That one time in Austin

When we spent $15K on an event that… never happened. 

The universe had given us more signs than anyone should have needed.

A winter storm had taken a hold of Austin, local speakers were facing the possibility of power outages, and the California-based moderator had come down with the flu. 

But somehow we still traveled into Austin the day before the event was supposed to happen. 

Reflecting on it, aside from irrational optimism, here’s what may have blinded us: 

We felt the pressure of time. 

It was early in the year, times were getting tougher, and whether we were right about it or not, we felt the urgency to get going with in-person Growth Lessons. 

Epic fail!

But we did manage to squeeze out some lemonade, and here’s a little taste:

In this clip – joined by a couple of awesome VPs of Marketing – we talk about another lesson around time.

For context, this was a 30-minute session on how tricky it actually is to develop and launch a successful brand narrative.

We all love Andy “Strategic Narrative” Raskin, but here’s the question asked: 

“How can I go out with a brand narrative as quickly as possible so Marketing can start creating its own momentum?” 


Now more than ever, time is working against us as marketing leaders, and very few of us have the luxury of spending quarters on stuff. 

While some businesses can justify gathering multiple leaders to spend months on an updated story (and that can be incredibly valuable), that typically leaves the marketing leader too idle for too long relative to the real work that’s needed.  

Not that there isn’t enough busy work to deal with of course. 

But the point is that (1) speed to learnings matters more than most recognize and (2) momentum is more fleeting than any of us would like to admit. 

So when we’re approaching work on bigger initiatives like messaging, narrative, etc., how can we compress the cycles? 

We talked about that in our piece about why messaging is now truly ongoing work


You don’t need us to remind you there’s never enough of it. 

But sometimes we can benefit from each other as marketing leaders to challenge certain preconceived notions. Around conundrums like: How much time do we really have? 

Admittedly, our obsession with creating momentum in as little time as possible comes from us naturally having to prove ourselves based on being an agency. 

But is it possible the internal reality of a CMO is becoming more and more like that too? 

Anyway, we went too far when we tried to force this event to happen in Q1. We were too worried about time. But there wasn’t much we could do when the venue lost power. 

Here’s to you striking the right balance when it comes to time on your next big initiative. 

- Your partners in growth at Elevate Demand

PS: Shoutout to Cassie and Dana who were able to at least chat on camera as well as Heather and Katie who lost power and couldn’t make it – we sure had awesome speakers lined up!