The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

101. Embracing Disruptive Moments: Acquisitions and Role Changes w/ Isabelle Papoulias


Acquisitions are often times of stress and disruption, to say the least.


Our most recent podcast guest casts new light on one of my favorite themes — that a good employee experience is a necessary precursor to a good customer experience — from the perspective of acquisitions and mergers.


In this episode, I interview Isabelle Papoulias, CMO at Mediafly, about her 3 tips for a smooth acquisition process. 


Isabelle talked about:


- Customer experience means delight & consistency


- Her double acquisition story


- Top 3 lessons, including checking your biases


- Her role transitions from Sales Director to VP of Marketing to CMO


Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog.

No, it's you're not just merging tothings your harging, you bring people together right and there is a lot of trepridation andtheir trepetation on both sides. The single most important thing you cando today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers,learn how sales marketing and customer success experts create internalalignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in apersonal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here'syour host Eten Baut. Many companies grow throughacquisitions, great for the business, but often disruptive to people andprocesses. What does the acquisition mean for you and your team members?What does it mean for your customers and the customers of the acquiredcompany and specifically, how does marketing survive rounds ofacquisitions? Our guests today brings three specific insights to help us withthis challengeing opportunity. She brings to the conversation more thantwenty years building global iconic brands like mastercard, worldwideCrayton Barrel Johnson and Johnson, carry gold, Coler Ikea and more withlegendary agencies like mccan, Erics and Um, worldwide and I'MNICON MediaGroup. She currently serves as Cmo at mediafly, a platform that helps salesand marketing teams, create a modern selling experience that values thebuyer and drives business growth. She also speaks four languages. French,Greek, Spanish and the language will be speaking today. English ISABILLPAFULIUS welcome to the customer experience podcast Hi Eten. Thank youfor having me yeah. I'm really excited for the conversation. I can't wait tohear just kind of in your own words that story of multiple acquisitions ina very tight period of time, but just kind of get warmed up. You built acareer in New York City and then transitioned to Chicago several years,back, walk that out from me, I'm very familiar with Chicago. I love it. I'veonly visited New York. A couple of times do little, compare and contrastlike what's similar about them, what's different how's Chicago going for you,AI, get that question all the time love Chicago. I used to love New York n.While I was there was there for two decades. It was amazing. I build mycareer there and then I will come on e morning and I was bored and you knowpeople are Sol surprised today when I say Thas this they say: Well, you can't.How can you be born in New York? I'm like you can, because you know twentytwo years is a long time to live there and, yes, something is reenvreinthemselves, but at the same time it's kind of the same thing like you walkedevery blog. You know. Yes, maybe it's a different restaurant, but it's kind ofVariationon, the last one and I actually was looking to linge countryfor a couple of years. I was looking maybe to go to London and from Europe Ithought Itd be closer with my family and I also love Mexico City, so I wasactively enjerviewing there and low n behold. Essentially, two jobs found mefrom Chicago on the same week, throughlingten right to companies and Itook Hert as a sign from the universe, and I came tointerview. I fell in love with Chicago instantly, and here I am and it's youknow it's is like a smaller version of New York. It's a big city. I see them.My sister sees so I think you know a lot of great arts, great foods, GIDcareer opportunities, a lot cheaper to live here, I'm promoting Chicago right now, yeah.So it's been it's exceted, my expectations.Actually ISS is its home, forror or long time. Yeah. That's my impression,too, is that it has a lot of the same qualities and benefits of New York, andyou already mentioned a couple of them and of course, a truly internationalpopulation, etc, etc, but a lot more manageable, just a little bit easier toget around or affordable, etce and so comes with some tradeoffs. But I love,I love Chicago all right, so customer experience Isabell when I say that whatdoes it mean to you so for me it means delight, you know itmeans customer delight and that's that's a turm. I heard from a a newbusiness coach a long time ago, my dagency days that I stuck to when, atthe end of the day, what that means is, how do you make your customer feel andwhat I mean by that is really. How do you make them feel from the very beginning of theirinteraction, with your brand to wait later when theewolrea become a customerright? So it's really about the sellingexperience, which is also the business. The media flies in right and everything is selling. I meanyou're starting to sell way before your sell rubs, getting agright, you're already selling, indirectly, when they're on yourwebsite. Looking for information right, so erer touch po it when you're on yourwebsite, they're consuming content. What experience are you providing therewhen they engage with a cells rab? What experience are you providing there oneon one, you know in those in those Leven Gagemens when you're followingupwit condent, you know and you're,...

...sending them something how interactive?How any made it it's like content right. Is it flat and boring, or is I highlyengaging when to become a costumer? What training on onboarding experiencethat you're providing and then even beyond that you know what exferientialfun stuff are you doing right? I was. I was invited to a shoe design events bya company recently and I was a little skeptical going into it. U, but it wasactually amazing and it was virtual, so it's thust consistent delightful. Youknow engagements with your brand and every judch point and other consistentsubrin consistency to is important, and I find that especially for those of uswho you know, run marketing teams in the textface start up a lot of emphasison you know, hypergrowth all the time and genering the man and I find ussthat we often neglect the brand as a results, and so that's something that Iconstantly Tryi to remind myself, often and and it's you know, I was in a in a conferenceonce and there was a speaker talking about the customer experience and hestarted by saying start with the premise that everybody hates yourproduct. It's a lot extreme, but I like it and really what I what I tell myselfand what I tell that you know the teams internally often I media apply, isstarted with the Primis that in the costomers or the prospects,perception or crossour product is the same as everybody else's. So how areyou really going to differentiate? You are going to differentiate on theexperience right. So that's that's my that's my thought on. That is. How doyou delight them at every point of engaged ant? You Checke, so many of theboxes in you know. I asked this question to all kinds of marketingsales, CS professionals, people and other types of roles, as well and andwith different depths of expertise in different industries, and you reallychecked all the boxes here, which is every touchpoint across the entirecustomer life cycle. Presales sales process, postsale focus on delight,focus on experience, focus on how you're making people feel consistencyis so key because we make these promises ind some of the marketingpieces that we provide, which are touchpoints that build some awarenessand trust and perhaps affinity, but are you setting them up for expectationsthat you can consistently deliver on check? So many boxes really good andincluded a couple stories. Thank you. So much for that for folks, Yo aren't familiar. Tell usa little bit about media fly like who is your your ideal customer and whatare what is the primary problem or some of the problems that you solve for themsure so, media Flys a sells an eblirment platform. We provide aportfolio of Celes presentation and content magementtools to make the selling experience more engaging and more effective rightnow. So we were just talking about experience. The WAYSON whot we're inbusiness is because I don't think anyone can argue with a facg that wecould be selling, whether you're, the buyer or the seller. That experience isreally cor. It's especially in the currentenvironment right. So if you're rap it's getting hard and hard to sell andto make quotas and to close those deals, and if your buyer and there's plenty ofstats on that right, it's the the interaction is not delivering the valueyou're. Looking for most of them don't want to give t a second meeting becausethey don't feel like they got much of the first one and most most buyers weknow come to interact with a celler much later in the journey right. Ithink semtainly, like sixty five percent of the of t e. The journey atthis point is selfguided right. So therethey're saying I yeah, I don'treally Valu you right, and so we througout technology and the different tools wul provide whetherit's a selfpresentation up, whether its content management system, whether it'svalueselling tools like Roy or TCO calculators, so that rabs can reallybetter quantify the value of the solution. Ther Theyre they're,providing we're putting Corna at the center right, and so we're saying atthe core of making that seller buyer experience the most effective andengaging you can be to utimately drive revenue. Obviously, that's what youwant for O r companies we're saying contanies at the center of that, sowhether it's you're building a great content hab onyour website, whether it's you're enabling your raps to use content tofind it more easily to create more customize presentations easily to uselike, I said our wire to see your calculators to drive more of aquantitated conversation. You know with he with a buyer, whether it's evenpostsal we're saying Contanis at the center and- and we want to create aconversation with you. We don't want to show up and throw up a Linr porer pointdeck right, which is what still happens a lot today and we we sorve. I mean we have clients, bigand small, and I mean big. I mean you know fortune, one hundred companies allthe way to very small companies and...

...everything in between the reason forthat is because we have again nd. We have a a broad set of of tools thatcanserve big and large companies, and it's not a one sides. FITSOLV solution.You know there's out of the box whet there. Ir's also plenty of capabilitiesto customize our sweet sods and how we've grown is is the what I call the greedy industries, thelike CPG and manufacturing, the Industri es, where you're notnecessarily selling in a fancy, meaning space or boardroom? Okay, especiallyWHYHT, now everybody's selling from home, but you know you migh only haveten minutes on a fuctory floor, and so you have to make an impact very veryquickly and it has to be memorable. Writing you have to prove the valuethat you can bring to the table and then in a remote selling environmenthat today, it's even harder right. How do we you make that interaction moreengaging when it's it's rirtual? So that's, that's an I'mnot show what we do and- and you know who we work with. I love it. So itsounds like you, one of the key things you're doing is taking thex sixty fivepercent of the selfguided journey, an in providing a variety of ways forcompanies to fulfill the need in that sixty five percent in a way that bringsthem probably warmer to the point of interaction and beyond that. So so yes,we do that through condon hobs right and then we, but we also enable marketing teams to enable the sellsraps. So typically, what happens is for manycompanies is there are selling in what we call a traditional way. So there isno there ar bit ing content, they're emailing raps, you know, or they havethree or four different. You know they might have some things on the serverand they might use some dis. CRENT content management systems and somecontemi level is a lover, the place it's not uptdated, and so for Rabs toactually find that content and use it it's veryhard. And so what happens is the go rog right and then you have issues on Bron,complyer, yeah. I've seen that side deck before it is not pretty exactly so.We Are we're not just we're, not just inpacking thit Sixtyfi. Sixty fivepercent of the sell SEV got in part of the journey. We're also impacking verymuch the H, the engagement between the cells,rap and and the buyer one on ine awesome. I was going to ask you boutevolved selling, which is a phrase at that. You all use to talk about thiskind of evolution of sales, enablement that has some more dynamic pieces to it.It's interactive it's and more engaging in general, but I think you reallytackled it there in talking about. You know some of the some of thecurrent traditional problems that require an evolved approach so that youdon't have reps going rogue and all of that and I hear brand compliance allthe time is as a really big sticking point for marketingteams and sales teams in general, and it's funny because the teams kind ofput themselves in that situation. It's so interesting. Well, marketing isgreat, as you know, creating a whole lot of contents. You know we're not always so great onunderstanding how that content autumn, ultimately isused right by raps. How it's consumed by prospects and ultimately, how itsimpacting the bottom line and a big part of what we do wit iactual,actually surprise. Only I forgot to mention- is that what we call the mediaflying sihes. So it's the measurement Pece Right with which enables you doonce you understand how your prospects are consuming a content. Highour websare using it and you can tie the use of that content stage by statage acrossthe journey right R, every part of the journey all the way to oh. This ismoving me from this stage to the next stage, and these contenasids are actually helpe meclose mordeals right. So as a marketer, I'm going to produce more of thosetypes of assets for myselfs Rightand, I'm going to stop spending money on a whole bunch of rothers sof that I'vebeen creating all along. That is not really working right and especially inthis day of age of you know, economic incernty and marketing budgets arehighly scrutinized, really making sure your conten is working the hardest andthat wo're putting our marking dollars on the right content. Creation is kybecause otherwise you're away saying money that you really don't want to bewasting right now. Absolutely I don't want to. I don't want to go too deephere, but I'm just really curious. I would assume that you plug into othersystems and other platforms, so that as your kind of identifying that peopleare moving through these content experiences they're moving through thesales funnel and some of that reporting probably speaks in and out of othersystems, absolutely marketing, our amation, pladforms and certainly crmcrm is a big one. fores right, that's the biggest, probably the biggestintergration there and there's a lot of also a I built in inthe integration between Seram and and media fly in terms of condenrecommendations again making it making it easier for the reps to be have the perfect content, EF figuratipsfor the conversation they're about to have not the one size fits all right,Yep.

So yes, a integratials across the theentire textstack awesome, really very helpful, I'm sure for marketers andsales people of businesses of all sizes, as you said so part of the way thatthat mediafly has grown, is through acquisition. So what I'd love to do isa hear the story be kind of some of the most immediate and obviousconsiderations, kind of like what's up for grabs when you have acquired orbeen acquired, and maybe some of the effect you know you don't need to dothis all in one pass, but its kind of Wan Outline where this goes is liketalk about it from a customer perspective right because obviouslythere's some level of alignment there's some reason: You're making theacquisition, but now the marketing teams approach to the customer and thesales teams approach to the customer. Potentially, if you especially ifyou're in emerged teams, changes the customer definition and maybe the totaladdressable market changes. And then you have three specific things that youlearn through the process that I love these tips. I've only seen the bulletpoint, so I'm excited to get into them, but I think they even transcend theacquisition piece and I think a're probably helpful- to leading andmanaging teams of people and leading complex processes regardless. But so,let's start with the story, so you you commit to join the mediafly team as Gosh. That's actually another question.I would love to ask use progress from sales and Tomarketing, but we'll saythat for later, if we have time so tell me about the acquisition process formediafly, what was the purpose of it and what were some of the immediateconsequences yeah? So we had two acquisitions in less than a year. You know youmentioned the OT selling earlier right, SOM. I want to kind of go back to thatfirst, second, because that's the backdrob really for the acquisitionsright. We we were lucky from the the very beginning of the really theorigination of mediafly to way before my time to work with, withwith companies that were hadweally, embraced content as the driver to bigdigital transformation right, and so they were all oud in terms of embracing sophistication and as we looked at what this companies hadin common, we also realize that you know they were kind of a veryverified few right. So then for us, the question we gane well,how do we bring evolve, selling really to the masses?And so that's how we start to think about acquisitions is how do we expendour porfolio of offerings to make it easier and let's Riskyou, to someextent too right with the Lord Price Point, for quote: Unquote the Massis tohave access to really enterprise level self eneblrment technology right, andso the first acquisition was Florida base. Orlano ast company calledAlinian which build value selling tools, like the calculations I' calculators Imentioned earlier and believe that was in December of what November tesever of two thousand andeighteen I want to say, and then about was e July August of twothousand and nineteen is when we acquired, I present, which was a UB UKbased Selsan Nabelin provider, a lot more similar to to ours. So it was aselfpresentation up and combine with conten margeint system, but what theyhad going for them is that they really were very successful with smbs. So weup to that Gon media fly was seen as kind of a premium. Mi sells an ablrmentplatform for the the very sophisticated enterprise. You know, Sive companiesthat again had embraced we're looking for for big digital transformation and we again we're looking to Expendo atolladdressro market and because I present had the SMB side of things. Essentially,you put them together and you can do sell the nembement for all which, bythe Windo being our campaign around to announce he I present acquisition. So that's that's H. that's the you knowthe reason behind it and then, as far as you know, the costomer and Hav thatchanges and and the Valu proposition you can stop me Fri'm going too fast.This is where it gets tricky right, because acquisitions are a fantasticthing, no question right: You're, if you're doing it for the right reasons.POPEFULLY, you are you've studied through. It only makes you better atservicing your customers right, but it can be destructive in a sense that you'r combining brands you're combiningpeople or you combyng company values. You know in our case, for example, youknow we brought in a Linian and so of course our value prop changed a littlebit. An our MESSAGEON had to change a little bit and just when you think,you've like nailed. Your new messaging here goes another acquisition. So it's disruptive from that stundpoint, but you got to keep your have to...

...keep your eyes on the on the prizeright and then what's the the reason why you're doing this and you're doingit to sserv your customers better and expendyour toal address, fol market and Co revenue in the end and so from a when,when I think about the Costmer, specifically, that's been a great storyfor us, because you know t e the message toto, our customers and when wehave an acquizintial, we need to message all our audiences right to it'sO casteer base. It's our INTERNA on sobviefs, theyre employees, h t that'svery, very important and then it's the the external audiences like prospectsand then all the influencees around it like analysten partners and you knowgo,channel and whatnot. But in some ways I want to say the costomer the messagethe customers is the easiest one, because it's bigger better more for you yeahright and we haven't, I mean, there's been very, I will say: There's been no back laps.There are no friction. I mean all. Our acquisitions have been very wellreceived for that reason, because our customers understood very well how it it expended our capabilities in theright way yeah. So you you, it sounds like theywere specifically kind of product portfolio expansions at some level,although P, certainly with the fortof, the first one, a little bit less sowith the second one. How did you tackle internal communication and specifically,did you bring members from either of those othercompanies into your marketing team as Cmo? And how did you? How did you blendthat together? So before I answer that I wanted to touch on your first comment,which you said they were sort of products, portfolio expensions with thefirst one, but also with the second one, in a sense that one of the reasons I present was sosuccessful with with us sand beach was they had really fantastic, youax very easy to set ot. You could set itup in hours. A lot of grades, interactivity and animation featuresthat we didn't have again. ORS was a little more premium, a little morecustom, a lottle more you know, and so part of what we're looking to do was totake some of that grit, UX and injecting into the original ity of likeplatform right, and they had a freerom offer and so on.So that was you there was. There was a lot to te ipresent product as well thatthat that that benefited us. So I don I don't want to undermine that, butyou're right, the Alenia Aliniun was really a something. Calculator was not somethingwere already doing right in terms of the the people side of things. Yes, we did,we did merge teams, so actually one of our one of the core things we look atwhen we look for companies to acquire is to make sure that there's no there'sno redonances, there's no IPLICATION, and so we've been able to do that verywell with both acquisitions. Where Erehas been no layoffs, you know at themoment of a quosition anything like that, because we really are its aperfect marriage across the board and so likey me I inherited. I think I wantto say three three focks, maybe for from the I present side into mymarketing team and then before that, from the Alinium side there was onemore person at joined so and it's been just lookg looking exactly for what getting exactly what I was looking for,except that, rather than going outside and finding and hiring it, I was ableto get through the aquisition and in fact our Co Causes AcquisitionsEquahires, nice of it. So the idea of getting not just the tech, not justaccess to the customer base and access to the revenue, but access to thetalent and experience and insights. I love it yeah and it's a more efficiantway to do it. A S part of the deal right overall, then to go hireindividuals that way. So when the approach obviously seems very, verythoughtful, it seems like thereas a lot of relationship building and probably alot of homework done, and so I would guess that the cultural transitionprobably was not especially difficult because of it was done in instant,exactly because that's part of the Stranegy to right so it see. Is it theright FID? Yes, of course, from a product, some point and n, thefinancials and all those things, but the the people sign oid, whether againthe equalhirer notion of it, as well as the culture huge for us, huge in fact,I remember being in a board meeting we'rediscussing those acquisitions. I forget it which, if it was the first one orthe second one, I don't remember and we all agreed. I remember highlighting how I felt aure two companies were perfectcultural fit- and I remember oo, one of Ou Bro member, saying that's the mostimportant thing, because even if everything else is perfectly in place,if there is not a match in the cultures, it will fall and no question and we've been. I don'tknow that I can say: We've been lucky...

...because again, it's fron and center interms of our strategy, we're not going to acquire a company her. We feel it'son a good contol of Fitch fit, but I feel like we've. You know we clearly wemade some we've been very diligent about that point, and so we made mydecisions as a results. So, yes, the culture hasn't been, there's been no,no real friction. There awesome go to the customer side of it. Obviously, thesales and marketing motion and SMB is different than sales and marketingmotion. For you know you mentioned fortune one hundred companies and youspan that whole gamut. How did expanding that total addressable marketreally affect you and your team? How did it change the way you think aboutthings? how Di it change the way you approached the work that you were doingto address: thequest difference, Yeah Yeah, so blod you're asking thatbecause it is different and I don't think we're quite prefair prepared forhow different it was. So we ou know full transparency. We I feellike we're skewed ha little bit. We start o q to much mone direction. So Idon't want to say we ignore the enter right side and we pivite a lot tohardon s and BS, but it feels tau way in hindsight and then we kind of then we corrected right and and then we we went through a really funny, Revalu prob or really reassessment of our ICP or idealcustomer profile and and and and starting to do ABM. You know combaemargeting from there right, really understanding that we really can be onething for all people and we have been talking to as San these more oenterprise and that's not necessarily great for a business. So how do we makesure that we geet all our audiences and really there's three audiences ports?At this point? Three buckets right: There's the enterprise sales motion,there's the midsize companies but actually sells emotian and then thethere's, the really the velostity segment. If you want call, is that way,and then there's the the selfsearch segment, because for very small companies we enable themon our website they can sco on the website s wipe the credit card gets youknow our Taran offering and get get up and start on their own in a few hoursright, and so those are three distinct sells motions and that's. It wasn'tclear to US quite from the Gadgo to a bit of trial and error, but we adjustedand and it's working well now- and you know-and that's that's a big learning from one of the big learnings from me fromacquisitions. Is it Woln't be perfect and that's okay and you also get. Ithink you learn and you get better an every time, but it's okay. If, if things are not quiteperfect, you onot always time to tweek and and make better yeah, and it's nevergoing to be perfect anyway. It's really interesting. We haven't done it throughacquisition but weare in the same challenge. Right now, where we do haveselfserve, we do have SMB, we do have more midmarket than enterprise. ThinkEnterprise is still in terms of what we do. I an there's a lot of compliance.We do have a couple very, very large customers that we've cut through a lotof red tape with and for in order to get you know installed in them, but itis really interesting to span that group and to create a single websitethat allows people to selfidentify and know where they are and to know thatthis is for you and you know, to support the various sales people, inparticular with the with the content that they need and all these otherpieces, because they're all working at kind of different paces for differentaudiences and even within we're just talking about the size of the businessright. Now, we're not even talking about some of the nuances of theindustries that we serve and all that's very complicated and challenging, butyou cheat it up there. I would love for you to walk through kind of the threehigh level learnings you have from this experience and the first one he sharedwith me is not to rush. Yes- and I know it sounds counteran tuitive- and thisis advise that I I receive from our marketing our original marketingboard advisor right before the the first acquisition. He specificallysaid that to me- and I don't think I really listened. I wish I hwish. I hadin the sense that he said look. You know when the deal get signed. That's the first step.That's not actually the acquisition right that mean that's! That's all themerging up to companies, sut ast the very beginning. The merging takes timeto happen, and you know we know for massive mergers that happend right it.Sometimes it takes several years, but even for for smaller companies. Youknow he had said to me IIS going to take at list in here. Basically, youstart to you know to roll things out, but youalso have your your regular job right. Everything else.You still need to do to keep doing this lidetpuosition, so bringing the rest ofthe two companies together will happen...

...with the extra time that you have right.So you don't want to break what's already working just for PSECHOMERGENC,so companies, but you know we were very ambitious across the organization andwe wanted to be amazing, and so we immediately rolled out. We had all thisgreat project plans on roadmaps and we're like this is how we're going toemerge it to websites, and this is how we're going to do a content, assessmentand wil new content, and this is going to be the the text ack. You know arodmap and how we're going to merge a texttack and- and we didnt ery thingwitin three months and it was across the organization, I'm speaking, frorthe marking side of things. You know what I just mentioned, but the truth isproduct side of things. Customer success, everybody operations, peoplegot everything done really quickly and for one God can lead to burnout, whichI wouldn't recommend to is you know there were things I would have done tefor la in high and high signis alw, two housand and twenty right, and so had we taken more time, for example,merging at two websites. We did it and we did it. Well, but in the process ofshutting down the alinient website- and you know ininjecting some of their their contentand information to ours, we love some things. We love some things that wereimporant right and we and we corse corrected later, and so that's why Isaid what I said about perfect: It wasn't perfect wo make some mistakes,you can always address them later right, but but in Hind sight, O secondacquisition with hat present. We didn't do that. In fact, their website isstill it's still a lot right. Still, it's still live, and so just you knowtake the time. No one is no one is holding a gun Nto your head. No oneshould be holding onto your head after the deal is signed to really mergeintwocompanies. I love it and it teas up the specifically the merging. I thinkthe next one kind of gets to what to do with the brands a little bit. Thesecond one is check your biases, so so yes, absolutely analit. That hasto do with a brand, and so another example here, and it relates to the notrushing again, don't Rach. So you can chuck your viuses right so just because,let's say we acquired a Linian and we were the bigger company, you know we, we underestimated twili Ga Brad equity, that BealinenNamehad, even though they were a much maller company and and they had thewere the wereniche offering right, and so what happened was in the process ofelimining the Aliniam name. People couldn't find us. The people were notfind tha th the value, selling toas anymore. So again, we course correctedthat, but there's a little bit of like were you know, we're the bigger company,we're crying the other, onedhere, smaller and, of course, we're going tofill them under a grand yeah. So so just you know just watch that that's whone exactpl. It could beanything else right. So I think it's important check checkyour biases yeah. I have a feeling that that has some effects internally aswell. When you think about you know aquahiring is you know you want to makesure that that you're, that the acquired team members don't feel secondclass or other either right? And so I'm sure that the kind of the I guess,generically speaking power, dynamic of WHO's acquiring who has effect acrossthe whole thing and of course you spoke very spartly to one of the moreinteresting ones which is brand equity and findability. It'sreally smart. So I guess I was kind of teasing there a little bit your thirdone, which is mind the people which just based in the words I like that onethe best, but I love for you to elaborate on it. Well, thank you. I this one is so important to me. Look it's if you're, not just mergingto things your mergeing, you bring people together right and there is a lot of trepredation andtherr trepedation on both sides. Let me tell you right so, and I I alwaysremind my team on the media lieside right, whatever acts they have goingthrough the process, I remind them that multiply that by ten- and that'sprobably have the other side is feeling right, because empathy put yourself on in their shoesright, they are the ones being acquired and yes, herewas a cultura fit. But that's scary. You know andtheretheir positions are transitioning there. Noo Great, you know in our caseAqhire nobody's osing their jobs, orver the that's fantastic, but there's silltransitions like people's roles. In some cases it was a linear transition.You know from one to the other. In other cases, people's jobs weretransformed right and so there's an unknown factor and people. Some people,love change and lovely unknown and thrive on that, like myself, forexample, other people don't right so ou t you have to mind that, and what Ifound was very very helpful was one on... constant, like checkens right, both with the team that wasalready working with me, as well as the incoming team for a long time right now,just for a couple of weeks right but wile. This is happening and later oncethey're already establishing their in their roles. And how are you doing harthings feeling Etca and then, in the case of I present you know we also had different geography, different culture,right, ther, UK based where the US I know, were cousins or I think that'swhat we call each other right cousins- and I you know, L likeily, I've mietarycareer has been global. I Lov, like Oun management, so really work workingacross the boo globe with hovs across the world, and I joke in fact that Iknow the US listen. I know the rest of the world but there'r nuances S.absolutely you don't work with Europe, the Sameway you work with Asia and youdon't work with like in America the same when you were with the US and soonvery different and even within Europe, there's a lot of differences right. So I was very mindful of that and that'sthat's that's something keep in mind in the in the communication. Styles in thejokes, you make. We've had a few moments like that. Soit's it's constant reminder and constant empathy for the people that are involving theprocess. Yeah and again, if you were a regular listener to this, show, youknow very well that we have a lot of conversations about employee experience,bening a necessary precursor to customer experience. A great customerexperience is basically impossible without a great employee, experiencasd,so minding the people. Thinking about the people on your team spending timein one on one. I found all three of your recommendations here foracquisition. Basically Y, you could apply a lot of the learnings to anykind of a changing dynamic situation. Sometimes it's changes in strategy. Sofor us we seem to have a lot of interest, a air quoting here up market.How do we adapt our teams to continue, as you did continue to serve thecustomers that you already have, while growing people in processes thatsupport attracting and bringing on new customers as well? And so I've reallyenjoyed this thoughtful approach. I'd love for you to address one more thinghere before I give you the chance to give some give some acknowledgments tosome of the people in brands that you really respect. I would love if youcould give me a quick pass on your path, just within mediafly, from salesdirector to VP marketing to CMO. You know, VP marketing to CMO, obviously,is something that has happened to many. Many people and sales tomarketing isn't crazy, but it's also not super supercommon either like what was that path like for you was that something youwanted to do for yourself. was that something that business demanded? Howdid that go for you, and no? It was something the business demanded beforeI answer that. Can I touch one one very east fikglass thing regarding the mindof people which I think is important is is transperency so in communication. So-and this is a little uneusualinethess in the sense that by Media Fli for allour quisitions, we've been very open with employees or both sides before theapquisition was anouced, and I know that's very unusual right in many casesthat skept onthe raps not in Ou, not not not. In our case, we start talkingto employees, probably like two months or maybe not two months like a monthbefore the deal we know the deal is going to happen and we share a lot ofinformation and so there's definitely not keeping them in the dark makes abig big difference, and so there's there's regular like town halls once aweek, or we talk about this, the evolution, what we se happening andthen this is what it's going to be anouse and then we have ton holes afterso the transparency has been hugely affectidg for us and that's very much,that's all about our Co. I mean that's how he does business heovercommunicates, and I have a lot of respect for for that. I love becausethat's a give respect, get respect that shows a great deal of trust and respectfor all the people involved. I love it. It's Wa been one of my. I don't knowwhere I picked it up, but I've always had this approach of share as much asyou can as early as you can obviously with some prudence, obviously with someeditorial judgment, but the less anything is a surprise to anyone. Thebetter off. You are an specific to what you just said. Your CEO isdemonstrating respect for all of the people, which makes is it her or him it's it's him makes him worthy ofrespect as well and you're a question about mytransition. So, yes, it was sudden it haven in fortyhours. For you know, I came from the agency word: Advertising Intessin Midiyagencies for over twenty years so and decided I no longer wanted to do thatand and took a nice six months, break...

...and didn't work, which was nice andstarted working, an mediafly in sales, and I view that is a career change. Youknow man, you're, always selling and then the environment, even in agencies,but you know different, calling more traditional selling. Youknow F full time, focuse on sales and six months into the role there was saother had been hired. It wasn't there that long left and I essentially got acall from the head of sales and said Hey. So I Hov', I have an idea for you and he says you're not supposed to knowthis, but son, so he's leaving. You Know Jou, he just you know. He juststarted. HEARIN started building a team and we don't want to bring them aMentom, because it was at a point where media fly wanted. T inivest inmarketing, wanted to build tha marketing team and realize that they inorder to grow the way they needed to grow. They had been very much likeproduct led sales lead and they need a marketing machine right, and so wedon't want to build an Omentum Givin your background. Could you step in andpick up the reins from here temporarily, and I think this call was on a Thursdayafternoon and by Monday, like Tuesday morning, I was, Ihad basically walked away from Calles and stuff into margeting right, and Ithink there was a team of three people that are just bein hired. So it wasvery much building the the the engine for the ground now and I said to them.I said fine I'll do it, but you know I'm excited about Selles. I feel likeYo can really thriving this so I'll do it, but I definitely want this to betemporary at least have the option to go back to sales. You know in sixmonths, Wa agree. This would be six months. You know Gig, but really whathappened. I was three months intuate, I loved what I was doing and I love thework, and so it became permanent in fact, there's a funny story about thisand how it became permanent because it was also in he board meeting, and itwas my first born meaning and the co made a comment to and that's why we you know, that's why we've takenIsabell away from sells to now run markey permanently, and I rememberlooking an him and looking an the head of sells and I looked at each otherwere going okay. I guess we didn't know this ones, fer forny, so it was a that's hod to happened. You know, and Ithink that I even those six months, whether shortsentin sales, it was very helpful to me because it gave me good grasp for whatI thought was working. What wasn't working in terms of you know, the theproverbal Seles, an marketing, aline man and you know very- There- was verylittle self supported from the marketing side because there was nomarketing, I mean who are you gonna line with when there's nobody there toa line? WOWIT right? And so so there was a lot of work to be done and, and it's been, you know it's been awild ride and then I was promoted to six months later. I was given the DEPof marketting title and a year later, Iwas formo Samal. So that's that's thetrojacttor Ra awesome. I love it just stepping into the circumstance findingthat it is a good fit for you getting the by in from other people, and- andhere you are- it all makes sense in hindsight, butyou would not have predicted it absolutely not. So I thought I was donewith marketing and advertising, but what I hadn't fuctored in was that it's I'm a builder I like and throughonmy career. I've been brought in to build teams. Bi Global teams build newprocesses, you know and so on, and so this was perfect for me. I just didn'tknow I hadn't connected the dots. You know I was just thrown into thissituation, but I loved it because I got to build a house from the ground oupand that's what I love doing and then being on the client side. Right soremember, I'm also coming from the plient service, Sien of things and sobeing in house was very, very different and it was surprisingly rewarding right becauseyou have there direct line ofsigning to the business impact, an you're,creating it's your baby. You have more influence Im and all those things thatyou don't necessarily have hone your a don't agency, and so I had no, I alsohad not factored in so it was a a very pleasant surprise. It has completelyaxthis role. has completely exceded my expectations, it's been, it's been,it's been a while to ride and a good way awesome. That's so good! Thank youfor sharing that. If you are listening to this show- and it's been a reallygood conversation and not one of our shorter ones, then you might like someof the upper other episodes that we have. We've spoken with a number ofCEOS on the show again we're typically talking marketing sales and CStypically leaders. We also go outside those bounds periodically, but some ofthe CMOS we've had on recently we had ed brial from a Primo. We had CORTYMcCarthy from Sosio an event sap that is figure not how to make the pivotwithand for their customers to virtual events and hybrid events. Of course,Steve Passinelli, my friend teammate and coauthor here at Bombam SamanthaStone at the Marketing Advisory Network. We've had a number of CMOS on the showand if you want to check any of those...

...episodes out, you can just scrollthrough them at Bombomcom podcast. If you go to that page, can click the sea,more episodes and just kind of scroll through them and see some of them oryou know you can check out the customer experience podcast in Apple Podcast, Ritunes in spotify, Google play Google podcast wherever you listen, and thereare a number of out other episodes you'll enjoy as I've enjoyed this onewith you, Isabel and so before I let you go, I would love to give you a fewopportunities. The first one is to give a thinks or mentioned to someone who'shad a very positive impact on your life or your career, so this one is going toHavpe to go to mark strong, who will not be listening to the PODCAST, I'msure fantastic team leader back in my agency days, when I was on my canaricon in New York, it's one of the places where ive stayed the longest,the dream boss. What can I say strategic? You Know Strategy, projectmanagement, people, leadership, you know everything you want. I mean it'sreally someone. I learned a lot from directly as well as Byoursmole is justhow I saw him. Manag on team and definitely someone I look up to- and Istill talk to occasionally and he's now he's now, a coach actually an executivecoach for Gothe reason: Yo should be causing all of us and it sounds likeyou've carried some of that experience into your role and I'm sure it's partof what's made Yeu successful here mediafly. I feel that way. I definitelyfeel like, like. I said, I've learned a lot from him and brands that stand outfor a great customer experience, I'm going to say Ikia, you know, and thisone also goes back to my agent. To days I mean I like to see I've graduatedfrom my Kia franture, which I have in some ways, but you know onoccasional, I go to their store and I'm reminded you know it's just that storexperience and the online experience everything about it, the consistencythat we talked about right and they were my first client when I first gotinto o Adas, and so I also remember I have fun memories of working with them.It was one of my best clients, phenomenal corporate values and theylive by them, and so it's you know. They delighted me in manyways back to the my definition of customer experience. I'm still stilldelighted by them. I know it's a bit to see brand, but no it's good. We've get.We get all kinds of of oportui answers to that question from large to smalland the most fun thing to me about the IK.Experience is kind of the CO creation element right, like you see everythingall put together, but then you have to go kind of find it and cart it aroundand you know get in line and figure out how to fit it. In your car, AA, there'sa sense bout, chievement, totally yeah, there's like you were invested in it ina different way than you are with other things. It's really fun. I haven't doneit in a long time, but I've done it many times and I enjoy the experiencevery much Isabel. If someone has gotten this far, I know that they reallyenjoyed your stories. Your insights, your experience and the way that youshare them with us here. If someone wants to follow up on the conversationthey want to learn more about you or about media, fly whereare some placesyou might send people so linthon. You Know My name my profile, that's thebest place to find me easily. I will say, check out MABEA FLYCOM in ourwebsite, but also go to avove sellingcom. So that's the evolvedselling institute, which is media, live stat leadership hub and it's a community afpeers around sales, aneighbormen selling more effectively shosen marketing, aligonment all thosegreat topics. So we have we hostour own PODCASSS. There there's a lot of wealthof content. So that's that's a great website as well to visit awesome. Thankyou for that and for folks who are listening. I link all those things upat bombomcom s podcast when we do a short write up on this conversation, wedrop some video clips in there to bring the conversation to life. If you wouldlike to listen on an open web page, we do embed all the audio there too, andso, if you missed any of that stuff, you can either bounce back in yourplayer. It's Isabel Papulius, I'm linkedin and evolve sellingcom,mediaflycom and, of course, again I'll have all those links at Bombomcom,podcast, Isabel! Thank you so much for your time and your insights, I reallyenjoyed it. Thank you. It's been a pleasure. Thank you, clear, communication, human connection,higher conversion. These are just some of the benefits of adding video to themessages your sending every day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance,so pick up the official book. Rehumanize your business, how personalvideos, accelerate sales and improve customer experience learn more in ordertoday at Bombam TCOM book, that's Bomb Bombcom book thanks for listening tothe customer experience. podcast...

...remember the single most importantthing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for yourcustomers, continue. Learning the latest strategies and tactics bysubscribing right now in your favorite podcast player, or visit Bombomcompodcast.

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