Adapting Your Mindset When Moving from Incumbent to Challenger with Kelly Starman, CMO PartsSource

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In this week’s episode, Eric talks to Kelly Starman CMO of PartsSource, a leading online healthcare marketplace for mission-critical healthcare products and services. Kelly is a results-focused marketing executive with two decades of driving growth and leading high-performing teams at GE, Athena Health and Phillips.  As a result she has a wealth of knowledge on what it takes to be a successful marketer in organisations of different sizes, and how to balance speed and process effectively. It was really interesting to hear about her own personal strategies for innovating, being effective and what frameworks she uses when it comes to budgeting for her global marketing teams.

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Kelly: One thing to do differently, maybe just think about, I'm gonna go off of what we were just talking about with habits and think about the habits that you've built for yourself every single day, regardless of the size of the company that you're in, to really be disciplined about understanding your market and your customers and what they need, and then constantly apply that back to your approach.

Eric: I'm Eric Fulwiler. And this is scratch, bringing you marketing lessons from the leading brands and brains rewriting the rulebook from scratch for the world of today.

Hey, everyone, my guest today is Kelly Starman, she is the Chief Marketing Officer of partsource, partsource a leading online healthcare marketplace for mission critical products and services. And Kelly has a really interesting background, which is kind of the Nexus the focus of the conversation. So previous two parts, or she was the CMO of North America for Philips. Before that she was the VP of Marketing for Athena health. And before that she was at General Electric as the GM of Product Marketing for clinical business solutions. So she comes from largely a big incumbent enterprise background and has come to partsource, which is certainly a challenger in the space, even though they are 500. People, you know, they're not small, but I guess small, is relative. And so the focus of the conversation is really, really interesting. And it's really around kind of her perspective and experience coming from these bigger businesses. And coming into a challenger. What's different, what she sees as some of the advantages, but also what are some of the advantages of being at a bigger company that she's taking, and applying to what she's doing with partsource. So we talk about that change, we talk about what she would do differently if she was going to go back to a bigger company. Now we also talked about which I thought was a little a really interesting tangent, her process of kind of choosing to go to partsource and what she was looking for in a CMO role. And I really, I really liked the advice that she had there. So I know you're going to enjoy this episode. I certainly did. And with that, I will leave you to listen to my conversation with Kelly, Starman enjoy. My guest today hailing from my hometown of Boston, Kelly Starman, Chief Marketing Officer at partsource, how're you doing, Kelly?

Kelly:I am good. Thanks.

Eric:Amazing. Thanks so much for making the time. I know we met at the dinner that we did in Boston over the summer. That was in July. But like I said at that dinner, hey, given your experience and a lot of the stuff that you were talking about in that roundtable setting, that it'd be great to have you on the podcast. So appreciate you making the time.

Kelly: Well, great to be here. And thanks again. It was a fun dinner, and lots of good conversation that night.

Eric: Amazing. Alright, so why don't we start? Can you give a bit of an overview on partsource. And I know that part of what we're going to get into is your background as well, and kind of the different experiences that you've had partsource and previous roles. So I think it'd be good to touch on kind of your, I guess, your career journey. So why don't we start there? Yeah,

Kelly: yeah, sure. So just a little bit about partsource. We're sort of three companies in one. So at our core, we are a healthcare marketplace for products and services that health systems might need to service and repair their equipment. Where we've grown with that is into a subscription model where health systems can subscribe topartsource, and then we pass through parts to them that cost and they save a lot of money on the margins. And now as we're growing, we're moving into services. So we're able to bundle a lot of different equipment together into a single contract and provide a level of transparency and flexibility and technology that doesn't exist today with healthcare equipment contracts. And then the third businesses, we continue to maintain and grow our existing health care marketplace and have added depot's services and on demand services in addition to the parts.

Eric: And then previous two parts, partsource. I know you spent some time as the CMO for North America for Philips and then Athenahealth as the VP of Marketing and going back to GE and some mutual friends that we have from the GE ecosystem. So yeah, I mean, let's Why don't we Why don't we kind of start there. I know the first theme that we were going to talk about is you've worked at very big businesses, General Electric Athenahealth. Philips, and not that partsource is small. It's how many people is it?

Kelly: We're about 500 today? Yes, yeah.

Eric: Yeah. So not not a small business but compared to those a different scale. So I'd be curious, what are the biggest differences that you've experienced in the CMO VP of Marketing, type of role and remit moving from these bigger organisations? to where you're at a partsource now,

Kellly: Well, I would add that when I went to Athenahealth, from GE, I thought I was going to a much smaller organisation. To me, it felt like I was going to a start up and looking back on it now and being in my seat at partsource, I can see that it very much was not a startup with 5000 people, and a huge marketing budget. So I think perspective is everything and kind of where you know how you're framing, the size of the company matters as well. But I think that, you know, coming from Philips, which is a huge company, we had over 6000 employees in North America, you know, the company did 24 billion of revenue annually, going to a partsource where we have about 500, it's been really, really different. And I think for me in a very positive way. So the three things that that have stood out to me the most are our sense of urgency, and this desire to move quickly. So we do not have time to spend a lot of time decision making, we are very decisive. And then we go and we can pivot quickly as well. I think the second thing is is around resources, we do not have the resources that we had at at at some of the bigger companies that I've been at. And I think, you know, when I started my career at GE, I was running our our branding and advertising for the company and our budgets were, you know, millions and millions of dollars, because we were a big corporate entity advertising to, you know, a very broad part of the market. And here, you know, $100,000 is a really big amount of money to me. And I think I've just had to really readjust from a resources standpoint and be a lot scrappier and a lot more creative in terms of of the resources. And I think that the last difference that I've noticed is around mindset, and being willing to test and learn and to fail quickly. And just the overall approach to strategy and to decision making is, is different and less complacent.

Eric: I think it's interesting. One of the things I think about a lot is how much of an advantage speed is and it gets talked about a bit. But I don't like I never studied marketing in college and didn't don't have an MBA, but I'm not sure that it gets kind of the weight that it deserves in terms of how much it drives the growth of businesses, whether small or large. And one of the things that we think about and look at a lot is, you know, obviously we're all about kind of Challenger marketing. And the connotation of Challenger is a small, scrappy startup or scale up, but actually it's much more about how you think about and approach everything. But for our world, that's marketing, and growth and so big, you know, I think at the time, had Amazon as a client, and like they moved faster than a lot of startups that I know. So of course, there's a correlation between being smaller and being faster. But I think that regardless of the size of company, you're at the stage or company you're at, if you're a leader in marketing, or really any function, one of the things that you should be thinking about and trying to prioritise is how do you get your team to move faster, because there's so many opportunities that come with that, not just getting to market faster, but also learning faster and evolving faster based on them?

Kelly: I think that's a really great comment. And I would say that there are large organisations that I've been at where we have been able to move really quickly. And, you know, I often use this example of when I was at Athena, you know, one of the first things I did was we came in, and there was this specific event that I wanted to plan and the team came back within the week with, here's exactly how we're going to do the event. Here's the budget, here's the plan, and let's go. And it was really amazing to me, because looking back on that we were a big organisation, but there was just something in the culture and something in how the company operated that enabled us similar to Amazon to move much more quickly than then what I've seen in other places.

Eric: Is there anything beyond, you know, being small, lets you move quickly, there's less to move, and having fast, talented people on your team, regardless of the size of the company. And like you said in that Athena example, like they came back to you quickly, to be able to move quickly. Is there anything else in your experience that you can point to or recommend to people listening on? How do you actually get a team or a business to move faster? If you feel like it's too slow where it is right now?

Kelly: Yes, I think that having the right people in the room to make the decision quickly and to act on the decision quickly is is a great way to go. You know, often I see large meetings with a lot of people and not clear ownership, not clear decision making authority and and I think in those cases decisions can languish because they go from person to person to person. You know, where I've seen success is getting the right people in the room, this happens in sales all the time, if you want to really focus on a deal, and really focus on how you're going to win a deal, get every decision maker at the table, think about a creative solution, assign owners and go. And so I don't think you have to be small, but I think you have to think small and bring the right group together for success.

Eric: Yeah, I really, I really liked that. And one of the things I think about a lot is there's the problem to solve. And there's also the people dynamic are, sometimes it's the people problem around the problem to solve meaning, unless you unless you are the company, unless you're, you know, an independent contributor or contractor, whatever, then you need other people in order to do what you want to do. And particularly, and I'm sure you've seen this, you know, people as I've improved myself as well. But, you know, as I've managed people kind of coming up the ranks, you kind of see these people make the shift from Okay, I just need to manage the problem to I need to understand and effectively manage the people around the problem as well. And I've thought about that a lot. But actually, I haven't thought about it as explicitly as that's actually part of how you should be thinking about things to make things go faster as who you need in the room, what's the people component of actually getting something done quicker. So it's really interesting.

Kelly: One of my mantras is people process technology, because I think that those three things really frame out everything that you need to solve for a business. And that is the order in which I think they should be solved and addressed you need, you absolutely have to start with the right people. And once you have the right people, then you can move on to processes and then very last, the tools that you need to be successful. And I think one of the things that has really stood out to me, going from big to small is this idea of ownership that people bring to the table. And I think if you're at a larger company, it's very difficult to feel connected to a mission. So even in healthcare, where the mission is so clear, and I think it's it's a, it's a common reason why people join healthcare as an industry, it's tough at a bigger company to feel that your actions directly impact the company as a whole. And I think that what I have really, really felt at partsource is this total alignment around what we have to do and how we're going to go do it and people feeling like, like they themselves really can make a difference.

Eric: I love that. And the people process technology, I smile, because actually, you know, we do we do a good amount of work around like the culture and capability building side of things as well. And I always think about that, as well. I've actually no, I think of purpose driven, purpose led people driven, and technology enabled. So similar, and I'm sure part of what you look at and even just then what you mentioned is the purpose kind of connects to and overlaps with the people part of it can't really separate those two, can you?

Kelly: I feel like we're going in a Simon Sinek start with Y direction. But yes, you have to have

Eric: true, true. Okay, so we've talked a bit about kind of what are the advantages of being small, scrappy, moving to, you know, this 500 person company from a 6000 person company? But what about some of the advantages of being big of being at scale? Have you been able to bring some of those learnings and those capabilities that you developed in bigger organisations to your new team and business?

Kelly: Absolutely. So I think there are, there are so many advantages to being in a really big, well established company. And if we start at kind of the macro level, you immediately have kind of a brand awareness and a familiarity that, that you might not with a smaller company. And so I think it's it's understanding kind of how do you break into the C suite? How do you get those meetings that were really easy to set up before? And just understanding I think, what what the C suites really interested in talking about and building that into our messaging is something I've brought forward from an organisational standpoint as well, there's just a level of maturity across functions that I think I didn't necessarily take for granted, but I'm certainly more aware of as I've gotten to partsource. So you know, how sophisticated is your HR function? Like how much help Are you getting with recruiting and with employee culture and just having maturity around some of the systems and processes similarly with with, you know, all the all the technology things that you need to be effective and run and I think that it's it's easier when you have those resources at just at your fingertips and you're not necessarily having to kind of build them from the ground up or Yeah, or be scrappy, you know, at every every step of the game. And then I think last Sleep, what I have found in big companies is that they are extremely good at process because they have to be there, you know, there's so much pressure on on margin and your public. So you've got quarterly investors. And so I think that there are quarterly investor meetings and analysts. And I think that because of that, there's this huge rigour and discipline around KPIs and metrics. And, you know, it's a bit slow and steady wins the race versus the, the, you know, really quick startup mentality. And so I've really tried to instil that concept of process and discipline with my team and and also across our entire organisation in the C suite. So because I think that that kind of rigour is what gets you from, you know, the size that we are now to, to a much bigger company, and allows you to compete with with some of the bigger players,

Eric: I'd be curious, given your experience and perspective in these other roles. And I'm sure you got to know, partsource over the course of the interviews and, you know, deciding that this was the place you wanted to go, but you're about six months in now. So right? Five months, but yes, close enough, five months, five months, okay. You always think about those first 90 days, those first 180 days. And I just be curious how you it doesn't have to be a contrast, a big smile, but just in general, as a new CMO, how have you thought about approaching these first five months, what have your priorities been? Are there is there anything that you've kind of like, specifically done or not done in this early stage to try to set yourself and the team and the business up for success for what I'm sure you know, you want to do, or what you're going to be asked to deliver longer term.

Kelly: So there's, there's three areas that I focused on over over the first couple of months. And I'd say I continue to focus on the first is our customers, and really understanding who they are and what they care about. I was I was really fortunate, and that we were planning our customer annual customer Summit, about a month after I joined. And so I was able to come in and quickly meet with dozens of our customers in person and get to hear their challenges, see what they responded to at our summit, and get to know them personally. And I think that that really helped me understand the market a lot more deeply than I did before and understand the company and what we deliver a lot more. And I've continued that. So I sit in on a lot of sales calls with our with our sales team to understand where objections are coming from and how we're having these conversations. And I spend a lot of time with our sales team in general, just kind of digging in on that. I think the the second thing that I've done is really try and understand the business and how we make money. We are a private equity owned company, and there is a definitive business case behind kind of why they purchased us. And I think as a CMO, I need to really clearly understand what their thesis was in order to make sure that the investments that I'm making and the bets that I'm making as a CMO are very aligned with that. And so I've spent a lot of time you know, understanding each one of our p&l and what drives it, and how the work that my team and I do can help get alignment there. And then the last thing is, is, is just marketing. Right? So who's on my team? What are their capabilities? How are we structured for success? Do we have the right, you know, coming back to people process technology, those those three buckets? And definitely not done with that yet? I think we're we're good on the people, people front starting to work on process, and then we'll ultimately get to technology.

Eric: I'd be curious, you mentioned private equity. So how has that? Has that affected how you've approached things? Or does it seem to the extent you can share that it will affect how you need to operate as a CMO? I know it's kind of a broad question. But I thought it was interesting, because you brought it up, because we've obviously had publicly traded companies on here, a lot of like venture backed startups. And I'm sure we have had PE backed but we haven't actually, it hasn't come up as much. And so I'd be curious if you could maybe, I guess just double click on that a little bit like did that factor into the decision making of you going there? Have you thought of you've obviously thought about that in terms of wanting to look at the business and understand the business, but something tells me you probably would have done that. Anyway, but I just be curious how that kind of has factored into how you've thought about taking and now approaching the role.

Kelly: Yeah, I truly love being a portfolio company. We're with Bain Capital, and I think that they're fantastic partners. And I use that word intentionally. So while they they don't run our business, they're on our board but you know, our CEO runs our business and we really take direction and guidance from from his leadership. Bain is just fantastic in I think helping us take advantage of or helping us feel like a much bigger company than we are And so they bring to bear a lot of resources that we wouldn't necessarily have access to. And they also have seen so many different companies go through the growth trajectory that we are at right now that they're able to take operating models from those companies and apply them to us. And so I find that my interactions with the board are really helpful, and that they push me to think more broadly and maybe differently, or in a way that I haven't considered because they're able to have that 50,000 foot view that I just don't, because I'm in the business every single day. So it's been great, I think there are a lot of different flavours of PE, I think pain tends to be really heavy in an operator model, and they get in and they they work with the business, others are a lot more hands off. And so my advice, I think you didn't ask for it. But I'd say my advice to people, if they're thinking about getting into PE backed companies is to just really get to know your investors and understand what kind of investors they are and who they are and how successful they've been. Because not all are created equal. And I think that, especially right now, there's so much money floating around out there that it might be going into to I don't know, less stable or less potentially profitable business models. And so just be sure to really do your homework before you you take the leap.

Eric: And it is true, I think that get to know your investors is a great piece of advice. And I'm I'm always open for an interested in advice, even if I don't ask for it explicitly. But I think the other thing I would say within that is like yes, you know, Bain Capital compared to other private equity firms, the culture, people process technology of each organisation is going to mean that it probably over indexes in some ways, or acts in certain ways more consistently, but also, and I think about this all the time, with agencies, there's the name on the door, and then there's the individual. So it's also getting to know who is the person sitting on your board, who is the team that the operator from Bain Capital, that's going to be involved because much like selecting an agency, you know, there's rival, and then there's me DuBose, there's VaynerMedia, where we were before, and then whoever you get on your account, you know, when they work with you. So I think that that's an important piece of it. And I think we keep coming back to this as a bit of a red thread throughout all of it. Like the people there's, at least for me, there's a reason that's first. And I would imagine for you, and those three people process technology, there's a reason that people thing is first as well.

Kelly: Yeah, and I would say big or small. It really is, you know, the people that your are your peers are the ones who are you, you are going to be spending so much time with every single day. And so I think regardless of big company or small company, like who are those people that are your peers? And what are you going to learn from them? How are they going to push you and help you grow and develop, and vice versa, I think that's also something that I really consider coming to a smaller company, because I think what I found in leadership teams in bigger companies is that the people there are proven they are tested, and they are so so capable, and and just awesome. And you know, in my leadership roles at other companies, I was able to really, really get pushed and learn and grow a lot from being on those leadership teams. And it's very competitive. And I think that what I was looking for coming to a smaller company was can I find that same calibre of individual and that same ethos so that I know that I'm going to continue to move forward in my career, and not necessarily in my career, I guess, but just move forward in terms of my own growth and development. And I never want to be the smartest person in the room or the most experienced person in the room. So how can I find that in a small company to?

Eric: I'm curious, did you have a framework for when you were considering a new opportunity, and interviewing of how you guided kind of the priorities of what you were looking for in a new company? And maybe not, but I'm just curious kind of given how you've talked about things before and people process technology. And just be curious if you had a way that you went about that, that maybe other people can learn from?

Kelly: I wouldn't say that I had a formal framework, but I was first and foremost concerned with market opportunity. Because coming from the lips, which I still think is a fantastic company, it was a it was an awesome role to be able to, to leave marketing for their North America business. I didn't want to just leave to leave. I wanted to leave to go somewhere that I really believed in. And I sort of alluded to this before, but I think there's there's a lot of money right now in investing and there are a lot of health tech companies and I wanted to stay in health tech out there. And so I was really focused on finding a company that I thought had an opportunity to grow into a company the size of Philips eventually. And so I I have I have had many conversations but I think that with partsource it was really that that right market opportunity. And then I think, looking at the leadership team, it was also a really fantastic fit in terms of what I just talked about around like, Can I continue to learn and grow here? And then there was also that investor piece? So is this an investment firm that I'm really comfortable with and believe in from an investment standpoint?

Eric: Yep, that makes sense. And that's how I've, you know, before starting rival, I was considering other cmo roles. And that's how I thought about it, like growth opportunity, leadership team. And then what's the actual role? You know, I was thinking about that, quote, if someone offers you a seat on a rocket ship, you know, don't worry about which one it was. And it's not explicitly that but the thing is, like, what is this thing? And where is it going? Is there opportunity for it to grow who's driving it, because that's going to determine whether or not they can realise or fulfil the opportunity in front of them. And they're the people that you're gonna have to spend time with and get along with and be able to work with effectively and efficiently and then it's our Well, where's my seat, and is not the type of thing that's going to be right for me.

Kelly: And I would just add, there's, there's one more thing that was so appealing to me about the role was, was the challenges to be solved with marketing. And I, you know, at a smaller company, it's the sky's the limit, honestly, in terms of what you can build and the maturity and to be able to think about brand, at the company level, and product marketing and activation. And like there's so much to be built. And that's something that I really enjoy is building and driving, change and build it in building teams. And so just the challenges to be solved, were really exciting as well, and just really meaningful, impactful work to be done.

Eric: So taking a step back, and going back to our conversation around coming from bigger businesses, and now at partsource. If you were to go back to a bigger company now, is there anything I know it's only been five, six months, but I'm sure you were thinking about things for awhile before you started? Is there anything that you would do differently or take from your experience at this challenger midsize scale up type of business? If you were to go back and take a CMO role at a larger company next, or now?

Kelly: Absolutely, I think that I would, I really have started to think about budget in a much, much different way. And I think that I, you know, took for granted that we needed to have a big budget to be successful when I was at a bigger company. And it was like the more you spend, the more you're going to the more business you're going to drive. And I've just really found that that's not the case. And so I think what I would do is push my teams on the existing work to be much much scrappier and creative with how we're spending in order to free up capital to make bigger bets. And so it's not that I think that bigger companies should be spending less on marketing, but that they should really think about or what I would do is really think about how to be scrappy, and kind of your core areas. So that you can take risks, and you can be bold in a way that I think maybe smaller companies might tend to try and think to stand out and, and maybe kind of bring people along with you or have a fresh perspective or show that you can be agile and nimble as well.

Eric: It's kind of the work smart, not hard type of philosophy or mindset. But then it's also you know, that expression of constraints drive creativity or not expression, it's just true. You know, if you have less, you have to figure if you have to do more with less, you have to figure out more creative ways to actually make that work. Actually. I wonder if there's because I'm also thinking about some of the other interviews and guests that we've had on the show kind of talking about their framework for budgets, some are bigger companies, some at smaller companies, but you know, like a 7020 10 type framework or having an innovation budget. And they're always smaller, of course, but they inherently do more creative things with them because they're smaller. So I actually wonder that even if you are in a position to outspend even if you are in a position to spend harder, I think maybe creating artificial constraints to drive that creativity in the team could be really interesting. Exercise.

Kelly: Yeah, absolutely. And and I love that I've heard Yeah, the 7020 10 before. And I think it's easier said than done, but really being intentional about carving out that space for innovation and creativity and failure.

Eric: Great. So I guess we've we've covered a lot of ground. Is there anything that we haven't touched on yet that you wanted to share?

Kelly: Ah, yeah, I mean, I think that there's just kind of going back to this idea of, of small and big and I think that where I'm ranting is that there's a real balance between agility and process. And there's, there's so much goodness in process and there's so much goodness and agility. And so, you know, I think I'm now starting to really think about how do we instil a lot of that process First while maintaining a lot of the agility, because we are at that point where I can see us growing into a much bigger company and a much more kind of functionally driven, mature company that is not able to kind of get all the decision makers in a room really easily and just go. So. So that's what I'm spending a lot of my time thinking about as we move into this next phase of growth.

Eric: Yeah, and really is both at the end of the day, its speed, and scale. Its agility and process its people process and technology. And it is, you know, it, I think, particularly when you are at scale, and I would include 500 People at scale, that was where we are at rival, it's like you kind of need to all those things matter. But you need to figure out what you prioritise. Because if you stretch yourself too thin if you try to do too much of it all at once. So it might be that you need, you know, process and technology, but maybe you need to focus on one for 90 days, or 180 days, or however you set your goals or OKRs or something like that. But I think figuring out what you prioritise is going to be just as important as knowing what needs to get done.

Kelly: Yeah. And then I think the other thing that we haven't really touched on at all that that has been on my mind is just as our macroeconomic environment really changes, and we're facing a recession and high inflation and ongoing supply chain issues. You know, how does that impact our mission? How does that impact our messaging and our engagement with our with our external stakeholders? And how do we need to adapt as a company to, you know, address what our customers need, but then also continue to, to be successful in our own mission. And I think it's going to have a big impact on on all of our businesses and our lives. And just making sure that we continue to incorporate those external factors into everything that we do, is really critical for our success.

Eric: I'd actually be curious on that. So how do you so taking a step back, you know, our business is trying to understand and of course help clients navigate, change within categories. And right now, you know, there's so much change happening and everything post COVID. And, you know, economic pressures and supply chain pressures, and particularly for your business in your industry, when it comes to understanding how a category is changing. You mentioned, you know, in these first five months, you've really prioritised understanding, listening to customers and the market. So I'm sure that's one piece of it. But is there anything else you're doing or any other advice you can give to people listening on how to actually understand how the category around you is changing, and then therefore, try to position your brand and your go to market to take advantage of that?

Kelly: Well, if I had a great answer to that I might be a different function. But I think that what I do is I try and pay attention to what other small companies are doing and how, where investments are going and what bets, it seems like the market might be making in terms of technology or services that are really helping to drive a market, I pay attention to conversations that I'm having with the C suite in terms of what resonates with them, what they're talking about what they want to hear about. And then I read, I read the Wall Street Journal, every day, I read The New York Times every day, There are a bunch of industry pubs that I subscribe to, and I just really try and stay on top of what's happening broadly, and then, you know, consciously or unconsciously apply it back to the business. So I don't have any special recipe or secret there. But I think it's just really being disciplined about, you know, what are your habits to just stay on top of things and then just continuing to nurture them

Eric: What are your habits for do because it's like I you know, I always say I should, you know, read the Wall Street Journal, New York Times all that. And like, at best, I open it and scroll through the headlines most days do you have kind of like a system or a habit that you've developed to make sure you're putting aside time to consume that?K

Kelly: I do. I do mostly in the mornings, or in the evenings, I open those, the those two tabs really every morning and I just intentionally if I have like a free minute, or just need a break up, I'll continue to go back to them throughout the day. And then also, I got a dog during COVID and she needs to be walked and so I have like a pretty great batch of podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis while I walk her at 2x so that I can get through all of them. But But yeah, I mean I I'm an naturally curious person, so I just love kind of ingesting all that information on Yeah, and that's my dog keeps me honest in my habit to get back.

Eric: Any any favourite podcasts that you'd recommend that maybe people haven't haven't come across yet?

Kelly: Well, in addition to yours, Eric, I could say HPR does a really great one called after hours that I've I've recently started listening to that, that I love. I listen to the daily every day and NPR has up first, which I just find to be great for general news. And then honestly, it's not all serious business stuff. Like sometimes I need a break too. And I love listening to Conan O'Brien. I think he's really funny. I think smartlace is really funny. And, you know, sometimes we need to just like laugh a little bit to let our minds wander. And those are when the best ideas come.

Eric: Love it. My thing right now is actually trying to choose between all the amazing podcasts that are out there. And then audiobooks. That's the other thing that I do you know, when I'm at the gym, or when I'm commuting or anything like that. So I'm always I just have so much FOMO about how much good stuff there is out there. I totally agree with you. Yeah, I tend to go back and forth between my like audiobooks, app and podcast app, but missing so much to x, though, that is definitely a pro life hack. All right, Kelly, this has been really fun and really informative. I've definitely learned a few things I'm sure that people listening have as well, I'm going to let you go. But before I do, just to wrap things up. If there's one thing that you would recommend people do differently, after listening to this episode, what would it be?

Kelly: I think if it's one thing to do differently, maybe just think about I'm gonna go off of what we were just talking about with habits and think about the habits that you've built for yourself every single day, regardless of the size of the company that you're in, to really be disciplined about understanding your market and your customers and what they need, and then constantly apply that back to your approach.

Eric: Yeah, we are what we do every day. Right? Have you read atomic habits by James clear?

Kelly: I haven't

Eric: Oh, check it out. I know you're gonna like it. Have you heard of him? He's got a newsletter.

Oh, I totally know. I can tell you what the book cover looks like. I just haven't picked it up.

Eric: It's everywhere. But um, he's got quite the marketing machine around them. It is it's one of those. It's like you mentioned Simon Sinek. It's good. I feel like he's taken a lot of what other people have done and packaged it up in a very digestible way. And atomic habits is kind of like that. I'm not sure there's anything all that new, but it's effective. It works. At least it did for me in terms of like really ingesting some things that helped me get a little bit more disciplined with the habits that I'm building or want to keep.

Kelly: I love that I will put it on the list.

Eric: Cool. Kelly, thank you so much. Say hi to Boston. For me. I will hope to see you again soon.

Kelly: Thanks. Great to chat.

Scratch is a production of rival. We are a marketing innovation consultancy that helps businesses develop strategies and capabilities to grow faster. If you want to learn more about us check out we are If you want to connect with me, email me at or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it. And please do leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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