Kevin Tate (Clearbit) - A Really Different Vibe

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This is a podcast episode titled, Kevin Tate (Clearbit) - A Really Different Vibe. The summary for this episode is: <p>Kevin Tate, CMO of Clearbit, joins Ajay and Vincent this week. He talks about how B2C and B2B are becoming similar, yet remain different, and how there is a need to understand a target market. Vincent welcomes Ajay back, and Ajay takes his win in Fantasy Football.</p>

Speaker 1: Maybe big data has gotten too big. Whether you're a B2B marketer or a consumer brand, your data needs to be viable, relevant, and accessible, so that Stirista can help you retain customers, acquire customers, and make it personal.

Ben: Welcome to The Marketing Stir podcast by Stirista, probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you're going to put in your ear. I'm Ben, the producer here at Stirista. The goal with this podcast is to chat with industry leaders and get their take on the current challenges of the market, and we'll have a little fun along the way. In today's episode, Kevin Tate, CMO of Clearbit, joins Ajay and Vincent this week. He talks about how B2C and B2B are becoming similar yet remain different, and how there's a need to understand a target market. Vincent welcomes Ajay back and Ajay takes his win in fantasy football. Give it a listen.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of Stirista's The Marketing Stir. I am your host, Vincent Pietrafesa, coming off a fresh haircut early in the morning. But you already know that about me. Every 10 days, keep it high and tight, ladies and gentlemen. Can't say the same about my co- host, but we'll get to him in a moment. But welcome to the show. Let's talk about Stirista for just 10 seconds, that's all. We don't take any advertising on this show. We just talk about us for 10 seconds. You could deal with us. Ladies and gentlemen, at Stirista, we are a marketing technology company. We own our own business data, business to consumer data. We utilize our technology to push to that data for our customers to help them get new customers. We own our own DSP, our own ESP. Email me, vincent @ stirista. com, that is how confident I am. I just gave you my email address, and boy, do you listeners use it for a lot of things, mostly to sell me. Stop doing that. But anyway, you have questions for me, you love the show. I appreciate it, and thank you so much also for coming up to me at trade shows now. A couple of you, handful of you each time being like, " I love the show." I appreciate that. What a nice feeling that is. Also another nice feeling, I'm a little mad at this guy for a little bit, my co- host. I appreciate that he's joining us. He's hot off CES, hot off a flight from CES, but I've got a bone to pick with him because of fantasy football. You've heard us talk about it. There was a big announcement about it. Ladies and gentlemen, he didn't get a haircut for the show, but I did. Our co- host, Mr. Ajay Gupta. What's up, Ajay?

Ajay Gupta: Vincent, I wasn't going to bring up fantasy football. I was going to let you simmer over it for a couple more weeks before I mentioned it.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh, I don't believe you because I know you for a long time, and I know, I could tell in your face. If you're watching us on YouTube, you could see the smile. He's like the Joker. He's like the Joker right now smiling. So let me tell you what happened. Now, Ajay has never played fantasy football in his entire life, and he reads a book on it. Who does that? My CEO does, and he is in the championship with me, a past winner. I think I've won four championships. Some may say the Tom Brady of fantasy football, minus the divorce. I love you, honey. You don't listen. I know you don't. Anyway, but Ajay is in the finals with me now. Again, I want to say this and I want to preface this by saying fantasy football doesn't mean much. It's not real life. What happened in the Bills and the Bengals game to that young man, Damar Hamlin, our thoughts are with him by the time, there's already been positive outcomes of how his health is returning and by the time this podcast comes out, we all hope that he is back to normal and awake. So with that being said, Ajay and I were going into the final night. I was down by 15 points. Ajay had Joe Mixon. I had Ja'Marr Chase. Now the first few, you saw a big pass to Ja'Marr Chase. I'm like, " All right, Burrow's going to go to him all night." And then tragedy strikes unlike we've ever seen in the sport of football or any sport, and the game is canceled, no problem. So recently they deemed Ajay the victor. Yes. So he technically was ahead of me in the game they canceled. So yes, Ajay is our champion. So congrats to you, Ajay. I had suggested, " Hey, why don't we split the winnings?" He said, " No, why don't we also play week 18?" The true test of a fantasy football guru is trying to figure out what players or what games mean something. But I concede, ladies and gentlemen, is there an asterisk? Maybe, but I concede. So, congratulations. Hopefully it's not inaudible-

Ajay Gupta: Vincent, I don't make the rules. The NFL Commissioner makes the rule for the fantasy leagues too. So I'm just doing what you guys told me to do, following all the NFL rules and fantasy rules. So, I accept the win.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yes, and I have a trophy, a small trophy for you that I'm going to bring you when I'm down there in January. January 25th.

Ajay Gupta: How small are we talking?

Vincent Pietrafesa: It's also something you can use. We'll talk about it on the podcast at a later date. But I do have an award for you.

Ajay Gupta: It's not your middle finger?

Vincent Pietrafesa: No. No, it is not. I never would do that. But no, hats off to you. I'm just happy that after all these years, 16 years of talking to you about football, you now know it. So that's the happy part. Win or lose, you're a fantasy footballer for life now I feel like. So, congratulations. But Ajay, this is the first episode that you are on recording for the new year. I had to do one-

Ajay Gupta: That's right.

Vincent Pietrafesa: ...when you were out at CES, just doing the duty as a CEO and being at CES. So this is our first one together, and this is an exciting one. This is because we have a lot of mutual friends in common with this guest. He is a fun guy. I love this guy already. I'm like, " When are we getting a beer together? I'm coming out there to Portland, because there's like 718 little breweries," and New York City just has Brooklyn Brewery, which is good. But anyway, so we have a lot of great friends in common and this company, Clearbit. You've been hearing a lot about them. We know them here at Stirista. I'd love to give a warm Marketing Stir welcome to the CMO of Clearbit, ladies and gentlemen, Kevin Tate. What's going on, Kevin?

Kevin Tate: Hey, guys, how's it going?

Vincent Pietrafesa: Going well and better for Ajay than for me, but-

Kevin Tate: Yes, yes. First, congratulations on your victory, Ajay. Congratulations. Yes.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Look at the smiles. Did I say I liked Kevin? I don't know if I like him anymore or not. I'm kidding. Kevin, it's great to see you, great to be talking to you. A lot of great mutual friends together.

Kevin Tate: A lot of connections in the marketing world. Yeah, yeah.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Mike Hiltz, Matt Hickman, Tim Price. Let's name them, let's see if they listen to the podcast and respond back. Let's give them a test here, Kevin. So let's get right into it because Clearbit, we at Stirista know them, great company, but I would love to have the Marketing Stir world get to know you. Talk to us right off the bat, Kevin, what Clearbit is, your role as the CMO? Obviously, people know what CMOs do, but really what your day- to- day is there?

Kevin Tate: Yeah, sure. First, thanks for having me. Big fan of the podcast and super fun to be here, kicking off the year, so thank you. So Clearbit's a B2B intelligence platform. So we have data about every company with a website, and we make that data along with the platform to put it to work available to B2B teams. Usually, it's the combination of the operations and marketing team that will use the data and then use our ability so we can target better and personalize better and do all the things that make for better pipeline. So that's Clearbit and yeah, fortunate to work with 1, 000, 1, 500 companies and learn a lot by working with all those teams. I'm the CMO. So what that means at Clearbit, it means I have the content team, which is creating all the blogs in the site. I'm fortunate, I joined Clearbit about coming up on two years ago, and the content team at Clearbit has been so prolific for so many years with eBooks and guides and really was early on in the data- driven marketing trend and the growth marketing trend. So the content's a big part of what we do. And then I have the demand team and I have the product marketing team. So that's my world.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Nice. And Kevin, talk to us about how you got started in marketing. A lot of people have different paths. This is one of two of our signature questions here at the Marketing Stir. How'd you get started? Was it like, " I studied marketing and here I am?" Or was it like, "I was a philosophy major, I loved playing hackeysack and then here I am?"

Kevin Tate: God. Well, so I fell in love with the internet in college. It was'94 when I was about to graduate. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer and then I was like, " I want to work on the internet," the internet, the browser, this stuff was just coming along. So as I started working on the internet, I found myself being a solutions consultant. I was the guy at the whiteboard back then. It was sites like Pathfinder and Sony and these companies, J. Crew, they're building their first websites. And I was like, " Here's how you're going to build websites and here's how they're going to work." And I really liked that part. Like how do you explain the story of how the technology is going to create something new? So I was in the solution consultant and sales world for a while, and then when I moved to Portland, which was almost 20 years ago, I saw an opportunity to actually do marketing and working as what they call an industry marketing manager, it's basically a product manager for the retail segment for this company, Uni Crew. And that was my first official marketing job, and I really liked it. It brought for me the solution and product marketing side of it was pretty familiar. And then figuring out how do you create the messaging and the story and the marketing engagement around that was... I was really drawn to it. And it keeps you close enough to the sales side that you're close to customers and you're close to where the product meets the market, but you're also working with the product and the technology side. What are we building and why? So, yeah, here I am 20 years on, and I've gone back and forth. I've had sales and marketing as a part of my remit a few times and I enjoy both, but really drawn to the marketing side.

Ajay Gupta: Kevin, tell us a little bit about your current marketing strategies. What are some of the channels that are working for you?

Kevin Tate: Well, timely question. I mean, things have changed and what's interesting though, we're spending a lot of time trying to figure out what really changed and what stayed the same and then what are we still measuring and figuring out, so the things that we have shifted over the last quarter, we're spending a little less money and focus on top of funnel. So we were casting a lot of a wide net around awareness and we created a distinction we called MELs, marketing engaged leads, and we were really focused in the early part of last year on create lots and lots of MELs, and I think in a high growth market, in a frothy market, you can feel like, " Well, a lot of those people are just going to find their way to opportunities and pipeline." As that shifted, and I think as buyers got more cautious and you started to see longer sales cycles, what we did was shift more toward the mid- funnel focus. So still do stuff around awareness and top of funnel, but we really focused in on the type of content that to us signals someone is now thinking about Clearbit and trying to figure out how I would actually use this, and how would I build a business case, and is it right for me? So how- to articles and guides around how to use Clearbit's data or platform to achieve certain things, how we fit with partners and how you can put those together in your stack. So we've shifted our focus more to mid- funnel and one of the nice things about Clearbit is you have a lot of data and instrumentation to work with. So we can see pretty quickly the effect that's had on our pipeline from our MQL to SQL to sales accepted opportunity, and so on.

Ajay Gupta: Kevin, speaking of data with privacy concerns on the rise everywhere, how have consumers' privacy expectations been changing in your view?

Kevin Tate: That's a good question. So there's the consumer side and then there's the B2B side and I think those are getting closer together. I think they're still a little different, but it's funny, I had an experience recently on the consumer side that raised eyebrows for me. I went to a friend's wedding where WhatsApp was the communication method, all the coordination and all this stuff. It was great and I hadn't really used WhatsApp, at least not in a long, long time. But what surprised me was that as people shared photos from the wedding and all these things on WhatsApp, they automatically went into my iPhoto library, which is of course shared with a bunch. For me, that was like, you have these privacy a-has and I was like, " Whoa, things that people shared that I don't know went right into my iPhotos," which was just an interesting privacy... So anyway, there's things like that that I think raise awareness. And on the B2B side, I think we're seeing that around obviously cookies and around PII and around contact information. So I think the landscape is starting to change faster in perception, whereas before maybe the policies were changing but people weren't really seeing the effect. People are having those a- ha moments. What it means from a Clearbit perspective is we're seeing more companies come to us or companies like us and say, " Hey, I've got to get my data house in order. Maybe before, I didn't really think about it that much and I relied on whatever the ad targeting platform was or third party cookie capabilities. I'm sure I can find what I need to know whenever I need it." And that's just not the case as much anymore. So they're coming to companies like us and saying, " I need to understand my companies, I need to understand my target market, my ICP, how do I create a data foundation?" So that's pretty exciting, to see that awareness driving a data foundation, understanding and need and urgency. So that's something we're paying a lot of attention to.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, no, thank you for that breakdown, Kevin. Something you said, you'd think nowadays, it's like you started in 2021, so now you get hired as the CMO of a company right in the smack middle of the pandemic. What were your thoughts? What were you faced with? Did you have to change? What were some challenges in the beginning?

Kevin Tate: Oh, that's a good question. It was really different ramping up in a totally distributed company. So Clearbit's entirely distributed. We still maintain a physical address in San Francisco, but there's not an office. The marketing team, got people in Canada, I got people in Spain, I got people in Germany, it's all over the place, which is amazing. There's all kinds of advantages to that. Starting with a company where there's no physical center of gravity was different, and I found that you couldn't do the equivalent of, " Well, I'm just going to go sit in the lunchroom and see who comes by and meet people and talk to people and just steep in it." You can hang out on Slack and you can do things, so part of it was just how do you get your head into the rhythm and the cadence of that? And then I found that with my teams, especially having three or four different teams, figuring out how to establish what are the cadences, what are the norms, what do we celebrate, what do we laugh about, how do we track our work? All that had to be created a little bit more virtually. I was fortunate to step into a team, Nick Wentz, who was running the marketing team is very well organized, had created a great culture and speed around the work. But figuring out how to join that and then extend that was really interesting. And you know what it made me appreciate? My sister's a teacher and she was teaching grade school kids during the pandemic and still does, but when they moved to Zoom, that was such a big challenge. I think in the same way now that we've been distributed and using Zoom for day in, day out, there's some things I think we're all still learning about just how do you hold people's attention, and how do you keep it engaging? How do you not take for granted that well, because I'm your boss and I'm standing here in the room with you, you're going to pay attention to me? It's a little different. I feel like I'm learning things about just different ways of presenting information, different ways of trying to bring people together and explore ideas, and some are really working. And then some, I just haven't figured out how to recreate the whiteboard. There's one right there off camera and I very rarely drag it over. It's not quite the same as-

Vincent Pietrafesa: I see.

Kevin Tate: ...we're all around the whiteboard figuring something out together. So I haven't figured that one out yet. I think I've tried every virtual whiteboard thing there is. So let me know if you find one.

Vincent Pietrafesa: No, I agree with you because I remember being on some things where a person gets the whiteboard and they're like, " Oh, just make sure you put a pin on me in my screen." And I'm like, " That's not the same."

Kevin Tate: Yeah, it's close, but it's not. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Vincent Pietrafesa: It's not there. Well, what Zoom did, Zoom is part of the vernacular. It's become like Kleenex. There's other types of video conferencing out there, but remember before this, Kevin, obviously you met people in person, but before, it would just be a conference call number that you joined into or you just call them? I like this aspect of it. And you're right, keeping people's attention because you could just not share your camera. You can go get a cup of coffee and come back and your CEO, he or she's still talking, and you can't do that when you're in front of them.

Kevin Tate: You're so right. It's funny, and I think I'd taken that for granted. And then in December I was on a call, I can't remember, I think it was a partner call and most people had their video off and were dialed in by phone, and it was the first time in a long time and it was a really different vibe. I mean, I immediately was like, " Oh, sweet, I'm just going to do email." And I was like, " Oh, wait, wait a second." So there's something about this that we're all still learning what's great and what's terrible. Yeah.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Exactly. I think, well, Ajay, our CEO, you Ajay from the beginning were like... and share your camera. We want to see, and I think it was more of not like, " Let's see what they're doing." It was more of a, " Let's just see each other and see each other's face." And I think that was big. Yeah, I think we're still a big believer in that.

Ajay Gupta: Well, some of our engineers don't say a word in the best of days when everybody's in the office. So, I was legitimately concerned that some of the single engineers that we had not seen a person in 30 days...

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, I know, even four years ago, they haven't seen people. So, yeah, it's a different story there. Kevin, I want to talk to you about this time. So you look at in your role, I felt like, and I'd love to get your opinion on it. People in the last few years, it's been in companies more now, yes, growth is big and people need growth. You need to generate revenue, you need to grow year by year. But I feel like customer relationships have really increased. I think that's become more important. Customer relationships, customer retention, what are your thoughts on that?

Kevin Tate: I think you're absolutely right. I think there's a couple of trends that suggest that's going to keep going. I think one is, and you know could pick your B2B buyer journey has changed backdrop, but the reality is for the way the technology has changed, access to technology has changed, the tools have changed, customers can get a lot of what the technically need, I think, whether it's in the buying process or even the support process. They can do it a lot themselves. At least they should be able to, if that's how companies are setting it up. So the role of the salesperson and then the customer success person isn't like, " I'm a human modem getting you access to the information you need." You can probably get it. Their role has become more and more like, " No, you want to work with me, I understand what you're trying to do and I'm actually adding value because I can help translate that into what I know about our products." And if that's not the case, then you see that very quickly. It's like you're just in the way, let me just use the help section. So I think it's changed to me back to that, coming from the solution engineering side of things, I like to think every salesperson and every customer success person is really a solution engineer in a way. That's probably one of the most valuable things they're doing. To put that in the Clearbit perspective, there are so many things that companies can and do use our data and use our platform and APIs for, which is great, but also can be challenging because every company might be plugging into a little bit different stack and they might be using our enrichment data or reveal data in a different way, or they might have a different way of using our audiences to automate their go- to- market. So we have to really understand what the context is and how they're using it and how we can help them use it. So that solution- ing part has become a much bigger part of the way our customer success team thinks about the way they work with customers. You got to have that context, or you're not necessarily adding value.

Ajay Gupta: Kevin, AI is one of the topics that's pretty hot here at Stirista, and our industry in general. And from what we understand, Clearbit is utilizing AI to provide better customer care. So, talk to us a little bit more about that.

Kevin Tate: Yeah, boy, AI's gotten really interesting, huh? All this generative stuff has really... Quick aside, we did a 12 Days of Thought Leadership blog series just before the holidays, which was fun to contribute to. I ended up digging into ChatGPT as a part of mine, and I put some prompts in there around make me lists of marketing. I was pretty surprised at how good the content was. And now a lot has come out about the way things are shifting there. So two things around AI, and then maybe part of what I'm excited about, the main way we use AI today is to improve the precision of our company data and our ability to recognize company. So a good example is one of the key things that Clearbit's quite good at is based on the IP address and where someone is coming from, knowing what company they represent, which is super helpful because then you know like, " Oh, it's this company, so show them the mid- size case studies, and show them..." " Oh, they're a current customer, treat them like we know them," et cetera. And the precision of that IP resolution is driven by machine learning where every single time somebody comes to any of the sites that help feed our systems, we're learning, " Oh, that's actually this person from this address," even if they're working from home, et cetera. So AI has really helped us do things like understand the companies people are representing even if they're working from home. So that has been a big key piece of it. To your question, I'm super interested in how we could use things like generative AI to help create more content coming from customer interactions. Really, any customer interaction could become a support center article or could become something that other customers can leverage. That's always an onerous and time- consuming creation process. What I've seen of some of the generative AI stuff is it's really good at getting that 90% of the way. Someone can literally edit and publish that article. What I'm curious about from a marketer's standpoint is how it's going to change the balance of content development and SEO. I feel like for years, the balance of power has been, " All right, I have to spend money to write articles about the things that my customers care about, and then I have to make them SEO- able so that when they search for those things, people will find us, and I get the organic traffic." But part of that equation is it costs me a significant amount of time and money to create good content that's relevant to my people, to my audience. If suddenly I can create near infinite content with very little expense, that's very powerful. It's going to mess with this balance of power. I mean, why not create 30 versions of every help article for every different customer or job to be done, and let them be indexed in case they come up? So I think that the supply/ demand, if you will, of the content and SEO game is about to change a lot. I'm curious to see how marketers use that and hopefully don't abuse that to just create a glut of content. So, we'll see.

Ajay Gupta: It's a pretty cool use of the IP resolution technology, Kevin. So it's like drinking your own champagne?

Kevin Tate: Yeah. Well, and it's not always obvious too. So we launched a product recently called Capture. It's cool, it lets you find key buyers for people who are coming to your website. And when we launched it, we did the usual stuff, we had ads about it and we had a blog post about it, and then we were pointing people to a landing page and more detail about it. So we set up what we call an audience to see who came to the landing page and then we could, using the IP resolution, basically grade those companies against our different markets and ICPs and segments. So it gave us a new way to look at who's responding to this launch messaging, not just by the numbers or by click- through rates, but which audiences seem to be responding to them and what types of companies and how do I look at that by technology or by region. And it's just a lot richer way to understand who's engaging with you and then you can decide what you want to do with them. " Oh, I want to follow up with these on sales," or" I want to do more advertising to these because they seem interested, but they're early in the funnel." It just gives you a lot more context to manage your pipeline if you actually know basically every company that's engaging with you.

Ajay Gupta: Kevin, obviously using content in a way where you're customizing who's seeing what is pretty awesome. But at the end of the day, there's some limiting factors in terms of how much content to generate. So I'm just curious, what does your ideal customer profile look like and who are you writing your majority of your content for?

Kevin Tate: Good question. So I'd break it into two parts. So the company technographics size and do all those things, and then there's the buyers and their jobs to be done. I like to break it up that way. The buyers and jobs to be done side is almost always someone at the center of marketing and revenue operations. Maybe it's a demand marketer, maybe it's the website owner, maybe it's the marketing operations or even sales operations. But those are our people. And what's interesting is on the company technographic side, we really do work with companies of all sizes. We've got companies with more than 100,000 employees and big, big companies where we're working usually inside a certain division with a certain product, and all the way through. We do a lot of work in the 100 to 1, 000 company segment, do a lot of work there in the mid- market. And then we've got a lot of companies that are very early, they're under 50 employees, they've got their series, they're building that go- to- market foundation, so that's all good. We like all of them. But what we find is to your question, the buyers and the titles and the jobs to be done change pretty significantly based on where companies are in their evolution. With the smaller companies, Clearbit is often the first smart stack thing they buy. So they're just getting started and they're just building their ICP, and they're just getting going. And then in the middle, they probably have five or six things in their stack and like, " Oh, yeah, well, we use this for chat and we use this for email, and we use this for website personalization and here's where Clearbit fits in and makes them all better," or whatever. And then at the high end, it gets super specialized. You're working with the data team and all that stuff. So it certainly keeps it interesting, but that we try to think about that landscape of company maturity and size and then buyers and jobs to be done as the board game or the game board on which we put content to drive awareness, nurture, and then decision.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Kevin, you were joking around before about cookies. In a marketer's role, have you had to shift based on some of the changes in the industry, like the impending recession, are cookies going away? Will they, won't they? Love to hear your thought about that.

Kevin Tate: So it's nice at Clearbit, we have our own advertising and tracking piece that doesn't rely on cookies. So it relies on this IP resolution and on a first party basis. So it hasn't impacted what we do much. It has brought more companies to us who are saying, " I can't rely on third party cookies. I need a first party solution where basically I can be placing that cookie and then see when they come." So it's driven a lot of interest in that. I do think it is changing the advertising landscape more quickly than people might realize. I think that so much of the programmatic world has been driven by Bitstream and the ability to easily see into some pretty useful information. I think that landscape is changing very quickly. So again, what is meant for us, but I think even more for our clients is, " Hey, I have to get in control of this. I need to have my data, I need to have my view of an ICP. I need to be able to target audiences and measure what they did. I can't throw that over the wall to my advertiser."

Vincent Pietrafesa: No, that definitely makes sense. And Kevin, now Ajay and I get into just a few questions, get to know you better on a personal level, we have one of our signature questions coming up I know Ajay will ask, but Kevin, talk to us about a lot of young marketers listening, a lot of students listening, looking to get into this world. What characteristic that you possess, that you attribute to some of your marketing success, what do you have and what do people have to also have? We get deep here on the Marketing Stir.

Kevin Tate: Yeah, no, it's deep. It's deep. These are big questions, man. It's early in the year. So, I think something that has served me well, going back to those really early whiteboard out the website days, is being able to put fairly complicated topics or information or ideas into pictures or into stories that make them workable. Whether you're trying to work them so you can solve them, you're trying to work them so you can sell them or work them so you can build them, you got to make it understandable so that everybody can participate in it. I think I've gotten pretty good at that. As I said, it's changed a bit with the virtual, I used to love the whiteboard session and now that's become more like slides and ways of looking at things. But I think in the same way, it's a very... Let's say you're trying to create a meeting about, I don't know, which product to build, or how to go to market, or how you're going to position something. It's a really different meeting if it's just a bunch of people talking versus it's a group of people looking at some framework or picture or template or diagram, some way of organizing the information. So I almost always try to have one of those or make one of those, and I find that that really helps move things forward and helps give people a canvas to collaborate on. So I think that's a really key skill and it can take lots of different forms, but ultimately it's about synthesizing and organizing information in a way that people can do more with it, if that makes sense. I will say I think another key thing that I remind myself to do more and I think it's hard to ever do enough of is just being really curious, being really curious. I think the best marketers are really curious about why and how customers are using their product, why and how customers are engaging with their company, what it's like to be them, and you got to maintain that. It's cool that the world now of... We use Gong internally and it's just an incredible resource. But again, you got to stay curious and you got to make time to really understand what's going on with your customers.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, no, I agree. We too use Gong and it's a game changer, just to understand also as a note taker, a follow- up, just for new salespeople coming in, as a training. It's been great.

Ajay Gupta: So one of our signature questions that we love to ask is around LinkedIn, I'm sure you get a lot of junk mail in LinkedIn and we're curious, what is a mail that gets a response from Kevin and what's one that really annoys Kevin?

Kevin Tate: Oh, that's a good one. That's a good one. I'm not super active on social, I will say. LinkedIn is the platform that I use the most. I got way in the social world in 2008, 2009. I had a company that was all focused on that in some ways, but I am a fan of LinkedIn. So what gets my attention is often frankly, a personal appeal. When I get someone who is seemingly very upfront about, " Hey, I'm trying to get started in my career," or" I'm trying to move more into this direction," or" I saw what you did over here and I'm trying to learn more about it," when somebody's really honest and open and even vulnerable in, "Hey, I'm trying to do this thing, can you help me?" Or" Would you be willing to chat?" That's hard to say no to for me. Call it a mentor appeal, that really works for me. So I find it hard to just ghost somebody if they're being really honest in that. What annoys me? It's funny because I think this used to really annoy me and now I've come to see it as almost like an art form that I appreciate, which is the humblebrag, like " I am honored and humbled to have been..." and then they go on to talk about this award they won, and I used to just be like, " Ah, cringey." And now again, I've come to appreciate it an art form. Like, how do you do the perfect humblebrag? And then so often now, it has animations of fireworks and things at the bottom in some videos. So I feel like that has really evolved to the point where now I watch them for sport. So, yeah.

Ajay Gupta: Nice. Vincent is a master of it. So now that you guys are connected...

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, I never say humbled, I just say I'm honored.

Kevin Tate: There you go.

Vincent Pietrafesa: That's the secret.

Kevin Tate: What you going to do? Yeah, what you going to do?

Vincent Pietrafesa: That's the secret. Yeah.

Kevin Tate: So it is such an interesting forum in which to promote yourself or your company, but in a way that doesn't make you seem like a... So anyway.

Ajay Gupta: Makes sense. Vincent, my fantasy win post will be going up next week, so just-

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh, you got to-

Kevin Tate: There it is.

Kevin Tate: You'll

Kevin Tate: be humble and honored. Yeah.

Vincent Pietrafesa: You got to tread lightly on that one. You got to tread very lightly. Because I will-

Ajay Gupta: No, I'll wait a full week. It's a raw subject.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Because I will paint the picture for people, down 15 points. Ja'Marr Chase, Joe Mixon, come on.

Kevin Tate: Yeah. This is exactly where a diagram would help frame the conversation, I think.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Exactly.

Kevin Tate: This is where you want to put that together.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh, yeah, I'm throwing one together. I'm going to point it out to people. Yeah, I would wait another week or so.

Ajay Gupta: Yeah, I'll let you simmer down a little bit.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh, no.

Ajay Gupta: So the last question from me, tell us a little bit about your personal side. What are some of the hobbies? What do you like to do for fun besides making marketing strategy?

Kevin Tate: All I do is make marketing strategy all the time.

Vincent Pietrafesa: All day!

Kevin Tate: Yeah. I don't understand the question. I think I mentioned earlier, we moved to Portland 20 years ago and it was a really good move. My wife and I both went to school in the Bay Area and then I worked in Silicon Valley for seven or eight years. So moving to Portland is a very deliberate choice. Like, " Hey, let's choose a little bit different path and make our own path," maybe in a way. So anyway, that fit for us. So it's a long way of saying that My hobbies today are very predictable Portland, I think it's biking, beer, and board games, which is pretty much... That's like the triathlon of Portland. So, yeah, that's how I spend my time. And these winter months, probably a little heavier on the beer and board games, but yeah.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Nice. Yeah, I've yet to make my way out to Portland. But all you hear is just a cool, eclectic place, food trucks, great beer, and board games, yeah, that's great in every state. I love that. But I could see that happening. So Kevin, to leave our audience with one final thought, something you want them to take away, the floor is yours.

Kevin Tate: These are interesting times, and it's hard to know how things have changed. I was trying to think of an analogy of the break, and it's almost like it's a movie where what's going on the screen is the same. We're all still doing our jobs and signing up customers and creating value, but the music has changed. The music went from everything is awesome to I don't know, The Shining music or something. So it's just a different feel. So it's like, " What do I do now? How am I supposed to act?" And my message to myself, so I think to others would be now is the time to be bold. You look back every time when things dip and there's uncertainty, recession, a year from now, we will look back and say, " Wow, look at those companies and look at those people who accelerated through the downturn, who created." This is the opportunity. Especially if you're a smaller company, especially if you're a growth stage company. So I think the effort and the energy that you apply now actually even makes more of a difference than it did when things were frothy and everybody's going 1, 000 miles an hour. So be bold, think big, lean into it is my mantra, so yeah.

Vincent Pietrafesa: I love it, it's great mantra, great words. Kevin, it's been great spending some time with you. Ladies and gentlemen, that is the CMO of Clearbit. Check out Kevin, check out Clearbit. That's Kevin Tate. I'm Vincent Pietrafesa. That is the fantasy football champion, Ajay Gupta. Boy, that hurts. This has been another episode of The Marketing Stir. Thank you so much for listening, and have a great day.

Ben: Thanks for listening to the Marketing Stir podcast by Stirista. Please like, rate, and subscribe. If you're interested in being a guest on the podcast, please email us at themarketingstir@ stirista. com, and thanks for listening.


Kevin Tate, CMO of Clearbit, joins Ajay and Vincent this week. He talks about how B2C and B2B are becoming similar, yet remain different, and how there is a need to understand a target market. Vincent welcomes Ajay back, and Ajay takes his win in Fantasy Football.

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