guys trade ideas. Do you talk, how do you, how do we fix that? How do you fix that?
Brian Kardon: So it has to be a highly personal message, has to be related to them. And it can't be, hey, you went to Notre Dame and so did I, here's a hat. People go to LinkedIn says, oh, he's got a dog. I'll send them a bag of dog food. It's like, no —.
DG: Or somebody, I have somebody who's had that to me. And I have no affiliation with X. Like I don't have no love for that, but, okay, so you just lost points, but yeah. The hard part about that is nobody wants to believe that nobody wants that advice. Because they want it to be like, all right, well you automate this thing and then you do this thing and you send this thing. But the best emails that I have and respond to are people who actually have taken the time," Hey, I watched your video with Brian and at 15 minutes in, you said this thing, what did mean by that?" I'm like, huh, okay, this person actually did the research. That's the only trick though for the future is be real.
Brian Kardon: Be real. And you got to do the research and find out and not just be flattering in a sycophant kind of way. So it's got to be sincere, and authentic.
DG: Okay. This is, so the reason I want to do this series is I wanted to just hang out and have conversations with CMOs because I think that other people who want to be in this position one day will get interested in it. What is the biggest jump from managing a team, whether you're a director or manager, a VP or whatever of five, six, seven, 20 people to making the jump to CMO? What do you think is the biggest thing that people often don't think about? Or what does the progression have to look like?
Brian Kardon: So it's really two areas. One is, we all grow up in a major, we had to major in demand gen or communication or something. So when you're CMO—
DG: What was yours?
Brian Kardon: Mine was demand gen because of Eloqua. And so that's my major and so it was my comfort zone. I'm really good at conversions and nurturing and scoring. And I can do that.
DG: We could go whiteboard, like our funnel at Drift right now. And you could be like, mm, you should do this—
Brian Kardon: Everywhere I know what's going on. So it's just very easy for me. And so I had to get much better at messaging communications, much better ARPR, so all these other areas, so to become a CMO, you have to really be multi- lingual. You're not just speaking one language demand gen. So you have to be able to do it all. That's the first thing. Number two is you have to be a great communicator, up, down, sideways. So there's always the pressure with sales of the CEO, CFO, or I was skeptical, classically about what marketing's doing. You have to communicate with your team to keep them really excited about what they're doing. And then you have to communicate with prospects and customers. So communication is really important, frequent, transparent, compelling leadership sort of stuff. So the first point is you have to speak all these languages of marketing and understand that. And then the second is this idea of really digging in and being a good communicator.
DG: How do you go out and do that, right? So you are director of demand gen at a company. And like you got that thing nailed. Your boss is not likely to say," Yeah, you know what, go work on some PR stuff." How do you gain that? How do you get that knowledge? Like, while doing —.
Brian Kardon: I think you'll hopefully be part of cross- functional teams, some special projects where you're part of the leadership team and marketing. And so you may go to the content marketing person say, hey, I'd like to write a blog post, or I want to work on some things. Or how do you think about sharing it socially? Or how do you tag a piece of content where the website is doing this? Like I'd never built a website, could you make me part of the team that —
DG: Just being curious about all the pieces.
Brian Kardon: Curiosity is the key. I always think that the real competitive advantage is this idea of continuously changing and evolving and being curious to try new things because things aren't stagnant. inaudible in marketing.
DG: Yep. Yep. What else? Oh, this one, this one's going to ask you. One thing I think is interesting, which is you still have this peer group, right? How do you use, tell me more about who's in the peer group, you don't have to name their names if you don't want to, but, and how do you, how do you use them in your role today?
Brian Kardon: So um —
DG: And I'm asking because I think the one thing that every marketer wants to do is they want to say," Hey Brian, can I pick your brain? Can I get coffee? Can I do this thing?" I think for me, the thing that I've learned is the most valuable thing is doing that with other people who are doing the same thing that I am. I think the first time I met you was at a dinner in Boston with a bunch of other marketing people. And I went to that dinner and I was like, I usually think those things can be garbage and I love that one because it felt like 10 people who were all kind of off the record, all sharing the same thing. And I walked out of that being like that guy's dealing with the same thing, she's dealing with this problem. We are all going, like it's all related. It's just a different company.
Brian Kardon: There is a counter- argument that occasionally, we're in this world of B2B marketing, you're in MarTech.
DG: It's a bubble.
Brian Kardon: It's like this little echo chamber all in this world, like Phil Schiller at Apple's doing some amazing things.
DG: A hundred percent.
Brian Kardon: Lorraine Twohill is doing unbelievable stuff in Google. There are people doing amazing things. B to C, I think we got to find other examples than just the vendor echo chamber here.
DG: That should be the pull quote for this, because I think that is, that's how to me, that's how you break through the whole thing you were saying earlier about everybody has a blog, everybody has a podcast, everybody's sending email, conversion rates are lower. If you and I right now said," Hey, you know what, hey, I would hate for all you watch this video. Our B2B research tells us the best time to send an email is 2: 08 PM on a Tuesday." And then that's where the opportunity is, I'm sending an email that said on Saturday night. I'm going to this channel. Or nobody in my industry is doing videos, right?
Brian Kardon: You got to zig when everybody else is zagging. But if you're listening to the echo chamber, everyone's sort of pulled in the same direction. And there's a lot to be, some of these B2C marketers from big companies are doing some amazing things. I love what Adobe does, so Anne Luna is a great CMO. I love Lorraine over at Google. I love there's some really amazing global marketers. There's a guy named David Edelman at Aetna. He's got interesting background, he was at Digitas, He ran the Boston office of Digitas agency. And then he was at McKinsey, writing about digital marketing and transformations all that stuff. And now he's running marketing. He's CMO of Aetna, the insurance company. What are you on that is? How exciting, and how boring is... the guy has made it interesting and fascinating at the end of the day, he's a storyteller like making insurance accessible to people and really tear jerk stories and he's just done an amazing job.
DG: I think the other thing is understanding people. I think, especially in B2B, we live in this, I'm in B2B, I'm in a bubble. This is what I got to do. Where I can tell you, I can go stand in line to get a coffee and I see not a single person looking up, everyone's like this, right? And I can tell you that something's got to change in marketing, right? We don't answer our phone, we don't answer our phones. We don't answer emails. And yet we on our phones all day. Like there's just places to observe like that.
Brian Kardon: Do you ever unplugged for a while? Do you ever have a way? Because I don't know about you. I see you're married, like no electronics in bed and I mean your phone. But you have certain zones or certain times you unplugged completely.
DG: So the best way for me to unplug is I have a one- year- old and so having a daughter, having a baby has forced me to prioritize, right? I tweeted something the other day, it was like having a baby has been, all right. I used to be, I'm a super type A person. I would, before I go to bed, I write my list of things I want to do tomorrow and I have my to- do lists, I'm going to do this. And then I had a baby and now it's okay, you have 20 minutes. You have one 20 minute window. Go, now do what you're do what you're doing.
Brian Kardon: So if you're with the stroller and the baby and everything, you're not doing this or you're not doing this?
DG: Sometimes I —
Brian Kardon: The baby will never know, she or he's only one.
DG: I think the Apple note, Apple notes, [inaudible 00:24: 24 ] Steve Job news summit. Because my, she will see my phone and she's like," What is that?" We try to give her that. So it's a good question. I do have some habits. So number one is no phones in the bedroom. My wife and I got inaudible two$ 5 digital clocks on Amazon.
Brian Kardon: Right, so it's one function.
DG: It's a one function, just alarm, which was, I actually needed 30 minutes to figure out how to make it work. And I was like, I haven't used one of these since I was like 12. And we leave our phones out in the kitchen. So we try to have that routine. I also try to be, I'm trying to do better at when I'm doing something going deep and doing it. So I knew that today, my big thing, I have two big things. I'm doing a webinar later today and I was going to interview you. And so I just tried to say, you know what, this, that's what I'm doing too.
Brian Kardon: That's plenty for a day.
DG: Forget about everything else. Go deep with Brian. Like make that valuable and then do a good webinar. And then I can go home tonight and be good with that. I try to, I go to the gym in the morning. That's my time to unplug.
Brian Kardon: Are you one of these like 5: 00 AM that type of guys?
DG: Just because by default now, I have to do that.
Brian Kardon: It's the only time you'd find to yourself.
DG: It's the only time I find, at night, my daughter goes to bed at seven. So I want to leave here and make sure I can go see her and give her a bath and go to bed. And then I've got to go to bed early. So I've seven to nine to hang out. There's always, there's a dinner or an event or something that time in the morning is my time.
Brian Kardon: Yeah. My entire time, I get up very early. I just love that.
DG: What time do you get up?
Brian Kardon: Five o'clock.
DG: No matter what time you're up until tonight? If you had to go to an event or something or do you ever give yourself —
Brian Kardon: So my team will, they know that Brian does the Kardon two- step. So I always show up at events early and I leave really early.
DG: I love that!
Brian Kardon: But I don't tell anyone. Say I'm going to the bathroom or, oh, this is my friend Dave over there. Dave is not even there. I just sort of, and then I'm asleep by nine o'clock. I'm in my pajamas at night. I'm asleep every night at nine o'clock.
DG: I love that. I'm all in. Don't tell too many people about that.
Brian Kardon: It's out there. It's out there. It's oh, you leave a little bit early too?
DG: All the time.
Brian Kardon: So I never go to sleep at 11 o'clock it just won't happen, unless I go to a concert.
DG: Because you don't get the... there's my favorite, do you know, Jocko Willink and all the Navy.
Brian Kardon: No.
DG: He's just former Navy seal and —
Brian Kardon: Oh not extreme ownership. crosstalk.
DG: He gets up early and everybody always asks some Jocko, how do you get up early? What's your secret? And he goes, go to bed early. So what do you do for between five and the time you get to work?
Brian Kardon: I have a cup of coffee and I read a book. Don't turn on the computer for a while. I walked the dog, which is nice, I find it very therapeutic. We have the world's smallest dog. Our landscaper calls it a squirrel on a leash. It's a four pound dog.
DG: If you're somewhere around in Boston at 5: 20 on a Tuesday morning, might see you with a little —
Brian Kardon: Little tiny thing. It's unbelievable.
DG: What do you read?
Brian Kardon: So I try to read more fiction than nonfiction. And I try to read things that are of interest to my children. As a parent, I think one of the really good things that I did was whatever my kids were reading at the time, so they could be reading, JD Salinger inaudible Mice and Men, whatever books they're reading in high school, I would read that at the same time and we talk about it. So my daughter is now a sommelier. So she went to college.
DG: You have twins, you have twin boys?
Brian Kardon: Identical twin boys and a daughter. Yeah. So she just graduated college and she wants to be a sommelier. So her thesis in college was wine in the divine. So a wine through different religions over a thousand years. And so she weighs all of 90 pounds. You can drink me under a table. So we'd go out to a restaurant. She never wears wine by the glass. We'll get a bottle of this to start. I'm thinking, what the hell is the two of us? So I'm like sipping a glass. inaudible.
DG: She knows the industry. That's how—
Brian Kardon: She knows the industry. She learned to chose her wine. And then we start a second bottle, third bottle. And so she's unbelievable. And so there's several books about wine now she wants me to read and also I am taking a wine class as well. So Tuesday nights I go to wine class and we do tasting and everything. So I try to do those things.
DG: I love that. So you have that curio... I mean, it's just, it's a mindset. It's always, you're always be learning. I actually think you can learn, you do learn from non, from fiction and from wine, things you can apply to marketing. That's what people I think miss a lot.
Brian Kardon: Well, part of the fiction is I'd like to get into a story and my wife runs sales for her company. And sometimes they'll have like the president's club thing and I'll go, I'll be the spouse. And I'll go with her. And I always bring a really great fiction book. And the OEC, they'll say to my wife, Barb, what's Brian, is Brian okay? Because I'll be in the corner crying. I'm just, my kids say, dad, you're so emotional. I love these stories. And it just takes me to a completely different place and it uses different separate muscles. The other thing I do to sort of get in different places, I play the piano almost every night. So my mother was an opera singer. I started love piano. I think people need something different. It could be something physical they do or something emotionally they do or something literary or artistic.
DG: I read, I'm a big, I love going back and reading old school marketing books like David Ogilvy.
Brian Kardon: Are you serious?
DG: I swear to God. Yeah.
Brian Kardon: Oh my God.
DG: That's my favorite stuff is... I'll show you my desk on the way out. I have all like the old school ads, classic ads, because I, it just teaches you everything about people and all the triggers that you need in marketing today are buried in those books and—
Brian Kardon: So Ogilvy and his Lieutenant at the time, Ken Roman wrote a great little book called How to Write and it's probably 60 pages and I still have it.
DG: I love that.
Brian Kardon: And I'll never forget my first marketing job because I kept all my marketing textbooks from college. Somebody's been working here and said," Brian, I'd love to read one, your marketing books." So I gave her the book. She never gave it back. I will never lend out a book. Do you ever lend out books? They just don't come back.
DG: No, not anymore.
Brian Kardon: It was all highlighted, I had my notes when I was 18 years old.
DG: I never cared about books, now I love them. And, but there's only a select few, if I don't love the book, I put it somewhere else. I want like my desk and at home, I want to have like my books that I like. So I have a bunch of sales, copywriting books and all that stuff. That's my favorite stuff.
Brian Kardon: Did you ever see the show? Have you ever seen the show Cribs? It's like these like very blingy houses. My kids only eight or nine, they're like watching some shows —
DG: It's the best, they take you in the fridge. I got to, if I look at my vitamin water in the fridge.
Brian Kardon: I've got 90 vitamin waters. My kids, I'll never forget. We're watching an episode. And I say," so dad," I said," yeah," I said,"Do you notice anything about that house?" I said," what,""they have more TVs than books." I've never seen a book in any house in Cribs but they got TVs everywhere.
DG: It doesn't validate the theory that if you read, you're going to make more money and be more successful. But I brought up Ogilvy because he, their whole thing was like at an ad agency, you're paid on your ideas, right? And so his whole, you had all this chap, all these chapters with how to come up with better ideas and he calls it like unhook your subconscious. And so you have to be learning and be stuffing your mind with that stuff. But it's probably that when I'm at the gym or you're playing piano, that's when your stuff happens because you're not actively thinking about it.
Brian Kardon: So I do something Joe Chernov knows as well. So I always keep a three by five card in my pocket.
DG: I like that.
Brian Kardon: Yeah. It's very old school.
DG: What is that, your to- do list?
Brian Kardon: No, it's usually some ideas that I get. You can see how much of writing during our meeting this morning, but I get creative ideas throughout the day—
DG: Because you don't have a pen, which —
Brian Kardon: I don't have a pen inaudible but I write things down and because I'm always learning in different spots. So my wife knows like outside of the shower, we have a little, a hot tub. I've got a place to write things down, like everywhere.
DG: I love that.
Brian Kardon: There's something crosstalk.
DG: I carry a notebook with me and my wife knows. She always knows what I'm doing when I'm in the other room and she doesn't hear me. She goes," Dave," I'm like," yeah." She goes," are you writing in your notebook right now?" And I'm like —
Brian Kardon: You went silent.
DG: I love the index card thing. And do you ever take action on that —
Brian Kardon: All the time.
DG: — and file it late? Hey, I got to talk to Lauren about whatever.
Brian Kardon: Nothing gets filed, I have to do it immediately. My biggest fear, this is my own paranoia, is that I'll forget to follow up on something because I always find that a person's character is, do you do what you say you're going to do? So if I say to someone I'm going to call you back today, I have to call them back. I mean, worst fears is that I'm going to forget to do it.
DG: So if you're walking back now and you have a thought on the way home, I got to follow up with X, you'll scribble it on your card.
Brian Kardon: Yes scribble it on my card.
DG: I love that.
Brian Kardon: And I'll do it immediately.
DG: Give me, read me one thing off the card that you can tell me about that you've scribbled.
Brian Kardon: Oh, these are good. These are good? But one thing is a birthday gift for my wife.
DG: I love it.
Brian Kardon: So that would be the number one priority. I am so screwed —.
DG: Is this all from today, your note card? You start a new note card every day?
Brian Kardon: Yeah every day I have a new note card.
DG: It's 11:00 and your cards already full.
Brian Kardon: It's full of a whole bunch of things. So one thing we're doing is we're testing a direct mail piece. We test different direct mail pieces. And I'm always interested just like, if you get a good email, if I get a direct mail piece, the whole marketing team stands around, it's like I'm giving birth to a baby and we look at the box and we see how it goes. And we open it up very, and we see how the corners are, because you all want it to be an Apple. Everything is gorgeous and everything is a gift.
DG: The unveiling of Apple products.
Brian Kardon: The unveiling of products is the same. So we want to see how it all works. And did they put a video thing in there? They put a thing. Is it a bottle of wine? Is it a golf club? Like we're always interested. And so I got some ideas based on some direct mail about what we could do to improve things.
DG: I didn't think, I came into work today before I even, I had a package on my desk before I even turned on my laptop or took my stuff out of my backpack. I opened up the —
Brian Kardon: It's unbelievable. I think the other marketers have figured this out though. Nobody just wants to email. People aren't returning calls, but direct mail —.
DG: But there's got to be, it's got to be math though, right? There's got to be a threshold of what your deal size is to make sense to do that or —.
Brian Kardon: So we have large deal size, which is really great. So I can spend a lot when generating a meeting. So our deal size is 300,000 a year and a three- year deal. So some billion dollars —
DG: So you have some fund to play with.
Brian Kardon: So I have some money to play with. Me to get a meeting if I spend a couple thousands bucks with the right decision maker, everybody's really happy.
DG: All right, well, Brian, I could do this forever. I got crosstalk.
Brian Kardon: This is great day. Thank you very much.
DG: I appreciate it. Thanks for doing it.