Interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett – The Influencer Series

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a Primetime TV Show Host, Bestselling Author and as he likes to say, a ‘sometime cowboy.’  What he doesn’t say is that he is an industry influencer and people listen to him.  He also doesn’t say that he is someone you can actually speak to and get real and practical advice from.  It is for all of these reasons and more that I am pleased to have had an opportunity to interview Jeff for my Influencer series for my blog.  Be sure to follow Jeff at @JeffreyHayzlett. I know you will enjoy his posts. Now on to the interview!Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 11.49.15 AM

One thing you will learn from reading Hayzlett’s books is that he understands the complexity of issues around organizational change and also human nature.  He is quite up front with the fact that you sometimes have to make difficult decisions that result in people changes.

MacLean:  What advice would you give a CEO who has marketing efforts that are not meeting expectations?

Hayzlett: First of all CEOs have to ask themselves a question:  Am I being realistic? Is the dog eating the dog food?  If you are being realistic, then you’ve got to go looking for the problem.  Is it the team? Idea? The Budget?  Then you’ve got to fix it.  Sometimes it could be all three things, but typically the problem is in the execution because we hire smart people but something is stopping us from executing correctly.

MacLean:  Would you recommend hiring a CMO, particularly if they have no experienced marketing staff?

Hayzlett:  Certainly if the CMO possess key characteristics, particularly reliability and competency.

MacLean:  If realizing the company is missing a strategic plan – would you hire a CMO before or after going through the process

Hayzlett:  Definitely before! You have to think about who is going to implement the plan. You aren’t going to do it yourself. What CMO wants to inherit a plan someone else has built before they can tie in what they can do.

MacLean:  What advice would you offer a company that’s on the cusp of a major breakthrough in it’s life cycle but has employees that struggle with the change?

Hayzlett:  Change those employees. It’s the rule of thirds; 1/3 get it right away, 1/3 eventually will get it and 1/3 never do. You don’t want to drag people on a journey that they don’t want to take. It never works to take your kids somewhere they don’t want to go – that never turns into a good experience. Why would it be any different in business?

Hayzlett’s experience and advice are sound and provide good food for thought.  From experience I can say that having the right marketing resources are key to success.  If you are looking to expand your brand, be sure that you have someone who understands branding and the importance of the brand voice as well as the brand value.  If you are looking to expand your digital presence and build your assets, be sure to have someone that can lead those efforts.  When you are building out your marketing team, be sure to have a senior person with experience.  If you can’t hire a CMO yet, hire a senior enough person with the right skills, experience and education.  When doing your hiring though, do keep in mind to build your job requirements with great thought.  Combining some skills for your leadership might not be right.  for example, asking your leader to be skilled in PR and marketing is one thing, but adding art director to the mix is an unusual skill combination.  If you don’t have the background or skills in the marketing area, there are firms that can help you design the job and identify the right skills.

Looking for more resources on marketing and/or to build out your marketing team?  We can help.  Be sure to visit us at

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