In this episode

In this episode, Scott Bynoe reveals the art of aligning your efforts and leveraging insights for a marketing revolution. As the Vice President of North America Marketing at Crawford & Company, Scott shares how marketing works in the financial sector. He introduces the concept of “lazy marketing” and explains how simplicity and focus can be game-changers in reaching your audience. He also explores the significance of storytelling, not just externally but internally as well. Scott reveals the brand maturation at Crawford & Company and shares the vision for the brand and the role of culture to create a fascinating narrative in financial services. Tune in now!

About Scott Bynoe

A creative thinker with a passion for leading and motivating high-functioning marketing teams, Scott Bynoe has held various roles in marketing in financial services, manufacturing, and ecommerce – just to name a few.

Scott is currently the Vice President of Marketing, North America at Crawford & Company. Crawford is the world’s largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management and outsourcing solutions globally with over 10,000 employees in over 70 countries around the world.

Read the episode transcript

Well, hi everyone, welcome to another episode of Brand Enabled. Today I’m here with Scott Bynoe and we’re going to be talking about financial services. Scott’s the Vice President of North American Marketing for Crawford & company. He’s going to talk to us a bit more about that and we’re going to delve into the world of financial services and brand and marketing and how do we build internal consensus and how do we influence stakeholders in an industry where brand and marketing isn’t the first thing that people are thinking about when they get out of bed in the morning? So welcome, Scott, it’s great to have you on.

Thanks so much, I really appreciate being here.

Scott, let’s dig straight in. Just give us a bit of most people probably haven’t heard of Crawford, but there are so many financial services, large financial services companies in the world that lots of people haven’t heard or give us a bit of a background on the company and what you do there.

Yeah, sure.When people ask me about Crawford, I often start by saying, ‘You probably don’t want to know us until you need us.’ We specialize in addressing some of life’s toughest moments. With over 80 years of experience in the claims management space, Crawford stands as the world’s largest publicly traded independent provider of claims management and outsourcing solutions. With a workforce exceeding 10,000 employees, we operate in over 70 countries, partnering with insurance companies, carriers, brokers, and corporate clients to tackle their claims challenges head-on. Essentially, when an individual experiences an unforeseen event and needs to file an insurance claim, companies like ours step in to help assess damages, manage the process, and strive to restore the policyholder to their pre-loss condition.

Your role seems pivotal in ensuring a seamless customer experience, albeit operating more in the background. Can you elaborate on how Crawford interfaces with customers, perhaps drawing parallels with companies like Synchrony Financial, which manages credit cards for various brands?

Regarding white labeling, yes, and it’s a very observant point. It can happen in a couple of different ways. It can occur with Crawford representing that brand. Alternatively, there could be a desk operation where you’re calling your insurance company, and you could be speaking to a desk adjudicator who is part of Crawford. Thus, brand reputation, and how we represent not only ourselves to our clients, which would be a carrier, but also the extension of that—the experience of the policyholder when they’re dealing with a claims adjuster—is crucial, right? If you think of an insurance contract, it’s a promise, and the act of filing a claim kicks that promise into action. That insurance policy comes to life. That’s a key, pivotal moment in the relationship between the policyholder and their insurance company, the carrier. If you get that wrong, in that moment of vulnerability, that moment of potential disaster for many people, if that breaks down, it doesn’t matter if you have the best technology or the most efficient process. If you miss the empathy needed to truly understand what that person is going through, and our adjusters and client-facing personnel who are on the ground or on the phone dealing with that individual, if you slip up and miss that, it can result in a significant potential for a bad reputation for that particular policyholder in their moment of need. So, it’s really important to get that right.

So if my basement gets flooded and I call up Travelers, which is my insurance company, and they need to send a loss adjuster to come and evaluate the damage here in my basement, notionally, from my standpoint, I’m going to think what? It’s someone from Travelers, but that could be someone from Crawford actually coming to my home with a Travelers shirt.

Is that not quite that? It wouldn’t necessarily be. I would say a lot of the time what you might find is there’d be a Crawford person coming to your house. Now what I’ll say too is we’ll back up. Is that not to say that every claim is handled externally from an insurance company. You will still have adjusters and people who are representatives that work for those companies. But if there’s overflow or there are lines of business where you would need excess capacity or a particular specialty that is somewhat esoteric, or there’s a breadth of knowledge that maybe you wouldn’t employ within a carrier, you could be using a company like Crawford. And so from a client-facing point of view, very often, especially, let’s say, during catastrophic events, we’ll have adjusters on the ground. We’ll have people that we mobilize as part of Crawford on the ground representing not only the insurance carrier to the policyholder who made that call, but we’re representing Crawford, our own brand as well in the field.

Right. So your key in many ways is sort of supporting the industry. And there’s an aspect of companies like yours that help to create some of the resilience that then allows scaling up when needed.”

Yeah. And that is part of our business, right? So you might have the daily claims, things that come through, a whole variety of things, which I could talk about for hours and hours and hours about the different specialties that we could cover. But a part of our business is during surge events or catastrophic responses—hurricanes, floods, winter storms, and all sorts of things—that we find various perils during the year, which we are seeing, quite frankly, an increase in those things. With climate change, we are seeing more of these catastrophic events that are hitting some of these areas, and particularly areas too that traditionally might not have seen catastrophic events. And so you can imagine that you’ve got your business as usual claims that come about, but during a surge or some sort of catastrophic event, you might have a carrier who overnight literally has thousands of claims rushing in—people with all sorts of issues, predominantly property damage issues, and that capacity can overburden a system that isn’t prepared to handle that and take that on. And that’s where a company like Crawford could come in and help as well.

So you’re the perfect definition, almost like of a B2B ingredient brand, right? You’re like an Intel Inside, but in the world of B2B in some way. So with that context and with the carriers and your customers being quite a narrow and small group of targets, what role does marketing or brand then actually play?

Yeah, it’s a great question because I think that’s sometimes a confusion with the B2B space. And it’s like, well, how big is the addressable market, right?

Is it really focused on a few carriers? And it’s what I would say, it’s quite complex because if you think about our market segments or our targets at a really high level, you can kind of think of them as three audiences. So you’ve got the insurance carriers, you have the brokers, which are very influential in the decisions made by carriers, especially on the specialty side. And then you have corporates, right? Who might be sort of large corporations that self-insure and they handle claims internally, and they need a third-party administrator to come in and actually manage those claims as they come through. And so the landscape of the potential audience or targets for us is actually quite large, right? So you have not only large national multinational insurance companies, we could each rattle off ten or 20 off the top of our head that service the United States. And then you have smaller regional carriers as well, right? That sort of focus on particular geographies or maybe particular segments of the market. In addition to that, you might have carriers that have sort of specialty insurance books or books of business that are kind of esoteric in nature as well. And so imagine anything in your life, anything that you look around, chances are there’s some way to insure that, right? And there’s insurance for basically anything and everything. And so you’ll have specialty carriers or you’ll have specialty brokers that play in those spaces as well. And to back that up as well. When we talk about some of these large national multinational carriers, they might handle all of that. So you might have decision-makers or targets within a particular carrier that you’re working with, but their whole business is one sliver of the entire book of that particular carrier. So there could be many contacts or many decision-makers within there. So the market becomes even fragmented, potentially within a singular company. When you layer in the broker audience, there’s a lot of influence that can go in there as well in terms of how you speak to the broker audience, how you deal with the broker audience, and what their position is, let’s say, within the sale of insurance and the influence that they’ll have over claims administration. Then what I haven’t touched on too much is the corporate audience in terms of corporate entities that are self-insured and spreading risk. And there’s a whole other side of the business that does that. So the market actually, as you start to talk through it and think through it, becomes actually quite vast.

So does that mean that there are different brands under Crawford, or do you go to market everything under a single Crawford brand?

Yeah, it’s a good question. It’s dependent on where you sit. So if we’re speaking specifically about the United States, we go to market as Crawford. That is our parent, that is our home. However, we’ve had acquisitions over the years and sub-brands, if you will, and endorsed brands that represent various specialty areas of our business. The bread and butter of our business historically has been loss adjusting, traditional field adjusting, but it’s merged into desk adjusting and virtual adjusting. We’ve got a lot of specialty adjusting through what we call our Global Technical Services Group. And we also have TPA, third-party administration, that can handle a lot of corporate entities and things like medical management under something that’s called Broadspire.

So Broadspire is a sub-brand of ours, an endorsed brand of Crawford. It’s a Crawford company that handles predominantly in the TPA space. But then we also have something called Contractor Connection.

So we have another sub-brand called Contractor Connection, which deals with managed repair. It’s a managed repair network. So you can imagine in a property insurance claim, not only is there the assessment of the damages and potentially the payout, like ‘Here’s your basement flooded, here’s your check, best of luck,’ versus ‘Your basement is flooded, insurance company, it’s going to cost $100,000. We’re going to match you to a contractor to help you actually get you. We’re going to get you over the finish line to get you whole.’ And that’s where our Contractor Connection business comes in. So we have these complementary businesses that really, lack of a better term, complement the core business of ours, loss adjusting.

So that gives a really good setup of the organization as a whole. So what is the value proposition of brand and marketing internally then? What do you support? How do you impact and influence the business?

It’s a good question. And it’s a question that I would say the answer to might change. It might change depending on who I’m talking to because there are various needs, I think, in marketing depending on the area of the business because the target might be a little bit different. So within, let’s say, the managed repair, the Contractor Connection side of our business, that’s a different sell, right? And that’s a different audience. And there are kind of two audiences for that as well. There’s the carrier audience to say, ‘You should have a managed repair network as part of your service offering to your policyholders because we’ve seen it in studies.’ For example, J.D. Power and Associates just came up with a study this year that showed that customer satisfaction or policyholder satisfaction tends to be a lot higher when a managed repair network is part of the solution versus, ‘Here’s a check. Go find your own solution.’ So there’s data to show that this is something that you want to do to help your policyholders. Never mind, there are savings that go along with that as well. So there’s that audience. But then, going again with this Contractor Connection piece, there’s also the contractor network itself. So we don’t employ contractors. Contractors, independent contractors all over the United States become part of this network because they want to feed into this. To say, ‘Hey, we’ve got these claims that are in this particular geography, this area, and we want you to be able. These are vetted, credentialed contractors that have to meet a pretty high standard to be part of our network.’ So we’re creating that ecosystem. So you can imagine, Justin, that business itself has some considerations. You flip that over, let’s say, to what I mentioned before, our Global Technical Services business, which is what it sounds like. It’s a very technical claims, complex claims. It’s not just about large claims, but it’s also complex claims. So we call them large and complex claims. Could be complex construction issues. It could be complex engineering, could be complex casualty, complex property, commercial property. The sell of that is a bit different. It’s a bit of a longer tail. There needs to be a lot more of a relationship development and building that would go into something like that. It’s less transactional. Because some of these claims can be quite large. They can extend for a very long period of time and they require very specific expertise for somebody to actually go in there and understand what it is that we’re looking at, what is the detail of the policy, what’s actually happened in the loss itself and then helping to come to some resolution. It takes folks who have that background, that professional, that educational background to be able to speak that language and deal with that. So it’s a whole different sell. It’s a whole different world, different buyer. And so there are a lot of things to consider. So within the value of marketing and how we partner with the operation, how we partner with the sales is to really understand who’s that audience and what is it that they need. What is the need from us? Because the complexity of our business and what we find is, and maybe you can appreciate this as I’m just talking about it, there are a lot of facets to it, right? Like if I were to sit here and put up a slide on the screen and say, ‘Here’s all the things Crawford does,’ it’s an eye chart, right? Like it’s, you think of like a Deloitte or a KPMG or some of these consulting firms, and if they were to open up a book and say, ‘This is all the consulting that we do,’ there’s going to be a ton of stuff. Crawford is very similar in that manner where we have a very, very large, complex suite of services. The key to that, though, is ensuring that the message gets through, the right message gets through to the right person. So we’re not overwhelming our targets with, ‘Here’s everything that we do, what do you want?’ And that’s the last thing that we want to do.

So how do you also then think about organizing your team if the needs of each team are very different? Do you have a mix of generalists and specialists and shared services, and then specialists for each business, or do you completely separate out the teams? How do you think about that?

Yeah. And so the way that Crawford is structured is we have, I’d say, the best of both worlds. We have centralized and decentralized marketing. And I’ve worked in organizations that swing one way or the other. They’re completely decentralized, which can be great; it can be democratic in a way of how people want to invest in marketing. And you get what you pay for in a sense. I’ve also worked in other areas where it’s entirely centralized. And so you’ve got a center of excellence type model that services the entire organization, that will prioritize and vet based on that group’s understanding of the business. Again, things to do with scale can help with that. There’s a lot of shared resourcing, shared ideas, and vision that can go with that, but there’s a lot of traffic control that can come along with that and potential gaps in knowledge on specifics of complex businesses. With Crawford, I would say that what I love about the way that we’re set up is that we have the best of both worlds. We have the centralized model that services the global organization from a branding perspective and from a creative output perspective, a team, a really talented team that really understands our look, our feel, our tone, that has technical capability to do things, to make things. But then we also have decentralized teams, which is kind of like where I play in my teams, that sit, that are embedded within the businesses, within the business segments, that partner very closely with the business leaders and the managers and the sales to understand what it is that they need to interpret that and bring that to light. And the magic happens when we work with our businesses and then we bring that to our central services team to create output that is really highly informed and aligned with the business. But then the output of that is cohesive to the brand because you can imagine if you don’t have that rock, that sort of center point, foundational branding point. All your marketing can look different. And I’ve seen that in a lot of organizations that have that decentralized model, that depending on where this piece came from, what country this piece came from, it could look different. The thing that everybody loves to compare is McDonald’s tastes like McDonald’s. Wherever you go. They’re different. They’re differently managed. Now, the menu might change, it might have some slight differences to the menu, but the general experience, the goal is to make you feel like you’re in a McDonald’s. And so I think that’s the benefit of having that central shared service model.

So oftentimes in this world that you’re operating in, right where you’re working with the business unit leaders, you find that in organizations like yours, there’s a big range in terms of what that relationship is like between the marketing team and the business units. From maybe one side on the spectrum, you’ve got the sort of, they’re still perceived as being order takers or that’s the behavior where the team’s saying, hey, we need this, just go do it.


To the other side of the spectrum is where we’re coming in and we’re really consulted. Can you talk a bit about that journey? And obviously, it probably depends on the business unit. Like, how have you gone about elevating the strategic role that marketing can play, influencing and educating internal stakeholders so they better understand how to best use you?

I love this question because it’s something that I’ve come to appreciate, and using the word “journey” is fitting because I’ve come to understand that it’s not a destination. When I was younger and starting out, I had this attitude internally that not everyone understood what marketing was, and I thought, “One day we’ll get there. One day everybody will understand what marketing is, and we’ll all sing Kumbaya and hold hands, and they’ll just get it.” But what I’ve come to realize is that that probably will never happen. I think it’s an ongoing journey of education, teaching people about what marketing is, and sometimes, more importantly, what marketing is not, or how marketing can plug in in a very strategic way. So I’ll give a ton of credit to Michelle Montgomery, who’s our global CMO at Crawford & Company. She’s really, I think, changed the perception of the value of marketing and has really elevated the role of marketing. It’s incumbent on people like myself, my teams, and my counterparts to continue that message. And you’re absolutely right. To reference Michelle, what she likes to talk about is sometimes the view of marketing is, as she puts it, “party planning and PowerPoint makers,” and things like that. There’s a sense that that’s what we do.

The “T-shirt and cups department,”


I like that. New and PowerPoint and party makers.

Yeah, there you go. And it’s not to say we can’t do that and let’s say elevated from that. There are a lot of people who think that we make PDFs, it’s like we’re the PDF department. We make all the PDFs and we make all the PowerPoints. Everything that starts with a P: parties, PowerPoints, and PDFs. I think we just add to the acronym list again. And what I say to people is, it’s not that we don’t do that, sure, but it’s such a small part we’re talking about. That’s the creative execution. That’s the thing that you see at the end of the line. The value of marketing is that it happens so much before that. And the consideration that goes into the things that we do and the questions that we ask, or how we’re brought into the business, can change dramatically the impact of that output. If somebody comes to me and says, “Scott, I’ve got a client meeting tomorrow. I need a one-page sales sheet that talks about this particular vertical. I need it in an hour.” Well, if you give me an hour to make it, it’s going to be, you’re going to get what you put into it. Garbage in, garbage out. Whereas if you come to me two weeks in advance to say, “Hey, this is the target. This is the kind of things that they buy. They used this ten years ago. They had a bad experience with us. This is who they’re using right now. Typical client looks like this, volume of business is this,” and start to learn about who this client is, we can start to have a conversation. I might say, “Well, you know what? I don’t think they need a one-page sales sheet. I think we need to talk about this.” And sometimes it’s not even any output. Sometimes I’ll go to them and say they need a conversation. We need to not put anything in front of them. It sounds like you need to do some more listening because what you’re telling me is you’re looking for a band-aid, and that’s not going to work. And I think that’s where you can start to push the value of marketing, just even the questions that you start to ask. And I try to encourage this to my team to say, ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You come to find that people love talking about what they do, right? And if you ask specific, poignant questions that are trying to get to a point of value or understanding, it can go a long way. And I always try to tell this to people to say, don’t get romanticized by a solution because a lot of the time, what I’ve come to notice, especially a lot of people who don’t know what marketing is, they don’t come to you with a problem. They come to you with a solution. They’ve figured it out already. “Hey, Scott, I figured this out. I just need you to make this thing.” And that’s usually a red flag for me when somebody comes to me and says, “I need you to make fill in the blank marketing output.” And I’m like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Why?” Right? The five whys. I love the five whys. Because to me it does one of two things. Either it helps that individual drill down and you get some shared point of understanding, or that individual realizes that they don’t actually know enough about what they’re asking, and it forces them to go back and go, “Ah, yeah, maybe I do need to kind of think this through.” And so it’s so simple, but it can go a long way. And so I think part of this is a really long answer to your question, but I think part of proving value or elevating the role of marketing is really one of two things. It’s what I just talked about in terms of the questions that you ask, embedding yourself in the business, showing yourself to be a valuable part of the business. The other end of it is using your own proof points. So I’m fortunate in the sense that I can represent and work with a wide variety of stakeholders across our business. So I represent our Canadian business and a big chunk of our US business, and I can use some really impactful, valuable projects and things that we’ve worked on in certain business units to say to other business units that might not really use us in the same way, “Hey, check this out. We did this really cool, impactful thing with this business unit over here, by the way. If you ever need us to do something like this for you, we can do it with you. You just got to bring us in.”

What I love about the example that you gave is this idea that we hear a lot from internal marketing teams, that they’re inundated and overloaded. And so by just asking some of those questions, but it’s not just asking the questions, it’s being then consultative, not just thinking about the solution as being marketing-driven, you can actually decrease the number of asks. More importantly, you’re eliminating the asks that you know aren’t going to be very effective. So then you can actually spend more time working on the things that actually do matter because all of a sudden, if you don’t have that, if you don’t engage in those critical discussions, you can fill up your workflow of things that you need to do. And within there, there might be something actually really important that’s taking you longer to get to that might be more impactful.

100%, yeah.

What are some of the other things that you do to continue to build those relationships and grow your influence? Internally, we talk a lot about the notion of influence in a matrixed environment.

It’s tough, right? And I think one thing that I’ve noticed that people appreciate is when you take interest or you show knowledge in their area. Right. I think one important thing to do is, how do I put it? Especially because of the business that we’re in, which is like, I’m sure many others who might be watching or listening to this, is that they work in very complex businesses and it’s impossible for anybody to know everything. And including the people who work in those businesses will know a lot about their business, but they might not know about somebody else’s business. And just as much as marketers, we know a lot about how to market, we know how to communicate. We’re all expert communicators. And I think what a big part of communication is listening. Right. And I think it’s key to, there’s a point of displaying your business acumen to show that you can speak their language, but also showing a bit of vulnerability to say, I don’t know everything, though. You guys are the experts. I need your help on this. I love the question. Sometimes people come up to me like, hey, Scott, we need some, like, new thought leadership piece on fill in the blank of whatever. I’m like, great. And then that’s the end of the conversation. I’m supposed to go off and create this thought leadership piece. And so what I say to a lot of time for people is like, we got to meet in the middle, though. We have to understand, like, what our roles are, right? So my role is to understand how to package that message, build a narrative, persuade or convince or influence a decision from a particular audience. But I need your help. I need your help to really truly understand and know that audience, who knows that audience better than you is no, like, you are the expert in that. And so I think ensuring, like early on or upfront and in relationships or conversations to articulate that, you know, that that you understand their expertise in the business. But it’s also important for, I think for marketers to have that confidence as well, to say, well, I’m the expert in communicating that. Right? And I think it’s important to define those roles in that relationship early on because I think what that does, it reduces what we just talked about with the people coming to you with solutions. Because I think if you can position yourself as that agent or that actor within that transaction or your ecosystem in the business that you’re in, you start to define those roles and accountability. So you do produce better things. Because it’s funny, sometimes you get people who come to you with like, I’ve got the idea, I’ve got the solution, just make the thing. Just do exactly what I ask. And then you get the other folks who the complete polar opposite of that to say, I want a thing. I don’t know what I want to say, but I want you to figure that out and make the thing, and then I’ll tell you after if it’s any good.

And that’s a really hard place to be for a marketer because then you’re I think now people are probably going to chat GPT and they’re what does this mean? And write me a thing that says this. And then it turns into usually nothing very specific, and it’s quite broad. And you end up starting at a place that’s almost backwards from where it initially began. So I think it’s important to define early in the relationship what those expectations are of your business partners in terms of what you need from them and what you bring to the day.

So we were talking about thought leadership as an example of where you have to dig in and ask questions to that thought leader, because as a marketer, you’re not the subject matter expert. And there’s an element of the more you actually ask questions, the more you’re making your job easier. I think one of the things that we both talked about off air before was this concept of being a lazy marketer actually being a good thing. Like, talk about what you mean by that. Cause I think we’re both kindred spirits in that regard.

Yeah, it’s one of those things that it makes me chuckle just because it’s like, you would never want to say that to your boss or the people that you work with. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a lazy marketer. And I think for me, I would say it comes from a point of necessity, right? Because it’s really easy to, it’s like you’re trying to eat an elephant, right? If you work in a complex business and if you try and attack it, and just by pure brain power to develop a plan, let’s say, I like the idea of lazy marketing in terms of planning, right? If you think of a strategy and planning for a year, I can try and read between the lines and collect my thoughts from hundreds of meetings that I might have had over the preceding months and things that we’ve been working on and my observation of the industry and taking input, right. You’re taking input from a million places, right. The lazy marketer is going to go to the source of the business, the people, let’s say, driving the revenue, whether it’s the sales folks or the business leaders or the operation, they are so close to that action. They understand that action. It’s like they’re your best source of information. Because at the end of the day, first of all, the customer facing people, let’s say the account manager and the sales folks and all of those people, customer service, all these customer facing people understand the audience, they understand the needs, they know the questions that are coming out, so they know the landscape. And then you’ve got the operations folks that are making it happen. They’re living it day to day. You just talk to these people and their objectives. That’s what you say. What are your objectives? What’s your must win battle for next year? What are you trying to do? The lazy marketer goes, great. That’s what I’m trying to do too. I’m going to do that too. I think that’s how you just, it’s so simple. But to create that alignment to the businesses, I like to have meetings with people and I say, tell me what your objectives are for the year. What are your KPI’s? What are you measuring on? What’s going to keep you up at night? What are the things that you didn’t have time to do this year that you want to get to next year? So take notes. Take notes. And then we take that back. It be myself or could be a working group or a team of mine, and we’ll look at that as a group to say, okay, these are our objectives. Now, what can we do as marketers to influence those things? Because then we know inherently the work that we do is super aligned to their work. We’re positively, hopefully driving some sort of impact or moving the needle on these objectives through our activity. So their business objectives become marching orders in a sense for our activities. But what I think is important though is while it’s great to be a lazy marketer, to create alignment, I think it’s also important to tend to yourselves as well, right? It’s like the shoe cobbler’s kids shoes, right? You want to make sure that your shoes are in good order too. And so what I like to do during planning phases with my teams is that not only do we do the lazy marketing part to create plans that support business units that we support, but to think about the strategic marketing things that we want to do, that we should do, that we know will make us better, nobody’s asking for. So I think it’s important. So I like the lazy marketing approach, but it’s also good to think about yourself too, to say how do we get better next year? How do we get more strategic, how do we get more streamlined, how do we optimize better? How do we work better together? How do we learn more, how do we build stronger relationships, how do we understand the market better? All these things that maybe potentially nobody’s asking us to do, I think it’s important to have some space for that as well.

Yeah. My lazy marketer concept is that there are lots of times when you’re sitting in a team meeting thinking about what we’re going to write about this month, what content we’re going to create? And my lazy marketing aspect is talking to customers, trying to understand what they’re dealing with, and having conversations with them, and then just writing it in their own voice.

Yeah, it’s true. And it’s funny. The voice of the customer, the reaction or the actions of customers are really integral. I was at a conference a month or two ago, and somebody said something that I thought was really interesting. We were talking about old school strategy, not chasing the shiny object, but going for an old school strategy. There are a lot of things, and you and I talked a bit about AI off-air, and his comment might have been in reference to AI, but be careful about chasing the shiny object to try to be first to market on everything or try to be the one that innovates it. He had some really great examples, which I’ll butcher so I won’t get into, but he has some great examples of how this has worked for businesses that don’t do that, that don’t chase the shiny object. And he said, when something new gets put into the universe, instead of being the business that says we need to jump on that, innovate it, and figure out some way to put it into our process. Instead, wait and look at how consumers interact with it because the consumer behavior around that thing is then going to start to create a clearer picture about where do we fit, what’s appropriate for us to do. And the answer might be, it’s not appropriate for us at all because that’s not part of what we do. That’s not part of the fabric of what we do. It goes against the grain of what we do. In fact, maybe something magical can happen where you look and go, you know what? That’s right in the pocket of what we do. Now we understand it better. Now we understand the expectation of the consumer, and we can create something or incorporate something that makes a lot of sense. I think that’s really important as a concept as well. When we’re presented with new and shiny things, it’s to sometimes take a step back because it’s really tempting sometimes to say, we got here first. We got to the summit first, like, we climbed first. But sometimes it’s good to sit back and see how did they get to the summit? Or is it even safe to get to the summit?

Or was there a faster path? And the thing about getting to the summit is you’ve actually got to get back down as well.


So, Scott, talk about the importance of storytelling internally. That is not just about explaining things using regular language, but you have an approach where you kind of use metaphors and storytelling even when you’re talking to internal stakeholders.

Yes, and if anybody from my team is watching this, they’ll chuckle at this point because I tend to go on tangents, and a lot of my tangents turn into stories or metaphors that don’t make any sense in the beginning, but I hope that they somehow come to some sort of conclusion at the end of it. But yeah, I think storytelling works not only in external marketing narratives, and I think that’s a key, powerful part of getting people to pay attention to your message through storytelling, not just through hammering them with capabilities and facts and stats, right? People get sick and tired of that stuff, but storytelling is magical in the sense where if you do it right, people start to see it, right? Like, it starts to get into their head. And sometimes if you’re trying to explain something complex, or maybe not even that complex, like, in my view, I don’t think marketing is that complex, but I think when people don’t understand it, it’s important to lead them with a story or kind of try to build in some sort of analogy or story to get them to understand what our job is. And so one of the guys I worked with, one of the guys on my team, I actually stole this from him. But then I took it a step further, and we were talking about this the other day, and his sentiment on marketing was, marketing’s job is to lead the horse to water. You got the horse, we’re bringing the horse to the water. So imagine we’ve got a wide-open field filled with horses and just a bunch of marketers bringing the horses to the water, but we can’t get them to drink the water. That’s not marketing’s job. That might be the sales job or some sort of operational leader relationship with whoever to make that decision, or a procurement department or whoever it happens to be to get them to drink the water. But what’s important in B2B marketing. So this doesn’t. So what I’ll preface by saying, if you’re in D2C, e-commerce, it’s all about high volumes. People come to the site and get them to buy. That’s a bit different. But in the B2B aspect, where the sale can be a longer tail, relationship-driven thing, the role of marketing, through awareness campaigns and consideration campaigns, is to lead that horse to water. And the thing that I took a step further when I was talking to this individual, I was like, I would argue it’s not just about leading the horse to water. Sometimes it’s us taking the horse and just shifting them over here because they’re facing over there. And we need to get them to look this way. And the consideration for the work that we do in marketing is to sometimes understand whatever those objectives or those metrics are that we want to measure ourselves against. Sometimes it is appropriate, let’s say, like I said in the D2C, is how many horses drank the water. But in a B2B environment, especially in a complex sale environment, I like to take a step back to say, no, our goal is to lead horses to water, or at least point those horses in the right direction. I think sometimes we’ll beat ourselves up to say, oh, we didn’t get this huge impact and spike in revenue that we wanted to see in this particular quarter that this campaign happened, but that spike might not come for a quarter from now or two quarters from now, or even a year from now or longer. But what we should ask ourselves is, are people starting to point in the right direction? Are they walking towards the water? How do we know that? Well, are they engaging with our marketing more? Are they asking more questions? Are they reaching out? Are we seeing increases in whether it’s email opens or site hits or downloads or webinar signups or whatever? The thing is, are we seeing more activity and engagement? That to me is sort of directional in that. Yeah, the horse is pointing in the right direction. The horse is walking. I think that’s important for us to kind of remember both for us as marketers, but important, I think, to communicate to some of the businesses that we support is that we can lead horses to water, we can point them in the right direction. It’s not always up to us to get them to drink.

What I like about it, because what I like about it is lots of times at B2B, you hear just about what those interim metrics are, but by being able to tell that metaphor and story, you’re able to then say, so when it comes to getting the horse there, when it comes to turning the horse, here are the metrics that actually apply to that.

Yeah, and I think that’s one big hang-up with marketing metrics. If you’re speaking to somebody who understands those metrics and the value of some of those metrics or some things are leading indicators that can result in something else, it’s great. But a lot of the time if you’re not speaking to somebody who gets those things, it gets lost on them or they don’t see the value in them. Or sometimes I’ve actually seen the opposite where they put too much value and they go, “Oh, we had that many site visits. That’s amazing.” And I’ll say, “Sure, but what’s on the site? Like what is it that we’re actually trying to get them to do when they’re on the site?” So it’s like some of these isolated metrics can be misused as well because you can get the numbers to kind of say whatever you want. So I think it’s important, right, to use sometimes analogies in concert with metrics to say, “Well, this is actually kind of what it means if you try and visualize, what does that metric actually mean in the real world?”

Speaking of the horse, I think we’ve beaten that horse enough. So we’ll move on to the next topic. The last topic I sort of wanted to touch on then is to elevate it all the way back up to the top, to the overall Crawford brand and go back to the idea of the brand journey and where we are in a brand maturation standpoint. So again, brand is a discipline. Brand with a big B is one of those things that I think has matured a lot over the last ten years in organizations, right? If at one end brand was really just about the logo and the colors, and at the other end we always say it’s like the Apple example of it’s everything from the material that’s chosen to the retail store. I mean, brand is so ingrained they don’t even use the word brand and there’s everything in between there. So it’s not a journey. And I think for many brands, they’re never going to get close to an Apple. How is brand perceived internally? Where are you on that journey? Where have you been? And sort of where you’re going?

Yeah, I’m excited for the brand, to be quite honest. I think we’re moving in a direction that creates simplification and I think that’s so important. And one thing that I’ve noticed is the more complicated your business, the more simplified your external narrative needs to be because it’s really easy to get caught up in representing everybody and being everything to everyone through your external branding. And that’s a big mistake. And I think it’s probably something that Crawford has been a victim of. And I would say in the past and many companies of complexity, when you get to a certain size and as things get bolted on and grown, you lose sight of some of that initial vision as to why the whole thing began in the first place. And the maturity of the brand is a really interesting thing to watch because you will have these ebbs and flows of complexity and then simplification and then, oh, it’s too simple now we got it. And so I think it’s exciting to be part of a brand that is so complicated. But there’s a real effort, I think, amongst our teams and acknowledgment, I would say, is that we know it’s easy to get in our way and it’s really important that we do simplify that message. And I think the buy-in of understanding why branding is important is another one of those things.

So we kind of talked earlier about the importance of getting internal folks who don’t work in marketing to understand what marketing is. I think it’s also important for people to understand why branding is important. Right. You get some people that might be very distant from, or feeling very distant from the overarching brand and say, “Well, that’s just the stuff that the corporate group does and they don’t understand my day-to-day business, and my business is so complex that these simple messages don’t resonate with anything.” And I think one thing that has resonated with me that I heard recently is that the point of branding and the point of brand awareness campaigns is expanding the pool in which you fish. Because if you don’t do that, your pool is this big and you just keep fishing the same fish. And individual marketing, small, kind of regionalized small marketing campaigns can get you a little bit here and there. But branding is really the thing that expands the pool in a very big sort of impactful manner. And I like to, and again, we talked about analogies now, but thinking about that as sort of that visualization of like our pool is this big. And the more effort we put on emphasizing, defining, sharing our narratives and our brand just makes that pool get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. It gives more opportunity for not only the individual businesses but the organization as a whole.

And to that .1 of the ways in which we see brand maturation start to happen is how it starts to then become ingrained and start to have an influence across other parts of the business. Because that then starts to move us from this idea of brand just being an idea of a communications idea, that what we say to being more closely connected to the things that we actually do and what the customer can actually experience. So whether that be brand starting to be integrated or having some type of role within customer experience or within sales or increasingly we’ve seen over the last few years within culture and HR. Can you talk a bit about any of those areas and where brand might have started to make inroads?

Yeah, I think what we find is if, and it kind of goes back to what I was saying before with the simplification of the message. It’s really hard for people to believe in a message or not believe in a message, but to exude, if you will, the brand or the message if they don’t fully believe in it themselves. And for them to fully believe in it has to have some connectivity to the business. And so it’s not a simple thing to tackle, but it really does have to. And I think with Crawford and what I’m really enjoying about what I’m seeing now is that it’s tying actually back into the original purpose. Right. We think about in 1941 when Jim Crawford started a company. It’s that vision of our purpose being to restore lives, businesses, and communities at the crux of everything that we’re doing. No matter how complicated the claim happens to be or what part of the business is. That’s essentially all it is that we’re doing, right? And I think if we can get people to understand that and latch onto that, it’s much easier one to repeat and as almost like an internal mantra. But if it has that connectivity to the work that we do and the people that we serve, it feels authentic. And I think sometimes when it starts to feel like pulling teeth, it’s because it’s not an authentic message. It becomes a facade. And I think a lot of the time, that’s where branding breaks down, is when you have the corporate brand that looks like this and it looks really nice. But then once you get inside and you talk to the individuals, they’re completely disconnected from that. That inauthenticity is you can cut it with a knife, the clients can see it, the policyholders can see it, people can feel it, and it just becomes disingenuous. So I think it’s really important that there is that buy-in, that internal buy-in. And the way to do it is it’s got to be simple and it’s got to be something that actually does have connectivity to the business through authenticity.

So, Scott, let’s just finish. Just by getting to know you a little bit more in aspects of your background, I’ve got to say I think you’re the first person that I’ve ever interviewed who’s a flamenco guitarist. We have to start with that. How did you get into that?

So any real flamenco guitarists that are listening or triangle searches, they’ll know that I. I call myself a fake flamenco guitarist. It was one of those things that I’ve always been a fan of the music. I grew up playing guitar, electric guitar. I played in a lot of, like, heavy metal and hard rock bands growing up. And while being a huge fan of that music, I was also a really big fan of, like, Paco Delucia and some of the flamenco guitar players. And just the technicality and the flair of that kind of playing, really, it was really intriguing. And so the band, this was when I was younger, the band that I was in at the time, we kind of broke up, and I sort of needed a creative outlet, so I bought an Alan string guitar and I just mimicked what I was hearing and just kind of pretended to know what I was doing. And that turned into me making a couple of albums and releasing them just under my own name. And, yeah, it’s just something that I kind of fell into and I would say I fake it. Funny enough, the first album that I put out when I was doing it was called lipstick on a pig because that’s kind of how I saw myself, that it was not actually a truthful mango Guderra player. I was just pretending to be one.

So is that something that we can find on Spotify?

You could if you wanted to. Yeah. I do have music that is on Spotify, and I do a lot of guitar playing and gear review type things on YouTube for more electric guitar stuff. So that’s my outside of work creative output.

Well, I’m a huge fan. So outside of you two that you can see here behind me, my favorite artists to go and see Rodrigo Gabriela, who are incredible Mexican duo who I’ve seen about ten times, who were able to turn style into, like, a rock concert, 100%.

So I’ve seen them a few times, and actually, one time I saw them, this was going back to 2018, maybe. I was on stage, they invited a bunch of people on stage, and so my wife and I kind of, like, ran to this group of people that was going on stage. And so I’ve got these, like, photos and videos of us standing behind the two of them as they’re playing to the crowd, and then they would come to us, and it was such a cool experience. Those guys are so talented, it’s ridiculous. And they’re, like, a lot of fun. They’re just a lot of fun to watch.

Okay, final question. If you think about in heart, like, we’ve learned a lot about, like, the philosophy that you have as a marketing leader and the kinds of things that you need to do in the business to be successful, how do you look for some of those skills when you’re interviewing, when you’re bringing people on board, whether. What are the traits that you’re looking for and what are the kind of questions that you ask? Do you have a favorite interview question to try and get to some of those traits?

Yeah, I like that. I’ve had people tell me that I conduct good interviews, but I always leave the interview feeling like I didn’t do a good job because it turns into a conversation, which I guess people like, and I actually think it’s probably a good thing. It’s not like asking question one, like, “Tell me about this,” or “If you could be any animal, what would it be?” I don’t have some ulterior motive to understand what that means. It’s not like that kind of stuff at all. And I think you get the authentic person when you disarm them and they feel comfortable, and they do feel like they’re having a conversation. And I feel like you can learn way more about that than trying to get them to talk themselves up or talk up a project. Right. Because it kind of puts people on the spot or they end up talking bigger than maybe they intended, and it feels kind of unnatural for a lot of people. So I think a conversational style makes the most sense. One big thing for me is technical capability, and sometimes specific roles need that, especially if you’re a specialist. And we need somebody who understands how to build complex part of email campaigns. Well, yeah, we need somebody who can do that kind of stuff. But I think what’s more important to me is how somebody fits with the existing team. That, to me, is way more important than the individual characteristics of that person versus how that person is going to add to the team. And one thing that somebody said to me a little while ago that I really, really like is that a lot of the time when people interview, they talk about fit. Are they going to be a good fit? Are they a good cultural fit? Are they going to fit with the team? And I can’t remember where I heard this, but somebody challenged that to say, you’ve got to get the word “fit” out of your head. Change the word “fit” with “ad.” Is this person going to be a cultural ad? Is this person going to add to the team? And I thought that was really astute, because I think what happens sometimes is when we’re interviewing or we’re looking for people, we’re looking for talent, we’re thinking about culture, we’re trying to look for the mirror, right? Like, we’re trying to have that conversation. That person’s a lot like me, so they must be good, right? Like, people have the sense of like, oh, they say all the right things. They have a similar experience and background to me, and I’m here and I know how to do this job. So therefore, this is going to be a great person to bring into the organization. And then you have a monotonous team. Everybody looks and feels and thinks the same, and that only gets you so far. And I think the biggest thing is to look for people who bring something to the table that doesn’t exist on your team yet, because I think it’s not only beneficial for your team, it’s beneficial for you, but it’s going to be beneficial for them because they are also then going to be exposed to people not like them. And so I think “cultural ad” is the language I would use instead of “cultural fit” when you’re looking for somebody to join your team.

That’s a great point. Scott, thanks so much for being here today. I think anyone in a marketing role across different aspects of financial services might not necessarily consider it the sexiest business in the world, but it’s incredibly interesting. And more importantly, there are hundreds and thousands of marketers who work in this industry. So hopefully, this discussion will be really helpful for those people and for anyone who’s just interested in business and B2B marketing.

It was great to be here. Thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate you inviting me on.