203. Mark Evans on the unique challenges and methodologies of fractional CMO and advisory work

Kevin C. Whelan: Hey, my
friends and welcome to another

episode of Mindshare Radio.

My name is Kevin Whelan, and today
I've got an interesting guest for you.

His name is Mark Evans.

Mark has been doing marketing
consulting for a number of years

and has a lot of experience and
wisdom to bring to the conversation

around doing marketing consulting
versus advisory versus fractional

CMO work versus interim CMO work.

And I knew that this would be a
conversation that would get into

all the nitty gritty details.

And it's really just a sign of.

Mark's experience having worked in
the industry for a number of years.

And has the battle scars of doing
things maybe the wrong way and

the success stories to back up
his advice and his experience.

And so we get into a lot of the
details around business model, how

he markets himself, how he positions
himself, delivering work, setting

expectations, pricing, and value
conversations of advisors versus CMOs,

refund policies, commitment, periods,
the importance of, high-fidelity

marketing, like video podcast and
showing up in person to build trust.

We talk about it all.

We talk about things like.

Coaching and mentoring and
training in house marketers.

We don't really leave a stone unturned
and this episode is going to be

full of useful and valuable ideas.

So I hope you enjoy it.

I hope you have a pen handy and if not,
maybe come back to this at another time.

And, I look forward to.

Getting into it.

Mark, thank you for joining me today.

Mark Evans: Thanks for the invitation.

Always happy to talk about the
exciting world of fractional

CMO and digital marketing.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah, yeah.

And you've been in, you've,
I've scoped out your website.

You've been in some form of marketing
consulting since 20, uh, 2008, it said

on your, your site, and you were a
journalist before then you worked with

a few Canadian major publications.

, how did you make the transition?

Just for context, how did you get
out of writing as a journalist and

into marketing and marketing consult?

Mark Evans: It's been
an interesting journey.

I'll give you the Reader's Digest version.

I was working as a technology reporter
at the National Post when I got

approached by a VC asking me if I would
work for a recently funded startup.

And I did it.

And um, around the end of 2008
when there was a global credit

crunch, people forget about.

uh, the startup went from
trying to raise 10 million to 5

million to 1 million to merging.

And in the process, I got laid off.

I have a mortgage, three kids,

Kevin C. Whelan: must have been scary.

Mark Evans: what am I gonna do?

And like a lot of people, I went on
social media Twitter at the time and

announced the world that I'd lost my job.

And somebody approached me and said,
Hey, would you be interested in

putting together a marketing strategy?

And of course I lied and I said,
sure, I know how to put away other

marketing strategies, . And that was
the beginning of my consulting career.

So I kind of faked it
until I made it Is the way,

Kevin C. Whelan: Well you had the,
you had the writing skills and you

had the communication abilities, which
I think is the fundamental, and you

had some knowledge of business as a
writer of, of, I think you wrote on

like tech technology mostly, right?

Or that

Mark Evans: yeah, it's mostly technology.

Yeah, A lot about technology.


Kevin C. Whelan: So you, you kind of
had, you know, you had enough of the core

ingredients and then all you lacked was
maybe some hands-on experience applying to

marketing, but it's really communicating
at the end of the day in interesting ways.

Mark Evans: I find that my writing
skills, I lean heavily into my writing

skills even today and, and my ability
to communicate effectively and to

ask questions and to listen to what
prospects and customers are saying.

It's all reporting skills.

I learned that.

From my 15 years as a reporter, so I
just apply to marketing and you learn

the rules of, of how the game is played.

And marketing is a game, just
like journalism is a game.

There's certain lever that you pull,
certain things that you have to do,

but at the end of the day, it's asking
questions, listening to what people

say, and then communicating clearly.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah, I think part
of it is like, I think in, as a

journalist, you have to find the
lead and I think there's the line.

Don't bury it.

The lead, right.

What's the most valuable thing that
we're trying to convey here, and how

do we get that articulated quickly
so that the reader actually reads the

article and doesn't just skim past it
or buys the newspaper or what have you?

And that's kinda maybe a
good segue into what you do.

So maybe you can tell us, cuz you're
a positioning expert for B2B SaaS.

Primarily businesses.

And that to me in and of itself means
your job is to dig in, find the lead,

and then communicate the lead to
leads, the prospects to, to the market.

So how did is, how did you
end up in that more strategic

positioning, messaging kind of realm?

And is, does it have anything
to do with your journalism back?

Mark Evans: I would suggest
that has everything to do

with my journalism background.

As a reporter, you're looking for the
angle, you're looking for that story.

You're looking for something that
you can rally around that's gonna

attract the interest of readers.

There's a lot of information out there,
and so what you're trying to do is boil

down the ocean to the most interesting
things and then present them present.

The most interesting thing at the
beginning, which in the industry is

known as the lead, so I took that
training and applied it to market.

And when I'm working with clients and
I'm developing their positioning and

their messaging, I'm looking for that
nugget, that thing that makes them

stand up from the crowd that they
could go out somewhere and saying, we

do this, and this is super interesting
and you should at least talk to us.

So I'm applying the same techniques and
the same approaches that I used when I

was a journalist to B2B SaaS marketing.

And there's a, I think there's
a real skillset, um, when it

comes, well, let me back up.

Positioning is, is art and science.

So some of it is creativity,
subjectivity, trying to get a feel for

what customers want and how they feel.

And the other part is in-depth research,
competitive audits, really getting a

sense of looking at data and looking
at keyword data and all that technical

stuff and trying to bring the two
together to craft a customer story that

resonates with the people that matter to
an individual company and every company.

Can be different in their own way.

Sometimes the differences are major
and sometimes they're relatively small.

But as long as you stand
out, you can stand up.

Kevin C. Whelan: right?


I love And being different is
now better than being better.

And did you go to, did, did you
go to school for journalism?

Mark Evans: I did.


I went to Carleton University in Ottawa.

Kevin C. Whelan: Cool.

And so I guess they, they teach
you about how to find the lead cuz,

cuz it's not just the headline, you
know, car crashes in the building.

It's like, you know, um,
autonomous, self-driving vehicle.

What, like, what, there's
always a story within a story.

And so do they teach you how to, how
much of that part is through research

and how much of that part is through?

and I guess there's an element of
empathy with the reader in the case

of journalism, and I'm just seeing so
many corollaries to positioning work,

but were you taught a process for that?

And does that, do you follow
a similar process today?

Mark Evans: I was taught a process, the
idea of, you know, putting the lead first

and the inverted pyramid, you put the.

Important thing first in your
story, and then you go from there.

So it goes back to the idea in the 18
hundreds when reporters were transmitting

via telegraphs, you never knew when the
telegraph was gonna not be knocked out.

So you always led with
the most important thing.

And then the second, third
most important thing.

So that's the, that's the
origin story for the lead.

So as a reporter, I was taught
that and, and in time you get a

sense for what a good story is.

Like you get a nose for news.

And so if you're talking to someone and
they say something immediately, You write

it down because then you star it in your
notebook or whatever your tool you're

using because you say that's the story.

You just in time, you know it when
you, when you hear it or you see it.

And I applied the same thing.

When I'm working with B2B SaaS companies.

I'll talk to the B, I'll talk to
executives, I'll talk to customers,

I'll, I'll look at the competition
and then something, something will

jump out and I'll say, that's it.

Now, sometimes my hypothesis.

Bang on, and sometimes
I'm missing the Mark A.

Little bit.

But the whole idea is that you,
you have a pretty good feel.

Like I have a pretty good feel
at, at this stage of the game.

When I talk to a company, I'm, I'm,
I know I'm pretty short of what

I, what I need to rally around.

Sometimes they just can't see it
because they're in the eye of the

hurricane and they have no perspective.

So that's the value that I bring
to the whole positioning process.

Kevin C. Whelan: Interesting.

Yeah, I, I do believe people hire
consultants, especially marketing

consultants in part because of their
taste, their ability to see and,

and like identify what's compelling.

in a way, it's like we're buying
into their taste because we know

that their tastes, they found a way
to have good taste with the market,

and the market therefore resonates
with the things that that marketer

helps, helps them put out there.

So it's an interesting screening process,
both in terms of probably the, the

decade, the, the, uh, you know, 15 years
or so since you've started this, as

well as the journalism background and to
be able to uncover what that thing is.

And I know you, you, you said something
earlier about boiling down the ocean and.

I guess it, how important is it to
gather the entire competitive landscape?

Like, how much does that play
into what ends up being the key

insight that you, you double down
on to make their positioning work?

Mark Evans: To be honest, you don't know.

You could talk to key executives and
that compelling nugget could stand

out, could be so obvious to you
from the third party perspective.

They just can't see it.

They're blind to it, and
you can stop right there.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yep.

Mark Evans: Sometimes you have to
talk to executives and customers, and

customers will give you a completely
different story than the executives

because they're not drinking the Kool-Aid.

And that can get you there.

And sometimes you, those two
will probably get you a long way.

And when I look at the competitive
landscape, what I'm looking

for is I don't wanna replicate
the angle, the nugget, right?

If I'm excited about something
that a company does, and I think

that's gonna allow 'em to stand out.

It does no good if their biggest
competitor is saying the exact same thing

or even their second biggest competitor.

So differentiation means you're
trying to be different, tell a

different story, but you also
have to vis-a-vis the competition.

You also have to stand
apart from them as well.

Otherwise you sort of
blur in the background.

So it depends.

Um, yeah, that's the, that's the,
I guess that's the short answer.

It depends.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah.


That's valuable insight.

And so tell me a little bit
about your, your business.

You're doing, you've, you've, I know
you've, you've gone on a bit of a journey,

doing a lot of fractional C m O stuff.

We won't go too far into the history,
but more, more focusing in the last,

say three years, three to four years.

Um, you've done advising
fractional c m O stuff.

Uh, there's been a lot of, you've been
doing some implementation along the way.

Um, so let's talk shop
a bit, let you know.

What, what is your.

What are you finding is your main bread
and butter work, and how has that evolved

over the last three years or four years?

Mark Evans: Okay, so three years
ago I took a full-time job as a VP

marketing for a B2B SaaS company.

And I have to be honest with you,
I hated every single minute of it.

It just wasn't my thing.

I had done consulting for,
I dunno, 10 years or so.

I loved the independence, I loved
the flexibility, but I got, I got a

little got, I got a little nervous
cuz the market was a little soft

and I had an opportunity to get some
experiences as a full-time employee.

So I took it.

When I got let go from that job,
uh, I'm just at the start of

covid, I went back to consulting.

It was almost relieved to go back.

It was almost like I was going back
to the place where I belong and.

I totally, I took a, it took me a
few months to get going and to be

completely transparent to everybody,
Kevin and I have worked together.

Kevin, I approached Kevin about doing
some coaching, uh, which was invaluable

in terms of allowing me to structure
my business differently and to actually

build frameworks and processes and
methodologies to underpin what I do.

Because to be honest with you, my
consulting business before was like

seat in my pants, make it up as I go.

Trust me, I know what I'm doing.

There wasn't a lot of substance.

I mean, I did good work.

I think I thought I did would work,
but I, I, I didn't have the structure,

um, to provide people with confidence
that I was the real deal to make

them see that there was a journey
that I was gonna take them on.

So that, that was a big difference
in how I structure the business.

And I would say to anybody out
there, structure is important.

Methodologies are important.

Um, selling packages, how people can use

Kevin C. Whelan: Let's talk about the,
let's talk about those packages a bit

cuz you do have, you, you productized,
I don't know, I don't, I don't

think you had them fully productized
when we met, but you do have them

pretty clear on your website now.

Um, do you wanna describe roughly
at a high level what your main

kind of core packages are?

Just high level.

Mark Evans: So I have three packages.

One is at the fractional CMO level,

Kevin C. Whelan: Okay.

Let's stop on that one real quick.

And so do you currently sell many of.

Mark Evans: sell.

A few of them I can only take
on one or two a month because

the reality is a fractional cmo.

If you're a part-time cmo,
it's like being half pregnant.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah.

Mark Evans: It's really hard to
be responsible for all the key.

Indicators, all the KPIs and
ultimately leads in sales.

When you're working one day a week
or two days a week, it it, you, it's

a level of commitment and you're,
you're involved with all the key

stakeholders, you are fully integrated
into the business, or you need to be.

Kevin C. Whelan: Mm-hmm.

Mark Evans: I think that's a
big challenge and I've, I'm,

I'm struggling with whether.

I can actually be successfully be a
fractional cmo, to be honest with you.

So I can take on one and it'll take them
enough time that that's all I can do.

My sweet spot, um, is strategic
advisory, which is mostly the way.

The difference is that I work
one-on-one with the entrepreneur.

Or I work one-on-one with the,
they have a, may have a director of

marketing who needs strategic support,
and I work one-on-one with them.

We collaborate, we partner, we brainstorm.

Um, I support them and, and, uh, help
them be more successful, less time

involved than being a fractional C M O.

Um, more focus on strategic guidance.

Um, you're not dealing with suppliers
directly, for example, you're not managing

a team less intense, and I can handle.

I can handle 3, 4, 5 of those a
month at the same time, which is

a, which is a great way to operate.

I love doing that kind of business.

It just feels very natural to
the kind of work I wanna do.

And the third is coaching.

Working with marketing leaders, you know,
providing perspective, brainstorming,

collaboration, people who just feel like
they're operating in a silo, and it would

be great if they had someone to talk to.

So I'm happy to talk to 'em as well.

Kevin C. Whelan: Well,
let's unpack all those.

Um, even just, let's start with the last
one you said around marketing leaders.

Cuz I do a little bit of that and I've
worked with other people who are trying

to do similar things and sometimes the
word marketing leaders in the context

that we provide ends up being a sle.

They're, they're supposed to
lead, but they're not quite

senior yet in many cases.

Sometimes they are, but usually
they're more, you know, they came from.

Uh, department or they, you know, they're,
they're junior going on intermediate

or maybe they're intermediate.

Um, have you had much, like, do
you do much coaching currently

with, with those, uh, to me it's
a small part of my business.

So I imagine it may be similar
with you, and I think you also

coach other marketers sometimes.

Do you find that marketing leaders are
like executive types, are the ones that

hire you or is it more the junior and
intermediate level that need a bit?

Mark Evans: I don't do a lot
of it, and it really depends

on who's looking for the help.

Sometimes with junior marketers, it's hard
for them to get buy-in from their bosses.

I wanna hire somebody to help me.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yep.

Mark Evans: The boss may think, well,
why don't you just go on Google or

YouTube and do the work yourself,
you know, save me some money.

Uh, senior marketer leaders, the problem
with with them is that marketers tend

to be the smartest people in the.

They don't need any help
because they can do it all.

So it's not really a
big part of my business.

And to be honest with you, if you want
me to coach you, if you don't want

me to provide you with advice, you
should just buy the strategic advisory

package and you'll get more of me.

You'll get, I'll be more engaged in
collaborative than, than a, than a,

than an inexpensive coaching package.

Kevin C. Whelan: yeah.

Cuz you kind of, it feels as though
you're trying to lead a company

through a small appendage as opposed
to working with, say the CEO and.

Higher level.


With the strategic plan, you're much more
at the executive level talking as peers.

And then the other one it feels, I
think it, this is an area that I've

tried to break into more mentoring
in within an organization, and I

think there's gotta be a place for
teaching people's basic skills.

Like there has to be like, so you even
mentioned leader, and I talk about

leader as well, but I think there's
probably even more demand for, what

does a newbie marketer look like?

Let's say they have a.

. Are companies paying?

I'm just asking, maybe you don't
know, but like do companies pay to

help level up their junior marketer,
but they don't need the strategic

help, but would you teach them skill?

It would be a skills question
at that point, right?

Mark Evans: My take is, A lot
of them are junior marketers or

tacticians, as opposed to strategists.

So what they're trying to, they've been
hired to get stuff done, so they'll

probably pay to take tactical courses
to go on Udemy or LinkedIn and take

things that are gonna help 'em do their
jobs better, get the grunt work done.

They're probably not
looking for strategic help.

Most of these junior markers
are likely working in smaller

organizations where it's just a matter.

Posting on social media writing, blog
post, you know, running their s e m.

So I don't know whether those
kind of organizations are

looking for marketing mentorship.

I mean, strategic Advisor is
probably where I pay play best

because you get to do strategy and
a little bit of tactical support.

I don't want to get my hands dirty.

I really, at this point in my
career, I'm not, I want to, as you

say, as you always say, you know,
Use your head, not your hands.

And that's where a senior marketer
like me provides the most value.

I'm too expensive to do tactical work.

That's, I mean, and I mean that
in a, in a good way for clients.

You don't want me doing that work cuz
you can get it done less expensive.

But you do want me providing with
strategic guidance to make sure that

the work, all those best practices
and it's high quality and that's

the value that I can provide.

Kevin C. Whelan: and it
goes to your taste, right?

Like I think it's not just like have
Mark write up that press release and

the social media and all these things.

It's let's make sure that we're
doing the, the things that Mark

would suggest in the way that Mark
would suggest we do it because.

, they're kind of buying you for
that worldview part in part, right?

So maybe not everything, not
everything's gonna fit through your lens.

You're there to guide, not
necessarily be the, the filter.

Um, but yeah, it's, it's an interesting
thing that it's not just like the,

you know, the tactic, tactic tactic.

It's, well, are we doing the, are we
doing the things we should be doing?

Is that moving us toward
our business objectives?

And how should we be
doing things differently

Mark Evans: Yeah,

Kevin C. Whelan: yeah, it's my favorite.

Mark Evans: I mean, what surprises
me when I work with B2B SaaS

companies is that the marketing.

Advice that I offer them.

To me, it's 1 0 1.

You do this, we operate this way.

How about this idea?

Well, from what I've seen, these
are the best ways to move forward.

I consider that block and tackling
strategic advice, but for clients,

it's, it's almost earth shattering.

It's, it's, it's gold because
they go, wow, we didn't even

know that we should do that.

I didn't even know we should do that.

Because in time you, you get these skills
that you build up and you take them for.

The more work you do, the more you
learn, the more experiences you have, the

more inherent knowledge that you build.

And it just becomes a natural to share
it because that's just what you do.

But for a lot of companies, they're very
immature from a marketing perspective.

So anything you give them, any
guidance you give them is high value.

And I think that's one thing as a
consultant I need to recognize is that

it's a, it's all about value-based advice.

And one really good piece of advice could
be worth a lot of money if it converts

a prospect into a customer, right?

If it

Kevin C. Whelan: or if it pro

Mark Evans: going.

Kevin C. Whelan: or if it prevents
them from going down a path that

would be expensive and time consuming.

And then I've seen people doing like, I
think it's agile web development where

they're, they code like a part of a page
and show it to you, and then another

part of a page, and next thing you know,
you're like, you've got this Frankenstein

of a website because you worked with the
wrong supplier who didn't have their own.

as opposed to working with
someone you wouldn't, you know?

So introductions are
another part of what you do.

Um, so I like that service myself
because it's the best of, like, you've

got a vision for how marketing should
operate and you've got some structures

and you've got templates, and you've
got ways that things should work.

You've got people that you recommend.

So it's the best of all of it,
but it, it's none of the least

valuable stuff you could be doing.

Which would be the most expensive, like
for you to project manage that would

take you tons of hours, but would be
the least valuable thing that you do.

When frankly, the B the business
should be able to do that in-house.

It would add more value, they'd
be able to control it better and

be more equipped for the future.

So that's the advisory stuff.

And so that's your sweet spot.

It sounds like it's mine as well.

Going back all the way up.

So we started at the bottom,
going back to the top here, uh,

with your fractional CMO stuff.

One of the things that I do, that
I've evolved into is more of an.

C m o, meaning I'll do that for three
months at a stretch, like four, the

six months, but never more than that.

And I won't take on clients that
don't have plans to bring marketing,

leadership and control in-house
cuz it's in their best interest.

Have you considered kind of tweaking
your position, positioning around

this is a short-term engagement?

Have you done that at all yet?

Mark Evans: absolutely.

Because I've, I've run
into a situation now.

Okay, lemme back up a step.

So, fractional CMO is a
premium priced product.

You know, if you're working a day
or two days, you're expensive.

And one of the realities is
that, Companies are looking

for instant gratification.

They want results tomorrow.

And as you know, it takes time to get
up to speed in terms of the product

and the company and the industry.

It takes time to develop strategy
and turn it into tactics.

So if you're three months into an
engagement and you really haven't done

much other than get understanding the
company, set the foundation in place.

A lot of companies will look at
the spreadsheet and go, I, I just

paid this person a lot of money
and they haven't done anything.

Meanwhile, you've done.

A lot of work and a lot of
the grunt work necessary.

And I, I find them in my experiences
that, that there's just too much pain

involved, financial pain involved,
because they don't recognize the value.

And so, yeah, like you, I've, I've
essentially, if I was going to get

another fractional CMO gig, I would
say, this is a three month gig.

I'll do all these things for you.

I'll put all these pieces in
place, but I'm, I don't wanna be.

Cmo, I don't, I don't wanna
be your fractional CMO for

a longer period of time.

Um, I just run into too many
situations where, um, the customer

gets on, like after 3, 4, 5 months,
the customer gets unhappy and when

they're not happy, they get frustrated.

And you, and then if.

Then you don't get any referrals,
you don't get, you have no love going

forward, and I want my customers to be
happy and I want them to provide value.

And I, the last thing I want
them to see is, is that a malign

item, an expensive line item, as
opposed to a valuable contributor.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah, I mean, that's
the thing right in, in order for you

to be compensated at the level you
deserve based on your, your ex expertise

in what the market is demanding from
you, uh, you need to charge a lot.

Like, I, I remember in the early days
I charged around four, four to five

grand to do this, and I was able to
get two clients and I, I managed to

sustain that for a couple years and
then did other, other work on the side.

And at the time I was like, that's great.

I'm crossing six figures on
two clients and whatever.

But I also knew that there was an endless
n need for more, more, more, more.

And yet you're inherently
a part-time person.

So deliverables have to be limited to the
number of hours you can work in a day,

even in when you bring an outside support.

So the model itself, the practical
steam model, to me is a good stepping

stone to more strategic advisory work.

And I think companies should.

Working with more junior intermediate
folks and bringing in an advisor rather

than bringing in the most expensive al cmo
you can have to do as much as they can irk

out within one to two days a week, because
then at least they have a, a set of hands

that can implement over time and the right
direction, and then the right outside

support to help accommodate that versus
flipping it on its head and saying, who's

the most qualified fractional C M O we can
bring on and then expect them to be an.

That's often what happens and whether
you want it or not, you become an

employee like shaped figure, but much
more expensive and much less output

in terms of your implementation.

Mark Evans: Yeah.

When I think about, uh, companies do
things backwards, They hire the, the, the

expensive strategist and then it takes
time for tactics to happen as opposed to

doing some tactical work, writing some
blog posts, you know, creating some,

some activity and then having someone
come in and shape and polish and direct.

And I think, you know, it sounds
like both you and I are talking to

ourselves out of being a fractional C
M O and I don't wanna, I don't wanna.

You know, paint a, a bad picture
of being a fractional museum.

There's some fractional CMOs who
are very good, very experienced.

They take on a limited number of of
clients and they do an amazing job.

I think that's the only thing
about the fractional salmon model.

There's different flavors,
there's different variations.

There's different, you can hire
people for different periods of time.

Some fractional CMOs would love to go
into a situation and have a multi-year

engagement, and they'll devote tons
of time to you and some like me.

And, and it sounds like
you, I like to move around.

I like to be agile.

I like to, you know, come in, do my thing.

You know?

Then, and I guess the other thing I
should mention is if you hire me as

a fractional CMO for three months,
the, the, the natural transition,

which I've talked about with
clients now is downgrade me, right?

I'll become your strategic advisor.

Kevin C. Whelan: Bring it in.

Mark Evans: You know, when you're bringing
it in-house and, and if you don't need

me, that's great, but my job is to
set you up for the next person and the

next person can use me if they want.

Um, and that seems to be sort of
an a, a very authentic and natural

way to work that kind of package.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah, I think
it comes down to a couple things.

One is what is the size of the business?

So if they're very small, there's
a lot of fractional CMOs who work

with small, small businesses at that
say $4,000 a month kind of range.

And they're great.

They turn out the weekly
newsletter, the four blog posts.

They manage a social media or,
or they, you know, and then they,

they outsource some ads and.

Coordinate with the website
designer, you know, so it's

straightforward, basic stuff.

It's when the companies get bigger
that the fractional CMO model to me

breaks down because there's just more
and more and more complexity, and the

very least there should be an in-house
coordinator, not have the fractional c

o and I guess this is up to the industry
to define what that fractional CMO does.

Uh, but coordination and project
management takes a lot of time

and isn't the most valuable.

Um, so yeah, it really
depends on the type of client.

If you're a small business working with.

To me, they're more like producers.

They're rather than, because a small
business would never hire a cmo.

They don't even hire, they don't even have
a, you know, a director level, anything.

So why would there be a C M O?

Uh, so to me, you're hiring a producer,
someone who's gonna do some implementation

and manage more implementation,
but call it a fractional CMO if you

want, but it's kind of a misnomer.

Mark Evans: can we talk?

Can we talk money?


Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah.

I love money, love

Mark Evans: so, okay.

So, so in my mind, when it comes to this
fractional CMO strategic advisor paradigm,

or the amount, the, the, there's a line
sort of around four or $5,000 a month.

Kevin C. Whelan: Mm.

Mark Evans: Below that line
is, There's less financial

pain involved for the company.

So if you're a strategic advisor and
you're charging somebody three, $4,000

a month, You're providing lots of value.

You can show lots of value, but when
the CEO O looks at his expensive, it's,

there's not this holy shit moment.

I'm paying that much person,
that person, that much money.

When you're a fractional CMO and you're
working a day or two days, or two and a

half days a week, you're probably in the,
you know, the six, seven, $8,000 a month.


Kevin C. Whelan: or more

Mark Evans: that or more.

You extrapolate that over a year,
you could easily pay a fraction CMO

a hundred thousand dollars a year.

Kevin C. Whelan: or more

Mark Evans: Or more so that, so you'd
expect, as the CEO entrepreneur, you would

expect that if you're paying somebody
that much money, they better be totally

committed to you and your organization.

So that's where it goes back to my
original comment about it's really hard

to be a part-time CMO because you're,
you have so many responsibilities,

you're getting paid so well that
you're, it's almost an obligation.

Do the job full-time.

And in fact, in those cases, they should
probably hire a, a seasoned, you know,

executive, you know, with 10 years
experience and pay them $125,000 and

Kevin C. Whelan: Well,
if they can, I think.

Mark Evans: they can.

Kevin C. Whelan: that's
the problem, right?

It's hard to get good talent.

That's senior level for less
than 200, you know, and so those

numbers have maybe gone up a bit

Mark Evans: right.

Kevin C. Whelan: where they were.

Mark Evans: so the reason I like strategic
advisories that can operate really,

really nice in that three to five range.

I can deliver a lot of value.

I can make my customers happy.

They don't look me at at
me as a major expense.

So the relationship can be
happy and it can be long term.

And that's what I want as
a marketing consultant.

I want clients for the long term,
six months, nine months, 12 months.

I mean, if you're running a business,
I don't wanna run a volume-based

business, you know, I want happy
customers who stick around and see value.

And, you know, obviously the role evolves.

Like, you know, there's, there's a
lot of work that you do up front and

then your, your role changes in time
and that's, that's art and science

and that's a lot of, you know, ha
knowing what a customer wants and how

they feel is a lot of his intuition.

And knowing how and when the
relationship changes and how much

you should charge them is a big
part of that process as well.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah, I think part of it
is like what you're describing previously

about being super, like super expensive.

It's a relative basis, right?

Because for, for some clients, 10
grand, they've got many line items

that represent 10, 20, 30, 40.

They may be spending 30 grand on ads.

It would make sense to have a $10,000.

You know, head of marketing
in that particular case.

So it's a really a relative basis.

If you are the tall poppy,
you're gonna get cut relative

to the rest of flowers, right?

And so, or at least you're
gonna be heavily weighed on.

So I think it really comes down
to putting the right price and the

right set of services together for
clients for their individual needs.

Yeah be and making sure that the value
that you're, the price you're charging is

aligned with the value you're creating.

Knowing that it's gonna take six
to 12 months for these projects,

they come together and start
to produce business results.

Cuz there's very few things.

If you could just buy money, like you
wouldn't need marketers or you just buy

money and you wouldn't need business.


So it's inherently, things
inherently are difficult.

They're creative.

They're technical, they take time
to produce value in an organization.

. And so that's why we have to
think in terms of, well, it's

not $3,000 or $5,000 a month.

It's $50,000 a year, and if we only
move the needle by this percent

over in, in your business, then the,
the results should be substantial.

And reframing the mindset of, you know,
it's not $3,000 a month, it's 50,000

over the year, but we're gonna move the
needle by a million and we're gonna set

you up for success for many years to come.

That's a different mindset
and it partly is our job as

marketers to to paint the right.

To talk, to make the business
case with your clients.

Say, why would you hire me for
150 when you could hire someone

who's good for 90 and me for 40?

And then now you have a, a
senior level person and a

very good, competent executor.

And all my experience in, you know,
Rolodex and templates to equip that

person, that's a much better value
prop than a, than an overworked c m O

for 10 professional CMO for 10 grand
a month, in my opinion, for most c.

Mark Evans: One of the hard things
about being a consultant is actually

turning down business and telling people
that they don't need you because their

money is better spent in other places.

With other people.

But I think in the long term as a
consultant, you gain credibility and

you get better, happier customers
when you're really selective

about who you can offer value to.

And, and, and I always lean into, into
the, I want entrepreneurs to be success.

And I want them to make
the right decisions.

And if, and if me saying no to them,
no, don't do this, or No, don't hire

me, is the, is the right decision,
then that's the best way to operate.

It may not be the smartest way
to operate financially, but I

can't operate any other way.

Like I, I, I think that, you
know, the best consultants are are

totally customer centric and they
do everything for their customers,

so their customers to be successful.

And in the process you're success.

And, uh, telling somebody not to use
you or telling them to use somebody

else who's better at a specific task
is, is, is a great way to operate.

It just feels so good
when you do that right.

Kevin C. Whelan: I think that's the
critical mindset you have to have as a

consultant and a marketing consultant.

It's being a fiduciary advisor, putting
the interests of your client and prospect

before they even sign any contracts.

You're already acting
in their own interests.

You know, so if it means not hiring
you, if it means exploring it longer

to see if maybe you can work together
or carving out an initial project, say,

I don't know if I can help you here.

This is different than what I'm used to.

I can apply my process to this.

, why don't we, and I've done this recently,
why don't we explore a month or two

together and let's just explore the
problem and create some, paint, some,

some options for us for the future.

And if then it feels right, great.

And if it doesn't, I can either point
you to someone else or we can part ways,

but at least you've limited the risk and
everyone goes in feeling good because

now we're de-risking the engagement.

And, uh, you've, and they can tell
you're acting in their best interest,

which is rare, like, you know.

And the only way you can do that is if you
market yourself effectively, which is you.

Separate conversation altogether.

Mark Evans: Yeah, I.

initial engagements, I, I asked
for three months with all my

engagements, and I could ask for six.

I could ask for an, an annual
contract, but I don't because

I, I frame it in the sense that,
let's date, let's see if it works.

Let's see if there's a good connection.

And the other thing would be, and
you taught me this, is that if

you're not happy, don't pay me.

If we're a month in and
you're not getting value,

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah.

I'll give you your money back.

Mark Evans: No harm, no foul.

Like I don't wanna take your money If
you're pissed off and you're not getting

the results you want, and the three
months, you know, from a psychological

point of view means they're not locked in.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah.

Mark Evans: Most customers, most of
my clients are nervous or a little

bit leery about marketing, and it's
a commitment for them, so they don't

wanna lock themselves in for a year.

So I say it's three months.

I know.

The vast majority are gonna stick
around longer than three months.

Kevin C. Whelan: good fit

Mark Evans: that we're,
we're gonna get momentum.

They're gonna be happy.

The good, yeah, the good ones.


Kevin C. Whelan: is mute, which is good.

Which is what you want.

Mutual, mutual

Mark Evans: But I don't
want 'em to get nervous.

I don't want 'em to get their guard up
right away saying, oh, this guy's gonna,

you know, walk us in and do we wanna do,
I wanna make it easy for them to say yes.

Cause I know if I pick the right
clients, they'll get, they'll

go, they'll get lots of value.

Kevin C. Whelan: And
that's the thing, right?

It, it kind of sounds like you are similar
minded to me, which is I'd rather be

around for a good amount of time and
help clients really get things done.

Cuz I just know that
things take a long time.

I, I, I don't want to.

Get them to this stage and charge
the most amount of money, and then

be like, good luck implementing my
suggestions, my strategies, my plan.

I'd rather stick around and that.

Then things take long, and so I
wanna price it accordingly with a

longer term engagement because I know
that that's what most clients need.

However, and a lot of the value
is, a lot of value happens

in that first three months.

And so depending on the client, it's
like sometimes there needs to be

three months of concerted work and.

but that shouldn't be at the
price of a 12 month commitment.

Like it, you know, sometimes there's
a lot to be done in that first three

to six months to get them on the right
strategic direction and get, get all this

work done, do your research and your,
your positioning and all that good stuff.

So, I don't know if you've
thought about that at all, but

it's, uh, it's a tough line when.

You know, I guess your view is that
if they don't stay with you, then

they're not a great fit client anyway.

They've just gotten a bargain on strategy.

Another way to look at it is you've just
delivered a ton of value and now they're

gonna go away and, and execute it.

Shouldn't you be commensurately
compensated for that upfront strategy,

positioning, you know, road mapping.

Mark Evans: Yeah, it's a, it's a, it's a,
it's a balancing act because you're right,

a lot of value is delivered upfront.

So sometimes you go in
with a strategic advisory.


You deliver a lot of
value for 3, 4, 5 months.

And then, then once you sense
that you're gonna be offering less

value, you downshift proactively
downshift and say, listen, we've

done a lot of great work together.

We're in a great situation.

We're, um, you know, really what
you need me to do is more of

an advisory maintenance mode.

What I suggest is that reduce the
size of our engagement so that you

can spend this money on other things
gonna make you successful, and

then you continue the relationship.

Cuz no relationship is gonna last
forever, but you wanna manage it so

that it lasts as long as it's healthy.

The other thing I will say, With new
engagements is that, especially now,

there's such an emphasis on leads,
leads, leads, like your, the only

KPI they're looking at is leads.

They're not looking at brand
awareness or thought leadership.

And so when you go into an engagement
as a consultant, you really

have to ask them two questions.

One, why do you wanna hire me?

Like, what are your motivations?

What are your triggers?

What are your pains?

And two, what's success gonna look
like after we've done all this

work together for three months?

What is, what's gonna make you say,
mark, you've done a, you've done

work, Kevin, you've done a great job.

I love working with you.

And so you need to paint the, you
need to get them to paint the picture

of what they want so that you're
both operating from the same page,

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah, I love

Mark Evans: that sets, that sets the
stage for, for a healthy relationship.

Kevin C. Whelan: And yeah,
and not just the relationship,

but also the work you do.

Cuz the temptation is, hey,
we should be doing more stuff.

We should be on social.

Why aren't we on Twitter?


Why don't we have a Pinterest strategy?

Why don't we.

. And so without a clear objective, it's
hard to create a clear strategy with,

and then without a clear strategy,
it's hard to create a clear plan.

So when someone says, Hey,
mark, shouldn't we be doing, you

know, shouldn't we be on TikTok?

But it turns out you're, you know, target
market is nowhere near TikTok then,

or the goals just don't map that yet.

Then you say, yeah, he, the goals
are gonna determine what we do right

now, unless we are gonna change our.

these are the things we need to do
because we can't, there's no one

who can do everything no matter
how much resources you have.

Uh, so it's nice.

I think objectives are the, the secret
to both healthy engagement in terms of

expectations and in terms of, so you,
you know, you're doing what they're

looking for and also what you end up the,
the content of what you end up doing.

Because if your goal is to grow by a
hundred million and we're just, we're

running around with something over here,
then it means we're not really thinking.

We're not, it's a lot easier to work
backwards from a, a goal than it is.

In terms of the engagement and the
marketing strategies and plans,

than it is to just do, do stuff
as much as the budget will allow.

Mark Evans: And one of the, yeah.

One of the challenges that I run
into is that I always start every

engagement with positioning and
messaging, which is the customer story.

Kevin C. Whelan: Mm.

Mark Evans: Unless you have that in
place, then it's really hard to put

together a strategic plan where you
tell that story to the right people in

the right places, and, and so clients
have to recognize that there's a

journey that I'm gonna take them on.

They're gonna have to be patient
because without the story, your

marketing's not gonna work.

and, and that you need to have,
you need to be upfront about that.

And you need to, for them to
recognize that, that you are,

you're on a journey together.

It's, it's gonna be structured
as a win-win proposition.

Um, and that's why I like the methodology
First, we're gonna do this, then we're

gonna do this, then we're gonna do this.

So that's one side of it.

The other side I will say is that I'm
gonna walk before you run kind of.

A lot of companies want to do
lots of stuff right away and

minus, let's do less stuff.

Kevin C. Whelan: The right

Mark Evans: on fewer channels.

We'll do the right stuff
in the right ways, right?

And you combine those and it just
sets the stage for what marketing

should look like as opposed to
this unrealistic expectations.

Kevin C. Whelan: yeah.

Cuz like someone may look over their
shoulder to a, a peer company or a

friend's business and go, oh, they're
doing all these things and I wanna

do all of that and that's what's
gonna help me get more funding.

But if the, yeah, if the goal is,
Something else then, uh, yeah, I don't

know where I was going with that, but
it, it just sort of changes everything

and, uh, that's what's gonna let you to
ramp up in the, in the end is, you know,

based on the realities of their business.

Um, so switching gears a little bit.

So, uh, be, you know, we
talked about being a fiduciary.

Thank you kind for kind of sharing
the business model stuff a little bit.

I'm a big believer that marketing is what
gives you permission to turn down clients

and to be their fiduciary before they.

Hire you, uh, to act in their best
interest and only take on clients that you

know you can help or believe you can help.

And it also gives you confidence to allow
you to charge the race that you deserve.

Because if you, if you don't have
leads, then you don't have much internal

leverage, so you're always gonna undercut
yourself and it's a race to the bottom.

So marketing allows you to be a
better consultant, cuz you can

also relax during your engagement.

You can also, you're fine with, with
clients attrition and you're not

trying to clinging on to the leads or.

Clients for too long past
their, their due date.


It doesn't create any
conflicts internally.

How do you approach
marketing at the base level?

We can, you can talk about that in terms
of the, the tactics, the channels you

use, or you can just say like, what's
your core philosophy around how you market

yourself, not your clients, but yourself.

Mark Evans: Hmm, that's it.

So, One of the biggest things as a
marketer is that you're, is that if

you, if you're not marketing, no one
knows what you do and, and, and why you

matter unless you've got this amazing
reputation and you're just, people

are just coming to you unsolicited.

So I, I think you have to
be marketing all the time.

You have to be creating content all the
time to demonstrate thought leadership.

Different perspectives.

Um, you know, advice on how to
do things tactically to position

yourself as a value added resource.

Someone who they can trust, someone
who they're confident, but at

least they can have a conversation
with who's gonna help 'em.

So I'm very engaged as a, as a writer and
as a content creator to, to be active.

And my channels, uh, for as a baby SaaS
marketer is LinkedIn, uh, for the last.

You know, three years.

LinkedIn has been a game changer
as far as my business concerned,

opening up opportunities beyond Canada
that I never would've had before.

Covid when I didn't
use LinkedIn very much.

Also, a podcast, also have a
newsletter, so I've got my fingers

in a lot of pies, but it's all about
ground coverage and making sure that.

It, it's hard for people to miss what
I do and, and who I, I serve them.

So I'm very, I'm a big believer
in marketing and, and it's,

listen, the realities of being a
consultant, you gotta do in addition,

just to serving your clients.

You gotta market and you gotta sell.

And if you, if you, all you want to
do is do the work, then you should

probably go work for somebody.

But if you really wanna be an
entrepreneur, then marketing and Sally.

Part and parcel of how you
run a business, and I couldn't

run my business any other way.

I, if I didn't market myself, I
would probably disappear into the

woodwork before anybody knew it.

Kevin C. Whelan: Well, I always
say marketing's the only thing

standing between you and and A j o b.

So you know, for anyone who's out there,
kind of a little lackluster, maybe meaning

to get that newsletter going or write
that content or post on LinkedIn, which

can be scary cuz like my LinkedIn is
like, It's like a, it's like Facebook.

It's a timeline of everyone I've ever
known professionally over the last decade.

And so, you know, at some point
you have to get over it and say,

you know, these, you're serving
people you're looking to serve.

You're educating them so that
they can see that you have value

to add that they're sampling your
wares, their, your expertise.

So getting over that and, uh, and
publishing allows them also then to

get educated on how they can hire
you and get the most value out.

Mark Evans: Well, one of the realities
is of consulting is the balancing act

between, between doing and selling
or doing and selling slash marketing.

When you're doing and you're really busy,
you have less time to market yourself.

But if you don't do that, then you
don't, your pipeline doesn't build.

But if you're marketing yourself
all the time, then you don't give

yourself enough time to do the work.

So you're constantly sort of straddling
the fence between the marketing

and the doing, and, and, and then
both gotta happen all the time.

Like you, like when you are super busy
and I get complacent going, you know,

I'm, I'm gonna post less on LinkedIn.

I'm not gonna write my
newsletter this week.

And then it's easy to get lazy and
then you, then all of a sudden you

turn around and you got no leads.

It's like, oh.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah.

Mark Evans: on LinkedIn.

I should have, I should
have made that video.

And that's one of the, the biggest
challenges about being a consultant

is you have to run a business.

Um, you just can't consult with clients.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah.

So insightful and that literally
the same thing happened to me.

You know, the co-working thing.

My, you know, my, where I consult,
uh, a lot and it was, you know, I,

I marketed myself, got really busy
during covid and then it, it's,

luckily it's been sustainable, but,
uh, it's easy to take the foot off

the gas and then you sort of feel it,
you, your relevance kind of wanes.

You feel like your relevance wanes.

And then if fewer people reach out
and the only time you can coast is

when you're going downhill, you know?


and yeah, it's, uh, it's a tough
line to, and uh, so that kinda goes

back to like, what is your, what
are your core practices, right?

So you're really good at your newsletter
and your LinkedIn publishing and,

uh, you know, how do you create it?

Like a, what's your, what's your, I
guess the question within the questions,

what's the 80 20 that needs to get done,
no matter how busy you are, what, you

know, maybe you can answer that question.

Like, let's assume you were, you were
a ramp, but what marketing would you

still do if time was a big constraint?

What's the most important
piece of marketing that.

Mark Evans: LinkedIn for sure.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yep.

Mark Evans: no doubt about it.

Like if, if I backed off of LinkedIn, and
LinkedIn is a very addictive creature.

Kevin C. Whelan: Mm-hmm.

. Especially when you get
the engagement you get.

Mark Evans: And so you feel like
you have to be there all the time.

But it's like any, it's like a business
that just runs Google Ads all the time,

and that's the way their business runs.

And so for LinkedIn, that's a no-brainer.

Um, you know, I could, I
could back off my newsletter.

Um, it's probably doesn't generate
as much ROI as I want it to.

It's a good way to, to
stay in touch with people.

And my podcast has been a
little bit up and down recently,

you know, I, I, last year.

I published every week and then I now
it's now it's two weeks because when

you get busy, but I could let those
slide, but LinkedIn cannot outlet

slide and, and one thing I will say
about LinkedIn, it's not just about

publishing content and making yourself
look smart and position yourself as this

domain expert, it's also being aware
of the relationships you're building.

And then the key to sales and consulting
is conversations, is reaching out to

people on LinkedIn saying, Hey, I'd
love to jump on a call and compare notes

and, and I would say as a consult, As
much as you can do digital marketing.

Um, it's all about relationships.

And when you talk to people, it opens
up opportunities, not necessarily

the person that you're talking
to, but maybe someone they know.

So if I was somebody thinking about
going into consulting, I would

recognize that conversations are
probably the thing that's gonna,

and relationships are gonna fuel my
business and make him move forward.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah.

I always think marketing
is like magic in some way.

You do a bunch of things and
stuff just sort of works, but

it really comes down to people.

Who do you know who's talking about you?

Who's referring you, who,
who's thinking about you?

And so the more conversations you open,
the more connections you make in a real,

like in a real way, not like a sleazy
way, you know, Hey, buy my stuff, but

this notice you've been doing this.

I just thought that was interesting.

Wanted to say hey, or maybe we can
get on a call sometime and share notes

on what you're doing that's working.

Um, it's amazing how people
are such a key turning.

And I did an analysis of.

Clients over the last five years and many
of them came through referrals or I got in

front of audiences due to a few key people
that I knew through webinars and stuff and

podcasting and, and yet, so it really just
goes to show you how important even a few

key people can be in those relationships

Mark Evans: Yeah, well

Kevin C. Whelan: being
a great place for that.

Mark Evans: I mean, the reality
is people buy from people.

People don't buy from companies.

And when it comes to consulting,
you're definitely buying from people.

When people feel that they, they know you.

If they see you on a video and they
feel that they know you, and they.

They trust you and they think
that you're a good person.

And then that just gives you an
advantage in terms of trying to

convince 'em to buy services from you.

And, and that's, uh, that's a key
part of my marketing is almost,

it's almost like likability.

I wanna be seen as this,
this guy who's just out there

providing people with advice.

And I'm not aggressive.

Um, I'm not a sales driven person.

I don't feel, I'm not salesy.

I'm just doing what I do.

And if you wanna talk to me,
that's awesome, and I'd be

happy to talk to anybody if.

If you approach me and, and I don't
really know you, and you seem like legit,

sure, I'll, I'll jump on a call with you.

You know, I, you never
know what could happen.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah.

I think that's the benefit of podcasting
or video creation or even just publishing

content on LinkedIn, is that it creates
a bit of a asymmetrical intimacy.

Like I feel like I know Mark,
you know, especially in a digital

world where we don't have as many
opportunities to bump into one another.

and when your clients are in all over
North America and maybe Europe and, and

Asia and who knows, uh, just putting
out content, especially high fidelity

video or audio content, people do
eventually feel like they know you better.

Such a powerful thing marketing can
be, and especially when you're a

consultant, they're really buying
into, they won't do business unless

they feel some degree of comfort.

And the way you create comfort
is through familiarity.

The, the way you create familiarity
is through showing up over and over

again, ideally in some way that I can.

. I can see.

I can see you and hear you and you know.

Mark Evans: And that, and that's the
weird thing about Zoom these days

is that you can produce all this
content and you can be on a podcast.

And when you jump on a Zoom call
with somebody, that awkward moment

doesn't exist because there's, you
already have a relationship with them.

They already have affinity to you.

They already

Kevin C. Whelan: Or at least it's
less awkward for them too, because

they feel like they know you.

Mark Evans: Exactly.

And, uh, and yeah, so you can
jump into conversations and you

can pursue opportunities and you
can figure out what they want.

Uh, and going back to your fiduciary
responsibility, one of the things

that I look for is I'm, I'm upfront.

How can I help you?

What are you looking to do?

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah.

Mark Evans: And if they, if what
they say aligns with about how

I can help 'em, I say, I think,
I think there's a good fit here.

We should explore some opportunities.

If not, I'll be totally upfront
and say, I'm not for you.

Like I don't have the
skillsets you're looking for.

Um, but I can make some recommendations
about some people, people you should talk

to, and that's also good marketing too.

Kevin C. Whelan: So even as you said, so
we've talked about asymmetrical intimacy

and we've talked about, um, is through
zoom and video and sharing your content

and then zoom calls, and that's good.

You know, I feel like we've,
we've known each other, we havent.

I've seen you in, I've
seen you speaking on stage.

I have that advantage over you, but
you, you obviously, we didn't know

each other back then, so it was just
weird that we ended up meeting, uh,

and then I met someone else in our
community, uh, Daniel, um, in person.

I was in Toronto and you, we did a little
podcast thing together and, and that even

so in person changes how you feel as well.

So I didn't realize Daniel was.


He was tall.

He's a tall guy and like, and, and
like, and, and that's not what I,

that's not the thing I realized.

But you feel something a little bit more
different when, when you're in person.

So the last part of the
marketing thing that I think is

important for us as we exit this.

Multi-year, you know, lockdown mode
where you got comfy in our pajamas

is getting out again and finding ways
to meet people in real life, whether

they're your clients, your prospects,
your peers, your peers can go a long

way toward referring you and, and I
think that's just a valuable thing going

where you're ideally your clients are.

And cuz that's a whole different level
of fidelity that we've lost a lot.

Mark Evans: Yeah, that's gonna be really
interesting to see how that evolves

because so far, and I don't know whether
things are different in other parts of

the world, but in Toronto and the GTA
where you and I operate, I haven't felt

that hunger from prospects and clients.

To get together.

People are still pretty comfortable
operating from home and not commuting

and not having to drive 30 minutes
for a coffee meeting an hour.

Like there's, you know, life is
busy right now and people are trying

to be as efficient and as possible
and they've discovered that working

from home is really awesome and,
but, At some point in time, you, you

have to take that proactive step.

If you really wanna move your business
forward, you've gotta meet in person.

I just haven't got to that moment yet.

Maybe when the summer rolls around
and I'm feeling clear about going

outside, but it, it is part of the
business, but it's, I just don't know

how quickly that's gonna come back.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah, and I notice a
lot of my clients that are still going

to conferences or they're going again,
and so conferences are a good way to kind

of meet up with peers and other people.

You know, if they're, if you notice that
your client, a couple of your clients are

gonna a conference and maybe you ask them,
Hey, are you going to any conferences

or whatever, then it's a good sign.

Maybe you can go there too.

And who knows, maybe speak
at it, which is another very

powerful, long residual benefit.

Mark Evans: Yeah, I would love to go.

I'd love to speak again, but, uh, it's,

Kevin C. Whelan: it.

Mark Evans: yeah, I enjoy it.

It's nice to, and, and the
thing is, once you're on stage,

people think you're smart.

If you're invited to be on
stage, that person must be smart.

Now, it may not be entirely
true, but in marketing, you know,

perceptions, reality in, in some sense.

So that is marketer doing
marketing is posing on LinkedIn.

Being on a podcast and being on
stage and convincing people that,

that you're the right option for
them, among many, many options.

Kevin C. Whelan: Yeah, it's true.


So I think it's about tasting
all these different marketing

channels and, uh, um, yeah.

I, I wanna be respectful
of your time, mark.

Thank you for this like shop Talk episode.

It's fun to kinda get into
the weeds and nuances.

Uh, I'll leave you with one question.

Uh, has there been a book.

That you've read in the last number
of years that has changed your

thinking and or trajectory about
your business and how you operate?

Mark Evans: It's an interesting question,
and I would say if I had to look at the, I

don't, I could, the problem with business
books is I read about 25 pages and I, and

I get bored because most of 'em have a

Kevin C. Whelan: Gotta get the

Mark Evans: yeah, exactly.

A thesis.

But I would say that, um,
there's a book by Robert Bloom.

He was the former c e o of publicist,
which is a big advertising agency,

and he wrote a book called, um, the
Inside Advantage, the Strategy that

Unlocks the Hidden Growth in your.

And for whatever reason,
it's about positioning.

It's about targeting your customers.

It's about creativity, it's about
advertising, and it's about campaigns.

It just was a really good story and,
and it was unlike a lot of business

books, I actually had a narrative.

Uh, it, it involves, you know,
the creative process and, and how

customers feel about your brand and
your product, and I just, that was

just one book that's always stood out.

I read it years ago, my brother gave it
to me, and of all the business books I've

read, it's one of the few that's actually
I've, like Hungrily read from cover to.

Kevin C. Whelan: I wonder if that
set you on the path in part, if that

was part of the fuel that burned
you through marketing, other than

like how much of that inspired you?


Mark Evans: Probably.

Uh, and the other, um, I, I'd say
if you, if I wanted to give you

like a bonus, um, there's a guy
named Steve Krug, um, K R U G.

Um, he's wrote a, like a number of book
books called, like, don't Make Me Think is

one of his books about when you get to a
website, Don't make people think, just do.

And the other one is Rocket Surgery made
easy, awesome books about communicating

really effectively and clearly.

So you, you add, when you look at
what the books that resonated with me

then, you know, the way that I think
and the way that I wanna operate.

Um, but any like, yeah, check
out Steve k Cro, he's awesome.

And Robert Blooms book is really good too.

Kevin C. Whelan: I will
take a look at those.

Yeah, don't make me think.

As a web design classic,
over 25 years old now.

Great book

Mark Evans: surgery made easy, and

Kevin C. Whelan: is it?

Great title.

Mark Evans: they're almost like a,
the one two punch for for Steve Crook.

Kevin C. Whelan: I love it.

Well, mark, thank you so much for,
uh, chatting, being such an open book,

and, uh, I look forward to talking
to you again in the near future.

Mark Evans: Thanks for the invitation.

Kevin C. Whelan: So that has it.

That is the interview with Mark Evans.

I hope you enjoyed it.

I know I did, even when I was going
back and listening to it again, taking

some notes and reminded me of a bunch
of topics that I want to talk more

about in detail as time goes on.

If you need more help with your marketing
practice, whether you are a freelancer or

a consultant or an agency owner is solo
agency owner, typically who are who's

contracting work and trying to figure out
maybe how to productize your business.

There's plenty for you in
the Mindshare community.

Right now, the URL is kevin.me/group.

And you can sign up, you can learn more,
you can get training, you can get the

way it works is there's twice a month.

We have a group coaching call where
you can get your questions answered,

get feedback from me and others.

And it's a really great opportunity
to just to kind of explain the things

you're working on and talk about
the challenges you're facing, or

just listen in and hear what kind
of challenges people are working on.

Usually there's a topic of the
day that we set for those as well.

So we talked about things
like marketing or sales.

Sales or email marketing or you know,
how to deliver certain things or.

client challenges.

There's all kinds of good topics that come
up in the course of, of the conversation.

So that happens twice a month.

And then we have a training that
we go out once a month as well.

And that training covers various topics.

All my workshops that sometimes I
promote to the public and sometimes

it just reserved for the membership.

For example, the latest one we had was
SEO for consultants with Tsavo Neil, and

he taught us how to choose keywords that
are the right difficulty and opportunity

size and optimize your website for the
keywords that drive business results.

As much as this is going to help you.

Help your clients do better.


This is really about how to make
your website search engine optimized.

So that was the latest one that
we had with a guest expert.

We've talked about how to price package
and sell custom consulting engagements.

We talked about how to create highly
product profitable productized

services for your consulting side.

It's a lot of it is a lot of it is,
you know, strategic and very tactical.

So there's always a training.

There's typically always a, a template
or so that follows with it as well.

We've talked about copywriting,
we've talked about methodology,

we've talked about your website
and how to structure that.

So there's tons of good training in there
and past recordings to previous calls.

If you want to dive into the
details of what we've talked about

in the past and the topics there.

So there's lots in there.

You also get a private slack
access with, with the pro plan.

So all the features are unlocked and
you can reference past conversations.

Anytime you want.

And it's just a really great
place to hang out and, you know,

So we're growing that list.

We're growing that group of people.

If you're interested, go
to kevin.me/group, that is

the mind share community.

I've got lots planned for it.

And I won't share any
secrets just yet, but.

Trust me.

It's a good idea to get in.

Now, if you're thinking about it.

And, uh, I look forward to
sharing more details on that

in the coming weeks and months.

So that's it for now, my friends,
you head over to kevin.me and make

sure you're on the mailing list.

If you're not already.

And as always, if you can share this with
a friend, someone in the marketing space,

a strategist, a freelance or someone who's
trying to create, leverage around their

expertise, someone who's trying to grow
their business to attract more clients.

Create more of a formal
process and a methodology.

There's tons of resources included in
the membership as well as I'm kevin.me.

And the best way to stay in touch
with all of that is to get on.

My mailing list.

And that's all for now.

My friends.

You take care.

Thanks for listening.


203. Mark Evans on the unique challenges and methodologies of fractional CMO and advisory work
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