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Reb Risty
REBL Marketing
Fractional Marketing Leadership Is Better Than None
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With her rose gold hair and sassy attitude Reb is the founder and Head REBL at REBL Marketing. Reb has been an owner, partner, and investor in several businesses during her life--she has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. REBL Marketing has been her opportunity to take everything she has learned through her entrepreneurial endeavors and build a business that helps other businesses grow. She was voted the 2019 Emerging Woman-Owned Business by the Connected Women of Influence Organization and finalist for the 2020 SDBJ Businesswoman of the Year and finalist for SDBJ 2020 CEO of the Year. ​ REBL Marketing—a firm helping B2B businesses build and manage integrated marketing programs through strategy, branding and messaging, strong digital presence, and video content.

In this episode

If a small business owner wants to grow their business, they have to rethink how they're going to approach marketing and get out of the marketing lane, emphasizes Reb Risty, founder and CEO of REBL Marketing.

Marketing is getting more complex and it's hard to know every single platform and type of marketing and tool and strategy. Being able to bring in knowledge and talent on a fractional basis to fill those gaps for you is essential to having a successful marketing function. The range of expertise that you’ll need to market your business successfully is too broad and dynamic for a small business to have an internal team of full-time staff do it well. The W2 full time employment model is not agile and nimble enough to work for a small business.

Risty recommends that small businesses bring in a fractional CMO to take point and manage the appropriate specialists on a contract and project basis. Flexible working relationships are what the talent wants and the business can afford.

Listen to the end for a special gift Reb is offering our listeners that will help you get your marketing on track.

Fractional Marketing Leadership Is Better Than NoneReb Risty
00:00 / 25:12

A glimpse of what you'll hear

01:50 Why business owners overwhelmed by marketing

03:23 Complexity is driving the need for marketing specialists hired on a fractional basis

04:36 Marketing is following the medical model of a Primary Care Physician plus a wide variety of specialists as needed

07:55 Creating the right type of marketing team for your business

10:29 The traditional W2 employment model isn't nimble and agile enough for the marketing needs of small businesses

14:34 The talent economy for marketing

17:22 Learn about Reb. Email her at Call her at +1.858.848.7325

Episode Transcript
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)

Centricity Introduction 0:04

Welcome to the Best Kept Secret videocast and podcast from Centricity. If you're a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale. to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business. Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the Co-Founder and CEO of Centricity, Jay Kingley.

Jay Kingley 0:43

I'm Jay Kingley, co-founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to another episode of the Best Kept Secret show where I'm happy to welcome Reb Risty of REBL Marketing, where they help B2B companies under $10 million in revenue, build and manage integrated marketing programs, covering strategy, branding, and messaging, digital presence in video content, and Reb is based in San Diego, California. Welcome to the show Reb.

Reb Risty 1:14

Hi, Jay, thank you for having me.

Jay Kingley 1:17

It is my pleasure. Now, Reb, I know you have more years than it shows in the marketing world. And I have probably fewer years than it shows in the marketing world. I've worked with lots of CEOs of companies in your target market. And most of them, of course, love doing what they're doing. And they don't have marketing companies, but they need to market for their brands and for them to get their revenues. And I often say if there's one area of a business, where I see business owners just being overwhelmed I think it's marketing. So I'd love to get your take on that issue.

Reb Risty 2:02

Yeah, you know, I think his marketing has gotten so complicated. And then, it's interesting, the companies we work with are in this growth range, right, they have this amazing ability to scale or they could stay where they're at. And the business owner, usually the founder, still heavily involved in the company. So they're overwhelmed. And they're really good at whatever their businesses, but not necessarily the marketing piece. But they've been doing the marketing because they've been kind of forced to. And if they really want to scale, it's time for them to think differently about how they're going to approach the marketing. Well, their business in general, you know, to really kind of think outside the box to grow their business, they have to rethink how they're going to approach marketing, and they have to get out of the marketing lane.

Jay Kingley 2:47

You know, Reb I, I'm going to date myself a little bit, because I remember when the internet and what they used to call the World Wide Web, started to enter into the corporate world. And pre that, of course, everything was done in the physical world, you know, you had newspapers, you had TV and radio, you had billboards, you had direct mail. And at some level, that was pretty much it. But now with the advent of the digital world, things seem to be a little bit more complicated than they used to be, you know, what's your sense of how complexity has multiplied, which maybe makes this a really difficult challenge for the business owners?

Reb Risty 3:34

Yeah, you know, just seems like everything is getting more complex on the marketing side, because of the digital capabilities. Now you've got different analytics and platforms, and it's hard to know every single platform and type of marketing and tool and strategy. So we found even in our own business, working with specialists, there's, you know, an evolving, I wouldn't say it's new, but the new terms, the fractional C suite, you know, being able to bring in knowledge and talent on a fractional basis to fill those gaps for you because it's impossible as a business owner to know what all the just in social media alone, what different platforms are so and then add in everything else from digital and offline, you still do offline, too. So really leveraging specialists and fractional talent has helped us and our clients grow.

Jay Kingley 4:30

No, I think that marketing is followed the path of a lot of things that we deal with. I'm going to use an example which we're all familiar with, which is medicine and doctors, you know, the days perhaps of our grandparents or great grandparents, depending on your age, where you had the country doctor who dealt with everything, there were no specialists, and now there is a bewildering, array of specialists who do everything, but she still needs that primary care who understands enough that they can put that team together to deal with your specific issue. So if we just take that analogy, and we apply it to marketing, does that give us any insight is to how executives how CEOs need to be thinking about dealing with marketing in today's age?

Reb Risty 5:24

Yeah, yeah, that's a great example. Like, you don't want your general practitioner doctor, doing your brain surgery, right? You want a brain surgeon so and there's always a team, right? The doctor isn't just by himself, he's got a whole team of people and nurses. And so marketing teams are really that way. Now, you know, I think when a company is small, you may have an internal one person doing a lot of the marketing because it's more reactive, it's not strategic. But as you start to grow, and if you really want to scale, you have to have this fractional team, or there's no you need to bring in specialists. So example, you know, we use is me that a lot of people are like, Oh, we'd love to hire you bring you in be our head of marketing. But I guarantee you don't want me doing your graphic design work. Or now I know a lot about colors, I know how to lay things out, give direction to the graphic designer, but you definitely don't want me doing the graphic design. So even our team, you know, we utilize fractional and specialists as well within our team to help us and our clients, you know, execute on strategic plans. And then I really come in as a fractional CMO for our clients. But an I personally, our rebel, we use a fractional CFO, I just met with him yesterday, who helps us with our numbers, because I'm a marketing person, not an accountant. And I respect that. And I, you know, you have to learn sometimes to get out of your own way. And the beauty of where we are today is there's an amazing group of fractional professionals that you can tap into, you know, on a part-time, ongoing basis, fill the gaps, whatever you need. And it really is a way for small businesses to grow and scale.

Jay Kingley 7:11

So for us old timers, let me just say, we used to call people like that part timers, or contractors. But if you want to be a cool kid, now the term is fractional. That guys, it's really the same thing. Yes.

Reb Risty 7:27

It's all about marketing.

Jay Kingley 7:30

To shape well played, talk a little bit more about how you need to think about in this age of specialization, in an environment where you're always testing, we are always having to be agile and nimble. And so how you may choose to market, what platforms what messaging, what visual design that you're going to use could be very different over time. How do you think about creating a team that can handle all that dynamicism in your marketing function?

Reb Risty 8:07

Yeah, well, you know, I think it's, it does start with the owner, or, you know, the CEO, whoever's leading the company is trying to figure out where they function the best, you know, most likely, the CEO, or the owner is not a marketing specialist. They may, but that could be an engineer, you know, software. So really saying okay to yourself, as an owner, what am I good at what I do, that I don't really like and what I really don't like to do, and then in the marketing function, if marketing is not your specialty, then figure out who do you need on that team to make sure that you are creating a solid marketing program, you're being strategic. And I think you have to start at kind of the top. So who's, who could lead your marketing efforts who can come in and be strategic for you help you figure out then what's the rest of the team like? Do you need a social media specialist? Do you need a graphic artist? Do you need a writer, a marketing coordinator and let that person then handle it, and it really takes it off your plate, you don't have to now strain your brain. You know, as a friend of mine, he's called brain damage. And you now have a trusted marketing leader who can build out your marketing team and report back to you and it takes off your plate and hopefully gives you some relief to go do the things that you do enjoy doing and that you are good at.

Jay Kingley 9:34

And let me just go back to my doctor example. When you need a specialist in you're going to try to manage that on your own and you're not medically trained. That rarely ends well for you and everybody. That's why at the core of our system, is that primary care doctor who can coordinate exactly what you need. And it seems to me, Reb, that there are really two dimensions, which is at a given point in time, how much for example of a senior marketing person, such as yourself, do I need, how much time say per week do I need every graphics person to have a social media person or their copywriter, so on and so forth. But the other dimension is over time, maybe I only need this for three months. And then I'm done with that specialty. It may be I just I'm done with it. Or maybe I add a different specialty in and a traditional employment model, where I am bringing people on as W2 two employees in if I ever let those people go, I'm responsible for unemployment, my experience rating goes up. So my cost of employment is hard. The employment model we have in this country is not designed for a workforce that has to be nimble and agile. So just some thoughts on, you know, these different dimensions of how dynamic you need to manage this team.

Reb Risty 11:05

Yeah, you know, I, last year, I think opened all of our eyes to remote work, and probably being more open to having factional people on the team. Because the world changed, and we all had to change with it. And in that aspect, I do think there's a time you need a W2, you know, maybe do need a manager or coordinator on the team that's there every day, a lot of times depends on the business and what they're doing. But being able to leverage fractional help, or contractors, whatever you want to call it. It's just, there's so many, I mean, I'm in it every day, and there are so many amazing people. And a lot of these fractional executives, especially, they don't want to work in an office 40 hours a week, you know, 60 hours a week, they like having their freedom and being able to specialize in what they're good at, you are just getting almost instantaneously 20 plus years, sometimes 30 plus years of experience, and they're super happy, you know because they're coming in there, maybe like you said, working on a three-month project, putting in your strategy or plan. And then they're going to hand it off to an internal team, or they're going to help you build a fractional team and outsource a team that can execute the plan for you. And then maybe they drop in every once a while like I was mentioning my fractional CFO, we meet once a quarter, you know, I don't need to see him every day. And then I have an account and a fractional accountant and a fractional bookkeeper, you know, so you can, if you have figured it out, that's my weakness. So, and I don't like to do so. But yeah, I, I feel like the world has changed. And you'll also what I'm hearing and seeing too, with the next generation of workers, they don't like the traditional model, they don't want to be W2s. You know, there's this whole gig economy, and there are so many really good platforms out there where you can get to hire somebody inexpensively for a project or ongoing. But yeah, I, employers, businesses, business owners are gonna have to change their mindset. And it's really to their benefit. Because of the cost savings in hiring a fractional executive for my example, you know, I get asked if I would like to come on full time. And to hire a CMO my level, you're looking at 200 Plus annual salary a year, and then you're going to pay me health benefits and vacation and workers comp. And what if you don't like me? Well, you're stuck with me. So you know. So I think for growing scaling businesses, the fractional suite is such an amazing opportunity. And it's happening right now. It's huge. There are tons of amazing people available that you can tap into.

Jay Kingley 14:04

Well, I think first off rub, don't sell yourself too cheaply. Right. But secondly, and I think a lot of us have heard this term, which is the talent economy. And marketing is an area where the results that you're likely to get will vary hugely based on the talent level of the people that you have in your ability to bring on exactly the expertise and capability that you need at a given point in time. And in a talent-driven economy. You're going to have to meet the talent where they want to live. They're not going to meet you where you want to live. And I think what you're talking about in terms of flexibility, it really cuts both ways. It is what the talent wants, but it is also what I think the business owner and what the business needs.

Reb Risty 14:58

Absolutely. It is fair And, you know, it's scary because it's changing whether we want to or not, it's changing. So I think the businesses that are going to be successful are going to adapt to its changing quickly. So they'll adapt quickly, they'll take advantage of, you know, this whole new group of talent. And it's, we use it and see your clients using it, it really does, it really isn't a way to get ahead of your competition.

Jay Kingley 15:27

Reb, I think you have given us a lot to think about. I love your perspective, I think there is, as I like to call it a clarion call to change the status quo in terms of how so many business owners are thinking about such a critical revenue driving part of your company, which is marketing. And I think you've illustrated some of the real significant benefits that can come from embracing this approach. So we're going to be right back to learn a bit more about rep. Stay with us.

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Jay Kingley 17:06

Well, good luck back. Now let's find out a bit more about Reb and rebel marketing. So let me start with one of my favorite questions is when you look at your business and you look at your clients, what are the pain points that you're solving for your clients? And why do they need you to do it?

Reb Risty 17:26

Well, I think the big one is what we just talked about, as a lot of my clients couldn't afford me full time, but they can hire me on a fractional basis, and they come in, and they just get a wealth of knowledge and experience in the marketing realm. You know, we talked a lot about specialists and people really good at things. I'm actually a generalist, you know, I've had a long career, I've had the opportunity to do a lot of things. So I'm able to really bring in these specialists and understand what they're doing, at least to the level to manage them and be strategic and then really help them be successful as part of the team at the strategic or the specialist level. So that's the number one thing, you know, a client we provide is just that experience and knowledge on the marketing side because it really does become a mystery. You know, marketing is complicated today. Super complicated. Yeah. And then, you know, the second thing is, we try to, once we get the team in place, then we really act as that leader on that team. And I think you had mentioned one of the differentiators with REBL is that we are heavy into video content, and helping our clients produce really fun and engaging content to drive all the amazing marketing that they're doing and put in place.

Jay Kingley 18:46

Fabulous. So I think one of the realities of messaging for any business is when you continue to talk to the market, about what it is that you do, you will sound pretty much the same in the ears of your prospects as everybody else who does what you do. And that, my friends, is the definition of average. And there are two things about average one, I've never met anyone looking to buy average, and two when you don't give them a choice, they're gonna buy on price. The real, the much more interesting question, Reb, I'm going to put this to you is what makes you and your team great at what they do.

Reb Risty 19:26

Well, you know, I always say, our approach is practical. You know, I talked to a lot of clients, potential clients, business owners, and they're frustrated because they get this high-end amazing CMO or marketing leader and they come in and they write them this crazy strategy and plan the thing never can execute on, you know, so when we come in, we wouldn't recommend anything for our clients that we wouldn't do ourselves or couldn't afford, you know, so we really look at it Like, what're the goals? What are they trying to achieve in you know, chunks of the quarter, six months a year? And then what are the resources that they have? What can they really afford to do? And then we prioritize that. And I see a lot of other agencies, that might be specialists, but they put their clients in these turnkey programs that aren't necessarily a fit, you know, so for us, our approach is really practical. You know, I think clients are was taken aback a little bit cuz they expect just to pitch them on all this crazy stuff. But we're like, no, actually, you shouldn't be doing that. You shouldn't spend your money here. And then probably the second or Well, actually, the first thing is our people, when people meet me, or my partner, Michelle, she has an amazing background, and we really balance each other out. And then they're always amazed at our team and how much you can get out of our team at a very, you know, we like I said, we try to really stay within our budget and be practical for our client. We've just got a really awesome team, and we have a good time. And people like us.

Jay Kingley 21:06

Having a good time is important to do quality work, right? Because you got to love and be passionate about what you do in order to bring the best every day for every client. And I love that about you in your team, Reb. So I encourage everybody to go to Reb's LinkedIn profile. And when you go there, you will be very impressed by her experience in the different positions that she's had in the responsibilities, she said. But there's one thing that we all know, LinkedIn never quite tells us, which is why she's done what she's done. So Reb, if I could ask you to share what's happened in your you know, whether it's your personal life, professional life, that as you look back on it, you would say it had an outsized impact on you doing what you're doing today.

Reb Risty 21:59

Yeah, you know, I've always been very entrepreneurial, you know, doing the lemonade stands out in the front yard to I sold Cutco knives, if anyone's familiar with that did the door to door Cutco knives? Right.

Jay Kingley 22:14

Cutco knives? Oh my!

Reb Risty 22:17

You know, there's a whole group of us alumni. You know, I did that I, my husband, ran a small restaurant that actually put us into bankruptcy. So I learned a lot of lessons. But I've always been an entrepreneur. And the marketing side is so important to businesses. But I will tell you on the personal side, what really kicked me into gear to make that leap and start my business is when my father got sick with cancer. And you know, he was only a year and a half into his retirement. And he passed away, you know, he was diagnosed and then three months later passed away. And I just realized, you think you have all this time. I kind of dilly dally and played with the idea. And I finally said, You know what, it's time I either do it now or never. So I think he would be very proud and happy to see where I'm at.

Jay Kingley 23:10

So Reb, you know, you've brought I think a really refreshing insight into it is such a difficult area for so many business owners yet such a critical area, which is marketing. So I'm sure a number of people in our audience are going to want to follow up with you reach out directly to you. So what's the best way for people to get in contact?

Reb Risty 23:32

You know, email me, Reb Or call me 858 848 7325, I still pick up the phone, I still do even talk one on one. So either way, though, email or phone is probably the best.

Jay Kingley 23:50

Fabulous I will put everything both in the video and in the show notes for the podcast to make it easy also give you Reb's LinkedIn profile, and I do encourage you to connect with her there. Also, I read before we go, you're not done yet. Right? I like you, but I love our audience. So I'm looking at you and I'm saying, so what can you do for our audience? I think it's not a bad idea that you give them a little bit of a gift. So what can you do for them?

Reb Risty 24:25

Oh, umm a gift. I send everyone...You know what we do for a lot of potential clients that come in, which is always fun is we'll do like a 30 minute high level digital review. And we usually focus on your website and we'll drag in some social but I guarantee you'll leave with one or two really good ideas that you can take action on. You wouldn't even you know need to take a week or anybody could immediately Make a fix to your website. And those are always fun because they're fairly simple but important changes you can make. And then it's a great way for us to get to know each other.

Jay Kingley 25:10

Reach out to Reb via email and just tell her you want that gift and tell her you heard it on the Best Kept Secret show. All right, without Reb, you have been an absolute joy to talk to thank you so much for coming on the show today to everyone else. Until next time, let's continue to crush it out there. Later.

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