As Co-Founder of TheMarketingHelp.co, Erik is passionate about offering mentorship, coaching and making connections that enable success for the next generation of marketers and marketing talent.
He has been building marketing teams, strategies, and solutions for over 25 years in agency, SaaS, tech and academic environments. He has held several leadership roles with award-winning agencies, such as Harmelin Media, 22Squared, 360i, and eBay.
Over his career, Erik has amassed a well-developed, active network with leading agency, brand, ad tech, marketing tech, start up, entrepreneurial and academic communities.
His marketing career learnings, experiences, and extensive network, are available to all marketers that are part of TheMarketingHelp.co community and mentorship programs.
Connect with Erik on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eharbison (reference AgencyBalance podcast)
Email Erik: Erik (at) themarketinghelp (dot) co (reference AgencyBalance podcast)
More about Marketing Career Mentorship Support: https://www.themarketinghelp.co/membership
The Marketing Careers Podcast: https://bit.ly/tmhpod
Welcome to the agency balance everyone, super pump to have the co-founder of the marketing help Erik Harbison, and a long time colleague and friend of mine joining me today. Erik. Welcome.
Dave, happy to be here.
Well, Erik is so passionate about offering mentorship, coaching, making connections that enable success for the next generation of marketers and marketing talent that are out there. Erik, thanks so much for joining me today. I would love to just share with our audience a little bit about, you know, how you got started, how, what, what the marketing help is all about. I mean, you’ve worked in your career over a like agencies and brands and tech you’ve, you’ve done it all. Can you share a little bit about your background?
Sure. So I think I’m one of those, those, those people that, that knew what I wanted to do when I was, you know, probably 6, 7, 8 years old, and I always wanted to be in advertising now, again, we’re, we’re going back years here. Pre-Internet and knowing that, you know, was, was fortunate enough to go get a degree in advertising. Then when graduating with that degree almost knew that I wanted to be in a space where I could do what I was doing in one of my communications classes, which was media planning. So that led me to an agency that took me on a 20 year stretch of working for different agencies, you know, midsize, large size independent, publicly owned even started my own agency, which ended up getting acquired, which I think is where we ended up meeting. So 20 years of agencies told me, Hey, learned a ton.
And then I decided, you know something I, I started doing probably 10 years into my career was focusing on some career planning sessions for myself. Now, again, I’m doing this by myself. I had no mentorship. I’m just trying to figure out what do I want to do next? And at that point 20 years of agencies, I said, it’s time to go client side, because I think quite honestly was burnout of the agency space. And that led me to a, a chief marketing officer role with a, a software company, which again, a different perspective on leveraging everything I’ve learned in growing teams, really learning a lot about myself as a, as a manager and leader, and that ran for about five years and then had the same career planning session that I had a, you know, I would call it epiphany, but realized that I wanted to do something that was more focused on fulfillment as opposed to, you know, compensation, other things.
So that led me to double down on really reinstating the marketing help, which is something I’ve been doing probably after, you know, 15 years into my career, but now I want to make it official and I wanted to give back. And I was in a position where I felt like I had an ability to help marketers with their careers. And I, I learned this from doing one on ones with teams of all sizes and wanted to make that something full time. So I was able to secure enough client work to leave my CMO role and do this full time.
That’s amazing. That’s that’s the dream, right?
Yes. I mean, whether it’s planned or unplanned or just, you know, one day you wake up. I, I think in my case it was just, you know, really having a hard conversation with myself in terms of which path do I want to go here? You know? Cause there’s, you know, CMO role, I mean a lot of marketers dream of getting to that level and then, you know, going horizontally across different verticals. And I think for me it was all about, you know, there was something here that I really wanted to pursue.
Yeah. I, I mean, for me when, when I decided to say, all right, I’m gonna go out and do my own thing. This was a decade ago. I, I knew right away. I was like working for myself. I would never work for anybody else. Quote unquote again, I knew that I knew that once I got a taste of different freedom of controlling your own destiny right. Or density, like they say in back to the future that’s right. But, but so I never got, I, I never worked on the client side mm-hmm for, for those who are listening and I have a lot of agency listeners out there, or maybe, maybe there’s some folks that are listening and they’re thinking about switching, going to the client side, just talk a little bit about like maybe pros and cons or, or, or things that were, that you maybe didn’t expect when you left agency to go to the client side.
Yeah. So, and this is gonna be different for, for everyone. But I think the, the brand that I decided to work for was, was a product. So it was very product centric. And the challenge for me was having all this agency experience, you know, fortunate enough to, to come up with ideas and execute a lot of ideas for my clients. So I had a, you know, a litany of ideas on what I could do to help this one brand. And sometimes it was, you know, having to educate right. Having educate stakeholders that would approve things on how to do things. Now, again, we do that in agencies sometimes, but you’re kind of being selected and you’re, you’re being trusted to do those things. So it’s not maybe as hard of a sell. So there are some challenges there with educating on why branding’s important.
I think that was one learning. I think the other, I guess in my role was working client side. It was the importance of understanding what every other department did. So agency side, you know, you’re the specialist you’re hired to do your thing client side as a marketer. Yes. You’re working to, to support that one, focus, that one brand, but you know, it took me a couple of trips before I realized that I should probably spend some time with the engineering team to understand how could we make their lives easier because of our requests are coming in. And there just was some process things that had to be I had to figure out and had to get accustomed to.
Yeah. So that I know working on the agency side and when I’m asking and interviewing, cuz in my role, I’m, I’m kind of leading sales, right. I’m, I’m qualifying to, to find the next best client partner for, for us. And I, and I think about those CMOs and I ask them questions like, have you ever worked with another agency? How many resources do you have? Are you a team of one? Are you a team before, you know, what’s your relationship with sales? So I think what you’re talking about there is, you know, making sure that you don’t just assume that you’re working in this specialist vacuum role of like, Hey, I’m the smartest marketer here. Now I can control everything, but you really have to integrate into the other departments to be successful.
Yeah. And I learned some, I mean, I, I learned more than I thought I would from other departments simply just because I had to open myself up to learn about the ins and outs of customer support. Right. It’s not just taking phone calls. There’s a lot more to it than that. I had the, the, the, I was fortunate enough to be tasked with billion a sales team. So that was interesting too, because oftentimes marketing’s just put into a position to go figure it out with sales and, and, and figure out how the relationship goes. So that was hard and that was hard. And that was a learn experience. And got it to a point where we brought in somebody to run the sales team. But again, being part of that process allowed me to help be part of the decision process on who we hired. Great guy. We hired to run the sales team and was able to maintain that relationship, which is very key.
Yeah. So I’d imagine when you, when, when you made that decision of, or, or you knew that this was gonna be the, the step we’re gonna leave, I’m gonna leave the agency world. I’m gonna go switch to finding, to be this next chief marketing officer somewhere. And this is what I want. I wanna dig into this topic a little bit about the balancing of, of making a switch, you know, cuz we, we talked right the other week about thinking about when you’re finding your next career and we talk about balance right on, on this, this podcast it’s like running two jobs. It’s like you have to, you have to still be a, a, a good reliable resource with your current position. And don’t trust me, people who are, who are don’t wanna burn bridges. This world is way too small. Yes. It will come back and bite you. So don’t burn any bridges, leave on the high note, you know, especially because those, the people that, that you’re working with now, you may work with them in the future, but balancing those two jobs, holding the current position and then starting to look for the next, talk about that. Like how, how much of an effort that was and, and what that, what that kind of, what that, what that experience was like?
Well, a balance is interesting because, you know, I look at balance from two ways, one the way that you’re talking about, but the other way is, you know, something that I’ve realized when it comes to looking for, for, for jobs is there are six main factors that drive someone to look for a new job and balance is one of them. And, you know, we do it as exercise with all of our clients when it comes to looking for jobs is ranking and prioritizing these six factors, again, balance location, company, salary, title challenge. And you’d be surprised, you know, just anecdotally the last two years of all the marketers I’ve worked with, guess what’s in the top three balance. So me seeking that role as a client or on the client side was strictly tied to balance being one of my top three priorities. So I was seeking something that was going to give me more balance that wasn’t 80 hour weeks traveling three days a week to New York.
My kids were at a point now where there was, you know, more things we could be doing together. So balance was a driver for me to find something that was find a role that was gonna be able to, no, I’m not saying it was, it was an easy cush gig and you know, it was always nine to five, but there are other balance points to that role. So that’s the first level of balance now to the balance in looking for that job and seeking that transition, you know, one’s gotta, you gotta ask yourself how committed are you to it? How motivated are you to the switch? And once you decide that there’s, there’s an end goal you know, I think for me, I was giving myself a timeline of, I think by this, by the end of the summer, at this point to transition out of my agency role.
So that gave me a chance to work backwards and say, well, what has to happen between now and end of summer to get the right conversations? So, so that’s, that was the first kind of mindset shift. And then when it comes to executing, when do you do this? Right? Because you’re right. I had clients that were very demanding. I had projects that were in flux. So you had to, you had to make sure that things were getting across the line and everyone talks about nights and weekends to be the, the balance of when you’re going to find time to do this. And, you know, admittedly, you know, if I had to schedule interviews, you know, this is back in the time when we were all in office and I had an office. So if I could carve out, I wouldn’t do it during regular work hours, but lunchtime, cuz again, this is years ago when you know, everyone was focused on that hour lunch or 30 minutes for lunch, you maximize that time and it wasn’t every lunchtime per week, but maybe it’s a couple, but you know, in the conversations I was having with the roles I was interviewing for, you know, people understood that.
So lunchtime was, was a good time to make progress, you know, nights and weekends are the other times I would tell myself I wouldn’t sacrifice time at night with the kids. And if it went to bed, then I had an hour to do some more research and I would only use it for research. And that kept me focused on just doing the thing in that block of time. And then weekends were more for more of the developing resumes and developing assets.
Yeah. There’s two things that stood out to me and, and I’ll, I’ll caveat this by, I haven’t , I haven’t had to switch jobs in a decade. So, and remember, remember everybody I’m not working for anybody else ever again so I’ll be interviewing with myself right. For my next role. But what’s interesting is one, the first thing that I, that I would think of is like, you’re trying to like squeeze in that interview or that phone screen or that even applying in with my, my day that’s hard. Right. So why not just take the whole freaking day off then like to, to be focused and give it the attention it needs versus rushing. Because I think you can come off as even today. Like if you’re just jumping from one zoom to the next, like give yourself some, some time to, to prepare for that.
Like I’ve, I’ve been on interviews with, with, with candidates candidates. Right, right. That I’ve, I’ve just like, they look and they, they sound right. They’re on papers. Right. But like they just don’t, something’s not right. Something’s off, they’re feeling rushed. And I, I just, I just think that that’s, that’s important to spend the, the appropriate amount of time that it needs. And then the other thing that I wanted to point out is communication is you, I think communicating with the company that you’re applying for and being like, listen, I’m a dad, I got soccer duties, all these things, right? Like be front with him and be like, my nights are not gonna be my late afternoons are, that’s not gonna be good for me. Here is, here is my flexibility. Here’s the balance of, of my normal day in life. Share that with them.
Mm-Hmm right. Cause if they can, if they can respect that communication, then that gives you, it gives them a sense of your character and who they’re potentially going to be hiring. And when I think about the interview process for that role that I moved into there was a half day or two that I may have taken here and there there was an onsite couple onsite visits that were worked into the Workday. But I would do them, I think they were early. So they were early morning, like maybe like pre nine, 10 o’clock cuz remember at that time you had to, I had to then get into a physical office after that onsite meeting, but you’re right virtually now it’s, you know, take the time, you know, I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but it does require a little bit more of schedule, you know manipulation, if you will.
Yeah. So with, with the, the folks that you’re helping right now with mentorship and coaching and trying to come up in the ranks or starting to think about even maybe it’s in, within the existing company you, what, what talk about some of the things and characteristics that you’ve seen to, to really, you know, start to get them propelled and, and prepared for, for, for that next role. I mean, it is, is like research have to have to be a part of that because that’s the first thing that comes to mind with some of our new hires is they, they shared with me early on that, like I did a lot of research on you guys. I did a lot of research beyond, you know, your company pages, I leadership. Like I looked at your social stuff. I, I want to know who I’m gonna be working for. So either in a, in a role either, either, have you seen anything with roles at people are trying to, you know, level up, but also coming into a brand new company? Talk about anything that you sh seen there.
Yeah, I think you can see it over my shoulder here if it’s in the video, but you know, the thing I tell everybody, every marketer here is about mindset, starting with controlling what you can control because just the notion of those two scenarios, first job, or leveling up in your job. There’s so many things that you cannot control that will drive you crazy. And that’s typically the thing that that will cause marketers to lose steam you know, become disconnected or give up. So when you focus on the things you can control things become a little bit more clear and the confidence level goes through the roof. So to that point you made, yes. Advice that I’m providing now is, you know, let’s take it for the new, you know, new market or new job or early stage market or career switching into their first marketing job research.
You hit. It is key and everything you’ve been hearing from those candidates is a must nowadays, you know, even just to get considered for that, that, that phone screen interview. But if you can control and look at the right things, then you will stand out, you know, head and shoulders above, trust me, the bar’s low. And there’s a lot of lazy job seekers out there that just think that my certification list will get me in. And we know that it’s much more than that. So research is key. The second thing is engaging with these companies. So imagine, and you’ve probably had this happen for candidates looking to apply, to work with smart acre, where, you know, they’re engaging with your posts on social media, not just you personally, but the business and they’re not just liking it, but they’re commenting and saying thoughtful things. Well, when it comes time to interview somebody and let’s say, you know, Jamie Smith rings a bell because you’ve seen her name on those posts, she’s automatically gotten your attention subconsciously, but that engagement also pays off when it comes time for the conversation.
So again, there’s this level of visibility that matters when looking for those roles. So like research engaging are, are two kind of key steps before, you know, any sort of outreach or messaging. You talk about balance, you know, I, I will a hundred percent recommend a balance focused more on conversations first versus applications. And, and you know, it should be IMB balanced in terms of 90% of one, maybe less than 10% of the other. Just because of the, the ability to focus on meeting people. First people, you don’t wanna meet a person and you want a person to meet you and your personality before a piece of paper.
Yeah. And it obviously on the role, right? If it’s, if it’s a more heads down role and your non, I would say in the agency world non-client facing role you know, you’re, you’re looking for different types of characteristics, but yeah, that’s for, for us, culture is always number one. Like we’re always hiring for, for character and, and culture and how they’re gonna contribute to our culture. I always say like every time we add a person or our culture changes and that’s the way it should, right. Because they’re applying different things to make your culture improve and get better. So yeah, we’re always looking, looking for that and you for, for me, I always, I am always interested in the types of questions I get asked to in that process. like the, the worst note this down everybody.
I, I here I I’m. Okay. I’m the interviewer. And do you have any questions for me? No, I’m good. Oh really? You have no, no questions about the role that you’re gonna commit majority of your time to more than your family. You haven’t even maybe learned about what the salary and the benefit, anything, just ask me anything, but like the questions that, that to me is, is a little bit of a tell of what type of individual they are.
So, so I love that point because what I tell marketers that I work with is that if you’ve ever done that before, you’ll never do it again, moving forward, because what you just did or that experience of not having any questions is like going to a restaurant, someone put a menu in front of you, and it says, all it says in the menu is food. And someone says, what can I get you? And you’ll say, I’ll, I’ll just take that. And you’re gonna tell me that you’re okay. Just kind of throwing. And you’re good because you know, that all you’re getting is food, as opposed to maybe digging a little deeper and asking some questions that are relevant. Right. So you can make a good decision. So you’re right. It, it, it, it pains me and I, you done this before. I’m sure where you just try to are, you’re sure you don’t have any questions. maybe about me, maybe about the company you’re trying to lead them to maybe get something. And then that usually, I mean, just the fact that they say nothing that doesn’t help them in their cause, but if they even try to just, okay, sure. Tell me about yourself. Like if they throw that back at you, then, then the interview’s over.
Yeah. So let’s talk about the flip side. Let’s talk about people bouncing. cuz I know you’ve talked about this a lot and I do wanna touch on this. I really haven’t talked too much about it on the, on, on the agency balances, but the great resignation and this whole process in which once, once a individual decides that they’re gonna leave, they, they make it known internally and maybe they’re gonna do that in a bunch of different ways. And then they’ll do their, their coveted LinkedIn post saying, you know, I was so blessed and yada yada, yada insert, Seinfeld referenced and, and then they go out and then it’s mysterious of where they’re going. They don’t tell you anything. As, as the employer, you’re like, well, what can we do to be better? And then mysteriously a few days in poop. Here’s where I am. And this is why, and everything’s rosy.
So I’m being a little tongue in cheek there, but it it’s affected us. You know, it has. And I think it’s it’s for, for me, what, and I would love to get your take on this. Like what, what I’ve kind of boiled it down to. And I, and I, I have, you know, brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and other, you know, business people that I, that I interact with that own all different types of businesses. And the one thing that I summarized it is purpose. Like I just feel like coming out of everything, which now we’re getting back into things again, but it’s like, they want purpose. They wanna be purposely, they just don’t wanna be doing this job. They wanna be able to be making an impact. They want to have some sort of, when I wake up in the morning, I wanna know that I am doing good or moving something forward that I’m achieving both for me and for somebody else. Mm-Hmm.
Here’s something I’ve seen, cuz I’ve worked with some, some clients, some big marketing teams and our job was to identify and develop skill, skill development programs for their marketers and the biggest indicator that someone is going to leave and, and aligns with. What you’re saying with purpose is we would interview everyone in this team and we’d ask them to, to rate their rate three pillars, success reward fulfill, or you know, how successful do you feel in your role? And you know, are you put in a position to succeed rank from one to five one being low, five being high reward. Are you being paid fairly for your, for your value? Now again, this, this makes these, these are positioned to say, does this person even know their value? And most people always feel like they’re underpaid, but you know, it opens a good discussion to say, why is that?
What should you get paid? And when some people say, I have no idea, well, they don’t know what their true value is. So it forces them to understand what should you be getting paid based on your role and how many years experience and what those opportunities for being rewarded. And the last is fulfillment, which is from a one, one to five. How connected are you to being fulfilled in your role? Meaning this isn’t about generating a high click, the rate this is about, do you feel connected to your customers or your clients and they’re actually improving their lives or impacting their lives in a, in a positive way. So when someone’s scoring less than three average on all three of those, like together, they’re, they’re done. I think they they’ve already made up their mind and they’re gone. Those that can be saved, obviously are hanging on to the fulfillment where they feel like there’s something that at least gets ’em outta bed in the morning to say, I’m gonna do my job.
It may not like this, but gosh, I feel really good at the end of the day because we’re helping X customer achieve Y so I think those are, are indicators or ways to indicate is someone’s going to leave. You know, but then this is pre pandemic. So if you apply the same methodology in the pandemic it does open up for some good conversations to see who’s a flight risk. But then, you know, to your point about purpose is when I’ve asked people why they’ve left and purpose comes up, I ask ’em to define it. And it’s really hard for them to define what they mean by purpose. And oftentimes when they, you dig into what the purpose really is, it’s either money mm-hmm or it’s more responsibility that all could have been obtained at their current company or the company they wanted to leave or have left. And then you dig a little deeper and guess what? And I think we know where this is going. It’s the other reason why people or the main reason why people leave companies it’s because of manager team, culture management. So with tho all those things on the table, it’s gives some direction on an understanding. If you’re a manager of people, why somebody may want to be leaving. If you’re hiring for candidates, focus on asking questions in those areas to understand their true purpose for leaving. And do you want that person on your team?
Yeah. No, that’s great insight. And I, I, I love that rating system. I mean, we’re doing something a little similar. I, I think if you don’t have a platform use Google, Google polls, people like it’s, there’s no excuse for it. You have to be working at it. I got asked in one of the groups that I belong into. They’re like, well, how do you, well, how do you do all this stuff? Like, it seems, it just like, seems like you’re crushing it and blah, blah, blah. And I’m like, well, thank you. But , I’m like, you gotta freaking work at it. Yeah. You have to work at this stuff. Don’t just assume that what worked two years ago was working right now. It absolutely isn’t. I could tell you that because there are some things that I didn’t pay attention to and just assume that, well, we made it through the pandemic and we didn’t have to lay anybody off and everybody’s just gonna stay with you wrong, wrong. That’s not gonna that you, you can’t think that way. You have to be always thinking about what is next, how are we changing? How are we evolving? And when I talk about growth, it doesn’t necessarily mean adding headcount. It’s growing the people, the, the individuals that you have and the things that you’re, how you’re changing and being going from all, you know, to having offices and semi virtual to all virtual, it’s even more different.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I remember so running a team of 20 inside of an agency and I’d always try to carve out time for working on the, on the business, so to speak. Cause I would look at my, my book of business and my team is our own business work on the business versus in the business. And whenever I had these sessions and I try to do like twice a month, people process performance, a lot of the things you’re saying there. And I would look at those and, and ensure that I was giving myself balance across the three of these meaning people are the right people on the bus here and in the right seats. And then to your point, who can be developed more because I, we, I need a captain. I need to identify someone that can be a number two, you know, process because it’s always changing and it’s never followed a hundred percent, you know, where are we falling down there?
Are we getting gripes from clients? And performance obviously is a performance based agency. It was, are we hitting our numbers? But it was also looked at how are we performing within our book of business within all the other account teams? Like, are we, are we measuring up? So, you know, I think inside an agency, as, as a leader of team, it was, I would feel myself putting too much in one of these categories. And then thus had to, that’s why I gave myself time to step back and say, I gotta make sure it’s not always gonna be evenly distributed, but I’ve gotta put focus where there’s the most need given what’s going on.
Yep. yep, exactly. Yeah. I think, I think when I, when I look back at some of the failures, right, is just assuming that everything, everything was good, right? Everything everyone was is paid. Everyone assumes that they know what they’re, where they’re going. Everybody assumes, they know where they can go and that’s wrong. You know, you have to, you have to, to be purposeful and put it out there and be like, if, if you’re in this position, these, this is where you can go. This is your clear job description, but you can level up to here or know that you can move from this department to that department, or know that you have a platform of that. If you achieve this from a performance, you can make this, I think at the, just like, it goes back to the food menu, right? You need to know what this, what the food costs.
You need to know what, what is generally in that dish. Mm-Hmm you have to spell that out. Like you have to have up to date, job descriptions. You have to have like, we’re going through updating our, our handbook right now. And how much that has changed in a couple of years. Things that like, what is a COVID policy? Like what, what, what do we do from, you know, now that we’re all zoom, like, what does your background look like? There’s so many different things that you’re not thinking about, right. To be successful. But you have to be, you have to work on that. Like you have to put the time into those, those things. And if you’re not, and I think the other thing, right, if you’re at, if you’re in a role and you’re listening to this and any of those things, you’re like, you know, what, what, what is going on with that? That com my company. They’re not, they’re not asking about things. Ask, ask your manager. I, I tell my, I tell everyone in my company, I’m like, hold me accountable. Like, hold your leadership team accountable, ask them questions and follow up. Yeah. Why not?
Yep. I love that. I love that because the, the moment that somebody does or the people that do, then that’s where you wanna spend your time. Another tip I learned from a mentor a couple roles ago was again, part of it’s my innate just kind of personality is wanting to help everyone. And I was told like, why, why are you spending time with that person? Because their head is there checked out and I’ll be shocked if they’re here in three months and here’s me, like, I, I can save them. I think there’s a, there’s a role here. We could find a place for them. And it became about, you know, me waking up and saying, you’re not gonna save everybody. You do your best, but again, you can’t help people that don’t want to be helped. So there, that was a huge eye opener to then focus my energies on places where there’s energy sources of, of more positive energy than negative energy when it comes to, you know, applying support direction. What have you so again, Ty, back to the asking people, just to ask questions and be honest, you know, that’s gonna be a way to identify where you can put your energies where there’s gonna be some return.
Yeah. Sounds like you have a lot of good resources on this on, can you just share a little bit about the marketing help, the website, the platform? What, what, what any of our listeners can find on there?
Yeah. So the marketing help again, it was, it was designed me and my co-founder Jed singer. We designed this to be something we wish we had when we were navigating our careers into our first agency, you know, first management position, et cetera. So the main focus of, of the platform, if you will, is going to be the ability to get access to coaching. And everyone needs that sounding board. And it’s an independent, you know, someone that may not have any stake in the game to what your situation is, but we can help because between the two of us, we we’ve pretty much been there and done that when it comes to navigating the career. So two coaching options are available for everybody. And then underneath that is just the library of resources that are things we we’ve found along our careers that were things that we’ve, you know, you know, this, you, you, if you build it three times, then just build it once and then make it a template. Mm-Hmm . So there’s tons of templates tied to, you know, checklist for one on ones job descriptions. If you’re a manager interview question guidebooks for, if you’re looking to navigate that marketing interview. So really just focused on those key career moments inside the marketing career. And then there’s a community as well. So a place to join other marketers that are, you know, most likely going through either the, the moment that you’re going through or can help you with moments that you’ve been through.
Oh, that’s huge. I wish I had . I wish I had that throughout my career. You know, many of, many of times the community aspect is, is really key there. I think when, when you’re thinking about, again, leveling up in your current role, like investing in the, the company that you’re with or looking to make a switch it’s, it’s like, you need the sounding board. And that’s the first thing that, that I realized when I was, when I was switching into still in the leadership role that I was in, but becoming a CEO was, I need somebody, like, I need somebody that has done this before. Number one, I’m not gonna be afraid to ask for help. And that’s in your name, don’t be afraid to ask for help. That doesn’t mean that you’re like, ask for help. Like, it’s, it’s totally cool to, to do that. And that was like the best thing I did was, and, and a lot of times, you know, again, pat myself on the back, he’s like, you’re doing all the right things, but it was like giving me, boosting my confidence of like, sure, yeah, you, you got this, like you you’re you’re well, sounds like you have an idea. Why don’t you just try it and run with it and having that sounding board and having a coach just made me think about things a little differently.
And, and you’re, you’re hit the nail on the head here in terms of the value of a coach. And that is, and I’ve seen this and here’s the tip, right? Here’s the tip for everybody is that we are our hardest harshest critics on ourselves. That’s why imposter, syndrome’s such a big deal, cuz we don’t think we can do it. We’re not ready. We’re not good enough. All those things creep in, but all it takes is the trained eye to, to have a conversation with you to say, Hey, wait a minute now, no, you’re actually doing better in this area than you think, right? The fact that you did this as an internship in college actually is all you need to get your next job at an agency. They just, you know, most of the time marketers don’t see that. But again, the coaching, like you said, it can drive and build that confidence and listen, you know, getting someone over that first hump, I’ve seen it in marketers and just how they carry themselves and, and how they perform in interviews takes them to that first position. And then once you’re in there, yes, there’s still more challenges to come, but it’s you know, oftentimes we overthink and under think the things that, that, that matter and sometimes an extra outside eye can, can identify those for you.
Yeah. Can I, can I share with you how I applied to smarter?
Can I, can I share that with you? Yeah. So this was a lot, again, this was 10 years ago. We weren’t the company where we were then and there was only, it was a couple, couple guys who, who got started, but I started my cover letter off with, I know I’m, I know I’m applying for the, the AE position, but I’m more than that. And instead of doing a, a traditional resume, I did a full web page. I sent ’em a webpage with like a full infographic about me. Mm-Hmm about like all about me. And it was all like data and charts and my history and that little fact toys out me that I’ve driven over a hundred thousand miles in, you know, a five year span commuting. And that I’ve worked on, you know, this percentage of, of these type of clients.
And you know, years and years later, the founder he gave me, gave me a back. He had a printout of it and he handed it back to me. He goes, here you go. This, this was you. And he goes, that’s, that was, you really stood out. And I think, I think that’s important too, because I think right, there’s you have a choice now like that. We’re definitely seeing that, you know, companies are still all different types of companies are still with a staff shortage and you have a choice to go work for, you know, a company that works with works well for you. But I think that’s the other way too, like companies are still picky. Mm-Hmm like, I’m not gonna lie. We’re still really picky. Like we’re really because fit is so important. Like, like it is so important that that, that works so standing out of the crowd and it sounds like a lot of those resources, if you have questions, the marketing help.co is, is a good resource to, to get those.
So we talk about balance on the agency balance. What keeps you balanced these days, Erik?
Well I’d say, you know, with two, two kids that are 14 and 12, so I’m almost a full parent of teenagers. You know, we’re a soccer family, so there isn’t a day or a weekend that we don’t have some game tournament or something. And trust me, the last people you hear complain about will be my wife and myself, because we’re enjoying these moments of watching them develop as, as, as people, as, as athletes, as teammates, knowing that everything they’re going through good or bad is, is helping to shape them. Ha both my wife and I have both played sports in college. So we understand that the value of that. So, you know, the miles get logged. the, the late night practices, you know, the weekend tournaments, you know, that’s a balance for me, right? When I, when I shut it down, I mean, not really cuz you run your own business, you never shut it down. But when I end the day, I really look forward to driving to practice. And I tell both my kids, the, the best thing the most, my most favorite thing in the world is watching them both play. So that is, that is my balance to everything else and all the things that come with running a company and just managing clients.
Yeah. That’s really neat. It is. It is cool to see, I have two teenage boys
Myself, so right.
It’s you blink? And it’s like, they’re different and they’re, they’re coming into their own personalities and they’re, they’re starting to look to you for advice and differently.
Or not in some cases
Well, that’s all the that’s most you’re right. It’s most of the cases like, oh, don’t embarrass me, dad. right.
They become independent. And it’s, you know, it’s a, it’s a middle school dance one weekend. It’s gonna be the prom in a blink of an eye. It’s gonna be something else after that.
Yeah. So we talked about your, your resources, but Erik, how can all of our listeners find you follow? You, check out your website. Can you, can you share all that?
Yeah. So the marketing help.co is going to be the main that’s that’s where I can help. And that’s where you can figure out how I can best help you. Linkedin’s probably a good spot. If you want to connect, keep with the conversation going, I’ve got some other resources on my, my profile page. So it’s LinkedIn. My, my profile is eharbison. And if you connect with me in LinkedIn, I just ask you reference the agency balance podcast and then I’ll have context on, on, on how you heard about, about the marketing help of myself.
That’s amazing, Erik. Well, thank you so much for your time this morning. It was great to, to just talk about this and, and, and kind of be open with it. And hopefully we’ve shared quite a bit to our listeners and some, some tips and tricks along the way and a good chuckle as well.
I appreciate it, Dave. Thank you for having me.