031: Aligning Stakeholders Upfront for More Engaging Marketing Content with Eric Eicher and Bryan Kryder

Listen to Episode 031 with Eric “Ike” Eicher and Bryan “BK” Kryder here (YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts):

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About the episode:

Eric Eicher and Bryan Kryder are co-founders of RightHand, a marketing agency based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Purpose: I invited them on the podcast to share their framework for actively aligning stakeholders, such as executives, marketing teams, and sales leaders, to have a common language and goals for marketing campaigns.

Impact: stakeholder alignment ultimately saves everyone time and gets better engagement from buyers. Ike and Bryan learned this framework in the trenches after years of making videos, websites, and campaigns that didn’t “work” (according to executives or sales leaders) because the communications strategy, marketing execution, and measurement goals were misaligned.

Show highlights:

03:00 – Intro to Ike and Bryan at RightHand

03:30 – Ike talks about earning his 3rd Degree black belt, and how athletics and martial arts make him a better professional. Why? It’s because he has a stress outlet. Martial arts has aspects of strategy and planning, all while being mentally present. He’s learned about discipline, stress, commitment. Every Tuesday night and Saturday morning, Ike is an instructor, and he talks about observing kids in class, from all different races and economic backgrounds, build confidence that they didn’t have. Ike talks about how it takes time to be good, even once you achieve a blackbelt status. The final big lesson (and parallel to business) is that mastering the craft takes patience to get better. Even martial artists practicing for 30 years still level up, and building a business or marketing campaign is the same.

06:45 – Bryan Kryder (“BK”) highlights how he got into sports sponsorship strategy after accidentally making a career in auto racing. He moved from Ft. Wayne, which is in northern Indiana, to Indianapolis. BK had hoped to do sports marketing, so he enrolled at IUPUI in the Kelly School of Business. He wanted to work for the Pacers or the Colts, but since he needed an internship he faxed his resume to an IndyCar race team to get practice interviewing. Bryan had no intent to land the job, but he won the internship, which got his foot in the door with sponsorship fulfillment and renewal strategy. He gave garage tours to sponsors in pristine garages around very expensive racecars.

Bryan started understanding firsthand that sponsorships are the backbone of race teams.

BK went from 3 years in IndyCar over to NASCAR in Daytona. After NASCAR, Bryan returned to Indy to lead global sponsorships for Formula One Racing.

Today, Bryan uses his racing sponsorship fulfillment expertise to maximize marketing spend to achieve KPIs and ROI for sponsorship dollars or a marketing budget.

15:00 – How Ike and Bryan worked to avoid being labeled as transactional “the video agency” guys. Ike also shares the story him and Bryan meeting. They were working together on projects, and they saw the world the same way.

As for values, they both believe in keeping inclusion, diversity, and impacting people’s lives at the forefront of RightHand’s culture. They push each other to be great, and Ike shares some stories of Bryan challenging the low quality of their client deliverables early on in order to improve.

21:00 – RightHand (Ike and Bryan) saw the constant misalignment at the leadership level. ALIGNMENT is not 15 leaders and key stakeholders running in different directions, even though it makes “work” and build a company that hits revenue targets. What helps alignment? Going back to basics, with the first order of business being defining shared, common of words.

For example, how does a leadership team define “culture” or “being great” across the leadership team?

BK walks through identifying the right problem, then reframing it so everyone has a common language around that problem.

Bryan shares that simply creating a video for a company might not “work” (meaning it didn’t sell more product or persuade customers), which wouldn’t get him and Ike a call back for more projects anyway. So, by Ike and Bryan swimming upstream to leadership and getting alignment that can better inform the tactics, and that’s a commodity market.

23:30 – An internal VP of Sales or Director of Marketing has a tough time driving alignment with the executive team, so bring an outsider to help. The gap: experience, and they ability be unbiased to paint the vision. Outsiders can push boundaries to execute something different, not the same old tactics.

Ike suggests the outsiders help internal stakeholders look at data and paint the picture of an outsiders-impression of your brand. Someone internally can’t do that so well. Have to open team up to hear the negative things. It’s not because they like or dislike your brand, it’s just what they know.

29:30 – Tip: picking up the phone and getting feedback from customers. BK highlights how we forget how much someone, including customers or prospects, want to be heard. Meaning, don’t sell to them. Just listen and document.

31:30 – Building an updated communications framework is expensive and takes up a B2B executive’s time, so how do Ike and Bryan get through this objection? Ike gives the example of an Advanced Manufacturing Company they worked with, who wanted to be “the BEST in the industry”. Ike and Bryan got about a dozen executives and leaders in a room, and each person was supposed to write on a sticky note his or her individual definition of “Best”. What happened? They all had different answers, except for 4 of the 12.

Teams must arrive at shared definitions, because if you don’t understand that, what content and message is the marketing team really creating (video, messages, websites, etc.)? And how do we avoid a vanilla message? SO, let’s look at data, constraints, opportunity, then pull in people who impact the brand.

Ike describes how him and Bryan at RightHand can do transactional agency work, but they’ll only do it to open the door to a bigger, more strategic discussion. The process is more circular or flywheel-like with feedback. It’s not linear because we can iterate and continually build based on external stakeholder feedback and data.

38:30 – Measurement of the brand impact and engagement. Ike reminds us that “brand” and “measure” are big words. He also reminds us what’s realistic for distributing and amplifying a message in 2020: especially with the power of digital, most companies don’t know that with enough budget you could have a video showing all across the world tomorrow. Leaders have to realize what we’re asking “it” (a video, or a website, or a story) to do. One video can’t fix all the ailments of a whole company. It’s just a first topical piece of a bigger campaign.

43:00 – Bryan reinforces the challenge of weaving brand impact and revenue, and he shares how the demand gen system and the sales cycle, if marketing is driving sales we have to think about the buyer journey stages. Most personas aren’t actually ready to buy, so how do we consider that as we message and make content?

48:00 – Good salespeople equally attuned marketers, as good marketers are attuned to revenue and sales cycles.

51:30 – As for parting words, Ike and Bryan share that they want to maintain great intent with what do. RightHand embraces diversity and inclusion. Different races, religions, perspectives, and lived experiences all must be sitting at that strategy table in the decision room.

Final thoughts on sales and marketing alignment and recognizing the whole system to improve the sales process, and how people buy the product. Ultimately, there’s the sexy, cool side of marketing, and there’s also the practical side and the human side.

Find Ike and Bryan online, plus the resources she mentioned on the show:

RightHand Agency:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wearerighthand/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wearerighthand
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wearerighthand/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ikeconic/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bryan-kryder/