Revenue Rehab: It's like therapy, but for marketers
June 22, 2022

Finding Your Circle: The Importance of Community for Personal Growth

This week our host Brandi Starr is joined by not one but two experts to discuss Finding Your Circle - The Importance of Community for Personal Growth. Who better to discuss this topic than Matt Heinz of CMO Coffee Talk and Mike Rizzo, the Community-led...

This week our host Brandi Starr is joined by not one but two experts to discuss Finding Your Circle - The Importance of Community for Personal Growth.

Who better to discuss this topic than Matt Heinz of CMO Coffee Talk and Mike Rizzo, the Community-led Founder of MO Pros?

Matt Heinz has 15 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations, vertical industries, and company sizes. Hi career has focused on delivering measurable results for his employers and clients in the way of greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.

Mike Rizzo is also the founder of and with his extensive background in marketing Mike helped build, launch, manage and optimize Mavenlink's first-ever user community and Client Advisory Board programs. He is the founder of MO Pros - The Community for Marketing Operations Pros that is growing with an average of 110 new members every month and he is also the co-host of the podcast called Ops Cast by MO Pros.

Listen in to Brandi, Matt and Mike discuss the hows and whys of Community for CMOs and marketers and the importance of Finding Your Circle.

Bullet Points of Key Topics + Chapter Markers:

  • Topic #1 Why Should You Find Your people? [6:45] Brandi cues both Matt and Mike up to share the hows and whys they founded CMO Coffee Talk and Mo Pros respectively. What is revealed is necessity vs intention and the value of nurturing a conversation amongst peers.
  • Topic #2 Valuable Peer Communities are Industry AND Personally Focused [14:00] Mo Pros might lean into Industry talk while CMO Coffee Talk leans into networking and peer discussions; Brandi, Matt, and Mike share why all of the above matters when finding your peer set.
  • Topic #3 Brand Created Communities: Do They Work? [28:28] Matt and Mike discuss what the focus should be, why their communities have been so successful and what to look for when you’re looking for your own peer community and Finding Your Circle.

So, What's the One Thing You Can Do Today?

Key takeaways! Matt notes the importance of being intentional.  He says, “be intentional about finding one or two circles that represents you”.  Call a meeting with your team and ask the question, “where do you want to go in your career?”. Ask yourself first, then reach out to community to find out how to make it happen.

Mike says the one thing you can do today is to be vulnerable which leads to strength and excellence in leadership.

Buzzword Banishment:

This week we’ve got a few Buzzwords to banish! Matt Heinz says he really could do with never hearing the term “thought leadership” and “influencer” ever again.  “I get that sometimes in the industry we have to put a name on things,” Mike says, “but just say interesting things just be an interesting person”.

Mike Rizzo’s Buzzword Banishment is “rev ops”.  He notes that the conversation around rev ops and what it includes has become combative; the category and definitions and everything that's sort of shaping up the umbrella. “I think we all know what we want it to be” says Matt, “but we're all really struggling to bring it to fruition”. 


Get in touch with Matt Heinz

Get in touch with Mike Rizzo

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[00:06] Intro:

Welcome to Revenue Rehab, your one stop destination for collective solutions to the biggest challenges faced by marketing leaders today. Now head on over to the couch, make yourself comfortable and get ready to change the way you approach revenue. Leading your recovery is modern marketer, author, speaker and Chief Operating Officer at Tegrita, Brandi Starr.

[0:34] Brandi Starr:

Hello, hello, hello and welcome to another episode of Revenue Rehab. I am your host Brandi Starr and we have another amazing episode for you today. I am joined by not one but two amazing guests, Matt Heinz and Mike Rizzo. So as the founder and president of Heinz Marketing, Matt has more than 15 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations, vertical industries, and company sizes. His career has focused on delivering measurable results for his employers and clients in the way of greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty. Mike Rizzo is the community-led founder of MO Pros and With his extensive background in marketing, Mike helped to build, launch, manage and optimize Mavenlink's first ever user community and client advisory board programs. He is the founder of MO Pros - the community for marketing operations professionals that is growing with an average of 110 new members every month. He is also the co-host of the podcast called Ops Cast by MO Pros. And as the founder of Mike is taking a community-led approach to building resources that are purpose-built for marketing ops professionals. Matt, Mike, welcome to Revenue Rehab, your session begins now.

[2:13] Mike:  

I love this. Thank you for having me. What a great intro. 

[02:18] Matt:

I was just going to say that was the best podcast intro I have ever seen. That was phenomenal. 

[02:24] Mike: 

Yeah, I like it. 

[02:25] Brandi Starr:

Well thank you. I appreciate it.

[2:27] Mike: 

Taking notes going back to Op Cast to co-host.

[2:32] Brandi Starr:   

Yes. So as I say, everyone laughed when I was like, okay, we're launching a podcast, I got to do a photoshoot. And they were like, you just did a photo shoot for the book launch. And I was like, no, no, we got to have podcast photos because there has to be a video and a voiceover and everybody's like, you're so extra. But I'm glad you like it, so that means it was worth it. 

[02:53] Mike:  

I think it was spot on. Well done.

[02:56] Brandi Starr:

So as I say those dynamic and amazing bios, it tells you that I am here with two of our industry greats. But before we jump into why you guys are amazing, and why we're here, I like to break the ice with a little woosah moment, I call buzzword banishment. So I'll start with you Matt, what buzzword would you like to banish forever?

[3:23] Matt:   

If I never had to hear the term thought leadership again, I would be a happy man. Between thought leadership and influencer, those just make me throw up a little in my mouth every time I hear them. Especially when someone has to tell me that they're a thought leader, if you have to tell me you're a thought leader I'm guessing you might not be. And I get that sometimes in the industry we have to put a name on things but just say interesting things just be an interesting person. Like focus on being valuable to other people and do that every day and never stop doing that. And that might be the reason why people start and continue listening to you; just do that and don't put a name on it. The name brings out the fringe that gives it a bad name. 

[4:06] Brandi Starr:  

I love it. And you also hear people how do I position myself as a thought leader? I'm like, have thoughts that actually matter and say them out loud.

[4:19] Matt:   

My close second was personal brand, which also makes me throw up a little my mouth.

[4:28] Brandi Starr:  

Okay, so Mike, what about you?

[4:32] Mike:

You know what, I don't know. I'm having a hard time with categorically the buzziness of Rev Ops right now. It's just a little bit difficult to get my arms around. I think just because there's so much combative sort of nature around the category and definition and everything that's sort of shaping up the umbrella of Rev Ops. I think we all know what we want it to be, but we're all really struggling to bring it to fruition. And I don't think there's arguments necessarily happening but....

[5:06] Brandi Starr:   

Oh there's definitely an argument happening.

[5:09] Mike:   

I mean, yeah, there definitely is.

[5:11] Brandi Starr:   

I mean, I can tell you. I mean, you see over my shoulder we wrote the book on the future of revenue as we see it. And the fact that marketing and sales and service and everything that touches revenue could ever co-exist under one leader and one umbrella, and with the ops function being a part of that there is definitely a debate where people have said, like, it's not possible, it's only theoretic, everything is so different. So I understand, I love the word, but it does spark a lot of debate that I think is misplaced.

[5:50] Mike:   

Yeah. I think I think it's misplaced, I think the intention is there. And I think trying to move the conversation further out of the sales org, and sales ops lens is the goal. And we talk a lot about that it MO Pros and Marketing Ops but we need to bring in a lot more of our counterparts on the client success side as well to really round out that conversation. I think that's the part that's frustrating is that the client success folks needs to be brought in a little bit more. And so maybe all of us here collectively on this call today, can go find our favorite client success folks and bring them to a chat one day.

[6:31] Brandi Starr:   

There we go, we've got action items, and we haven't even jumped in yet.

[6:37] Mike:   

That was my takeaway. I'm giving everybody a take away early.

[6:40] Matt:   

Am I getting to-do's from this podcast? I did not sign up for that Brandi.

[6:45] Brandi Starr:  

Did we not tell you that part? Well sorry. But I want to jump in and talk about why I've asked both of you to join me here on the couch today, because you both run amazing communities. So Matt Heinz, you along with Latane run CMO Coffee Talk, and Mike with MO Pros. I'm a member of both of them, I get a lot of value of both communities, I require our marketing team to join MO Pros and to follow those things because having a tribe and finding your people is really extremely important, in my opinion and often not talked about. We go through the same things, based on where you're at in your career, the types of companies you work with. But so often we kind of just suffer in silence, and we try to figure it out on our own. Especially those that are earlier in their career, don't want to say like, I don't know what to do, help me. And so there's this kind of missing component that I feel that we can all help each other to move forward in our businesses and our career, and it starts with finding your tribe of people, which in a lot of cases are traditional, online communities or sometimes in person but less since the pandemic. And so I really want to talk about that. And so my first question, I'm going to ask you both the same question and this time, Mike, I'll start with you, is what prompted you to start your community? What led to your desire to bring people together?

[8:33] Mike:   

Oooh, that's a great question. This is sort of in two parts. One, I never intended that there would be a community and really, it was very selfish. I was very alone in my role in marketing operations when I was first at an organization known as Mavenlink, which you mentioned in the intro. And no one really could talk shop with me. And if I did try, oftentimes it was met with like, I don't know how to help you or I'm kind of uninterested. They might not verbalize that but it felt that way. And so as I met folks at in-person events, in the before times, I would connect with them and say, Hey, join me in this little Slack channel. Slack was kind of an up and coming thing and I blogged about it. And then fast forward to 2019, suddenly, something changed. People wanted to be a part of connecting with other marketing ops people. And so I don't know if the search queries increased, or my Google favored my little medium blog posts, but people were asking me to join and it was a one-to-one invite process. So I scaled it. I said, hey, this has always been a place to talk shop about marketing ops, regardless of the marketing automation tool that you use, come talk shop. And we grew. We grew at like 110-120 people a month and at the time I was back at that Mavenlink role building that community and I was like, gosh, how do I create value for these folks? We can't just have this be an empty space. And so really the impetus of the whole thing was, I was alone and I didn't want to be alone anymore. And then all of a sudden, I wasn't alone anymore. And so I was like, okay, great. Now, what do I do with all this? So I ended up asking the community, what do we do next? And so hence, community-led.

[10:26] Brandi Starr:  

Awesome. And Matt, I know, I've been a part of CMO Coffee Talks since close to the beginning, not quite when it first started. But what is the story there? What led you to bring people together?

[10:39] Matt:   

There's a couple of things that kind of intersected there. And it starts partly with what Mike was saying is that there was no intention to start a community. A couple of things. One, I'm in a group called EO, which is sort of an entrepreneur organization. And as I grew my business, it's a very lonely spot to sort of have the role, not only in the business, but also to figure out how to sort of meld your business with the personal, and the family and everything else. And EO was a network was a group of entrepreneurs that in a shared, safe environment, were able to sort of go deep and get vulnerable with each other and admit sort of some of the things we don't know, and to share experiences with each other. And that safe, unrecorded confidential, peer to peer environment has been critical for me as a business leader. And we have been doing CMO breakfasts just in person around the country for years. Just getting 20 - 30 CMOS in a room and then having some sponsors come in, not to pitch but to sort of make that possible. And the beginning of 2020, we had set up to do a 10 city tour with six cents to do similar breakfasts. And we got through eight, before the pandemic shut us down. And the first time we did one of the CMO get togethers, the first of what became the Coffee Talk Friday morning group was, for those last two markets, we said, well we'll do a virtual breakfast, and anyone else who couldn't attend the other ones can come on a Friday morning, and we'll do our conversation around digital transformation or whatnot. Well this happened to be the same week that COVID got real. The NBA shut down, Tom Hanks announced that he had it, so people are freaking out. And so by Friday morning, we had a bunch of CMOs show up that were just fried. Trying to keep their company together, their teams together, their industry together, their family together, boards, whatever. It was a cathartic meeting, I mean, tears were shed all over the place. And there was a request at the end of that breakfast. Well, obviously we throughout the whole digital transformation conversation and just let people talk. And at the end of that people said, look, next week is going to be kind of a you know what show as well, can we do it again next Friday? Sure. So it started in the crucible of the pandemic. And I think intentionally or unintentionally we said, listen, this is going to be a confidential unrecorded peer-to-peer group. And I was thinking a lot about the EO value that I'd experienced as an entrepreneur in that tribe. And to this day, it's only CMOs people that have that role, that role like you were saying, it's a lonely role that you have in your organization to find peers you can talk to, to be in a place where you can speak candidly about it, about issues you're having, about things you don't understand. And really, I think part of the community has also been just the communing with each other. The fact that it isn't just about work, that we're in very intentional about making this not about the role or the job, we're making this about the person. So we celebrate things going on in our lives. We have a Rant channel, that is one of the most entertaining things I have in my life right now. Just hearing the rants of people going through that. I mean, people share what they're doing in off hours, they share kids graduating. We'll get into maybe some more examples later but I think it just has become a community of people that care about each other, based on a set of shared experiences. And it's been a lot of fun to be part of.

[14:00] Brandi Starr:   

And so one thing that I think is really interesting that the two communities have a similarity and a key difference. So MO Pros is very much is about the job. And not to say that there's not a human component because I do see, I've had several people reach out and wanting advice on career progression and different things and I've been able to connect with them. So there is always a human component, but very much it is what you were saying in that you need someone to be able to talk shop with. And Matt, there is a lot of talking shop and how to's and advice there. But it very much is person-led because it is a role that's very lonely. And what I have, really what I admire about both communities, is you both as leaders have been able to really tap into the needs of the community to maintain that consistency. And I know Matt, like you've joked a couple times that people give him pressure, can we just record this part? Or can my CEO come? Or can I bring this person? And you very politely take a hard line to like, no, that's not what we're about. And those sorts of things make real clear to me that the needs of the community are put first. And so how do you both stay in tune with what your community needs, especially as it's grown? Because both of them have multiplied in size since I've joined them. And so how do you stay on top of that pulse of the community and the needs?

[15:46] Mike:  

I mean, I can jump in on that one first, if you don't mind. 

[15:52] Brandi Starr:

Go right ahead. 

[15:53] Mike: 

I would say, first and foremost, I still talk one on one with a very large number of community members on a pretty regular basis. And so having that opportunity we happen to have for those that are involved, sort of on the premium membership side of things, we have an automated way to meet each other. And so I use that tool to get a pulse check on hey, how's it going? What can we do better? How can we improve this experience for you wherever you are in your journey, in your career and your journey as becoming a member of this community? And so I pay special attention to setting aside time to try to have those conversations, and I even have a tool to help me do that. In addition to that, I think we're fortunate enough to be able to conduct industry research, annual survey of sort of what's going on in marketing operations at large. And so that is very much a pulse check at a larger scale on, do you feel recognized by leadership in the industry at large? Do you feel that you're valued? What is your next move? Do you intend to try to lead a team or go independent and all those other things? And so we do get some collective data across, oftentimes more than 500 respondents to give us a pulse check on how's the broader community feeling about the momentum and sort of shaping of marketing operations at large? And then how do we ingest that information and create programs to facilitate the need wherever the need ends up being. And so if they don't feel like they're understood by leadership, well, what do we need to do to create programs for that? And so those are the two ways that we're constantly thinking about keeping in tune with the needs of the community. 

[17:57] Brandi Starr:

Okay. What about you Matt?

[17:58] Matt:

I'd echo some of those things, I think they're just generalist practices, I think, to the point of making sure that it's sort of a really peer-to-peer community. I do want to give Latane Conant, CMO 6sense credit for that. I think when we did the in-person breakfast, we would let directors and other people come in, if they're larger organizations. And she was adamant from the beginning of this, that it will work better if it's really is peer-to-peer and she was right. And we've really enforced that. And there's a lot of great communities, like if you're an up and coming marketer, there's other great communities that are really your peer set, that are great places for you to go and learn from. We say no pitches, no recordings. And I'm also thankful that Latane and 6sense have been great partners and doing this and that this is not a demand gen channel for anybody. This is about the community and their needs. And we know that by being associated with it, there will be a halo effect that we get to be candid. I mean, I run a small consulting firm, and I think there's a lot of people in the community Brandi that don't know that. They think of me as like, hey, Matt's part of coffee talk and don't know how to make payroll, with people behind me somewhere. But I'd rather have it be that, I'd rather be that light of touch, and have the opportunity to maintain a role in a group of people that that I continue to learn from on a weekly basis as well. I mean, a couple other things, I think in terms of as we grow, is one is staying true to who we are. The cadence of the Friday sessions, the cadence that we have in the Slack community, we've really maintained the intimacy of that. We've maintained the level of connectivity even as we've grown. There's a handful of people that I talk to on a regular basis and a larger group that I will contact periodically, and have conversations around two things topics and features. Because I think topics and features, features meaning interactivity, features meaning how do we have an impact for people personally as well as the broader communities we live in is important. So topics like what other things should we be throwing into on Friday morning? Are there topics that are better birds of a feather group? So we now have industry Slack channels for people there doing cybersecurity or services marketing. We've got groups of people that if your company is a certain size, you've got a place to go and talk to marketers that are similar, have similar sized stage companies as yours are. And the feedback has also been like we want to support each other in deeper ways. Had someone anonymously come to me a few weeks ago and say, can you post this and let other people know that I have a child that's suffering with anorexia, and I'm having trouble knowing how to support them and I'm having trouble knowing how to balance what my child needs with doing my job. Can you let me know if there's anyone else in the community that would be willing to share? 12 people. 12 people not only had that experience directly but were willing to share with that person. And that, to me like this is it, this is what we're here for. Talk about being there for the people. The other thing I'm really proud of, and Brandi you've seen this, the CMOs give back. And we launched this a year ago and we've done a number of just GoFundMe initiatives for non-profits through the year, and we've raised over $50,000, for a variety of groups, including $15,000, for an organization supplying pharmaceutical kits directly on the ground in Ukraine, we continue to do that. We're expanding that this year to not just be where we can put our money, but where we can put our minds and our ideas. We're kicking off a program with the Sandy Hook Promise to say, how do we as marketing leaders, help the Head of Marketing at Sandy Hook Promise, expand their impact. So the way we give back extends there as well. And so it's not about the community itself but it's the impact that community can now have outside of that community to other communities that matter. And those were things that were born out of suggestions from people in the group. So it's a continual evolution but I think we also are grounded in why we're here. We're grounded in a set of values and a purpose that can continue to help us grow, but stay focused on the things that matter.

[21:58] Brandi Starr:  

Yeah. That tribe component of really finding your people is such a key thing that I don't know that everyone really thinks about. So what I'd like to ask is, so talking to the head of marketing, who primarily listens to this podcast, what advice do you have for them in one, finding their tribe or the importance of them having a tribe and obviously, if their head of marketing, CMO, Coffee Talk is a clear place to land, but in addition to that, really even supporting their team and like I said, my team, which is just two people, so not a huge team, we're a small company, but both of them are a part of MO Pros. And there is an expectation that they are going to be an active part of Mo Pros because we consult in the space of marketing operations and that is a part of their job. So I'm like, this is critical for you, tribe is important. If I think about early in my career, and I had some amazing managers but I can't say that I really had anyone pushing me to make sure that I was connected with a tribe. And so I'd love to hear, thinking about each one teach one, as the head of marketing, what advice can you give around connecting themselves or connecting their team so that they all have people? That's a hard one. 

[23:42] Matt:    

It is a hard one. So in avoiding a shameless plug, if they happen...

[23:50] Brandi Starr:  

Oh, well take the shameless plug.

[23:52] Matt:  

If they happen to be headed in the direction of Marketing Ops, please come talk shop, and learn from some of these folks that have been in this space for a long time. But I think it's important to set aside the time and ask your team, have you ever thought about connecting with other industry peers? To be fair, most of us coming up in marketing, first of all, it's really hard to break into this space. It's a very cart before the horse, chicken and egg problem. Like, oh, you need the experience. Well, how do you get the experience? Well, you got to get a job. Well, how do you get a job? You need the experience. Okay, so I'll just go start an agency and pretend like I have experience and then I'll get a job, which is what I did. I learned a ton about what it was like to start a marketing agency, the margins, the profitability, the pricing model, the services, everything, and that taught me a lot about okay, well, now I have a clear understanding of maybe what it would take to do some marketing. But I think asking that question getting back to the point is really, really critical. We're in a new era. Communities exist, people and I think the world has shifted our perception on the importance of relationship. Social networks have been around, but they're not really communities. And we're starting to realize the value of the community and the connectivity there. And so the question I think, is now more prevalent and top of mind for leaders, or as maybe little over a decade ago, or so when I was getting into the space, it wasn't and so the questions weren't asked. But I think now it's important to try to be cognizant, take the time, ask your team what are your goals? What are your career goals? Where do you want to go? Do you want my job one day? Great. Let's figure out how to get there. It's perfectly okay. And then anybody who's not in a leadership role right now listening to this, if you want that person's job, tell them. Be polite about it but tell them, I want to get to your role. I want that, how do I do that? Where do I go? And then ask for the permission to go find your tribe.

[26:18] Matt:   

In many organizations, you may be one of one or two people that actually have your job, right. So even if there's an opportunity, especially in a remote environment, if we're working here from our basement or wherever, to have connectivity with other human beings from your team is one thing. So are people that have shared experiences, shared roles, shared pains is really important. So from a connectedness standpoint, those communities can be really, really valuable. From a networking standpoint, to find out about other roles, especially when you don't have to be in your metro-area to get a job you can do get it almost anywhere, have a network and have opportunities that is almost borderless. I mean learning obviously, sure, those shared experiences that you come to the community with but that you continue to have, that resonate and help you build relationships with each other is important. And I think the connective tissue that creates most communities I've seen work well is when community members really start to care about each other. They really start to go beyond just learning from, or here's some code or here's something I just did, but to be able to share things that [audio break 27:24] from today, those little things that you can cheer from with each other back and forth really create strong bounds in a community. And I do think I mean, there's something special about having sort of the always on community, whether it's in Discord or a Slack or what have you, but then also having the opportunity even virtually to sort of see each other. It is such a richer opportunity when we can exhibit and experience more of our body language, facial language, intonations in person, so to speak. And I'm starting to think this is the new in person. You're in Atlanta and Mike I don't know where you are, so we're at least in three timezones away from each other here, but we can have a real time conversation. And I think our, our brains are getting used to this as something that is replacing the in-person we've had for tens of thousands of years. But I think that caring about each other component of community, it's not an immediate thing, it's not a guaranteed thing but if you can get there, boy, you got something sticky.

[28:28] Brandi Starr:   

So that actually hits on a point that I want to shift gears a little bit, because there are a lot of companies. So especially in marketing, and in some cases in success that are looking at and asking the question, should we start our own community? And it's one of those things that I wonder, like right now, they're still not in a ton of niche communities and it's like, are we going to get to the point that they're over-saturated and there's just so many communities that they no longer are effective? Or is it a question that people really should be asking. Should brands look at is starting a community the right thing for us? And as I say, Mike, I see you with a little smirk there, what's your take?

[29:25] Mike:   

You're going to ask, I almost said community was the buzzword that I didn't like and this is why I wanted to talk about it. I actually do like the buzzword of community for all the reasons that we just got done explaining. The reason why I don't necessarily like it is because it isn't for every brand. But community can be built within a brand's umbrella if it's done with intention, and if it's done with really clear purpose that you stick to. To echo a lot of what Matt was saying, they've really stuck to the purpose of sort of the bounds that they set. CMOs, nobody else in, there are these sort of rules that we live by. And by keeping that close to the vest, the community is able to align and adapt and grow together a lot faster. And so if you are going to do something within your brand as a community effort, it is just like being a developer of a product or a product manager for that matter, you need to do user research and interview a lot of people and figure out what would be valuable to you, and then take the community-led approach to build your community. But it probably isn't for everyone. I'm not saying no, I'm just saying just be really cognizant of the fact that like -- just again, leaning in on what Matt is saying, hey, people might not even know that I have a business behind the scenes that could potentially benefit from the relationships here. And that's a win. That's exactly the way it should be. And so most of the communities, those brands want to go build, please don't build it with the intention of trying to drum up new revenue streams. You're going to not do well.

[31:31] Matt:  

No, that's the instant killer. And I see a lot of companies saying I want to create a community and they have ROI metrics built into it that are immediately going to poison the well. And I think you have to play the long game if you're going to run a community like this, and you have to run it with a level of authenticity, and respect for the audience. I mean, look there's plenty of smart communities that have been built by brands and run by brands that take that long game. I remember, early in my career -- I mean, I'm very b2b focused, we're very b2b focused. When I first started 14 years ago, I'm like anyone with a check, I'll take it. It was at the Camelback, the folks with the backpacks. They said, we want to create a community around hydration. I was like that is a terrible idea. You're going to run out of topics real real fast. I said, it's the audience you care about, it's not your product. So like they ended up creating a community around the weekend warriors, people that had day jobs but just like go do crazy stuff over the weekend. That had some legs. Most communities that have been successful, if you look at the way that they're branded, they're not company brand forward. Like Topliners wasn't Eloqua Topliners, it was Topliners. And they worked very, very hard to make it about the community and not about how do we pitch within this. I never say this is the Heinz Marketing CMO Coffee Talk, it's not the 6Sense CMO Coffee Talk, it's the CMO Coffee Talk. And we're better when the brands are secondary, we're better when the community is forward. And so I think that it takes a level of patience and discipline, and even courage to sort of say, we're going to make the long play around that. And I think one of the reasons that Topliners sort of ultimately died is that post acquisition Oracle started to peel away the things that made it so valuable. There was sort of a pre-Twitter feature that they had in the Eloqua days, that was the, what's going on. And that became the place where people celebrated and ranted and sort of shared things where people cared about each other. Like one of the first things Oracle did was strip that out and said, now this is just going to be best practice sharing, this is just going to be like code sharing. Well, now it's just a bulletin board. It's no longer a community. It's no longer a community if people aren't connecting with each other.

[33:49] Brandi Starr:  

Yeah, I can remember. I mean, I was a total Elo-queen. First thing I logged into in the morning was Topliners, I was in there. Honestly, Topliners early days is one of the things that led me to want to be a consultant, because I was so involved in helping to solve other people's marketing automation problems that when I started questioning, what I want to be when I grow up, I was like, yeah, I want to do that thing I used to do in Topliners, and get somebody to pay me for it. And so that was when I jumped the fence. And yeah, that was like the first killer because I was good at updating my status. Like here's what my kids did, here's what we got going on. And for years it was frozen there. The last thing you had when they stripped that out, it's still showed on your profile. So mine was something and I think it's gone now. But mine was something so obscure about my day just like frozen in time. But any who I had a little bit of a nostalgic moment there. 

[34:48] Matt:

That's so great. I love that. One of the personas and traits that you're tapping on there is that like, hey, you're a problem solver and the Topliners, I wasn't a part of that group but sounds to me like a lot of the folks there were problem solvers and were enjoying the commiserating over solving different challenges. And I think that's in large part like why we see the success of MO Pros happening is that collectively like they're trying to figure out how to navigate some pretty difficult things, whether it's career trajectory related or technology. There's something that we're tapping into there. And so I think that's what people need to lean in on, sorry, brands would need to lean in on is what is that thing that brings people together. Weekend Warriors is another great example of that.

[35:43] Mike: 

And don't be afraid to let your members lead you in a direction that maybe you hadn't intended. If you decide as a community leader that we're going to follow my plan, and everyone's going to follow me, if a community leader comes in or someone in the community says, hey, I'd like to do this, great, you run it. Great! I will give you the resources, we'll give you the spotlight, but what do you need to go and champion this? And then all of a sudden, there are initiatives in the community that are community driven, that are member driven. And it may not be well, that wasn't my vision, but no, this is how you lead a community flourish, by allowing people in the community to take the lead and sort of build an augment and expand the community. That's how the community gets fed. It's how it grows, it's how it gets more referrals of more peers that are sort of in that same group.

[36:30] Brandi Starr:

And so I don't know if it's an official acronym, but PLG is the hot thing, but right now CLG...

[36:37] Mike and Matt: 

Don't do it... yells in pain

[36:43] Mike: 

People are using the community-led model and a lot of different places and I myself use it on what we are launching at And so yeah, CLG could potentially be a new buzzword that someone comes onto the show.

[37:04] Matt: 

It's not that different than thought leadership. Here's my problem, you call it community led growth, and all of a sudden, people going to be like, ooh, channel. Oh, it's a channel. So now, it's got to be like, it's a growth channel, meaning I'm putting a goal against it, meaning I have a pipeline contribution number against it, which means I'm going to start applying pressure to the community to convert. And I'm not saying that that's how everyone runs it. But you run the risk of making this something that it shouldn't be and can't be.

[37:34] Brandi Starr:

Okay, so I'm going to retract my desire for a new acronym because...

[37:38] Matt: 

No more acronyms.  

[37:40] Brandi Starr:

No more acronyms. Matt is like I'm coming back to the couch just so that I can put CLG on the buzzword. Okay, so talking about our challenges is just the first step. And if nothing changes, nothing changes. So in traditional therapy, the therapist always gives the clients the homework, but here at Revenue Rehab, we'd like to flip that on our head and we asked you to give our audience homework. So what I'd like to hear, Matt I'll ask you to summarize the key takeaways and then I'll ask you both for your one thing, what is the one thing that someone can take away as an action item around finding their tribe and being a part of a community?

[38:29] Matt: 

Well, to me be intentional about finding one or two tribes that represents you. And it may not just be -- if you're in marketing ops, I mean, obviously, like the marketing ops community that Mike has built is a key part of that. But what is another group that either within that group or a different group is there? I'm in business and I have kids, I'm in business, I'm in marketing, and I have toddlers. I'm part of a men's group of just Seattle area people in various businesses that we just meet and we sort of read books about work with purpose together. So find those communities with shared experiences where you can build relationships that will feed you personally, and make you a better person and better professional. And my advice on that the one thing would be like, find that group, and be all in and be vulnerable. Set an example in the group of being willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly. And I guess, I mean, I've been in the EO group for long enough where I'm just used to going to our meetings and just being all in and just throwing up all the crap going on in my life and my business and so I just can't help but be that way in other circumstances, and I think you end up giving people permission to do it as well. And if you're in a community of peers, if you're in a community with shared experiences, other people may be afraid to talk about it or bringing up because they're afraid of how it will make them look. You set the example, you set the precedent, this is a place where we can do that, you will get more out of it by setting that example, they will get more out of it, it will be a stronger community overall, as a result.

[40:00] Brandi Starr:

That's an amazing summary. Be intentional. So Mike I'll let you start with your one thing, what is our action item coming out of our conversation today?

[40:12] Mike: 

I think call a meeting with your team and ask the question, where do you want to go in your career? And who do you know that can help you get there? And if you don't know anyone yet have you explored any environments to help you meet those folks? So call a meeting with your team if you're a head of a marketing group, and see where they want to go. And maybe do it one on one so that people feel like they have the permission to be a little vulnerable, to echo a little bit about what Matt was saying there.

[40:45] Brandi Starr:

Yeah, I love that. Most leaders are already doing one on one, so that becomes a great next step for your next one on one. What about you, Matt? What's our one thing?

[40:58] Matt:

Well, I think that one thing is to be vulnerable, is to be willing to be vulnerable and open up a little bit about kind of your experience and what that means and by doing that, you can  be a leader in your community and give other people permission to create greater strength and value from that community moving forward.

[41:16] Brandi Starr:

Awesome. Well, Matt, Mike, I have enjoyed our discussion but that is our time for today. Thank you so much for joining me.

[41:27] Matt: 

Thank you for having me. 

[41:27] Mike:

Yeah, absolutely.

[41:28] Brandi Starr:

And for those listening or watching if you would like to stay connected to Matt and Mike. Matt has the ‘Our Sales Pipeline’ radio podcast, and he is also one of the people who runs the CMO coffee talk. Mike has the Ops Casts and of course, the MO Pros community. Links to all of those amazing resources are going to be below in the show notes. And then they are both super active so they're not hard to find on LinkedIn as well. Thank you, everyone for joining us today. I hope that you have enjoyed our conversation. I can't believe that we are already at the end. We will see you next time.

[42:16] Outro: 

You've been listening to Revenue Rehab with your host Brandi Starr. Your session is now over but the learning has just begun. Join our mailing list and catch up on all our shows at We're also on Twitter and Instagram at Revenue Rehab. This concludes this week's session. We'll see you next week.

Mike RizzoProfile Photo

Mike Rizzo

Community-led Founder

Mike Rizzo, is the Community-led Founder of MO Pros and

With his extensive background in marketing Mike helped build, launch, manage and optimize Mavenlink's first-ever user community and Client Advisory Board programs. He is the founder of MO Pros - The Community for Marketing Operations Pros that is growing with an average of 110 new members every month. He is also the co-host of the podcast called Ops Cast by MO Pros.

As the founder of, Mike is taking a community-led approach to building resources that are purpose-built for MO Pros.

Matt HeinzProfile Photo

Matt Heinz


More than 15 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations, vertical industries and company sizes. Career has focused on delivering measurable results for his employers and clients in the way of greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.