Maxine Sherrin Spark Festival

Mumbition

The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 33: Be open to making new connections, with Terri Martin, The Marketing Room

Terri Martin is the general manager of The Marketing Room, a business that provides strategic marketing solutions to small businesses on a consultative basis. It is through these strategic marketing solutions and not just the tactical solutions that will allow you to bring success to any small business.

Links

The Marketing Room

Credits

Produced & Edited by - Morgan Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guest - Terri Martin

Are you ready to join a movement of business owning women?  Join Mums & Co today.

Episode 33 Transcript

00:02:08:24 - 00:02:35:17

Carrie & Lucy

A recent survey of our Mums & Co community told us that over 55% feel like marketing is the area that they find themselves most out of their depth. Today's guest is Terri Martin, the general manager of The Marketing Room, a business that provides strategic marketing solutions to small businesses on a consultative basis. And this is the strategic changes, not just the tactical ones that really bring success to your small business. Welcome to the Mumbition podcast. Terri.

00:02:38:17 - 00:02:40:21

Terri

Thank you. Hi, Carrie, it's lovely to be here.

00:02:42:02 - 00:02:50:02

Carrie

Great to have you. Now we love hearing women share their stories, pitching with confidence and clarity. So can you please share yours?

00:02:51:04 - 00:03:06:01

Terri

Yeah. So I'm Terri Martin, I'm the general manager of The Marketing Room, which is a marketing consultancy that places senior marketing managers into businesses on a part time basis. So, we give businesses access to more senior thinking, but at an affordable cost.

00:03:07:18 - 00:03:38:13

Carrie

Oh, so many words jump out at me at the small business. You know, that's sort of that part time access, high level of expertise when you need it on a short term basis because we don't have big teams. We don't have lots of you know, we can't hire a marketing director or a finance director sometimes. So it's great to have that you can dip in and dip out of when you need to.

00:03:38:13 - 00:03:52:07

Terri

Marketing is always one of those things too where everyone says, “oh, I can, I can do it myself.” And then people can, absolutely, and then others just drown in it. And they will be the first to say, “oh, actually, you know what? I don't know what I'm doing, and I can't do a very good job of it.”

Yet everyone recognizes they need it, but they kind of aren’t really sure whether to invest in it, and the other thing we see is, they'll hire a junior marketing person, very junior, because they can afford that salary and that person, you know, just does stuff. It's very active, but perhaps not strategic and not aligned to the business goals.

Then marketing becomes a cost, not an investment. And then that's when it gets the bad rap in the bad name. So, yeah, we're kind of filling a gap there to really give people access to that, the right marketing for their business goals, but doing it at a cost that they can afford.

00:04:28:23 - 00:04:58:11

Carrie

Does that happen? You know, I see that with marketing such a broad spread at the moment, you've got very specialist areas and then you need strategy for others from that, the whole PR, SEO and social media, it's such a big expense. It’s amazing to have that, you know, perhaps things that are a bit more on a repeat base or administrative basis and then have that strategic thinking when you need it as well, so just to mash it all together.

00:04:59:05 - 00:05:18:12

Terri

Yeah, look, I work in marketing and have done my whole career and even I find it incredibly complex. You know, you've got people who can work in brand, right through to people who are very amazing at social media. You've got to have someone who's able to look at the whole breadth and go what's actually right for this business, not what am I good at and what do I like playing in?

It's actually what's going to deliver the results, and that's why the kinds of people we hire, they've got general experience across it all. What they're looking for is the right marketing tactics to leverage and I guess solve business problems rather than, you know, maybe that thing that they're really deep in.

So it's really, really important that they have the experience, so the marketing managers we hire have at least eight years experience. So they've been around, they understand, they've tried and tested and that they can actually come in and really unpack a business and give them the right marketing that will suit them.

00:05:57:12 - 00:06:22:10

Lucy

Thank you for sharing all of that. I guess being a great marketer also means being really good at building connections with people. So whether it's online and social media, in all those in all those ways, in real life, online. But what does a great business connection mean? To you in the context of this business? But also, what's your favorite way to network in the digital space?

00:06:24:08 - 00:06:43:17

Terri

A really great business connection for me is someone who is willing to open doors, make connections and introduce you to people, but is not looking for anything back. It's very unique and I do have a lot of people like that in my life, and so because I have those people, I then like to pay that forward.

I have a lot of people who come to me, a lot of colleagues I've worked with, more junior staff members, and they come to me for career advice, or they just want to check something in with me. My door's always open, my phone's always there, I'm always willing to do that because it's been done for me.

So I think it's that thing of recognizing that sometimes just by being open and providing that network or connections to people, that it will come back to you in spades if we kind of pay it forward like that. 

I think the interesting thing is how do you get more of those people? How do you meet more of those people? Again, the digital age, I think it's made it challenging. But in some ways, too, if I want to connect with someone over Zoom, it feels like it's less of a hassle to do it.

I can just jump on and jump off. I don't have to get in like, you know, put my jacket on, go down, go to coffee, meet them, It's all face to face, that can be confronting. What if after 5 minutes you think, gosh, this is a waste of time? With Zoom, I feel like it's taken a bit of that away, that risk.

So I've actually noticed that people are more willing to kind of meet and talk for those kinds of new business meetings, because it is Zoom. So it's actually kind of worked in some ways.

00:08:00:14 - 00:08:19:08

Lucy

I love that and I love how you say it's a generosity of spirit. I also feel that way about networking, that you have to really approach it the way that you want to receive it back. If you’re there with an outcome, anyone can smell that a mile away, but obviously we're also in business to do business.

I think it's a delicate dance isn't it, between what you're willing to put out and having those boundaries. I also love the point you make about Zoom. I am someone also, I relish that ability to be able to meet on a weekly basis, meet with our members all across the country just by jumping on a link and having that accessibility.

I think particularly for our demographic of mums running businesses, and we hear this a lot with our monthly member meetups ups, and in our practice your pitch sessions, where they can just jump in for that 45 minutes in the day and do more networking than they’re possibly able to do in six months because because of that immediacy and the accessibility of online.

00:09:09:03 - 00:09:25:09

Terri

It's got its pros and cons but I think you're right, with us, this group of mums, we've got so many other things to do. Me not having to get in a car and drive somewhere to a meeting just is huge. I can do another two meetings at that time. So yeah, it's actually quite good.

00:09:26:02 - 00:09:56:12

Lucy

We love convenience, but I'm thinking, do you find there are elements? They're saying that with Zoom you have to concentrate a lot harder when you're trying to pick up on visual cues and cues that you probably would pick up a lot easier when in person. Are there any sort of things that you've found have worked whilst you're actually online and trying to network?

00:09:59:12 - 00:10:20:10

Terri

That's a very good question. I think you feel like you have to work a little harder on the softer questions. How are you? You know, even what we did when we first started chatting, you know, it's getting some common ground, it's a little harder. But funnily enough, being at home, you can often pick something up and say, oh, I see where you are.

It's very bright, you know, like you can kind of find those connections. I do find it exhausting, it can be, it's because you're kind of on, but the networking thing’s like that as well, right? I don't think they're any different in that way. I just think you've got to kind of bend and mold to the format in which it is.

00:10:41:07 - 00:11:07:07

Lucy

It's just a fascinating era at the moment. I think digital networking has really taken that next step, that leap forward. We really encourage a well hosted session as well, especially if it's not just one to one. Lisa does an incredible job, which is facilitating our meetups and really making sure that she can give everyone equal time to contribute.

And there's sort of dynamic elements within both those actions, just encouraging people to also to use, I find that the message board is really underrated, especially if you can direct message someone that you might have wanted to be in touch with, but couldn't get the chance before, just ping them to say hi.

I noticed you're on the same, you know, webinar or whatever it might be, the meet up and and connect there. I think I think we just need to be a little bit more bold in how we find those moments to connect in a safe space, but also in a digital space.

00:11:49:22 - 00:12:09:05

Terri

Do you want to know something else? Don't tell anyone that when I've been on something where we've kind of networked before or I've been with a group of people and I've seen the names, I’ve quickly looked on LinkedIn and been able to get a little bit of background on who they are. So then you know that you've got a connection and you can kind of talk to them around that kind of thing.

And well, I know that's a bit sneaky, but it's something that you can't do in person, right? You're meeting someone for the first time. Oh, you didn't realize I actually worked somewhere that you used to do business with or they worked with, or they connected with someone you're connected with. So that's also something that you can do while you're looking straight to camera and your fingers are moving over here into LinkedIn.

00:12:29:19 - 00:12:51:01

Lucy

I love that, too, because I was thinking that when you and Carrie were speaking, that the legwork is kind of more important in the digital networking space. Because you can be prepared in a way, as you're saying, on the spot or even before, if you can see who's attending. Yeah, and so you've got a few key questions obviously about them.

I wanted to take you back a little bit to when you started your business. As you mentioned, before, you've been in the marketing space your whole career. You did have a business when you first started as a solo mum. Is that correct?

00:13:07:17 - 00:13:15:07

Terri

So I've been a solo mum for about 12 years, so I've come into this business as a solo mum. 

00:13:15:13 - 00:13:41:04

Carrie

Yeah. So that's an experience that around 7% of our community share. It seems to be something that is an impetus, when you're going through a life transformation to begin something for yourself as well in the work space. I just wondered, given that experience for you, if you had a tip for any woman who was going through that, the separation and wanting to take a leap into their own business, is there something you could share?

00:13:44:16 - 00:14:05:20

Terri

My separation obviously was a long time ago. I think if you're going to look at taking on a business on your own at the same time around that you’re going through a separation, I would say really have a good chat with yourself about can you manage it, separation as you could well imagine, even if it's amicable, is incredibly stressful.

Even a lot of that is just the idea of what your life was going to be, is changed. It's actually the distress of dealing with that, let alone dealing with child custody, financial settlements and perhaps not getting along with your ex, so I think you've got to be really prepared because I think they're both incredibly stressful things.

If there were lists of stressful things you can go through in your life, the breakup, moving house, probably starting a new business. All of those things are up there. So be really, really careful that you can do it. It might not be that right time, you might need to just get a job and do that while you're managing the kids, etc, but if you do want to do it and you're one of those people that maybe you financially need to do it or that you're really driven to do it, then my biggest thing is just have a network.

Oh my goodness. Have those mums and dads that can help pick up the kids. Can you get a cleaner once a month? Can you do something to help yourself? Then all those things come with cost. I understand that, but I think something will give, and what will end up happening is you'll end up thinking you're not great at anything because the house isn't clean and the business doesn't seem to be doing anything and the kids aren't getting my attention.

I'm actually also trying to deal with an ex or whatever that is. It's just being kind to yourself and looking at ways that you can actually ensure that you've got the support network around you in case things don't always go to plan and you need someone to pick up the pieces or to help you at that time.

00:15:33:15 - 00:15:55:10

Lucy

I love all of that advice, and particularly how you articulated there to say the balancing of all of those challenges, which is, even mums with partners obviously face the juggling, the childcare and the work side of things. But when you're bringing in that other element of stress and being on your own, super interesting. Thank you so much for sharing all of that.

I've always kind of looked at marketing as like a suite of different ways to either attract customers or to retain customers. There's just so much available, do you have any advice for a small business owner who may not have extensive marketing budgets and extensive time. Out of all the suite of tools available to you, where should they focus their energy and their resources?

00:16:34:02 - 00:16:59:12

Terri

I would go one step back from that and go, who is their audience? Who are their ideal clients for customers? They can work that out and often they'll say, “oh, everyone!” but it's like, no, no. If you actually had to tell me who your ideal customer is, tell me about them. OK, you know, it's a man who's this age he's got kids, he's got a dog, whatever that is.

Then what's your message? You know, what is it that you're selling? How are you unique or what problem are you solving? Then just work out where those people are. So, are they on Instagram? Who knows? Are they going to gyms? Are they at CEO conferences? You know, whatever that is, that's what determines what tactics you use.

So I'll never just go to tactics because it's always dependent on your audience, where they are, and how you actually get your message in front of them. That's the key thing that a lot of businesses miss out on. They don't think about who their ideal client is and then how we're actually going to get to them because that will determine everything, because you might go, “Oh, it's absolutely TikTok, because I've determined that the age demographic is this, and then I need to put all my energy into TikTok.”

Even if that's hard, I'm still going to do it because that's where they are. You might find another business is, like actually Instagram isn't where it's at. We've really got to find people who are in their professional setting, in the city perhaps, or on their way to work. Maybe it's bus advertising, I’m making it up, but that's the key element that I think a lot of businesses miss. They go, “well, everyone's doing social media.”

“I guess I need to be on social media. I don't know which platform we need to be on so I’ll be on all of them and I'm going to put the same message on every platform because I'm time poor.” Well, actually, no, you're using your time and you're not using it correctly. Those platforms have different types of people on them, using them in different ways.

You might only need one, you might need all of them, but you might need to change your message and then you need someone to do that all the time and actually spend time doing that, right? We think about marketing because it's become so complex at the exact same time that it's so easy to do.

So if you're a small business, I can start all my social media pages. I can get a WordPress site If I need to, Go Daddy, sure, done it. I can do a survey, I can do an eDM, but the complexity comes from actually making sure you're doing the right thing and then analyzing it and then and then getting the right message out there as well.

It's this kind of weird thing where everyone thinks they can do it, and then you've got a whole heap of people who do it really, really well and very kind of scientific. It’s in a strange place, so I know why people get confused about it, especially in small businesses.

00:19:23:01 - 00:19:45:04

Lucy

Yeah, and the technology moves so fast. I think you just have to kind of keep reiterating and testing and learning as well, not knowing that it may take a little bit of experimenting to see, even that one channel correctly.

00:19:46:05 - 00:20:10:00

Terri

Carrie, you raised a really good point. Are we getting new clients or have we got clients? And it's really important that we keep them. That's another really key area to identify because as we all know, sorry I say clients but it could be customers, as we all know, it actually takes less money to keep them and to indicate if they're already invested in your brand and in your company, then to keep them is actually going to be much easier than trying to convince someone brand new to come on in.

So, it's also identifying which area is the focus and again, where do we communicate with those people? What things do we do to ensure they either come to us or stay with us.

00:20:22:21 - 00:20:38:11

Carrie

OK, so now another point, an area that we like to focus on and have discussions and conversations around here at Mums & Co is on risk. What are some of the processes that you have used as a business owner to protect yourself and your business?

00:20:40:03 - 00:21:12:19

Terri

There's two things that come to mind. So the first thing is contracts. So I'm in a business that's B2B, so we deal with organizations and I think what's really, really important is that you have a contract that is not only watertight, but it's actually simple. What a lot of lawyers love to do is create complex contracts and then the business owner themselves struggles to understand it and then when they hand it over to another business, or their lawyers get involved, they got lots of comments and you're unable to determine what can I allow, what can I not?

Then you have to go back to your lawyer and it's very costly. So my suggestion is, have a contract that's actually simple to understand. It's not too complex, it'll mean it'll go through quicker. You don't have to incur further legal costs, but you are covered. So it's very, very important to ensure that your business is covered, that you understand how it's covered.

The second thing that I'm really big, I go on and on about is payment terms. So again, in a B2B business, the challenge we have is that even though we have payment terms, we hand them over to an organization and they will often come back and say, “No, these are our payment terms.” Now, my advice is stand your ground, they want to do business with you.

Nine times out of ten they will actually meet you, if not at your payment terms, perhaps somewhere in the middle, because they don't want a business to go under. A big business doesn't want to put a small business under. I just think it's really, really important. The worst ones I've seen are some organizations will pay 90 days after the last day of the month in which you send the invoice.

As a small business, you can actually understand that's a huge problem for cash flow. So I just think, be strong, push your payment terms, not all will be able to come to the party and then you'll just have to manage your cash flow around that. But don't be afraid to say this is what it means to do business with us. And these are the terms that you need to come to.

00:22:36:17 - 00:22:46:11

Carrie

Great advice and anyone in the corporate space, they should know, that's how you support small business. Just pay them on time, pay them regularly, pay them early.

00:22:47:16 - 00:22:49:11

Terri

Get me started, Carrie. Don't get me started. It seems really simple, I think there should just be a blanket that every single business should have a 30 day payment terms and then we'd all be able to pay our bills on time and everyone would get the money. It doesn't seem to be like that.

00:23:03:21 - 00:23:22:17

Carrie

So I wanted to pick up on the point that you raised about the legal contracts. Something that we do here at Mums & Co, we have a terrific expert program so we can have a one to one session with many of our experts, and we have two people currently who offer that service on the legal side of things.

I think it's important to pick that up there so that our community knows it. That's something that's available and these women are, exactly as you say, Terri, focused on that, that small business understanding of making things as simple and straightforward as possible.

00:23:43:06 - 00:23:47:23

Terri

That's awesome! Definitely take that up! Definitely, definitely take that up! I can't stress that enough!

00:23:49:20 - 00:24:02:18

Carrie

Speaking about protecting things, what do you do for yourself in your own wellbeing? Is there something like a daily or a weekly ritual that helps support you with your work? Is it as a business but also as a mum?

00:24:05:08 - 00:24:28:23

Terri

I run, I don't want to, but it's good for me, so there's that challenge. Sometimes my body tells me no more running, but it's really good for my mind and kind of gets overthinking and all that kind of stuff that can happen when you're trying to juggle a lot of things. I also take a break when I need it, I know I'll always get the work done.

I'm in that position. So, if I need to work late or do it on the weekend, I can. If that means I can go to lunch with a friend or quickly pop out to get something from the shops, I will just do that because I just know that I'll manage my workload around that because I've been around enough to do that. I also think about outsourcing things, I have a cleaner once a month because I just don't want to do that. So that helps! 

I think it's also boundaries in place as well. I don't I don't really want to work on a Sunday, definitely not. I don't really want to work at all on the weekend. I will do it if I need to. But I pop those boundaries in place to say, no, I'm not actually going to do that.

That's my special time with my kids, it's time for myself as well. I've got another one, a very, very, very good one that my husband taught me. And that is, don't bring all the stress of work home. Don't talk about it incessantly. Now, throughout my career, I've had many periods where I've done that.

I've come home to my partner and I've talked and talked or with friends and ruminating and, you know, and yes, I know the thing is stressful. But you're also adding to it. He's taught me that wonderful thing, it’s always going to be there. It'll be there tomorrow. Don't bring it into the house. Don't bring more stress and just try and disconnect.

It's been a real life changer. It's not easy, but if you can do it, it just stops that bleed of work into life, life into work, you know, where you’re never getting a break. If you can actually kind of disconnect a bit, if you can do that. It's amazing.

00:26:08:14 - 00:26:19:08

Lucy

That's super interesting. And I wonder if just being conscious of that, just having had someone say that to you and being conscious of that, that kind of helps to sort of to stop yourself. 

00:26:20:10 - 00:26:35:23

Terri

100%. Because also he will get to a point where he just won't want to talk any more about it. We can talk a little bit about work, but then he'll go, “OK, that's enough.” Oh, OK. I guess it is. Let's talk about something else about the kids, the weather, you know, whatever that might be. 

00:26:36:09 - 00:26:59:10

Lucy

That's awesome. It also sounds like he's a terrific support to you. We like to refer to our Co, it's in our name. Mums & Co, so that the men and the women, the partners, the children, the clients, all the people around us that are helping support what we do for work and in our families. Is there anyone else that's really central to keeping all of your balls in the air?

00:26:59:11 - 00:27:23:17

Terri

Oh goodness. My husband is definitely at the top of the list. I mean, we've got a complex life. He lives in Brisbane, I live in Sydney. He's got kids there, I've got kids here. So we are kind of solo parents, but together; that's a challenge in itself. But he's amazing, like one hundred percent my number one biggest fan and has been amazing at actually making me realize my value and my smarts, and I’m just starting to recognize it myself.

So that's good. My children are just incredible. I feel very blessed to be their mum as much as they're teenagers and there are definitely ups and downs when you go on that ride with them. I'm just very privileged to have them both along this ride with me. I have the owners of the business are over in Perth, and they're Tony and John and they are just the most incredible support.

So I've started the business over on the East Coast, but they're just incredible. So much trust in me and I couldn't have done it without that kind of backbone. I guess it's just all the other mentors and friends and family that I have that just believe in me and are there for me if I need them in the ups and the downs, providing support in all the different ways they do.

00:28:16:04 - 00:28:30:16

Carrie

Fantastic, what an incredible Co. Now finally at Mums & Co,  we talk about harmony as this triangle of ambition, livelihood and wellbeing. Can you describe the shape of a good life for you?

00:28:31:23 - 00:28:55:20

Terri

I really love my role now, I love it. What I've recognized, and I've had like most people, I've had roles that I really, really dislike. If I'm happy at work, everyone is happy. Because you're spending so much time in it, when you're not enjoying it or you don't get along with your boss, or you find it too stressful, that bleeds into your personal life.

My biggest thing is make sure you're happy, or the happiest you can be at work. Because it's also lonely at the top. You often don't have people to turn to and go to for advice. Everyone's looking at you. So you've just got to make sure that you do look after yourself when you can. So you know, see your friends, go on holidays, eat chips and ice cream.

Or maybe that's just what I want to do, laugh with your kids, be silly, just put the laptop down. It'll all be there in, you know, another hour or tomorrow,  just make sure you look after you. I hate that stigma that women are so bad or you said that it can help themselves.

But the reality is, when we don't, everyone feels it. We all pretend they don't, but they do. So if we don't look after ourselves, it really has a huge ripple effect. So I think it's just you do whatever you need to to make sure you're OK and everyone else will then be OK as well.

00:29:54:24 - 00:30:15:24

Lucy

Beautiful advice. Thank you so much, Terri, for joining us on Mumbition today. Thank you for your company. You can connect with Terry or The Marketing Room via our Mums & Co membership platform or LinkedIn. If you haven't already, please come and join the thousands of Australian business owning mums just like you at mumsandco.com.au. What do you love the most about the work you do?

00:30:21:10 - 00:30:45:16

Terri

So there's two parts, there's two problems that this is a solves that I love. One is we actually get to help people in their businesses to use marketing to actually help them, right? We can drive leads, drive awareness, drive revenue. I find that amazing, how incredible that you can go to a business and you can actually come away after six months and say, we've actually helped your business and you've helped someone.

They might be able to hire someone new or invest back in the business, whatever that is. So I love that. The other part that I didn't really mention before, we actually hire mainly just through the nature of our work mums. So what we've got is marketing people who actually want to balance their lives and we really genuinely are able to enable them to do that.

I love that too because I've got some people who perhaps we're going to go back to work after maternity leave and the business said, “Well, you can only come back full time.” So they've had to leave businesses and jobs I absolutely love because there's just no flexibility. We've got others who have gone, “my kids are older and I just genuinely need to spend more time with them,” but people have got a side hustle, and they are so grateful to be able to do what they love in their work, but also actually manage their lives better.

So I love that I solve those two problems. That's why I get up every day. I just love it.