Everyone loves a good unicorn story. But can you imagine being a mature business all of a sudden needing to go up against a major VC-backed unicorn?

By now, everyone knows the story of WeWork, but before the saga of Adam Neumann and SoftBank played out, WeWork was literally taking over the world. If you were in the co-working industry at that time, you were in WeWork’s cross-hairs. If you are curious how a business can survive and succeed in the face of this kind of onslaught, you need to listen to this EXCLUSIVE David vs. Goliath story from Garrio Harrison.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to work with your CFO to stress test your marketing plan
  • What financial metrics are important for marketers to know and manage to, especially for those who aren’t VC backed.
  • How to analyze your CRM data to narrow in on your ICP
  • The fundamental difference between how sales and marketing operate
  • How to make marketing intentional by collaborating across teams
  • The four stages of tackling marketing strategy
  • What frameworks to use, to solve marketing problems

Garrio’s Recommendations:

  1. Make sure the math works for you. Trying to reverse engineer or replicate your competitor’s strategy is often not the way to go, especially if their funding and business model is different from yours.
  2. Throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, is not a fiscally responsible way to do marketing.
  3. Marketers need to understand managerial finance.
  4. Marketing needs to be aligned with business outcomes, which is more than just ROI and revenue.
  5. Marketers need to deeply understand the business model they are operating in.
  6. Your CRM will make you directionally correct, but you need to be talking with customers.
  7. You need to validate your CRM data.
  8. You need to have empathy for your sales team and your customer
  9. For new marketers, there are two things you need to learn: sales, and managerial finance.

You’ll need to listen to the full episode if you want to hear the Lightning Round, but here are a few highlights:

  • Garrio considers cash-flow to be a core marketing measurement
  • Garrio is looking forward to co-creating content, like this podcast, with the ICP
  • If you have any LinkedIn SalesNavigator questions, reach out to Garrio, as he can’t live without that tool!

Proofpoint’s POV:

There are so many things to like about what Garrio shared in this episode, that there isn’t enough time or room in this section to provide our in-depth opinions on all of them. We, at Proofpoint definitely share a very similar outlook on marketing strategy and how marketing needs to operate within the business. Here are a few highlights to expound on a bit more:

  1. Marketers need to be good at business, not just marketing. Garrio specifically mentioned understanding sales and managerial finance, and I like to talk about business concepts and data concepts. All of that is to say that the only way a marketer can progress in their career, be promoted, etc. is by understanding the role that marketing plays within the business, not just understanding marketing strategy and tactics.


    As Garrio mentioned, marketing strategy needs to be intentional, and needs to ladder up to the desired business outcomes and overarching business strategy. You see this very often with marketers who have “shiny object syndrome”. They are so enamored with what’s hot in the marketing world, that they don’t stop to think about whether the new thing makes sense based on their business model, their business objectives, their company ethos, etc. This also happens often when marketers spend too much time worrying about what the competition is doing, which brings us to the next point.

  2. Spend less time worrying about your competitors, and more about how you can address the market and show your value proposition. The reality is that every business is different, even businesses within the same industry can have different funding models, capital structures, org structures, etc. So if you are only looking at what they are doing for marketing, without understanding the rest of their business, it will likely be a recipe for disaster.


  3. Marketing and Finance should be best friends. The “grumpy CFO” meme has been around for ages. And sure, there is some truth to it. But as a marketing leader you should aim to make the CFO your best friend. I am not talking about taking the CFO out for drinks. I am talking about taking the time to understand their world: have a working knowledge of managerial finance. Have a working knowledge of the business and revenue model you are operating in. And, when you come to your CFO, don’t simply ask for more budget, but instead bring them into the conversation and work on stress testing your marketing plan.This is especially critical for earlier stage, non-VC backed businesses. You need to understand, for example, how your plan is going to impact cash-flow and what tradeoffs will the business potentially have to make in order to fund it.

This was one of our personal favorite episodes, as we got to dig into the mind of a marketer turned COO, and understanding the operational aspects of your business and how marketing impacts them, is a critical skill. Plus the suspense, drama and great ending to the modern-day “David and Goliath” story in Garrio’s EXCLUSIVE case study is epic!

A bit more about Garrio:

Garrio was born and raise in Jamaica. He’s currently the COO of two amazing Minnesota-based organizations. One is a sales training company called Closers Media; as well as a revenue-focused marketing agency, Curious. Outside of working with clients, he dedicates time to community development and supporting the next generation of business leaders and works with the Silicon North Stars, a non-profit committed to inspiring young Minnesotans to become future technology leaders. You can learn more about their work at www.siliconnorthstars.org. Garrio is not just a shrewd business person and an intelligent marketer, he’s first and foremost a family man and a constant fixture on the Peloton leaderboard.

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