Pipeline Visionaries

Evoking Customer Emotion with Tara Clever, VP of Marketing at MarginEdge

Episode Summary

This episode features an interview with Tara Clever, VP of Marketing at MarginEdge. MarginEdge delivers real-time data to restaurants to make timely, critical decisions. Tara has a diverse background in sales, operations, and marketing with a history of engineering significant growth. On this episode Tara shares her insights into evoking customer emotion, why content has to be responsive to your customers, and why video marketing is vital for business growth.

Episode Notes

This episode features an interview with Tara Clever, VP of Marketing at MarginEdge. MarginEdge delivers real-time data to restaurants to make timely, critical decisions. Tara has a diverse background in sales, operations, and marketing with a history of engineering significant growth.

On this episode Tara shares her insights into evoking customer emotion, why content has to be responsive to your customers, and why video marketing is vital for business growth.


“When you’re thinking about messaging, about capturing their attention and providing a solution, that emotional resonance that’s so common that you see on the kind of the D to C side. It's absolutely the way that we think about things here. It's a big change and a lot of time, a lot of times for restaurants, and so it's a big piece of how we think about telling the story.” - Tara Clever, VP of Marketing, Margin Edge


Episode Timestamps:

*(03:22) - Segment: Trust Tree

*(03:33) - Tara’s role at MarginEdge

*(05:41) -  Capturing attention and evoking customer emotion

*(12:54) - Segment: The Playbook

*(13:50) - Why content has to be responsive to your customers 

*(17:22) - Why video marketing is vital for business growth

*(29:19) - Segment: The Dust Up

*(32:37) - Segment: Quick Hits



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Episode Transcription

[00:01:37] Ian: Welcome to Demand Gen Visionaries. I'm Ian Faison, CEO of Caspian Studios, and today I am joined by a special guest. Tara, how are you?

[00:01:44] Tara: I'm so good. How are you? 

[00:01:45] Ian: Excited to have you on the show. Excited to chat. Margin Edge. Are we gonna be talking about restaurant marketing, which is always fun considering I feel like everybody's been to a restaurant and we all know marketing, so it makes for a fun combination there.

[00:01:59] Ian: We'll get into everything into your background. As well. So how'd you get started in demand?

[00:02:04] Tara: Yeah, so it's actually a very winding road. Definitely not what I went to school for. I feel like a lot of marketers have degrees that they're like, Oh, that's cute, that I thought at 18 or 22, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

[00:02:15] Tara: So I am the proud owner of two degrees. I no longer use anymore, and actually got started in sales in the health and wellness industry. I think in a lot of cases over the course of my career, I've been handed a blank slate, figure it out kind of. Both in sales, marketing, and operations, and in all cases, I'm charged with the growth of either a department or a product, and then most literally landing in a marketing role with Territory Foods, which is a venture back nutrition company.

[00:02:45] Tara: Probably my most literal demand gen role, but that was D to C Margin Edge and many ways fell into my lap and is my first venture in to B2B marketing. It has been this really, really cool extension. Some kind of hard earned skill sets. I think over the years from various backgrounds and various different types of roles that have really manifested in a way that we've got some really exciting outcomes and has been an incredibly cool moment in my career.

[00:03:12] Ian: Well, let's get to our first segment, the trust Tree.

[00:03:24] Ian:. This is where we go and feel honest and trusted, and you can share those deepest, darkest, demand and marketing secrets.

[00:03:31] Ian: What does Margin Edge do?

[00:03:33] Tara:So Margin Edge is a restaurant management system. We digitize and streamline back office for restaurant operators of. You've ever had a job as a bartender or a server or you know, somebody who has you understand that this vertical is an incredibly complex one. You have variable cost, variable revenue, a product that spoils variable labor.

[00:03:54] Tara: And of course, over the last couple of years, you add on top of that supply chain disruption, labor shortages, small little pandemic, that didn't disrupt anybody. And so the complications and the complexity of running a re. More complex than ever Margin Edge. What we do is we sync with your point of sales system accounting software and create real time data insights to help empower operators run their business with a more data driven approach.

[00:04:19] Tara: A lot of operators in the industry have gone off of gut. Feel instincts, relationship with vendors, handshakes, paper, pen, clipboards, and really what margin edges charge with is bringing technology into the space and helping operators get back to the part of the business that they love, which is the hospitality community and serving their guests.

[00:04:38] Ian: You mentioned, you know, first about with b2b, obviously pulling tons of lessons, I'm sure from the B2C world and potentially even doing a. Better of a job on, on some of those things. Tell me about those types of customers, those types of restaurants. What sizes are they and who's making those buying decision?

[00:04:56] Tara: Yeah, so we typically work with independent restaurant change, so think one to 50 units, typically independently owned and operated. So we deal with the mom and pop, single unit, family run restaurant, all the way up to 50 unit chains. It's interesting you say that. I couldn't have known when I took this job or stepped into this role with Margin Edge, how much my background would help me.

[00:05:22] Tara: Think about demand gen and think about growth within this world. But operators, even though they are very savvy business people, most of them have a significant emotional investment in their business as well. , a lot of heart and soul and blood and sweat and tears go into running a restaurant. And so when you're thinking about messaging, when you're thinking about capturing their attention, and when you think about.

[00:05:44] Tara: Solution. That emotional resonance that's so common that you see on the, kind of the D to C side is absolutely the way that we think about things here. It's definitely, it's a big change and a lot of times for restaurants, it's a big piece of how we think about telling the story, and 

[00:05:58] Ian: I'd imagine if there, if it's the owner, A lot of times they don't have a sophisticated technology buying department or anything like that, right?

[00:06:08] Ian: It's a lot of those decisions are made saying, Hey, this has been a pain in my neck for the last six years. I gotta do something about it. There's 

[00:06:15] Tara: no question. I think the diversity of our audience is what makes a. Our job and our company is so cool and interesting and such an interesting way of thinking about growth.

[00:06:25] Tara: You absolutely have the cases where you have an owner operator who's making a decision based on maybe decades in the business. You have some young up and comers and f. Fast growing chains, looking for things to streamline their back office and technology. It's not that it hasn't existed in hospitality before, but it's certainly going through a bit of a renaissance.

[00:06:44] Tara: The pandemic in many ways became a forcing function in terms of technology literacy, technology adoption, and certainly those buying decisions. Accelerated. We certainly see that played out at Margin Edge. I think you can see that across kind of our tech, hospitality, tech vertical. So yeah, we have a lot of different buyers, a lot of different reasons why they're coming to us for help.

[00:07:05] Tara: That's what makes things really fun.

[00:07:07] Ian: So tell me a little bit more about your marketing strategy and then how does demand fit within that? 

[00:07:11] Tara: I started with Margin Edge 90 days before the pandemic hit. So I was 90 days into a brand new shiny job where marketing had been essentially a sales support function and only a really small team, actually just a marketing associate out of college supporting the sales org.

[00:07:30] Tara: And they knew that it was time to think about marketing in terms of a more of a growth mindset and also, Bringing somebody in who could help think about the department more holistically. I came in, I was super excited, Let's go. And then all of a sudden all things shut down. All budgets are cut. The vertical that you're marketing to is literally closed.

[00:07:49] Tara: And so it was definitely a fascinating way to start, but the way that it has shaped the way we think about a. Demand Gen, I think, is now an indelible mark on the soul and culture of our marketing department because we really were forced to act in a really resource constrained way, especially for those first six or nine months.

[00:08:09] Tara: Had to get very scrappy, very creative, and measured everything that we did incredibly. Closely, which has then pulled through to even the way we think about things today. So coming from D to C I tend to be a customer economic stalker. I am a big time reporting. I keep track of the numbers very closely, and that was certainly very required in the early days of the pandemic.

[00:08:32] Tara: What was cool though is that even in those scrappy, resource constrained moments, we were able to find a couple of channels and messages that really worked for us. And then by September of 2020, We were back to pre Covid revenue and by the end of 2020 we were at 40% year over year growth and for companies serving restaurants, that was something we felt very good about.

[00:08:53] Tara: Hit our stride, really started accelerating based on the foundational principles that we had when we had no budget and when we were really having to. To be creative and built on the things that worked in a way that I pride ourselves on being incredibly efficient. We saw a hundred percent year over year growth in 2021, and we're on track for that this year too, and so it's been a really exciting part.

[00:09:13] Ian: Yeah, and we'll get into some of the uncut budget items here in a second, but any things that that stood out to you as those efficiency focuses for you from a marketing per. 

[00:09:23] Tara: Yeah, so in those early days, we really had no money, so I had MailChimp and that was it, . And so those with the early uncut budget was the only thing that we were spending money on, and so email became our singular channel, those early moments.

[00:09:39] Tara: Wow. What was cool about that though is it did. Provide a testing ground for messaging, especially in a moment where it was so emotionally raw to meet our operators, to meet our customers in a way that felt like we were in it with them. And I know at that time it was so like, ugh, kind of cliche. By the end we're like, Oh, we're in it together.

[00:09:57] Tara: And everybody washed your hands and like, That kind of nonsense. But because our CEO and a huge percentage of our team are all former restaurant operators, owners, chefs, executive chefs, our head of support is sommelier. These are folks who really understand the ethos of our vertical. And so our messaging was really crafted in a way that spoke.

[00:10:18] Tara: I think it proved out that it really spoke to the moment. And those are the lessons that we've carried through even in years as the dust kind of settled on the other side of it. So email was first. We started to see some nice growth, some nice legion conversions. We actually had a record breaking quarter, or in quarter three of 2020, which I don't think we could have predicted really.

[00:10:40] Tara: And then we started to layer on some paid advertising on top of that. But we used what we learned in those email messages and in the calls to action and the responses and listening to the customer conversations to fuel our ad strategy. And so it was little by little, we'd find little channels that worked.

[00:10:56] Tara: We'd. Pour more into them. The case I made with our CFO and CEO was, As long as I can prove that I'm bringing in more than $2 to every dollar I'm spending, I should be able to spend more. And that made sense to them. And so that's really been our operating ethos ever since . 

[00:11:12] Ian: That's incredible. I love it.

[00:11:14] Ian: What a use case for marketing as if we need to justify ourselves, especially with, you know, like a young company. one that's trying to put their flag in the ground to say, Hey, we're gonna invest in marketing and invest in a marketer like you. And then to build that out. If it went the other way, like, Oh, well marketing doesn't work, but now it's like, Hey, look at the results.

[00:11:33] Tara: That's exactly right. And I think in listening to your podcast and some of the conversations, certainly the demand gen perspective from a more established. Marketing department is very different than my lived experience is. First in the role in many ways, building it from scratch and in a way that those, I really had to prove the return on investment.

[00:11:54] Tara: And honestly at this point, especially navigating what we have over the last couple of years, the conversations that we have that I have with our leadership or with our board are so easy because the queer. Outcomes of the investment are, we have reporting around it, we have shared language around it.

[00:12:12] Tara: Everybody understands why we're doing what we're doing, and I'm given a huge amount of freedom to test and experiment given the fact that our measurements are so disciplined that there's a really quick feedback loop. If something's not working, it's okay cuz we know quickly and we're able to move on.

[00:12:28] Tara: And that culture I. I couldn't have done anything if there wasn't an appetite from leadership, from my CEO and from our board to really let us go try, test, learn. And as long as the finances pulled through and the outcomes looked good, we were allowed to do more of it. So that's really where we've, that's how we've operated over the last two and a half years.

[00:12:49] Tara: Almost three actually. 

[00:12:51] Ian: Let's go to our next segment, The playbook.

[00:13:03] Ian:. This is where you open up that playbook and talk about the tactics that help you win. What are your three uncut budget items?

[00:13:12] Ian: From one budget item to now many. What are your uncuttalbles?

[00:13:17] Tara: The first and foremost. The incredibly talented people that are on our team. I work with the most resourceful, creative, scrappy, resilient, amazing, smart people. And nothing that we have accomplished over the last two and a half years would be even remotely possible.

[00:13:35] Tara: If I did not have them, I would choose them as one, two, and three actually. But since. Defeats the purpose of this question. I'll ask. I'll answer the others. I would say the other piece is kind of part and parcel with the customer listening, which is content being able to be responsive to your customers and what they're going through in a way that lets you add real value in the message that you're.

[00:13:58] Tara: You're providing to them. In the beginning of the pandemic, my CEO and I had a joke. It wasn't really a joke cuz it was true that we looked at everything that we put out into the world at that time. Is this hand washing? Are we telling people to wash their hands? . If we're telling people to wash their hands, we do not need to put it out.

[00:14:14] Tara: Like is it hand washing? And now brands are not telling people to wash their hands anymore. But we still use that phrase where it's like, it has to be unique. It has to be valuable and it has to respect the intelligence and expertise of our industry. If we're. Them things they already know is not worth putting out.

[00:14:31] Tara: That's incredibly valuable. And then third, I would say our paid channels. Let us meet people. As an, again, hospitality tech's not really emerging. What we do in the space is, I would say, still a little bit on the early side of that center of the bell curve, and when I think about our paid channels allowing us to meet people who don't know that a solution like ours exists, it's an incredibly important part of our growth engine too, in this type.

[00:15:00] Ian: I'm curious, like how does video play into your content strategy? Cause I've seen it work really well in SMB before.

[00:15:06] Tara: Oh my gosh. Video is so important to us. I mean, first of all, I think anytime you're trying to tell a story, it's an incredibly valuable asset. But what we do, and again, this may just be our scrappy startup vibes, but we make an investment in the content and then we chop it up and.

[00:15:23] Tara: A bunch of different ways. And so the B roll from our video content we use to take our blogs that turn them into video assets. We're able to take our longer form videos and turn them into ads that perform really, really well for us across Facebook, which is a channel I didn't expect to work. I actually am on record as saying it wouldn't work, and it is an incredibly valuable channel to us.

[00:15:44] Tara: Video has allowed us to bring forward. Our clients as the center of the spotlight. We would so much rather as all of our photography is of our actual clients, we don't use any stock photography. Our video assets are a way for us to shine a spotlight on the people who are doing the really hard work and not on ourselves.

[00:16:02] Tara: And that always feels really right to us because we are here in service of operators. Not to be the start of the show. I 

[00:16:08] Ian: wanna talk about like cost of creating that type of video content, but just like video content is. Going on location, you have to go on location. Like you can't do the Zoom type recording on a video platform.

[00:16:19] Ian: You gotta go in person, you gotta get the B roll, them making the burger. You have to get all that stuff. At the restaurant on location. So it seems like that could be something that potentially is really expensive if you don't do it the right way. 

[00:16:32] Tara: Yeah. Production crew we work with is called TriFactor, and what I love about them is that they work on a flexible point system, so we sign up for a certain number of points.

[00:16:42] Tara: We're able to kind of like. Slice and dice those points and whatever our needs are for the quarter. So it's an ongoing subscription, which I love that helps our CFO be able to wrap her head around. It is a kind of just standard cost in our marketing budget, and it gives us an incredible amount of flexibility.

[00:16:59] Tara: I also think about that singular investment in the actual piece of content as an investment that actually serves across a lot of our channels. And so anytime I'm able to use. The same asset in multiple places, especially when we see the return on investment in ads almost immediately. It's almost instantaneous.

[00:17:18] Tara: When we roll out new ad assets with video associated with them, we see a really nice lift that in essence, it pays for itself. In our case, it definitely does, and those. The software highlights and the animation, some of those things that live on our website has been an incredibly, um, helpful part of our relationship with them.

[00:17:36] Tara: That it's not just a one trick pony. They can help us across a lot of different ways we think about 

[00:17:40] Ian: video. Yeah, it's cool. I mean, we talk a lot on this show about content. It's almost always an incredible, and as a company that creates. Podcast video series, I think about a lot. But one of the things that I think is so cool about what you're talking about is that when you are creating video, like video is just like a medium, right?

[00:17:56] Ian: That's not like the delivered asset, right? It happens to be in video, right? But the way that you can tell. The stories of your customers has to be visual. You need to see the kitchen, right? You need to see the line cook. You need to see the, the establishing shot of the exterior. Like you have to have that stuff otherwise.

[00:18:17] Ian: And like, I don't know if you have any stats on this, but I'd imagine that like if you were to create a video that didn't have an establishing shot, that didn't have the right B roll, the different things and all that stuff, and a really good well shot interview with the person, it would probably perform like exponentially worse.

[00:18:31] Ian: And I think that like that's one of the things that people, depending on the type of things you don't need to watch. You do this interview, you can listen in your car. But for those type of people, for restaurant people, they need to see that stuff to understand, to gain the whole picture of what they're looking at with like a case study or something.

[00:18:49] Tara: I couldn't agree with you more and you, something that's like hopefully the, any marketers listening to this will like nerd out on this a little bit. We did a ton of testing around both photography and video assets, and when we started with a front of house or exterior shot, it was like, meh. We started with a back of house, like action shot something in the back of house.

[00:19:09] Tara: It was so immediately identifiable by the operator as this is formed. Love it that it outperformed anything from the front of house. And so now because we've worked with our video, our video crew and our kind of like, Lovely group of photographers that service us in different markets. Everyone understands the emotion that we're trying to capture, and it is absolutely that lived experience of somebody in the back of house, and it is such an immediate validation point for our brand to say, We get it.

[00:19:37] Tara: Everybody else would show you front of house. We're showing you back of house and it means that we understand what's important to you. And that is we learned that kind of the hard way, but from a lot of testing and a lot of analysis, and now that is our bread and butter. You won't see any front of house shots as any anchor points in visuals.

[00:19:54] Ian: Gosh, I love it. I was so wrong, but also a little bit, right? Uh, I said establishing You were so right. I said establishing shot. I just didn't know where it would be. I thought it was gonna be in the exterior. That's 

[00:20:05] Tara: right. It's chopping onions. It is, It's chopping onions or like messing with paperwork, 

[00:20:09] Ian: uh,

[00:20:10] Ian: And it's the, and I don't know, I don't know if this the same way for everyone who comes the website, but if you go to margin edge.com and you see the first visual on. Is the dude with the mask, with the chopping onions, with the backwards hat. My wife used to be in service industry and stuff like that. I was back hanging with those folks all the time.

[00:20:27] Ian: It felt very real and lived in when I came to the website and I know next to nothing about our restaurants. Yes, you could 

[00:20:33] Tara: not have given me a bigger compliment. We just rolled out that website in, I guess it was May, and what I told the design firm that helped us with the website was that I wanted it to be tatted up.

[00:20:47] Tara: I needed it to not feel like white and like gleaming and like aply. I was like, I need it to feel technology. It needs to feel together. We want it to have personality. We wanted it to have grit. We wanted it to feel like representative of the people that we serve and our photography brings that to life.

[00:21:05] Tara: Hopefully the website and the language brings that to life, but video is a huge piece of telling that story. Yeah, the three 

[00:21:11] Ian: chamber sink or whatever it's called, and like all that stuff. 

[00:21:15] Tara: We actually have a channel on our chat system where all of our former operators, we have a lot of former operators on our team are on the channel, and we'll ask them, How do you say sync?

[00:21:27] Tara: How do you say, like, we will send things to them and be like, Restaurant this up for us. Make sure that this sounds like somebody in the kitchen, not somebody from an office like writing. Web copy. That's a very active part of our job is learning the lingo. 

[00:21:41] Ian: Yeah, and it's a great lesson for marketers, right?

[00:21:43] Ian: It's the glyco system, I think is what it's called. It's a great lesson for marketers, right? Telling the story of the back of the house and understanding that, and understanding the lingo, finding the right people who know how to speak that, especially if you don't come from that world. You said Facebook works really well for you and you didn't think it was going to.

[00:21:57] Tara: Yeah, I really didn't. I am on record as being a naysayer and my first hire was a growth marketing manager, and he came in and he is, gosh, such an asset, and he came in and he was like, I think we should try it. I was like, How would Facebook understand who our buyer is? Like how would Facebook, Nobody's like I'm a operator in a restaurant on their Facebook profile.

[00:22:17] Tara: Maybe some are, but most wouldn't be. There's some incredible black magic happening in whatever algorithm that sits underneath that platform. I'm sure I'm not breaking news to anyone on this podcast, but for us, Facebook has been an incredibly powerful way to meet new audience, to meet new prospects, to meet a new audience.

[00:22:34] Tara: Obviously, search paid search is a big part. Somebody Googling our features. We always wanna be at the top of those search returns, but in terms of interrupting somebody's behavior, creating demands that didn't exist before, highlighting our content, telling our story, Facebook has been a massive impact for us.

[00:22:52] Tara: It's our second highest performing channel and continues to grow with. She's been really 

[00:22:57] Ian: cool. So I want to go back to content for a quick second here about resources and that type of material. These are things, whether it be webinars, whether it be how-tos, whether it be calculators or all those like other resources, tools, and stuff that B2B marketers often play with, and smb.

[00:23:14] Ian: Sometimes those work really well in terms of like a tool or a calculator. Other times there's not as much resource heavy content. It's just, I mean, again, it always depends, but I'm curious for your industry, is it more like, That they just want to get in and get solutions and get out of there, or are they coming to learn and grow too?

[00:23:33] Ian: How do you think about that? 

[00:23:34] Tara: Yeah, it's a really, really good question, and my answer has evolved. In the early days, we were really focused on conversions. Truly that was it. It was sign up for a demo, get in front of our sales team, let's make this happen. And as our team has grown, as our goals have grown as our.

[00:23:51] Tara: Sophistication as a department has grown, we've been able to meet people farther and farther up the funnel, and that content story is a bigger and bigger piece of the pie for us. We don't meet our operators the same place you would meet maybe like in HR professional buying, enterprise payroll software.

[00:24:07] Tara: Like they're not on the LinkedIns. I don't think they're watching a ton of webinars. It does help that Facebook and Instagram tend to be a very like visual storytelling platform, So we're able to do a lot of our content. Distribution there, we are moving more and more into these kind of, kind of standalone value based tools that people can ly like a food cost calculator that does really well for us.

[00:24:29] Tara: We have an ROI calculator that does really well for us. Those are always ungated. They're always as, um, Standalone addition to like existing content, and I do think there's a world down the road where we do more like a podcast or webinars or participate in more of those things, but because of the way that we've grown our department, which has been incredibly methodical, I always look for opportunities where there's some space to make a new investment before I make.

[00:24:58] Tara: When you think about our conversion, what's working now, it's like, okay, there will be an unlock where we're able to make those investments in some of those higher cost, both from a financial perspective and also time in bandwidth perspective. Like that is not a small piece of the equation for us, but I see that it has to be a step function ahead if we're gonna continue to expand the audience to expand our convers.

[00:25:21] Tara: To continue the growth the way we have it mapped out over the next 24 months. 

[00:25:25] Ian: Any budget items that maybe you're not investing or stuff? I mean, you're kind of talking about some of maybe that long form stuff as maybe is nice to has, but not necessarily needs to have, but any other stuff that you're thinking 

[00:25:35] Tara: about.

[00:25:36] Tara: We're making a pretty significant investment in formalizing our customer listening, and so by investment it's somewhat financial, but it's mostly just a time and priority shift for our team. When we were smaller, it was easier to sit on a lot of demos. Listen to a lot of conversations as we've grown both within our department and across that becomes a little harder.

[00:25:58] Tara: So we've made some formalized investments around what does it look like for our team to stay very, very close to our customers? What do the feedback loops look like for customer listening back into product? Back into support. How do we take those insights and operationalize them to think about things like customer retention, customer success, even infusing our brand through the customer experience?

[00:26:21] Tara: What are hospitality touch points we can be listening for? When somebody has an amazing life event, how do we celebrate that? If they're going through tough times, how do we recognize that? We work in hospitality. These are the people who know your name and know what you drink before you sit down at the bar.

[00:26:37] Tara: It's really important to us that as we scale, we are able to hold onto that culture of hospitality and find intentional ways to infuse it through the customer experience. I am thinking a lot about that, how we invest in that, how we. Structure it and how we make sure that it is a scalable piece of our marketing infrastructure that isn't just like, Oh, we're interested in this today.

[00:26:58] Tara: But it's a nice to have that We really bake it into the way we think about growth. How do you view 

[00:27:03] Ian: your website? 

[00:27:04] Tara: We love our website. Our website's new. I would say our website is a, It's 

[00:27:08] Ian: pretty rad, I have to say. I was gonna say, yeah, it's really good. I was, Well, I, You know, it's always, it's always tough when you come in.

[00:27:16] Ian: You don't know if it's like, Did you just redo it or not? I tend to not walk on eggshells too much and if I like the website, I'm gonna say so. But I do think it's really rad. It has a really cool design and uh, well done. So 

[00:27:29] Tara: kudos. You have no idea how happy that makes me. I will have to like, Take that sound bite, package it up and send it to the team that like sweat it over this, It took us probably eight months to bring life to this project.

[00:27:42] Tara: We were not that, these details probably don't matter, but like we were on a really, really, really broken website. So much so that we couldn't optimize for seo. We couldn't make any changes without breaking it. It was terrible. So this wasn't just a redesign, it was a complete overhaul and move to HubSpot.

[00:27:59] Tara: And so now we finally. Flexibility and freedom that we never had before. I would say this is probably a V one of our broader vision, one that we're really proud of. I want it to be wherever you meet us, I want our website to be a congruent and complimentary. Piece of the story you've been told. So whether you've met somebody at a trade show, whether you've seen our ads, whether you've heard about us from a customer and you land on our website, I want the story that we tell about ourselves to match the what they are hearing out in the marketplace.

[00:28:33] Tara: And it feels incredibly important to me that it also feels. Rooted in the experience of operators and with empathy for the complexity of the job that they do. And so, yes. Is it about marketing software? Of course, it's about marketing software. Is it about converting to demos? Of course it's converting demos.

[00:28:50] Tara: Of course it is. But it's my belief that those things are not as efficient or effective if it is not rooted in the emotional story and the experience of the person who's landing there. So I see our website as a. As a living, breathing, flexible fluid extension of the story of our customers, of our clients, of our vertical, of the industry that we all love so much.

[00:29:18] Ian: Let's get to our next segment. The dust-up 

[00:29:21] Tara: Uhoh.

[00:29:40] Ian: Have you had a memorable dust-up in your career? Tara, the thing that 

[00:29:44] Tara: came to mind when I heard this question early on in my career, I didn't realize that you could do a good enough job that broke things. I thought good job meant. You did your job and only good things could happen as a result. And I can remember this one campaign we ran that worked so much better than we could have ever dreamed.

[00:30:05] Tara: We had not at all properly prepared any other department for what might be coming. We had this massive influx of customers. I'm celebrating and everyone is like, , what have you done? Like ripple effects of impact of my behavior. And again, this was early, this is a lesson learned early on, but when I still take with me, which is to make sure that we're thinking about.

[00:30:28] Tara: The customer experience as a result of a campaign, as it impacts across departments, which I'm sure is a lesson most folks have learned. Maybe not as hard as I learned it, but we literally broke things. Like broke things. It was a bad customer experience. It was a bad operator experience. It was operations experience.

[00:30:45] Tara: It was across the board. Something that I didn't know that too good of a job could. Lead to very bad things. So now I try and go into any campaign with like, what if this goes poorly? But also what if this goes exceptionally well and who needs to know about these two possible outcomes before we even launch it?

[00:31:04] Tara: So it is a lesson I hold very dear, although it was painful.

[00:31:07] Ian: Yeah, it's an absolutely fascinating concept because, funny I was thinking about this earlier today, this exact thing, cuz you were talking about sort of like a. Sort of campaign and how do you staff, how do you prepare? What tools do you have in in place to be able to do that stuff?

[00:31:22] Ian: It's such a great point to make sure if you're one of those type of companies, that you might have a campaign that that really pops off, that you're able to capture all the value and not send a bunch of people pissed off wishing they had free ice cream cone or whatever. God, 

[00:31:35] Tara: it makes me sweaty just to even think about that Again, it was really one of those things where it was like the highest of highs and then immediately like crashing down, like all of these things that we didn't expect to happen and how differently it would've been handled if we had been able to like plan contingencies, but we really didn't think it was gonna do anything, and so we just hadn't taken those steps.

[00:31:57] Tara: So now I do not play that game anymore. We track out best case and worst case scenarios and get everybody. The same page way ahead of time, . 

[00:32:06] Ian: Okay, let's get to our final segment. Quick hits. These are quick questions and quick answers. Just like how quickly qualified helps companies generate pipeline faster.

[00:32:19] Ian: Tap into your greatest asset, your website to identify your most valuable visitors and instantly start sales conversations. It's quick and easy. Just like these questions. Go to qualified.com to learn more. We love qualified. We love them dear. Go to qualified.com and learn more quick hits. Terry, are you ready?

[00:32:39] Ian: I am number one. What's a hidden talent or skill that's not on your resume? 

[00:32:42] Tara: I am very, very, very good at interrupting any dog walk that is happening around me and greeting the dog a lot of times at the annoyance of the dog walker, but I'm incapable of stopping at. I'm excellent. 

[00:32:54] Ian: Favorite book, podcast, TV show, or something you've been checking out recently?

[00:32:57] Ian:

[00:32:57] Tara:  I am just an avid, avid podcast listener. I would say Chris Walker's podcast on b2b. WA Marketing is actually pretty interesting. He's great. He does a, I think he does a pretty good job of really narrowing down on the economics and reporting, and I believe a lot of what he says to be true have found it to be true for us here at Margined.

[00:33:16] Tara: So that's a pretty good one. 

[00:33:17] Ian: Yeah, shout out Tim. Making great stuff. Great linked. We talk about it all the time on our marketing team. We're big fans. Yeah. Dark social. All right. Best advice for a first time head of marketing, trying to figure out their demand strategy. 

[00:33:29] Tara: I would set expectations with whoever is in charge of you, in your department.

[00:33:36] Tara: I really believe in transparency from day one with my ceo, with my cfo in terms of this is probably what it's gonna look like. We're gonna have some false starts. But we're gonna have some really nice moments. We're gonna double down on the nice moments. We're gonna pull back on the fall starts, and this is probably what my budget's gonna look like in those first couple of months.

[00:33:55] Tara: If you understand that and can set expectations and create shared language with leadership who may or may not have a marketing background, it gives you the freedom and flexibility to say, See, this is why I was talking. I told you there were gonna be some things that didn't work, but here's the thing that did work.

[00:34:10] Tara: So I'm stopping those things. We're doing more of these things and here are the outcomes I expect here. And that has been an incredibly valuable way that I think about my relationship with leadership or whoever I'm working with. Interdepartmentally, is being sure that what I'm looking at and the way I'm thinking about things does not exist in a silo.

[00:34:28] Tara: That it's something that's. There's transparency and there's even some education, so that folks understand what you're talking about in a way that you're not just a line item on a budget. You're not just an expense. They can understand what you're doing in terms of its contribution to the business.

[00:34:42] Ian: That's it. That's all we got for today. I forgot one thing and that is I buried the lead here that. Tara is hiring. So if you're a product marketer looking for a great place to work, check out Margin Edge. You can just, you can hit me up, you can hit Tara. But if you're a great product marketer, she's looking for brilliant folks.

[00:35:02] Tara: Yeah, check out our Glassdoor. We're very proud of it. Go read all the things. We're a great place to work. 

[00:35:07] Ian: Awesome. Well, come work with us. Yeah. We, we super appreciate you coming on the show. For our listeners to go to margin edge.com, check it out. If you know someone in the restaurant business or restaurant industry, they got a restaurant, send them over that way.

[00:35:19] Ian: Tara, any final thoughts? Anything to plug? 

[00:35:21] Tara: No, this has been so, so fun. Thanks for having me.

[00:35:24] Ian: Yeah, thanks so much for joining.