Episode Thumbnail
Episode 78  |  45:30 min

Kelley Michalik (Alight) - Soup to Nuts

Episode 78  |  45:30 min  |  06.08.2021

Kelley Michalik (Alight) - Soup to Nuts

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This is a podcast episode titled, Kelley Michalik (Alight) - Soup to Nuts. The summary for this episode is: <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Kelley Michalik, Chief Marketing Officer at Alight Solutions, details her journey with the company and how her role enables a mindset for reinvention. She also shares her surprising response to when someone gets her name wrong in an email. Ajay has a customer service nightmare, and Vincent lends an ear.</span></p>
Takeaway 1 | 01:43 MIN
Kelley's Journey Into Marketing
Takeaway 2 | 01:29 MIN
Core Identity Messaging - Next Level Transformation
Takeaway 3 | 02:52 MIN
Kelley Reflects on a Shining Moment While at Alight
Takeaway 4 | 01:38 MIN
What are Clients Asking For?
Takeaway 5 | 01:51 MIN
What Alight Does for HR From a Data Perspective

Kelley Michalik, Chief Marketing Officer at Alight Solutions, details her journey with the company and how her role enables a mindset for reinvention. She also shares her surprising response to when someone gets her name wrong in an email. Ajay has a customer service nightmare, and Vincent lends an ear.

Guest Thumbnail
Kelley Michalik
Chief Marketing Officer at Alight Solutions
Hands-on Marketing leader and alliance developer with a proven track record of building bridges between Sales, Product and Marketing to accelerate growth. Experienced in leading and restructuring all areas of Marketing with a focus on data-driven “big picture” evaluation and analysis to develop growth strategies for organizations of all sizes and budgets. Decisive leader igniting high-performance teams and rapidly transforming organizations.
Connect with Kelley

Jared: Welcome to the Marketing Stir podcast by Stirista, probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you're going to put in your ears. I'm Jared Walls, associate producer and Stirista's Creative Copy manager. The goal of this podcast is to chat with industry leaders to get their take on the current challenges at the market, but also have a little fun along the way. In this episode, Vincent and Ajay talks to Kelley Michalik, Chief Marketing Officer at Alight Solutions. She details her journey with the company and how her role enables a mindset of reinvention. She also shares a surprising response to when someone gets her name wrong in an email. Ajay has a customer service nightmare and Vincent lends an ear. Give a listen.

Vincent: Ladies and gentlemen, what's going on? It's me, Vincent Pietrafesa, the vice president of B2B products at Stirista and the co- host of this, The Marketing Stir. It is so good to be back. I felt like it's been a while, but it's only been like a week because we issue an episode a week. But I've missed you, our listeners and viewers. Oh, so good to be back. Stirista, who are we? Let's pay the bills. I'm kidding. We're not really paying any bills, but I like saying that as I hear it on the radio. Stirista, we are an identity marketing company. We have our own business to business data, business to consumer data. We help companies acquire new customers by utilizing that data, email marketing. We also own our own DSP where people want to execute media. They could do connected TV, account based marketing campaigns. That's a lot of acronyms I just threw at you. I get it. But email me at Vincent @ stirista. com, that is how confident I am that we could help you. I just gave you my email address. The other thing I'm confident about, the other person I'm confident about is my co- host. Ladies and gentlemen, from San Antonio, my fearless leader, Ajay Gupta. What's going on, Ajay?

Ajay: Hey, Vincent. You know what I was thinking? One of the advantages of having a podcast is I can tell you about my bad experience with the food delivery place yesterday for Mother's Day.

Vincent: Oh, don't you. See and then that's it.

Ajay: I've been waiting for this.

Vincent: And then the next thing you know, you're a lifetime member and that never happens again. Go ahead. Get it out there, Ajay.

Ajay: Yes, I've ordered some Mother's Day sushi and grill from Kona Grill and Uber Eats. I got a call from 45 minutes from my Uber delivery driver, very nice lady. And she said, " Hey, they want to know, they're missing a few items. Should they cancel the order or just deliver?" And I said, "Well, at this point might as well deliver." So she brought the food and it was a large bag, but when I opened it, there were only three things that made it one was a little bowl of rice. The other one was looked like pot stickers from a couple of days ago. And then the third one was sushi that seemed like it was made a few days ago as well. So by missing a few items, I think they meant they were missing practically everything except rice and whatever was in the fridge. And this is a pretty big restaurant and a good chain. Uber Eats credit, they refunded most of it so I had to do a take two for dinner for Mother's Day.

Vincent: That's it. So what's the name of that restaurant again?

Ajay: Kona Grill.

Vincent: Kona Grill, if you're listening, you gave him some gas station sushi. You gave them 11 day old pot stickers and you gave him just white rice. And everyone has white rice like and on Mother's Day for the wonderful Candice Gupta. She's worth way better than that but at least... Hey, maybe they're listening to the podcast. They're marketing fans maybe and they are listening to podcast. But good, I'm glad you salvaged it, at least, though.

Ajay: Yeah, I salvaged it with a much better effort from dinner. I ordered twice as much food. So I figured even if they're missing a few items, we'll have enough. So got enough for the rest of the week now.

Vincent: See? You're smart, you made it, that's why you're our fearless leader and our CEO, Ajay. That's awesome. And happy belated Mother's Day out there for all the mothers. My wife, she has awful allergies. I was just telling our wonderful guest, Kelley that, that's a little sneak peek. Kelley's coming on in a moment. And my wife has awful allergies for three weeks. Every day for three years she's just sneezing, no. For three weeks, and it's always around her birthday and Mother's Day. And because of these allergies, she never wants me to get her flowers like ever because they'll make her sneeze and she never wants to do anything. So it's like we celebrate her birthday and Mother's Day in like July. But it still was fun. We had spent some time with the boys. But enough about us Ajay, we have another amazing guest. I'm so happy we have her on the podcast because I really want to get her perspective. I'm very interested in her, very interested in the company. Alight solutions. That's right, Alight Solutions. So please, a warm Marketing Stir welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Chief Marketing Officer, Kelley Michalik. What's going on, Kelley?

Kelley: Hi, Vincent. How are you?

Vincent: Doing great, hanging in there. Thank you so much for joining us.

Kelley: You bet. I'm thrilled to be here with you and Ajay. Thanks for having me.

Vincent: Oh, it's so wonderful to have you, I hope... Did you enjoy your Mother's Day?

Kelley: I did, yeah. I have the privilege of being a mom to three kids, so I have two daughters in high school and they were writing me notes about... So they're starting to understand all of the sacrifices and things in the real world. So on that end, I was getting these thank you notes about being there for them and the sacrifices we make and really helping set them up for the future. And then I have an eight year old son who was like, thanks for the pizza and letting me play Fortnite which was very cute to see.

Vincent: Oh, that's awesome. What a great way to start the podcast. You know how grateful they are and putting things into perspective, that's great. Now, Kelley, for people who don't know Alight Solutions. I want to hear you tell people about Alight and then I'd love to learn about your role as Chief Marketing Officer there, some of your kind of day to day responsibilities as well.

Kelley: Yeah, absolutely happy to. So Alight Solutions provides data driven workforce solutions to employers so that they can help their employees make better decisions around their health benefits, their retirement benefits and their payroll. So we have a tremendous amount of data that enables when you start looking at together and put an AI personalization engine on top of it, that we can really provide guidance for individual employees so that they're making the best decisions for themselves and their families. And so that results in a better outcome for them. That ultimately ends up and results and a higher return on investment for employers and better outcomes for their bottom line. So we're just thrilled to be investing in AI and technology to bring this forward to our clients.

Vincent: I love it. And then talk to me about your role as Chief Marketing Officer, then my other question about that is I love your journey. I want to find out about how you got into marketing. And don't think I didn't notice director, VP, then Chief Marketing Officer. I want to talk about that. But before I get to there, Kelley, just some of your day to day things that your team or you... You work closely with sales, you get to see the age old marketing and sales thing. So we'd love to hear about that.

Kelley: Yeah, absolutely. So at Alight we're like a 25 year old startup. So we were back we started as Hewitt, Hewitt and Associates. Aon purchased us several years ago and then about four years ago we carved off and were private equity carve off. And at that moment, four years ago, we had to create a new brand, a new company, a new purpose, vision, values, website, content, you name it, in three months. And so this last year is when I stepped into this leadership role and we are reinventing ourselves once again. So every day for me is really working with the team and our business stakeholders and sales and product, etc, to really get ahead of, " Okay, what's next for us and how do we make sure that marketing is that strategic business partner helping move things forward?" So that that can involve anything from, as everybody on this show will know, anything from, " Okay, let's make sure that we get some really exciting swag out to the team so that they can feel proud to be here and proud to be on Zoom." And they're like here to really thinking about our strategic go to market and how we're going to make sure that as we go upmarket and talk to the C- suite, which is one of our big aspirations, how do we make sure we don't alienate who our current buyers and relationships that we have today? So I feel so honored to be able to have a conversation about T- shirts and then a conversation about business strategy and inaudible

Vincent: I love that. And I know Ajay is chomping at the bits to ask you a question, but the other question is talk to us. We always like to ask our guests this because it's never a path of like, " I studied marketing and here I am." It's usually like a philosophy major turning in marketing. But talk to us how you got involved in marketing. And I loved your journey, just at Alight. I love seeing that over the course of the year. So talk to us about that.

Kelley: Yeah, absolutely. So I started my career, so I was a IT major. Started at IBM working on IT outsourcing contracts and really looking at the processes that we undertook to go to market soup to nuts. From getting a new client engaged with our marketing material to working the contract, to onboarding them, implementing new solutions, etc. I did that for several years and then moved on right on my 30th birthday, I stepped into my first manager role and I was managing 42 people across the U. S., 40 men, two women. And they were off doing kind of that engagement, sales engagement motion for mid- range service. So putting together mid- range solutions for various clients across our portfolio. When I needed a change, I moved to Hewitt and they were doing the same thing. " Hey, we're going to go back to market. We're going to get in and start selling and start growing, etc. So we need to build a solutions team, a sales operations team, etc." So we did that for a couple of years and got to know the business and then the cloud was invented. So whereas we used to do solutions on enterprise, on premise products, we needed to change our complete model to be enabling cloud solutions to be much more nimble in what we did. And instead of bringing in two or three big deals a year, we had to go to two or three deals a week. So I helped the team kind of build that new offer. And in parallel, we were looking for a head of marketing for just that that business unit. And I'll tell you, we looked for about a year. And I always say we were looking for that unicorn, somebody who had deep domain experience, deep marketing experience, could kind of navigate our interesting matrix of stakeholders. And we were coming up empty handed. So I just got a bit impatient and raised my hand and said, " Look, why don't you take a chance on me? When this person comes in, they're going to take a lot of the things off my plate that actually excite me and get me up in the morning. So if you are willing to take a chance on me, then I'm willing to dive in." And the head of the business unit at the time said, " That's interesting. If you can convince the CMO that you're the right person even without any marketing background, then let's go for it." So I met with her and she was like, " I know marketing. I can teach you marketing. I don't know how that team operates. I don't know the product. I don't know any of it. So let's do this." And I just never looked back. I've enjoyed every minute of it since.

Vincent: I love it. Thank you for sharing that.

Kelley: Yeah, you bet.

Ajay: I love your background, by the way. I have orange here. And then Teal is our other company color, so you have us in your background. Kelley, I heard that you guys are planning on launching a new website. I would love to hear more about that. What's gone into it and what are some of the changes you're doing?

Kelley: Yeah, so we actually had our successful launch about a week ago and we launched our global website. There's 10 different sites, domains and six languages and we have been working on that for 10 months. And what really made that a necessary project for us is I had mentioned, 25 year old startup and that we had created this whole new company in three months. So our website was not scalable, it was a bit of a band- aid. We've got to get a storefront out there, if you will. So we always knew in the back of our mind we were going to need to create the appropriate infrastructure and build the right, scalable, leveragable site. But Alight has done, I think it's somewhere along the lines of seven M& A transactions in three years, and many of them global. So you can imagine if you have an infrastructure that's not scalable and you're trying to bring in these new brands with new solutions and geographies into the fold, it was just impossible to do. So we said, okay. We acquired a global payroll provider called NGAHR that expanded our reach as well as our employee base. We now have, in country marketing in Germany and France, right across Europe and even in Latin America. And so our site has provided this global presence with that local feel where needed. And knock on wood, it's been a really well received and early numbers are showing us that it's performing very well.

Ajay: That's great. And obviously, given the size of the company and the expansion, the identity of the company has changed over the period of time that even you have been there. Can you take us through a little bit of some of the kind of core identity messaging and brand messaging that's changed over the years?

Kelley: Yeah, absolutely. I'll have to say, we found ourselves in a constant battle with what we do today and what we aspire to be which I'm certain is a common story. And so this past year. We've really focused in on embracing that and saying, every company, much like ourselves, is in a constant state of transformation in one way or another. Whether it be adapting to a pandemic, doing M& A transactions, going from a private to a public, etc. and those needs are ever changing. So we talk now instead of big scale transformations, we talk about next level transformation. So what might be important for an organization that is maybe less mature in their digital journey is just getting to, " What's next?" Versus someone who is even closer to or has been on their digital journey for a while, then they're going to be talking about personalization, just like in marketing. You've kind of got to have the basics done first and then you've got to leapfrog into that personalized, AI driven, data driven decision making, etc. So our messaging has followed suit to really be flexible to what our clients need versus what we think they need. The other thing that we've done that's been, hopefully, a game changer for us is we operate in this B2B2C space. So while employers, CHROs are our buyers, our technology and our solutions show up for employees. So where we were before is we had our initial brand, which was black and white photography and black and yellow and gray period. an the consumer side, our product team always said, " That's beautiful for a master brand." But we can't translate that to a desktop solution. It's not flexible enough. It's not calming enough where your employees are interacting with things. So this last year, we embarked on an initiative to bring those identities together. And so you see us now with color photography. You see us bringing in a secondary color palette and an illustration module. And those are mirrored in then, our B2C products. So that's huge for us, that we did this last year as well.

Vincent: And Kelley, is the new website, is that Alight. com?

Kelley: Alight.com.

Vincent: A- L- I= G- H- T, for those listening to the podcast. So thanks for sharing that as well. So, Kelley, my question is more on the... You mentioned your core clients are different level enterprise companies, but talk to me about the nitty gritty because I'd love to see if people are listening out there. Who are your targets? What are the job titles within organizations that you're marketing to and what size company makes sense for Alight?

Kelley: Yeah, it's a great question. So we are a complicated business but we do have solutions that are from anywhere a thousand employees all the way up to giant organizations that have presence all around the world. We sell and go to market at various levels, so the C- suite, if we have relationships there, can have conversations there. That ROI story really resonates. And we're learning more and more as we've all had experiences over the past year and sending employees at home, having employees balance all of the things that they have to. Children in the background, Zoom meetings happening, dogs barking, all of those things. We've learned that the C- suite in general is starting to become more empathetic to the needs of employees. So for the first time, our value proposition is really in line with what the C- suite knows they need to do. They need to start taking a look at the employee experience and making sure that they are giving their employees the tools that they need to sort of work through where work and life come together. I think it's 65% now of employees are looking to leave their current employer. And that's a pretty big stat as well as 50% of people regret a health care decision that they've made. So it's like you think about all of these things together and if you can influence outcomes for people and outcomes for organizations, the C- suite's starting to listen, which is really good for us. Now, we also have payroll administration services. So heads of payroll are people that we talk to on a regular basis, as well as heads of company benefits. And even internal communication organizations often come to us and ask us to help with an employee value prop kind of solution.

Vincent: And Ajay, I'm not one of those 65%, don't worry, I'm very happy here at Stirista, don't worry about that. Kelley, I always like to ask people this because the way people marketed in 2020 is very different than now. At Stirista we used to go to a lot of trade shows and meet people there. Maybe we had a booth, maybe we sponsored something. I don't know if Alight did that, but if you did, talk to me how the pivot has been... Talk to me about how the marketing has changed a little bit through this time. Have you done anything differently, webinars, anything like that might have worked? Would love to share that with the audience.

Kelley: Well, it's a great question and I know it's on the minds of many, especially as things slowly start to open up again. So we did. A sizable part of our budget went to trade shows and events. We were at places like HR Tech, Workday Day Rising, Oracle World, things of that nature. And I think we did the shift just like anybody and said, " That's okay, we can do this in a virtual environment," and we put on virtual trade shows. But I'll tell you, people are tired. And it goes back to that kind of fusing of work and life that we talked about before. There just isn't a long line anymore and people are in front of the screen all the time. So what we're finding and what we're going to plan for as we move forward is just those more intimate events. Used to think about marketing as one to many and then you have that very specific one to one. But we've got to find the right places in between on the one to few and remain just dedicated to being relevant to those groups. I don't want to get people together just because it works for us or it's a, " This time works for us and we think we should do this." It really needs to be meaningful for that group of people and why you're bringing them together and how you can help. So that's what we're leaning into as we move forward.

Ajay: Yeah, and I think that's true for any company. There's folks like Winson that love going to the office still and others that probably will never want to come back. So it's definitely different preferences for everybody. And Kelley, what's been kind of a shining moment for you that you're particularly proud of during your time at Alight for the last four years?

Kelley: Oh, that's a great question. I'll give you just a recent one. There's a lot of examples of things that our people have done for our people throughout the years. Whether that be our employees started a fund for our other employees who were impacted by the hurricanes years ago. And then that people matter fund continue to grow and is now used for many, many different needs of our employees and its employees helping employees. So that is just something that I am proud to be a part of. But I'll tell you, I was on the phone this morning. We do these, it's like coffee roulette. So we've got a team of about 70 global colleagues on the marketing team. And I had mentioned they all came together through acquisition. So we do just like, " Let's have coffee." It's a random connection and people just get together for 30 minutes and just talk. No work agenda, no objectives. So I got to meet with our marketing manager in Germany this morning. And she said to me, she thanked me for us really taking advantage of this remote world. And whereas she's in Germany, I've got people scattered around the world, we may not have had the opportunity to see each other, if not maybe once a year. But what we have done is we've done virtual wine tastings together as a team. We meet on a monthly basis on different fun topics to make sure that people know each other, know about their families, know about their lives. We've done city tours, virtual city tours, getting people together. And that's made everything that could be really hard about trying to integrate global marketing team under one website, one set of processes, etc, just still hard, but with a path to get through it. Because inaudible told me this morning, " I know who I can call and I wouldn't have known otherwise." And she's talking to other teams maybe in different functions. And she said, " They're not as lucky." So she asked me, " Hey, can you bring that forward to your peers and ask them to sort of do some of those same things?" So it was just a moment where I was like, " Wow. Yeah, I'm glad we do that but I didn't know the impact it had all the way to the business." So that was a good moment.

Ajay: We actually had a similar experience, normally we have done our annual summits in San Antonio, which is our headquarter and all the U. S. people, at least, come to that. And the last year, just out of necessity, we did it over a, I guess, a Zoom session. But it actually was very well received and we are nowhere as big as you but we do have offices in four or five countries. And for everybody to be able to join and participate, I thought was a wonderful experience. So we might actually continue to do the annual summit, at least a large part of it online, and then to follow it up with offline. So it's great to hear.

Kelley: It's good. It's good that you got to do that as well. Not that we weren't remote before when we needed to be, but I just think it's good to see that there are positives to it as well.

Ajay: Absolutely. Switching to sort of the marketing stack, do you have any kind of favorite software or products that you love that other marketers could benefit from?

Kelley: That is a great question. We're in the process of really evaluating our stack and trying to figure out what's next for us, particularly in the realm of ABM. What I would say is, most importantly, I am looking forward to us having our data foundation properly structured so that all of those technologies and tools will actually work as expected. If you can think about our situation, we invented a brand in three months. Our CRM and sales ops team sort of created that infrastructure in three months too. And then if you think about all of those M& A activities, we have learned a lot about the importance of data hygiene and the importance of saying no to leaders who say, " Hey, can't you just do this? I want this view or this field." So I think we are near a place where we've said no enough, we're getting the foundation baked and then we can start actually putting AI and some sophisticated technology on top of that and have confidence that we're doing the right things with it. So not an exact answer to your question, but that's kind of where we are in our journey right now.

Vincent: And Kelley, you mentioned before, I want to talk about Workday, if that's okay, because you mentioned that at one of the conferences that you went to. How did kind of Workday change the solutions market?

Kelley: Earlier when I was talking about the cloud was born, for HCM that was Workday. So that changed everything for us. From an ability to add value to our clients. I don't know, if I had for HR leaders using an HCM inaudible if I had 10 hours to help them before, I was helping them with translations and just trying to get transactions done in a way that made sense. Now, if I have 10 hours to spend with a client, I'm helping them think about strategy and about how do we engage inaudible the system side's taken care of, right check, done. So it was a huge enabler, just like many other cloud technologies have enabled functions to be more strategic, a huge enabler for our clients and for us to partner with them in a different way.

Vincent: And you touched upon it before, I want to just elaborate on it, about what are your clients asking for right now? What are some of the things that your clients are asking for? Is it that you may have done before or you haven't done before, now you're doing? Just always love to hear the feet on the street.

Kelley: So it goes back to that wide range of clients that we talk to. So HR technology has been coined as kind of behind. And so what many of our long term heads of HR are asking us for is, " Help us get ahead." Because as you all know, people are people. So I as a person and a human, I'm used to going out on my Amazon app and having something either arrive immediately if it's music or a movie or what have you, or tomorrow or the next day. And it's an easy transaction and it's done. So then people come to work and have this like, " I don't know where to go. I have to go to eight systems. All I want is to view my paycheck." That is becoming more and more just unacceptable and frustrating. And people don't have time to sort of call a phone number to get that guidance for something simple. So I think our clients are asking us to help them bring the experiences they have in their everyday life to the health benefits, payroll, 401k, to how I interact with those things and help me decide. Benefits are super complicated. I was just reading, over the weekend, about an unfortunate scam that is out there where folks who are in between jobs have kind of taken this low cost insurance and then had an unfortunate accident or illness and have just completely found out they're not covered. And so that's because there's a lot of pages of complicated terminology and fine print. And so what our solutions do hopefully is simplify that. And that's huge for HR, is they're kind of bringing that forward to their employees.

Ajay: Kelley, I'm sure you get a lot of emails and LinkedIn messages given your job title and the companies you've worked with. So how do you kind of prioritize which ones are you going to respond to and what are emails and messages that you really dislike?

Kelley: That's a good question for a marketer. And here's the thing, I don't normally get them addressed to me, I get them from the leaders who forward me emails that they've gotten that they have enjoyed. " Oh, this one really caught my attention. They're giving away free shoes," or whatever. So for me personally, I can't stand the overly contrived emails. I don't really respond to anything that is not personal like, " Hi, Elizabeth." And you're like, " No, my name is..." I feel bad for them. I typically write back to them and just say, " I think you guys had a mistake." But I really like the conversations that are more like, " Hey, would you mind joining this forum or can we get together and solve a problem?" Those are just more interesting. I also think that the one off like, " Let's talk about your website," or, " let's talk about this." I don't have time to talk about those individual things, I need to talk about the enterprise and across all of that, from a strategic perspective. I will tell you, the free pair of shoes does work with some of my stakeholders because they're sending me that stuff all the time. But then I'm always like, " Okay, wait. But are you really going to talk to this person?" They're like, " Oh, no." So it's always interesting to see how that comes together.

Ajay: Any kind of cool new technologies or looking forward now, you have the website launched, any other things coming out in the later part of this year or next year that you can share?

Kelley: Oh, I can't, only because we are in the process of looking across the stack and saying, how do we prioritize? So similar to what I would say to an HR buyer, I would recommend to myself is that anything that's siloed or not connected isn't going to serve you well. So make sure that there is a true strategy, because we've done things in the past where we've had... We've gone all in on LinkedIn lead accelerator, all in on this and we've missed that 360 degree view of the client and it just kind of fizzled out. So I am, now that we've got the website behind us, really focused on what is our strategy and what is our roadmap and what are the trade- offs we have to make between best of breed enterprise solutions and, again, keeping that sort of data foundation as solid as we can as we move forward.

Vincent: And Kelley, I want to pick up off of that. We love to talk data here at Stirista. What role does data play with Alight? What's the value of data that you put into that, put behind your system, your own data? Just talk to me about that.

Kelley: So what Alight does for HR, from a data perspective is hugely important. So our transactional data from benefits administration claims, from payroll data, retirement data, etc, is hugely important to feed our AI engine so that, that AI engine is learning what recommendations to make to people based on their permutation of solutions that they have. So data is one of our biggest competitive advantages in the way that we can use it to help the person whose data it is. When it comes to marketing and CRM and all of that, very different story. We just went through and redid our go to market. We did a commercial transformation the second half of last year and lo and behold, we had, I don't know, I think it was something like eight, maybe more different definitions of a new logo in the organization. So that is really difficult to then make sure that we're talking the same language and actually have a go to market strategy that will enable us to grow in the way that we want. So that's the kind of foundation that we're looking to build and get some hygiene around and back to that, we have to be able to say no. If a new head of whatever comes in and says I need X, Y and Z, and that's going to break something, I think permission to say no and here's why, it will be important for us as we move forward.

Vincent: I like that. And that's good advice, it's going to be one of my pieces of my next question, is one of my final questions as we wrap here was going to be some advice you wanted to give. But before we get to that, I wanted to kind of understand, because I love your background, because there's a variety of different pieces that led you to marketing. But what role or aspects of the role that you've had in the past has played a pivotal role in what you're doing now?

Kelley: In one way or another, just all of them, which I know is a cop out answer but when I started and was doing process re- engineering, that really did teach me to think about things from an operational perspective. I think that's really important as you've got a global team and a global operations, not to break things. But I think the times that I spent working with sales, working on pursuits as a solution architect and solution consultant have been the most helpful because what I've seen is... And I've done some research, CMO is the shortest tenure role in C- Suite. And when you dig into the reason why, to me it comes down to just expectation setting and translation. Are you talking about the same things? And I think having that background helps translate and I can help my team, " So when sales are saying this, that doesn't mean go and do 20 webinars. That means the pipeline's low and they need more build in the pipeline. Let's talk about that. Let's turn it around to a strategic conversation," versus an order taking, " Yep, check it out the box," kind of thing. So seems very obvious, but I just think in a lot of cases it's not. So that's helped me and the team for sure.

Vincent: Yeah, I read something somewhere. It's I think CRO and CMO, it's kind of like 18 months, 21 months. I read that. It's interesting. It's an interesting thing. But like you said, no one's actually ever addressed it on the call, on the podcast here where it was like, " Well, it's the right expectations, the right goal setting and learning." And I think it's really important that role with sales and marketing. It's like that age old battle but we've been hearing more and more, which I love hearing, is that sales and marketing to truly make all of this work, really, you need some alignment there. So, this is awesome. Kelley, thank you so much for your time. This has been amazing. And you could find out, go to Alight. com, ladies and gentlemen. Awesome, congrats again on the new website, Kelley. Ladies and gentlemen, that is Kelley Michalik, she is the CMO at Alight Solutions. I am Vincent Pietrafesa, that's Ajay Gupta. This has been another episode of the Marketing Stir. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for being here, Kelley. And we will talk to you all soon.

Kelley: You got it. Thanks so much.

Vincent: You're welcome. All right.

Jared: 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, email us at themarketingstir @ stirista. com. And thanks for listening.

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