Growth Hacking Interview Series #103: Christi Tasker
Christi is drawn to luxury marketing by the rich, vibrant imagery. She loves the stunning photography and the attention to artistic detail that sets it apart.
A lifelong devotee of style, she knows instinctively what the luxury consumer wants to see and hear, and from her experience working with high-end designers, artists and manufacturers, she knows how to deliver it in a way that keeps people talking. (from: About)
How did you start out as a marketer?
I fell into marketing my mere accident. I didn't realize I was even “marketing” until I was asked to support new company startups back in 2009 by several groups of venture capitalist.
How did I not realize it? I owned an interior design firm and retail store and one of the many necessary evils is “marketing”.
I just happened to be good at it without realizing it. AND my daughter was on MySpace in 2006 and I felt the need to watch over her shoulder.
In the process, she insisted that I drive her 20 miles to purchase a silly little beany animal called a “Webkinz”.
Fortunately, I was already a marketer for my retail store who just happened to carry the Ganz brand. Ganz was the manufacturer and creator of Webkinz so it made it super easy for me to get an order shipped the next day.
Looking back, what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
Time. There simply is NOT enough time in the day, especially with the endless tasks of digital marketing.
Not only is time an issue, but the ever changing social site algorithms for people that don't know what an algorithm is can be challenging for most.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
Good question. And a surprising one that I don't think I've ever been asked. My first client (outside of the venture capital groups) was an interior designer by the name of Dann Foley.
Dann came to me seeking new revenue streams and ways to maximize his name.
I rebranded him, connected him with the appropriate parties to facilitate his dream of licensing along with supporting his social media efforts during a successful NBC celebrity design competition television show hosted by Nate Berkus.
Dann's social presence was by far the most pronounced on the show and ratings quickly fell after he was voted off by Nate and his producers.
Specifically, we pitched Dann to the media, transformed his spoken words into specifically timed and published social media content.
Watched the American Dream Builders show with him to produce content on his exact words. Outside of television and brand creation we built events around Dann's brand and introduced/advised him to the manufacturer's that he works with today.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Seeing others succeed and watching others wonder what I do and why I'm there. I am NOT a self promoting publicist or marketer.
Matter of fact, it's gratifying with our clients come via a third party recommendation or referral. If clients have to let us go, they miss us afterwards.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?
Wow! Another excellent question. My entire staff (with the exception of 4 people) work remotely, everyday for either our digital agency (www.puttinout.com) or our traditional public relations and marketing agency (www.taskeragency.com).
From experience I know that most are not self starters nor are they driven enough to organize their schedules to earn enough as a “freelancer”. Notice I didn't say “all”. I simply say “most”.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again, what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I would stick with helping through the world of technology vs. trying to help people. One of my grandfather's used the expression, “You can't help stupid” and he didn't really mean the individual was “stupid”.
He meant that humans are often “uncontrollable” in the sense that we either expect too much or not enough. Or worse yet…they don't know what they expect.
After my interior design career that my mentor suggested, I exit after 10 short years, I stupidly chose to go back and help people…..as if I can. haha.
Yes, we can all be helped so my time is not wasted. At the ripe age of 40, I would now just go back to my 30 year old days and create a platform to react to the algorithms I set forth.
That way, my expectations would be my own and my own fault if they failed. 🙂
I still do this through applications for clients but I am slowly removing the client and doing things on my own in order to achieve results faster as I feel as though we are often slow to the race and lack the ability to make decisions in a timely manner.
How is your typical work day structured?
Wake up. Shower. Work 9-14 hour days. I stay focused and reduce interference. It is rare that I get asked to lunch because I've declined so many times that I don't keep my schedule open at lunch time.
Some days consist of travel for client meetings or speaking engagements and even so….there is no $15 in flight internet fee that will stop me from working.
Matter of fact, as long as the internet is functioning properly I often get more work completed on planes that anywhere else. I take the Mary Kay approach and control my own schedule to reduce the conception that I'm “not working”.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
Public relations. The reality is publications still take forever to make decisions and even when they do seeing the printed success is at least 6 months out.
Websites and applications are pretty much the same. I see both completed in my own head so far in advance that they always feel “behind” to me.
You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.
Define brand objectives, goals, and then get a feel for the look. Name it. Conduct color studies. Produce 3 rounds of logos to get it close to perfection.
Perfect the logo. Build the Brand Bible including all elements to include logo, fonts, colors, etc. Brand Strategy. Now, it's onto the fun stuff like websites so that the world can see including the public relations campaign.
Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?
First of all, I don't over commit. If I come close to over committing, I simply don't sleep.
My entire team and client projects are organized in Basecamp; the deadlines and objectives defined there help.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
Uber. I am into companies that provide a useful user experience and truly act as if they care about it. All of this goes without listing my “Uber needs to improve list”.
Matter of fact, I think I may contact them for a consulting role. My recommendations would start with their poor conception of “existing customers”.
It took Bellsouth, later Cingular, and now AT&T long enough to figure out treating old clients better than new….why can't everyone else take note from those old coots?
I'm sure they're aware of the part, but there's so much room to improve yet I am the girl who has considered completely going without a vehicle.
Dottie, my polka dotted hummer remains parked most of the time because I do love Uber so much. It's nice to be able to arrive at an event in any car I want for $30 or less.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
Read the social site blogs. Pay attention to the younger generations. Watch how they communicate, shop, and utilize their phones.
Ask them about the coolest things they've seen lately and how they found it.
Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?
This one because of the significance to the Las Vegas economy: http://www.puttinout.com/las-vegas-market/ – we also won the Public Relations Society of America Pinnacle Award for this project.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
Sadly, without regret, read my blog –www.puttinout.com! Why? Because this is the advice clients pay us for and what's missing from the web.
Think of it as your hidden secrets. We also publish tidbits on our instagram and Facebook pages.
We only write when there's something important to say which means it could go a month or two without a post. I hate wasting my time or the time of others.
What advice would you share with other Marketer's who want to become more productive?
Set your schedule. Define your work hours and milestones. Don't leave your work space until milestones are met.
It's really that simple. Now, if you've got a Grandmother like I had…they will not understand. You will simply need to steer clear of working in front of them. 🙂