Natalie Davison is the CEO and visionary at Marrow Marketing. Be prepared to dig deep because she won’t allow you to stay on the surface. Natalie helps her clients think bigger about their businesses and stay on-brand.
An expert at building audiences, particularly on social media, Natalie’s work in this space has been recognized by Canadian Contractor Magazine, The Financial Post and Social Media For Business, For Dummies. She believes in a perfect blend of speaking + listening and facilitating truly interactive workshops that will leave audiences with an entirely new perspective about their lives and their businesses.
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[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]
Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello, everyone, this is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.
Umar Hameed 0:34
Hello, everyone. Today I've got the pleasure of having Natalie Davison. Welcome to the program.
Natalie Davison 0:40
Thank you so much for having me.
Umar Hameed 0:42
So marketing is the easiest thing to do in the world badly. I know I'm proof positive of that. And it's like Voodoo to just get it right so you actually turn marketing into cash.
Natalie Davison 0:54
Oh, I love Okay, everything you just said I want to unpack for hours and hours. And I know we only have so much time. But I love to start all my conversations with my definition of marketing, our definition of marketing and marrow. And that is marketing is just getting humans to take action. So I don't think you're anybody's actually bad at marketing. I think we just don't recognize some of the inherent skills that we've been honing over our lifetimes, parents who can get their kids to eat vegetables, they're pretty solid marketers, they just haven't really transferred that into maybe generating dollars and cents for the bottom line.
Umar Hameed 1:31
True. There's so many ways to market, oftentimes, what I find is that people want to say what the audience wants to hear instead of who they actually are. So how do you help your clients discover who they are. So what they communicate to the outside world is authentic. And that isn't for any kind of like, you know, I'm better than you I'm in integrity. It's like integrity cells, when you're being who you are, you attract the people that want to do business with you. And people that don't, when you're trying to pretend who you are, then of course, there's a you may win in the short term, but maybe not the long.
Natalie Davison 2:04
Oh, you got it. I mean, you know, trust comes down to two things, openness and competence. Those are really the two kind of components of any communication that are required to build trust. And we often chase competence or the appearance of competence at the sacrifice at the, you know, at the peril of openness. So we will build these identities that we think look good, and that will drive the bottom line. And it's really hard not to if you consume any social media at all, if you follow other brands, it's really, really difficult to stay focused and on track. So in the work that we do, everything we do is around the concept of brand integrity. And we have a framework, the the brand integrity framework. And it's really how to build a brand that remains in integrity. And one of the first principles I like to make sure that people understand and it takes forever to reinforce is that this is not going to ever be an exercise that ends, you know, your...
Umar Hameed 2:06
Natalie Davison 3:03
your ability to be in integrity with your message today is entirely dependent on so many factors like self awareness, and, you know, confidence in courage and, like resilience, those, those soft skills that people don't always associate with growing revenue, are essential to your ability to actually tell an honest message from your organization. And so oftentimes,
Umar Hameed 3:32
So Natalie, one of the things I find, think of four of your friends, whoever they happen to be, I'm sure they're lovely people, what people tend to do is they have three faces, when they show the outside world, oftentimes, as I look at me, I'm pretty I'm smart, or look at me, I'm a victim, whatever that illusion, they show the outside world, and then we have this sense of who we are, and then we have the authentic who we actually are. So that's happening at a human level. Would you agree?
Natalie Davison 3:58
I would agree. Yeah, I would definitely agree.
Umar Hameed 4:01
So that's going on in the person you're working with, how do you get them to get a message that has integrity, if they don't really know who they are?
Umar Hameed 4:08
Well, there's always some level of integrity available to us and some level of honesty available to us. And I know that I know to be true, we can really only get organizations to be as brave as they're ready to be. So integrity is what matters most not necessarily getting them to a place where they're ready to tell their scariest stories, you know, I have
Umar Hameed 4:32
[Garbled] done anyway, which I agree.
Umar Hameed 4:35
Exactly. And I can think of, you know, a client that I worked with a few years ago, that was tremendously incredible. At customer service. It was a software organization. Now what was really interesting is their competitors were mostly all startups. It was a really trendy space that a lot of startups were getting into. And their websites were sexy and their interfaces looked so cool, but they didn't have track records. Now this organization was 25 years. years old, their product was tried, tested and true. It also was kind of ugly. And so we came into this situation where they didn't want to show screenshots on their website, they didn't want to live. They didn't want a product demo forward facing, they wanted to put all that stuff behind the scenes so that they could sell first and then people would figure out that their software looked old. And what,
Umar Hameed 5:24
Natalie Davison 5:24
what I came to them with was no, we need to actually own this. Your software does look old, someday, maybe it won't. But today It does. And how is that your strength? You're not a startup? You have,
Umar Hameed 5:37
Natalie Davison 5:37
yeah, you have 20 years of, of track record behind you you're selling, you know, on a global scale, you have large organizations that are global organizations that have been your customers for decades. That is what your differentiator is that is true. And so those are the types of things that we're talking about here. So they don't have to be. I'm not really into vulnerability for the sake of vulnerability. I think that vulnerability is very trendy right now. It doesn't have to be some big dramatic situation. It's much more about what is actually happening here. And how can we tell that story?
Umar Hameed 6:15
You may not remember this time, there was a time before COVID. So last year, I was at a wedding and there was like maybe two 300 people at the church and this priest comes up the priest that was supposed to do the ceremony couldn't make it. So this other priest came and he said, I just want you to know that I was just a graduated, or whatever they call it from seminary, and this is my first wedding. And he got a round of applause. And this is not being vulnerable. This is just stating the truth. And because he did that, and he did a beautiful job that it took the pressure off him, people connected with him because he was real. And he could have just done the wedding and everybody would have liked it. But there was just something about that honesty, that it just made it more endearing for everybody. So I agree with you. We don't want people say, Oh, I was beaten when I was three years old, and I was homeless, and nobody wants to hear that. But if your truth is, hey, we got our our software doesn't look pretty, but it does the job has been doing it for 25 years. And here's five kick-ass companies. So let me ask you this, there has always been a battle before Good and Evil, before that ever happened. There was a battle between the marketing department and the sales department. Because you know, the marketing people suck and the leisure we're getting us are like horrible, but are you getting these things? And the market people are telling salespeople you wouldn't know a lead a bit bit you on the bus? So how do you as an agency help bridge that gap?
Natalie Davison 7:35
Oh, well, okay, what is your policy on swearing?
Umar Hameed 7:39
It's a very, very lacks.
Natalie Davison 7:41
Very, lacks, okay. Um, you know, the way that we have come to know marketing departments, there's a lot of bullshit, I'll be, I'll be honest, I mean,
Umar Hameed 7:41
Natalie Davison 7:41
there, there's a lot of bullshit in marketing departments. And when you and there's a lot of bullshit and marketing agencies, frankly, and when you start seeing people trying to drive numbers that actually do not move the company in the direction of its business goals, which if that is lead generation, or if that is conversions, if we're driving other things, and we're trying to say, but look at this, look at this metric over here. You know, that is not marketing, that that is not getting humans to take the action that you were supposed to have them take. So I don't believe in attention for the sake of attention. I think that is an absolute waste of people's time, energy and resources. And what...
Umar Hameed 8:35
No, you don't understand it's building our brand is like, Who cares? numbers on the bottom line.
Natalie Davison 8:41
Right. And we can build a we can build any brand you want. But if it's not a brand that's aligned with the business goal, then it is it is not a brand worth having. And so that's one of the most important parts of brand integrity is what are before you figure out what stories are we going to tell? What are we trying to accomplish? What Where are we going like in alignment on vision is step one and And if that's not there, marketing is a big waste of time.
Umar Hameed 9:10
So here's my thoughts on marketing, which is kind of heresy because I'm a sales guy is I think marketing is the superset and sales is a subset of marketing. And if it's done right, and they both realize that, hey, how do we get customers? How do we beat the competition? If they come at it like that? Because marketing should be all about feedback. We're creating this he's getting these results, it's not working out well, what do we need to do instead of blaming, so it requires a culture shift not only between the two departments, but the entire organization?
Umar Hameed 9:41
I 100% agree and it when these teams are not set up with a clear end to end path, the understanding that that very first brand message aligns with whether that sale is closed and every step of the way is part of the the marketing system is part of the brand. If that alignment is not there and that creation of a team environment among those is not there, then we are, you know, we are destined to not hit that result, this has to be a well oiled machine of people working together, whether it's a solopreneur, who is the only person in the organization, that's pretty clear, you understand that that post that you made on LinkedIn is going to drive you to that customer, you know how that all went together when you work by yourself. But once you've got an organization with a couple hundred employees, that does start to break down, and there's no space for ego or, you know, personal, personal validation in there, it has to be a team effort.
Umar Hameed 10:39
So how do you navigate that? Because you probably work with companies that have marketing departments and sales departments, and they've got their culture and most cultures kind of screwed up, because there is ego there and is, you know, it's all about me, Natalie, I am pretty awesome. Why don't you realize that? So how do you come in? Because you have to swim that water and get the results you want? So how do you do that?
Umar Hameed 10:59
Well, first of all, we have to understand and we really like to set the idea that marketing is is not just a series of campaigns, you know, your brand is a long term commitment. Marketing is a long term commitment. And that walking into a meeting and somebody saying, What's the ROI of this alum have to spend with you, Natalie, I mean it right away, I know, that's not my buyer persona, we want to work with people who are looking at the big picture of their brand. And once we have that kind of a commitment, then we can start to drill into our very methodical procedure of building an integrated brand, we would start with interviewing the best customers of the organization, once you have that kind of data, what they report as their fears, their concerns, their opportunities, the things that they're excited about, once you have the language they use, then you can start to bring that data back to your team. It's not about I, Natalie, the marketer have a great idea. It's about the customer has told me what they want. And that starts to really shift things.
Umar Hameed 12:00
Absolutely. I was doing a workshop this past weekend, my area of expertise is human behavior, how to change it. So we had a very small gathering. And we had this machine there that kills viruses in the air and on surfaces, just to make it a safer place. And the guy that brought the machine in said, you know, one of the things it does is it makes the air smell fresh. And I went okay, that's cool. And so one of the conference attendees, workshop attendees, first thing he said was, man, the airflow smells really fresh in here, it was like I had to tell the guy, if that's what you're trying to do your customers that receiving that message because companies don't do that. Or the person, this is what we do and here are the three most important reasons to work with us. And you talk to the customer in a second, there's not any of those three, it's actually this one here. Yes. That you're not articulating. And if you can talk to customers say By the way, here's the message here. Let's communicate that.
Natalie Davison 12:52
That's it. That's the that's how messaging should be built. And when it's not. I mean, we have a lot of we again, back to you know, egos and marketing. I can't tell you the amount of times I come into an organization say, okay, we're going to work on your building your buyer persona, and they say, Oh, we have those. And then I go great. How did you assemble them? How did you gather the data? Well, we just we just now. And I'm like...
Umar Hameed 13:15
Yeah, we just made it up.
Natalie Davison 13:17
I'm on thephone and do interviews. Did you know how did we come to this conclusion? Data is only as good as half as you know, garbage in, garbage out. It's only as good as what you collect. And so it's really again about we got to let that ego down, receive information, re-communicate that information, I mean, that is that's really what it's all about.
Umar Hameed 13:39
You pronounce about very interestingly, it sounds almost Canadian. Oh, from Minneapolis or Dakota. Where are you?
Natalie Davison 13:46
From Atlantic Canada, the province of New Brampton.
Umar Hameed 13:50
Natalie Davison 13:50
You, you are?
Umar Hameed 13:51
I am a Toronto boy.
Natalie Davison 13:53
Oh, no way. Oh, that's too...
Umar Hameed 13:55
[Garbled] in the States now but Toronto's the wometown.
Natalie Davison 13:58
I lived in Toronto for 10 years. My husband's from the west end of Toronto.
Umar Hameed 14:02
Natalie Davison 14:03
Umar Hameed 14:04
So do you know what the difference is between a Canadian and an American?
Natalie Davison 14:07
I mean, we could talk for a while I'm sure but...
Umar Hameed 14:11
Here's a difference.
Natalie Davison 14:11
...there's a punchline coming?
Umar Hameed 14:13
I do, it'd a joke. When you ask an American, "Who are you?" They go, "I'm an American." When you ask a Canadian, "Who are you?" Our answer is, "We're not Americans." That's your national identity.
Natalie Davison 14:25
I was, I mean, I was waiting to say that. I can't lie.
Umar Hameed 14:30
So tell me about a client you had you can change names to protect the innocent that fought you tooth and nail. Natalie, you do not understand we know our customers. And then they finally saw the light. How did you go from taking someone that's really resistant to really seeing the light and getting the results they want?
Natalie Davison 14:49
Okay, so a couple of things. The reason I like to you know, an earlier I said thinking about that big picture and that long term commitment, here's why. Their ability to see the light is going to be all like coming pletely impacted by their willingness to see the light, and that's not my responsibility. So I can't control where people are at in their journey when they come to me, but I can help them make the next movement. And that's, that's the responsibility. If you know if any of your listeners or listeners or agency owners, it's very hard to come to that place. But it's an essential place to allow you to do your best work. Because although I think the person should be over there at z, they might only be ready right now to go to F, and we need to celebrate f get them to F and then maybe they can move on to gh. I say my alphabet, right. So. So in terms of a client example of that, I mean, you know, a great example, I had a long term client I've been working with for years. And they hired me to do a rebrand they hired our agency to do a rebrand and we did, and they loved it. And they never rolled it out. And I learned so much from that client, because you know, at the time it was was honestly hurtful. I mean, when you pour your heart and soul into building a brand, you know, there still is ego here, I just have to put it on the shelf.
Umar Hameed 16:08
Oh, yeah. Yes, absolutely.
Natalie Davison 16:09
Why are they using it, they loved it. And I started to really uncovered that they were not ready. So I saw them fully, but they were not ready to see themselves fully yet. And so they have not said no to the brand. But it's been on pause for a couple of years, they've held it aside, they're going to roll it out someday. But they're not ready yet. And so some of the things that have happened since then was we needed to do more movement in the organization. So they actually hired us to come in and do one of our programs with them and start taking their team on this journey with us to start evolving identities within the team and as a team. And hopefully the outcome will be eventually that the brand then reflects how everybody feels and where they feel comfortable in their journey. But that has required a long term investment in the understanding...
Umar Hameed 17:00
Natalie Davison 17:00
...that identities evolved in the brands that we brought forward is the brand aligned with their vision, it's just the team wasn't ready yet. So that's been an ongoing an ongoing process for us.
Umar Hameed 17:12
So here's something kind of interesting is, I do a lot of work with individuals and teams. Oftentimes what happens is that most company mission statements are really amazing is like we are dedicated to the betterment of our employees, customers and the whales. And it is such complete bullshit because they just had a consultant come in, or they do something that's like just so insane, they go, we'll ask the employees, we'll ask our customers what they think. And then we'll come up with something that's freaking inauthentic, because it's just manufactured in the lab. The second thing is, they really don't know what the values of the organization are, and what the values need to be. Because most companies is one person that founded it, like certainly, that there's companies that are global, that are super large, but most of people you and I would deal with would be you know, hey, it's less than 100 people, the guy that founded it, or gal is right there. So what I've been doing is uncovering their personal values at a deep level around work and mapping that over to the company values. And I help them uncover their purpose in life, why that human being is on planet Earth. So I had a client that was looking to just sell the business, go do something else, like you know, I've been doing this bra, it's time to leave and we started working together. And so I said, Okay, let's uncover your purpose in life. And he's in his 40s married his high school sweetheart, and we uncover his purpose in life. He goes home tells his wife, she goes, Oh, my God, that's you. You've always done that. And so we met his personal purpose made it the company mission. And this is what the company mission ended up being. They were it from it. This is a mission. We are committed and resourceful explorers, and we took his personal values around work and the criteria he uses to map it to his company. And then he comes back to that I went to visit a client we were the third vendor in pitching the business guy says, Okay, tell me what you do. So let me tell you about our mission. We are committed and resourceful explorers. This is what it means to you guys. Like you don't sound like any other tech company we've ever come across. And they hired them in the reason I share it is since he's the poster child for the company, he gets to live it and breathe it without pretending to do anything, just being and that I think is ultimately our goal is when we can be authentic to who we are. We have a bigger impact in the world.
Umar Hameed 19:22
Yes, and we can stop proving you know, we like we as consumers can sniff out a pitch a my a million miles away, we can sniff out proving when somebody is proving trying to prove to you you don't there's the connection is gone. You don't want to buy from that person. I love that philosophy. Because I I truly believe in my heart of hearts brands are just collections of humans, one human or 10 humans, they're just grouping of groupings of humans who exchange value and when you are mapping his very natural personal attributes to the brand It only makes sense that if he's showing up in that brand wholehearted, then that's how the brand is going to show up. And you're now giving him permission to, you're taking away all these weird societal roles that we've been told for play and saying Actually, no, your job is to be the highest and truest version of who you are in the first place. And that is beautiful, beautiful work.
Umar Hameed 20:25
Natalie, we could talk for hours, and we're going to do that later on. Natalie, thanks so much for being on the program and I can tell you're a professional in what you do. And I'm so happy we had a chance to chat.
Natalie Davison 20:36
Me too. Thank you so much.
Umar Hameed 20:43
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.