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Think and act like an owner with Lisa Cox at Teak & Twine

Lisa Cox knows how to think and act like an owner in her role as director of marketing at Teak & Twine. She shares about top performing paid ads, Trojan Horse projects, experimenting with ABM, and driving revenue.

Show Description

Where B2B marketers come to talk sales. 15-minute interviews published every Monday morning. For heads of marketing and founders who support a sales team.


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Show Notes

How do you think and act like an owner as a marketer? Lisa Cox at Teak & Twine shares her approach and how it informs everything from coming up with campaigns to running revenue reporting.

Highlights include:

  • Balancing business growth and personal goals. Lisa shares how her past experience as a business owner taught her how important it is to focus on business growth. Now that she's in-house, she can think and act like an owner and still finds ways to also drive personal growth and take risks.
  • Their most successful paid ad. It's a meme. Seriously. And they haven't been able to top it. Lisa shares how they develop creative concepts. They went too far but pulled it back and are striking the right tone.
  • B2B doesn't have to be boring. Beyond any one ad, they engage with the human-side of their prospects which include HR teams and other marketers. While also supporting a smaller DTC segment of their ecommerce business.
  • Expanding their definition of success. Strictly speaking, Lisa is responsible for sales pipeline. But she has gone rogue to build her own reports and track revenue since she knows what's what really matters.
  • Experimenting with ABM. Not wanting to invest heavily in data or tech, they found a scrappy way to experiment with ABM (account-based marketing) and achieved some pretty incredible results. Like a 50% meeting rate! Hear how.

Find Lisa Cox:
Find Teak & Twine:


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[00:00:20] Lisa Cox: If there's an opportunity, I'm definitely the type of person who's like, okay, let me test and do this on my own. And then propose it and get buy in, right? Like, YOLO, let's just build something, test it, and then get approval.

[00:00:34] Lisa Cox: There's definitely some stuff we can talk about there.

[00:00:37] Harris Kenny: Why don't we start there, because I think that's a really good starting point.

[00:00:39] Lisa Cox: In my past as a business owner, you had your own goals, but you knew you were trying to create revenue for the business. Ultimately business growth, so you had to balance both of those. Balance the marketing aspect and the business growth.

[00:00:53] Lisa Cox: I'm taking that balance now in my current role. I have to achieve those revenue and pipeline goals first, and then leave room for the other stuff.

[00:01:04] Lisa Cox: Sometimes I call some of my projects like Trojan Horse projects, first achieve the other things, get the buy-in, hit your numbers and then you can do these other little tests because you're achieving the business goals, you can kind of get away with it.

[00:01:21] Lisa Cox: And honestly, that's the fun stuff. The Trojan Horse programs.

[00:01:26] Harris Kenny: Can you gimme an example of one.

[00:01:28] Lisa Cox: Yeah, examples like experimenting with paid social. We're hitting our numbers on like Google ads and those capture campaigns and getting direct pipeline, but really experimenting on social where it's like brand awareness and memes and all these like, funny things that we just did a low budget, you know, ran some things.

[00:01:49] Lisa Cox: Then with the results, it's funny, our highest performing paid social ad is this meme. And we cannot for the life of us create a better performing content.

[00:01:59] Lisa Cox: But it's great because it's funny and it explains what our company does, which has why it works so well. And again, like if I had gone in for approval first, You know, like, Hey, I want to pay to show people memes.

[00:02:16] Lisa Cox: I'm not sure how that would've gone over, but if you just experiment, test it, put it out there, low budget, people can come around.

[00:02:25] Harris Kenny: Gimme a little bit more about the ICP that you're selling to, because I think some people might say, oh, well a meme, that's probably some Gen Z, you know, B to C product, but that that's not what you do, actually. And so it's kind of a counterintuitive thing for who you sell to, right?

[00:02:40] Lisa Cox: Yeah, totally. So I can explain a little more about the company and the ICP.

[00:02:43] Lisa Cox: I'm now the director of marketing at Teak and Twine, and so at Teak and Twine we do everything for gifting. We do have a D to C on our website where you can buy like one or two gifts.

[00:02:55] Lisa Cox: But the main portion of our business and my focus as marketing is b2b, so that's a company coming to us for like a hundred or a thousand or even 10,000 gifts to send to their employees, to their clients. It's super tailored, really custom.

[00:03:11] Lisa Cox: Our ICP tends to be their HR teams or their marketing teams.

[00:03:17] Lisa Cox: I do think there's some flexibility with humor, but it's humor for education, right? Everything's an experiment. We swung a little too far in a pendulum and went too funny and edgy and like it flopped. So we had to come back and it's like, oh, humor is part of education, so things are memorable. That was a real balance.

[00:03:38] Lisa Cox: And honestly, people are still human, right? Something funny still connects. So that's really the balance that we're trying.

[00:03:47] Harris Kenny: Who on the team is coming up with? Is it you? Are you like the meme queen? Or do you have a team of people? Do you have a creative process when you're doing this experimentation, even beyond memes, but even just more conventional campaigns. I'm curious your process for shipping creative.

[00:04:02] Lisa Cox: I am not the meme queen, uh, we definitely have someone on our team. She's really funny. I think how we work on balancing that content is I myself am a numbers and synthesis and data type of person and she is the crazy funny one. We balance each other out and she pushes me, I rein her back.

[00:04:26] Lisa Cox: And honestly, like she makes my writing funnier. I help her get a little more straightforward with the educational stuff, and that's really our approach to content.

[00:04:35] Harris Kenny: Okay. And how does that translate to sales? So you mentioned pretty explicitly that you feel like you have pipeline responsibility, revenue generation responsibility, especially on the B2B side. Are you measuring based on calls booked, or deals in the pipeline, or revenue closed? How do the metrics line up with the sales team?

[00:04:54] Lisa Cox: Our main metric is ultimately pipeline. Pipeline from inbound inquiries. But I think it's also super important, I'm also measuring revenue. Obviously marketing teams are like, yay, we hit a lot of pipeline. But I always wanna follow it up cuz uh,

[00:05:10] Lisa Cox: Let's say our paid social does not convert well, then what do we do there?

[00:05:15] Lisa Cox: Ultimately my goal is pipeline, but I personally always follow up on revenue. I just think it's really important and helps us kind of like steer the ship a little bit.

[00:05:25] Harris Kenny: Yeah. Do you have reporting? Do you have standup meetings with sales? How do you follow up on revenue?

[00:05:31] Lisa Cox: I honestly would say we do not have a very high tech, uh, approach to it. To me that just means like I knew our goal and then I made my own spreadsheet to get the data and information that I needed to get.

[00:05:44] Lisa Cox: How I'm getting that information is I have all the pipeline data. We do both last touch and self-reported attribution. So I have all that data and then I'm working with the CEO on her side of like what's converting, what's turning into revenue, and then I'm putting it together to create my, honestly, my own dashboard.

[00:06:04] Harris Kenny: So you're rogue. You're running your own like data operation within marketing.

[00:06:08] Lisa Cox: Yeah, so I, I think it, again, it goes back to being a business owner in the past, right? I am focusing on the goal, right? I just need this information to make my job better. If there's no budget to invest in the tech, I'm like, well, just gotta make it like learn how to do formulas on Excel. There's lots of great blogs out there, and it's just really my approach for most things.

[00:06:30] Harris Kenny: Yeah, you don't have to answer this if you're not comfortable, but just a personal question. You know, I'm curious now, being a business owner and then going in house, was that a difficult decision? You feel about having the support of the team, what has been the contrast now that you're a little settled into this role?

[00:06:48] Lisa Cox: I think it's really important to talk about it because I think there's this really big hustle culture right now, and it's like if you don't wanna be working a hundred percent of your time, you're like not achieving. And running a business really allowed me to become clear about what I wanted in my career.

[00:07:05] Lisa Cox: And the same with my partner, we both decided to close down the business at the same time because it just wasn't our dream job and wasn't what we were expecting. And having that clarity is so important. I actually love being in house and I love a role where I have the flexibility to go a little rogue and embrace some of that entrepreneurial spirit.

[00:07:27] Lisa Cox: But there's just so much pressure being a business owner and you're doing so many other tasks that you just don't anticipate, you're doing accounting, you know, all these distribution things, like all these aspects of growing a business that you didn't expect. And I learned that was not for me, and I think that's a great lesson going forward.

[00:07:50] Harris Kenny: For sure. I think a lot of people do that. They go back and forth. They find different seasons of life where it just is time for something different, and then you bring a whole different set of skills into whatever the next thing is.

[00:08:01] Lisa Cox: I've had these big career shifts and so I've learned, I liked that and seeing those chapters. So I do also know going forward, things are gonna change, things are gonna shift. I think building a culture where that's normal and cool and appreciated and there's like so many skills that help me be better at a director of marketing now.

[00:08:24] Lisa Cox: Um, so I think more people should, should embrace that a little more.

[00:08:27] Harris Kenny: Yeah, how do you feel like that affects your ability to communicate with other parts of the business?

[00:08:31] Lisa Cox: We're doing gifting, so there's a big ops team and so if I see something on the ops side, for an example, we have these third party partners, some of the bigger like gifting platforms like Sendoso, ReachDesk, things like that.

[00:08:44] Lisa Cox: I was like, it would be really cool if we're making a specific line just for them, let's figure out the inventory, let's figure out the right terms, and that's product, technically lives in this op side, but if we get that marketing perspective, there's really an opportunity to grow.

[00:09:02] Lisa Cox: I am lucky that I'm in an environment where people are open to those ideas. I'm actively looking at these other areas of where can that marketing eye help the whole project.

[00:09:14] Harris Kenny: Can you brag about the business a little bit? Because I think what you're doing is unique, but why is Teak and Twine special versus others in this space?

[00:09:22] Lisa Cox: What we do is custom corporate gifting. You could send anywhere from 40 to 10,000. What we do that's really special I think is really how custom and tailored those themes are, so we're going beyond just the standard swag, and really trying to like tell a story, be really intentional about it.

[00:09:44] Lisa Cox: And so you're also working one-on-one with an account manager. And because this is all we do, we're focusing on the action, right? Do you want the recipients to contact their sales rep? Do you just want them to be happy and share it? Does that mean we're adding a QR code, a video? Some other element into the gift.

[00:10:04] Lisa Cox: I think we're really good at that strategic aspect.

[00:10:07] Lisa Cox: And then just honestly just the fun, the unique aspect. A few weeks ago someone sent this, dang, you're on fire gift. It's all red and spicy snacks and flame packaging and they sent it to their employees and were like, dang, you're on fire, like you're killing it.

[00:10:23] Lisa Cox: Really fun and unique going beyond the swag and just being super intentional about gifts.

[00:10:29] Harris Kenny: So if I want a hundred of the cheapest possible mugs, I should probably not go to Teak and Twine

[00:10:34] Lisa Cox: Yeah. That, uh, there are other great solutions for you, we might not be that one.

[00:10:43] Harris Kenny: Can you gimme examples of any campaigns that were outta the box or surprising that maybe people could listen to and kind of get some ideas?

[00:10:52] Lisa Cox: Another example that we talk about a lot. This juggling gift. So it was a gift for an e-learning company. So again about like learning skills. So the whole gift had juggling components and balls and scarfs and all these fun things. And then it actually had a card with a QR code that. Went to a video of the CEO teaching you how to juggle.

[00:11:20] Lisa Cox: So it was again, like, it was fun. It was interactive. It kind of told a story about what the company does. It does like learning programs, but it did it in a really fun and engaging way. So that that was a great project.

[00:11:34] Harris Kenny: That's really fun. Is there anything else that you're doing that you wanna talk about? I mean, so we, we could touch on outbound briefly, if you don't mind talking about it or if that's something that you feel like is you're still kind of cooking on. I also don't wanna make you talk about that publicly if you don't want to.

[00:11:49] Lisa Cox: I feel like outbound we're still experimenting with. One successful campaign that we did do was more on the ABM side, so, to test ABM, we didn't wanna invest in the tech and the data quite yet.

[00:12:04] Lisa Cox: So we created a list of our target accounts and we basically used our own gifting platform to create a custom landing page for each of these target accounts.

[00:12:13] Lisa Cox: We got our graphic designer to do some custom graphics, made it super tailored, but then we uploaded special custom gifts for that company and related it to their core values.

[00:12:25] Lisa Cox: And so it felt really special. And then we just emailed it to their team. Claim a gift, we would love to start talking to you. It was really personalized, then also they got to experience our product from start to finish. That was super successful. We got, I think, close to 50% of them turned into a meeting with sales, which was crazy.

[00:12:48] Lisa Cox: And then we also won an award for that. We shared that, uh, metadata io did this like me Experimental marketer of the year award. So we were runner up with that. So I think we're really proud of that because it showed like you don't have to invest in tech. You can find a really scrappy way to use what you already have as a company and test these ideas and see what happens.

[00:13:13] Harris Kenny: You're doing that within marketing and you're not just sending out a bunch of emails to people being like, hi, can you have a meeting on Wednesday at 10:00 AM?

[00:13:22] Harris Kenny: You're getting into their inbox, which in and of itself is an accomplishment to all the deliverability stuff, finding the right data, all of those things you're getting in their inbox, and then you're presenting them with a different message.

[00:13:33] Harris Kenny: And so you're doing this as an experimental channel, like you're running these other experiments. This is just a trying to do something different, right? And see what happens. I love it.

[00:13:42] Harris Kenny: So people wanna learn more about the company, if they wanna learn more about what you're doing. I don't know if you're active online at all, or people can kind of follow along, but I've learned a ton just since we've connected over the last few weeks.

[00:13:53] Lisa Cox: Yeah, yeah, for sure. If you wanna connect with me, I am super active on LinkedIn, Lisa Cox, you can find me there. And then if you wanna learn more about Teak and Twine, we also have a LinkedIn page. We also have Instagram. And then the website itself, so that's

That's all for now. You can find show notes at The theme music for Pipeline Meeting is by Neighbourhood Vandal and it's shared under a Creative Commons-Attribution, or CC-BY, license. If you learned something, consider sharing this show with a friend. Thanks.