Why this CMO understand the real meaning of thinking outside the box (via Kyle Lacy)

Kyle Lacy

Innovation is the lifeblood of progress, it’s like an engine helping businesses constantly evolve, constantly change and adapt.

Yet in this world where competitors are quick to replicate everything you do, the question arises: does innovation extend beyond tangible products, features or tools?

While developing new software, products, and features is necessary, the true innovation comes from more.

It comes from understanding your customers’ needs, the market dynamics, and emerging trends.

Innovation isn’t just about what you create; it’s about how you approach problems and how you create value in unique ways, it’s about thinking differently.

Think outside the box to create innovation

As we all know, all markets are competitive and the only way you can stand out is through differentiation, but how do you do it?

Offering unique products or services is the ideal thing you can do to differentiate in the market, but as Kyle Lacy says it’s harder and harder to do it.

So then what?

Innovative marketing strategies and captivating storytelling can be powerful tools.

You highlight your offerings in an original way to attract customers seeking solutions that push boundaries. 

This approach not only helps acquire new customers but also creates lasting impressions, fostering long-term loyalty.

If you think about it, innovation itself thrives on creative thinking.

When companies encourage employees to think outside the box, the potential for breakthroughs expands.

This can lead to new problem-solving methods, improved processes, and groundbreaking products or services.

After all, it’s the fresh ideas and imaginative campaigns that truly capture customer attention and drive engagement.

Consistently innovative marketing campaigns can cultivate a brand image that is seen as forward-thinking, dynamic, and cutting-edge. 

This strong brand identity also appeals to top talent, making the company more desirable as an employer and building a creative mindset within the organization.

If you think about it, companies that innovate and introduce disruptive technologies or business models can reshape markets, gain market share, and establish themselves as industry leaders.

And not just the companies, the people who thought of these original ideas can create new opportunities for themselves, similar to what Kyle Lacy did at the companies he worked for.

Who is Kyle Lacy?

Kyle has a vast knowledge about marketing and has played an important part in so many companies.

He was Senior Manager, Content Marketing at ExactTarget, Director, Global Content Marketing at Salesforce, Vice President of Marketing and Executive Advisor for Open View, Founder and CMO at Lessonly, SVP of Marketing at Seismic, just to name a few roles and companies.

In one of his posts he actually walks down the memory lane thinking about his ups and downs in every role he had and how all helped him lay the foundation for his present and future.

After taking a sabbatical year to focus on the big role of being a father, he came back in full force as CMO at Jellyfish in November 2022.

Besides his day to day work at Jellyfish, Kyle is also an advisor for five more companies, and is also a Board Member of Climb the Cure and timetoreply.

Even though he has so much on his plate, he dedicated a part of his time to building his personal brand on LinkedIn where he managed to create an audience of 44,084.

His main topics are marketing, obviously, career advice, Jellyfish.

How does Kyle think differently and why is he a B2B creator?

  1. Having a think outside the box mindset
  2. Offering career advice
  3. Marketing and leadership advice
  4. Being the company’s voice

A. Having a think outside the box mindset

For Kyle innovation is change, and says that innovation happens when you differentiate your products or how you market your products.

In the software market, innovation is harder to reach. If you launch a feature today, your competitors will launch it in a couple of months.

Innovation can happen when you tell a different story no matter the business– it can also apply to personal stories.

Kyle makes an interesting remark, saying that our personal stories evolve, but we are sometimes so focused on a single thing, a single goal, that we keep on telling the same story.

So, the important question to ask when marketing a business or even yourself is: can you tell a meaningful story that keeps your audience engaged?

Kyle is advocating for a mindset of taking risks and thinking creatively especially in marketing.

He emphasizes the importance of experimenting with unique ideas and approaches to stand out and make an impact in one’s career.

He’s not just giving advice, he follows it.

At ExactTarget he developed original benchmark reports at a time when software companies weren’t creating this type of content.

This type of innovative work got him a job at OpenView.

He kept on his creative mindset and while at Lessonly he built campaigns like the Golden Llama.

It was a direct mail campaign where prospects and customers were sent gold llama figurines, most of them hand painted by Lacy.

These initiatives were innovative and served to differentiate his companies and elevate their brand presence.

By pushing the boundaries and embracing unique storytelling tactics, Kyle believes that individuals can create inflection points in their careers, propelling them towards success and recognition within their respective fields.

B. Offering career advice

As someone whose experiences taught him how to fail, how to rise again, and how to choose and see what’s best for him, Kyle is the right person to offer career advice to his audience.

He openly talks about getting promotions and how an employee or a manager should deal with this situation.

Kyle says you should express your desire to learn more and own more by showing a detailed plan to your manager with what you want to obtain and how to do it.

Managers are there to offer you support and encouragement, but not to take care of your career.

That is something we are all responsible for and we often forget.

One of my personal favorites of his is a post about never burning bridges as you advance in your career because you never know how things will come around.

Kyle actually emphasizes on the idea that you shouldn’t leave a place without making sure that all the projects are left in good hands and to make sure the team would be alright without you.

And the reason to do this, he says, is because you are a leader and you should serve your team before you think about yourself.

At the same time he offers his support to everyone no matter the type of employment they have whether business owners or employees.

He understands that people are wired differently and what works for some may not work for others.

C. Marketing and leadership advice

By offering marketing and leadership advice on LinkedIn, Kyle wants to establish meaningful connections with his audience.

It’s a perfect way to increase his personal brand’s visibility but also to show his expertise in marketing.

Plus, over time his connections can transform themselves into more advisor roles for different companies, partnership ventures, or collaborations on different projects.

After accumulating years of experience and expertise in their respective fields, many professionals feel a sense of responsibility to give back to the community by sharing their knowledge and insights.

Also offering this type of lets say guidance is a support for aspiring marketers and leaders.

It gives this feeling of satisfaction in knowing that one’s expertise is making a positive impact on others’ careers and lives.

In one of his posts he tries to make his audience see the difference between taking over a team or having the chance to serve a team.

He doesn’t say more about it, just encourages people to strive for the latter.

He has 545 interactions on this post and 44 comments where his audience engaged and spoke their mind about how they run their businesses.

Another interesting remark from Kyle is the way he sees employees’ stories as part of the company’s story.

He says that marketing should recognize internal team’s experiences and how they impact on overall brand perception, employee satisfaction, and organizational success.

He also talks about leadership challenges.

Kyle talks about the importance of maintaining a positive leadership presence, even in challenging circumstances, and actively working towards positive change within the workplace.

D. Being the company’s voice

Mentioning Jellyfish in his LinkedIn headline and displaying the company’s G2 review badges on his cover image, Kyle shows his audience that he’s aligned with Jellyfish’s mission and values.

Also Kyle’s pride in working for Jellyfish likely contributes to a positive company culture and boosts the company’s reputation.

Connecting his audience with Jellyfish can open the door to meaningful discussions that can benefit both himself and the company.

Besides appreciating the job he has at Jellyfish he also takes time to appreciate the people whom he works with.

He also highlights that working where you want with whom you want is a gift that people should not take for granted.

What lessons can B2B creators learn from Kyle?

1. Dare to think differently

Kyle emphasizes the importance of innovation and thinking outside the box in marketing.

No matter your market, B2B, B2C, or even when you build your personal brand, differentiation helps you stand out.

So learn from Kyle and dare to challenge conventional thinking and explore original ideas to set your offerings apart.

You’ll discover new ways to solve your problems, improve your products or services and grow your customer base.

2. Be a better storyteller

Kyle recognizes the power of storytelling in marketing and encourages others to become better storytellers.

No need to repeat that good storytelling connects you with your audience on an emotional level.

It’s this connection that makes your offerings more relatable and memorable.

Pair good storytelling techniques with creating thinking and you’ll communicate your value better and drive more engagement for your business.

3. Take pride in where you work

Kyle appreciates his colleagues and takes pride in working at Jellyfish which helps him be aligned with the company’s mission and values.

Finding a place where you enjoy working and giving your best, helps you contribute to cultivating a positive company culture and building strong relationships with your co-coworkers.

If this is not your case, you should consider finding a place where your values are met because a supportive work environment leaves room for creativity, innovation, and success.

Not to mention that being proud of your workplace enhances job satisfaction and motivation, boosting your levels of productivity and engagement.

Final Thoughts

Kyle Lacy’s journey offers a wealth of valuable insights.

But beyond his achievements in marketing and leadership, there was actually one more thing about Kyle and that is his sabbatical year.

He took time off to reconnect with his passions and find his sources of energy, reminding us that true fulfillment in our professional lives comes from aligning our work with our personal values and aspirations.

Whether it’s creating a business centered around our passions or seeking out roles that allow us to do what we love most, Kyle encourages us to prioritize our well-being and pursue paths that energize us,create positive cultures, and drive innovation.