Episode #18: Understanding What Your Customer Wants At Their Core With Tracy Hazzard

Building trust with clients is hard enough in any business, but it can be a little bit tougher when you’re working with a broad spectrum of clients. Few businesses deal with a broader clientele than Tracy Hazzard’s business does. As the co-founder and CEO of Brandcasters, Inc., the largest podcast post-production company in the US, Tracy deals with people from widely varying backgrounds every day. She has honed the skill of getting to know a very diverse set of customers as her company scaled from serving 12 clients to now more than 400 clients. Her Podetize method and platform takes knowing the customer to a whole new level by understanding what they really want and creating a personal touch for them right from the beginning. She joins Betsy Westhafer and Tony Bodoh in a conversation about building trust, the podcast industry, the transformational economy and more. Learn why she considers trust building a predominant strategy and see how this model might be a good fit for your own business.

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Understanding What Your Customer Wants At Their Core With Tracy Hazzard

Trust Building As A Predominant Strategy

We have an amazing guest, Tracy Hazzard. What I love about the conversation we’re going to have is that Tracy is a designer, but she’s also in the world of podcasting. That’s where she puts her roots down. We’ve worked with Tracy in the past and enjoyed our time. We’ve had lots of conversations before. We know her well. We’re going to take you on a journey that is going to explore what’s been happening in the world of podcasting, how businesses have transformed, and where it’s going to go next.

I’m excited for this episode, Tony, we love Tracy. One thing that always strikes me when I have a conversation with her is I know I’m going to leave with something I didn’t know before I had a conversation with her. I’m always learning from her. She’s a rock star talent out in the business world. Tracy, welcome.

Thank you. The love is mutual here. I go on a lot of other podcasts because it’s my job, but I love to have mind share when we have a conversation. It’s not just an interviewing of me. I know I’m going to get that here. Thanks for inviting me.

I’m super happy to have you here. Let’s kick-off. You’ve mentioned podcasting. Tell everybody what in the world is happening. It’s explosive. Bring us up to speed, first of all, on your career path on how you ended up podcasting, if you could walk us through that. Tell us what you’re doing now and talk about what’s happening in the world of podcasting.

As Tony mentioned, my roots are in the world of design. Originally, that’s where I came from. A few years ago, I realized that the design world and what we were doing in product design, which we’d been designing and developing 250 products in a decade. That’s how many we did for mass-market retail. It was a lot of products all at once. Things you buy at Costco, Walmart, Target, and things like that. We realized that the world was shifting so much there that the designers were unimportant, that people were straight shopping over in Asia and styling and not designing anymore.

We realized that our role in that had to shift. At the same time, 3D printing emerged and some other things were going desktop. We thought, “Let’s see if we can build ourselves some thought leadership around there and come out from behind being a ghost designer,” which is what we were. You’d never see our name on products. You’d see Martha Stewart’s name on the products instead of ours. We decided, “What’s the best way for us to come out in front and let people know who we are? Let them know the knowledge that we have so we can share it with everyone.” We can maybe push out and develop a new business model based on that.

That’s what we decided to do. We decided that it was going to be in 3D printing because it was a new area and it was exploding. It was a great way for us to talk about product design and something innovative and technical at the same time. That would be an exciting world for us as well. What we didn’t expect was that there would be no business for us. There would be no services. People didn’t want to buy the services. What they wanted to buy was the information. They wanted more and more of it.

Building Trust: Podcasting is a great way to be intimate with your audience.

Fast forward about a year and we had 100,000 listeners on our podcasts called WTFFF?!, which is the geeky term for 3D printing: Fuse, Filament, Fabrication. We had people asking us for more things. “Do you have a book? Do you have courses? Do you have these things?” We’re like, “No, we’re designers. We could do a project for you.” We didn’t know what to do with that. We were shocked by it. We started to adapt and we started to develop instead of more of an info model where the podcast was the business.

More people came to us and said, “I have a podcast, and mine’s not doing as well as yours. What are you doing?” We had our first twelve clients shove their credit cards at us and said, “Take my business. Please take over and take care of my podcast. Whatever you’re doing is working. I want you to do the same thing for me.” That’s how we ended up in business a few years ago. It went from twelve to over 400 today. It went fast. You’re asking what happened in the world and in the world now, consumption is up. The business has to change for the entrepreneur, for the business builder, for the corporate.

When you can’t drive people into your store, when you can’t drive people because you met them at a networking event and you’re not driving clients that way, when you can’t do that in person, you have to find a way to be intimate with them. Podcasting is a great way to be intimate with your audience. That’s something that we hone in the strategy by which we help our clients launch their shows. We’re tapping into this very important, get to know someone strategy and it’s an accelerated know, like, and trust model. I gave a talk on that on how to build the trust factor. We built in all of these things into that process.

It’s such an amazing journey. What I love about it is you stayed open to where it might lead you. You weren’t like, “No, we’re designers. That’s what we do.” You could have never probably imagined going from design school to having this successful podcasting business. Your company’s name is Podetize. Tell us about that business and who are some of the people that you work with?

Our company’s name is Brandcasters, which is the model of what we believe. You should be casting your brand out there. It’s a digital model. We’re casting our brand digitally. The Podetize is the podcasting part of it. Podetize.com, that’s the website name. The interesting part about what we do there is we help people take over the technical and the things that they don’t need to know. We’re powering it with lots of good practices that they wouldn’t possibly be able to get to because they’re caught up in the let’s record, let’s get the interface. I want them to do the things that they do best, which is meet great people, invite them to be on their show if they’re in a guesting model or create great topics and share that with my audience.

Whatever your model is, I want that to be the only thing that you ever have to do and everything else around you is built to support you, built to be best in practice at all times. We’re constantly and continually improving. I want that to be seamless so you can be brilliant and do what you do, which is why we think we’ve been growing so much in the last few months because people need to get their business virtual. They need to move it online. They need to get digital fast. We’re the fast track to doing that because you don’t have to learn ten different things to get it going. You go to us and we take care of it. It’s fast.

I love that because there are two levels here of knowing your customer. One is you know what your customers need because you’ve mastered it from a podcasting perspective. You’ve got over 400 clients that you are constantly understanding what is it that’s moving in the marketplace? How do we update it? What can we learn from all of them? You adapt and grow there. At the same time, it’s your client who knows what their customers need. You free them up from all the other stuff that they don’t need to know how to do so they can be an expert and have that intimate connection. We’ve experienced that with our show.

I’ve had people reach out to me, call me or message us and say, “I love your show. You go into areas that no one else in the space goes into.” It feels like you’re having this conversation, which is what we intended and we strategize on the front end to really be doing. You are onto something and you see what works in different spaces. Talk a little bit more about the relationships you have with 400 clients. All of them are probably a little bit different. There has got to be segmentations that are similar. How do you get to know your customer in those cases?

I see what you want to achieve here. Now my job is to figure out the how and what and I will get you there.CLICK TO TWEET

First off, they’re very different all around or they like to believe that they are. You have to add this tight personal touch that makes them feel that they’re getting something completely unique and special and that their show is not like everybody else out there because this is extremely important to them. We do build that in from the beginning. There are patterns and models we follow because certain types of things work when you have guests on your show and you need guests to share your show in order to grow your show. There are strategies for doing that. That might fall from one show to the next.

You might have totally different caliber of guests. We have to have a different strategy in place for those. Those are the custom things that we do at the very beginning, but we translate them into making sure that we put these things into a standard operating procedure for how your show is produced afterward so that those things are highlighted, so that those things gray across. Underneath everything, we’ve technically made sure that uniqueness and you feeling special as a client is built into our process all along the way.  And so that you also have the flexibility and it’s not set in stone. You can change those things. Giving people control and giving that customer the control of it, but also the guidance that we’re not going to let them go wrong. When you want to change something and we think it’s a bad idea, our team will reach out and tell you. That always makes you feel like you’ve got a safety net under you.

You feel like you’re flying. You’re doing well, but the safety net is there. All the things around you are working to meet your strategy, to meet your goals of why you’re doing this to begin with. That high touch in that process helps. We have a problem with high touch in our personnel because we don’t have enough people. We’re growing too fast that we can’t onboard them with being stuck at home in our home offices. We were supposed to expand by now into an office with a full set of customer service people.

Customer Success Managers is what we are calling them. We couldn’t hire them because we can’t get into the office to do the training. While we could do it virtually, we don’t feel good about it. We feel like that side-by-side of someone watching and listening to what’s going on is a better model. We’re holding out a little bit longer. We keep our fingers crossed a few more months and we’ll be able to move into that model. It is creating a constraint on us in terms of the ability of how much one-on-one we can do. It’s a good thing we built the touch into the process itself.

You are a genius at process. Is it challenging, Tracy? You work with sports figures, CEOs, authors, speakers, entrepreneurs. The people you work with are all so different. It’s more than most people could imagine. We know who our market is, who we’re talking to, who we’re messaging to, but you have such a broad spectrum of people that you work with. Talk to us a little bit about how you do that.

For me, I have so much experience working with different levels of people. Those people who are in the startup stage all the way to successful big brands, like I mentioned, Martha Stewart before. I have this experience of being able to work with people at all levels. For me, that is the easy part. I can see where you are and I could see where you have to go. That path is very clear to me. It’s always what I used to do in the design world. I was like, “I see what you want to achieve here. Now my job is to figure out the how and what, and I will get you there.” That part is very clear to us, but it is hard personality-wise to work with people who think they know it all and think they’ve got it all undercover and they’re thought leaders in their areas.

You’ve got to address this. Stroke the ego a bit and also make suggestions. I have a big challenge. I interview people who are top podcasters on my show, which is called The Binge Factor. I have a podcast too because I want to be right in it with my clients. I want to be having a podcast and understanding how hard it is to fit in your day job. I get that. I have empathy with what’s going on for you and how hard this is every day. That helps me figure out what don’t I want to do. That should be the next thing I build into our system.

Today I have to interview someone whose show is not that good. Some publicists brought them to me. It sounds good. He’s up there. He’s got top guests and all of this and I’m sure the show is working for him in terms of a guesting strategy. He’s getting guests to become clients or guests to recommend clients. I’m positive that’s working for him or he wouldn’t do it because he’s got over almost 300 episodes. I have to tell them the hard truth is that you don’t belong in The Binge Factor. The only thing that I can do is if you’re willing and open-minded enough, I can give you on-air coaching. I can give you a mentorship session to help you move the show so that it would be more effective for you on all fronts. How did you do that? How do you have that tough conversation?

Building Trust: Businesses are going digital fast, and one of the easiest ways to do it is podcasting.

That’s where I’ve become very skilled over the years is having that conversation of being a mentor to people who believe that they’re mentors. That’s not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of smiles and compliments to suggestions on how they might want to try things. I have many clients who will walk away and do not one thing I suggest that they do. Their show suffers for it. I don’t sit back and go, “I told you so.” We might do that behind the scenes, but I would never do that to them. That happens. This is the case. What I find is the more successful people are, the less open-minded they are. They’re slowing their own growth. That’s a shame. The more open-minded ones, they are on a continual growth path. They pivot. They shift, their show grows and their business grows. They’re capable of riding out any trouble that’s going on in the world or difficulty. They’ll be on to the next thing already because they were already open to it and not closed.

I had a thought as you were talking, but it weaves right into this one. If you look back 35-40 years ago, it was all about getting information. Consulting was on the rise, management consulting as an example. It shifted about maybe 20-25 years ago into this whole idea of experience. We began to see there are a lot more entertainment, edutainment and that type of thing. With the challenges we’re facing, transformation is what people are listening for, are looking for. They’re reading books and articles about it. It’s like information, experience, transformation has been the flow of it in the economy. What you said is interesting. Someone who’s successful and they know it. They know how they got there. They’re not willing to transform. They’re not willing to change. That what’s opening the door for all these young whippersnappers that are coming up through the ranks. They’re willing to say, “The way I was doing business is no longer working. What can I do? There are podcasts. Look at XYZ person. Their brand has been successful. Let me build my own podcast and take them on and challenge their positioning.”

This is a thing also that I think about it is that this has always been the door opener for a new brand. It’s always the case when Proctor & Gamble gets stayed and old and all of their products, it’s time for a new brand to come in. That’s where we’ve been seeing that as it gets more accessible to be able to enter a market and podcasting is a super-easy way to enter the digital marketing. It’s low cost. It has no high overhead like when Amazon created a level playing field for products to be able to enter the market place. When you look at those things going on, that’s where the bigger brands, the thought leaders in the world have to be worried. I have some of those on my platform. I have many of them who have had big names for 30, 40 years in this entrepreneur education space and yet their websites aren’t raking. There are YouTubers and Instagrammers out there outdoing it with their information, outdoing them, and getting more for the exact same advice.

That frustrates them. That’s because we have to sit back and we still have to play by the technical rules, the algorithm, the digital world rules. Just because we are older and we don’t know those rules and we don’t think they apply to us, we’re wrong. That’s because the gatekeepers in the world are Alexa, Siri, Hey Google, the new ones in the world are all voice-activated platforms. We better start worrying about what the next thing is and what our next generation is. I tell this story all the time. I haven’t told it recently on a podcast, but I have a daughter who’s turned six and she is learning to read. She can get Alexa to put on any music that she wants in the house. She can get her to tell her jokes. She can get her to do what she wants. Before she learned to read, she learned to control our AI in the house. My parents can’t control it. They turn her off because they’re afraid she’s listening to them all the time. Thinking about what that generation is going to ask for, going to do, and you’re not tapped into that? What a shame of all this big brand stuff you’ve been working decades to build.

I’ve never thought about Siri and Alexa being gatekeepers, but that is such an apt description. Tracy, when people have a podcast and they’re trying to engage with their customers or prospects, for the purposes of this question, when they’re engaging with their customers, how do you coach them when it comes to “You’re putting out a podcast? What does that mean for your customers?”

We always want to be listener focused. I was mentioning before the acceleration of the know, like, and trust. The only thing that matters is trust-building. The know, like is going to happen if they decide to give your show a shot. You’re in their ear. It’s an intimate process. They’re going to get to know and like you over time or they wouldn’t stay listening. They would have given up already. We want to work on that trust factor as our predominant strategy. I have three things that I like to build in that. The number one thing is care. I need to show whoever my audience is that I absolutely care about them, their wellbeing and their future and that that is honest, benevolent care in that process.

I need to make sure that’s coming across to them. The advice I’m giving you isn’t so you’ll buy my stuff. That advice I’m giving you, I want you to succeed with because when you succeed, it will translate to you crediting me back in either you’ll send me someone or you will buy my stuff at that point. That’s the model we want. We want extreme care at the beginning for our audience. Sometimes our audience is our guest. Keep that in mind because we’re in this model of our connection and networking with guests is the end goal of our podcast. It’s not always the listenership.

I have clients who have barely a dozen listeners a show, and it is the connections and the meetings of the guests that drives more business for them. It is the care they show the guest on the show that matters. That care has to be placed right. You don’t want to offend listeners in the process when caring for your guests. We do want to try to do both at the same time. We move from the care side and now we need to show that credibility, that we are in capability. We want to do both things at the same time. Credibility and capability are the next two things. Credibility is simply if you want to do business with me, you need to know that I’m going to show up and I’m going to do what I say I’m going to do.

The only thing that matters in your relationship with your customer is trust.CLICK TO TWEET

By showing up week after week at exactly the same time, by giving and caring during that time and possibly by giving some access to me and other things that they can consume for free and other things like that out there whether it’s videos or downloads, other things that you have out there, you’re grouping those things to show great credibility. Now I’m starting to trust you even more. The third thing is most people go in and go, “You should trust me because I’m a bestselling author.” “You should trust me because I speak on stages next to Tony Robbins,” whatever that might be. That’s usually the process that we go and we go and write through our skills and capabilities.

If we do that, then the question is is that true or is that overstated? Is that fake on your resume? We are skeptical about that as a listener, as the receiver of that information. Instead, we want to take our skills and we demonstrate them throughout the process in a good way. You two here are demonstrating deep knowledge and how customer care happens because you both have tremendous experience. It’s coming across in the questions that you ask, in the wrap-up when you talk afterwards and the points that you pull out. That’s why people are listening to your show because they’ve discovered that you do know what you’re talking about. You’re not running a show to host a show for its keyword ranking or something like that. You’re not doing it from a technical you care and it matters. When we pull those things together, we accelerate that trust and that trust is the key to everything.

One thing that stands out here is what I’ve seen in the evolution of working with clients over the years. This know, like and trust factor has always been talked about in sales as far back as I’ve been in business. This element of they’re going to get to know and like you so don’t even worry about that part of it. You’ve got to do the right things. There’s been a shift in the last few years that I’ve seen where if you’re in B2B sales, as an example, you’re going to review between 5 and 7 different pieces of media. I use that term loosely. It could be a white paper, a book, a blog post, or a podcast.

Even before I reach out to a salesperson, I’m going to review a whole bunch of content from the same brand, probably from other brands, so I’m somewhat of an expert before I make a purchase. I want to know that they’re the right brand for me before I even reach out to them. On the consumer side, we see very similar things. We’ve got Tripadvisor and tons of other social review sites that people are going to in reading 3, 5, 7 reviews before they even say, “Do I want to purchase a product” or “Do I want to stay here?” whatever the particular industry is. I find it interesting because a podcast gives you the opportunity to be front and center without selling anything. People get to know who you are as a brand, as an individual, and they get to know a lot about you. Tell us a little bit more about the shift as you see it happening. Maybe where podcasts used to be X. Now they’re focused on Y and what that big difference is.

We’re moving in cycles. We’re coming out of a me cycle and we’re moving into a we cycle. In a we cycle, we have to focus on what’s in it for everybody. That’s that care factor. If we are shifting our shows or if we are creating shows that are already at that and tapping into that we understanding that we’re all in this together, we’re all going to grow this industry or we’re all going to get better at customer service together. We’re in that. We’re already in that we mindset. That’s good. What we have is a whole section of podcast mentors, courses, books, and other things out there that are all focused on what it was like a 6 years ago.

A 6 years ago, I chose not to do it their way. I chose not to put my face on the cover. We didn’t make it The Tom and Tracy Hazzard show. We could have but we didn’t. We chose to make it about the what, about the thing, about what we wanted to talk about, about the community of what we were, because we never lived in a me cycle. It’s not who we are. It’s not how we operate. I rejected it as against my personal brand. While many are using podcasting to build a personal brand, you stick your face on it. You stick your name on it. That doesn’t work. The only place you’re going to do that is working with your already existing fans and followers. It won’t grow the show outside of it because if you don’t look like me and your show’s named after you, you’re not in it for me. What do I have to gain from this?

If I know you already because you’re a celebrity and I am a fan of your show, I’m a fan of you. I would watch your show. I already know and like you. I’m going to consume anything you have. That model only works for someone who’s already made it in the space. It doesn’t work for someone who’s trying to get known, get out there, get people to find them, be seen, heard, and found. I talk about that all the time when I give my lectures. Going out there and trying to make sure that’s happening, we need to tap into that we cycle and make sure that we’re diving deep into our area of expertise, our passion or curiosity. I have a show on blockchain. I’m not an expert in blockchain, but I’m curious about it. I have a viewpoint on it. The show is called the New Trust Economy.

We’re focused on how blockchain can enable trust building at a faster rate. We’re interested in that factor of it, not anything else, or when something’s going wrong in the banking system that is breaking your trust. Maybe cryptocurrency is the answer. That’s what we talk about on the show. We don’t talk about it from a standpoint of like, “I’m pro-crypto,” because I’m not. It’s like you can still create that and create that viewpoint, even if you’re not the expert, but you’re creating a viewpoint frame of how you’re going to look at the world. Your job is to hold that tightly or change it if you changed your viewpoint.

Building Trust: Being a mentor to people who believe that they’re mentors is not an easy thing to do.

Tracy, you touched on it a little bit, but with everything that’s going on with the pandemic and all of that, what are you seeing as the impact on the industry of podcasting and has anything dramatically changed pre-COVID to now?

Tom and I were sick the first week of sequestering. We couldn’t get tested. We both believe we’ve had COVID already. We’re going to get an antibody test at one of these points when we can finally get access to one. We’re lying in bed, like sick as dogs, the whole family is sick. We were taking more phone calls that week than we took the prior three. We were closing sales in bed. That’s how crazy the business was. People were saying, “I have been talking about this podcast thing. Now I better do it.” On the side of new hosts, we’re exploding. What we’re seeing is that there’s a clear difference between good shows and bad shows on the growth pattern. Not just anyone should start a podcast. You should start the right show for you because not doing that means that your show will not grow in this. What we clearly see because we can see the traffic because like a web host for your website we’re also a podcast host and distributor.

We distribute it out to all the networks for you. What we can see is all the traffic of the podcasts that we have on our platform. While the whole level has jumped up and raised and there’s significantly more traffic than there was a few months ago, what we are seeing is that it’s uneven. It’s not every podcast is going up in value or listenership. We’re seeing it clearly defined into two areas. Those that have education and those that have enough shows under their belt to train you in something that you need. Let’s say you want to learn how to do virtual webinars or virtual summits. There are podcasts for that. You’re going to go in there and you’re going to consume all 100 or 200 episodes or whatever they have because you massively need to learn this in time for when you are going to be conducting a virtual seminar.

That’s where you’re cramming. It’s a way to cram in information quickly because we can listen to podcasts on 2 to 3 times speed. I don’t recommend three times, but you can listen to one and a half, two times. I don’t sound good at two times, but many people can cram them in. An hour-long show is 30 minutes. A 30-minute show is 15 minutes. You can get a lot more content in. You cannot do that with video. It’s a faster way for them to consume it. It’s in their ear. They can also be taking notes. They can be thinking. They can be doing other things with their hands. I wash dishes sometimes, put my makeup on in the morning. It’s giving them that flexibility to cram in as much information as possible. We clearly see those shows do well.

Shows that are helping people get out of themselves, entertainment that is distracting you or shows that are helping you cope, those shows are doing well as well. I consider those a little more on the entertainment side than I would consider them on the education side. I like a show that has a balance of edutainment as I call it, in the middle of both. The clear entertainment ones, those are our distractions. Those are the ones we need to get out of ourselves and forget that we have to home school our kids or whatever it is that you’re stressing about and worrying about. There are those on that side. There’s a growth in political commentaries and other things that are going on because people are very stressed about the movements and what’s going on in the world. We’re clearly seeing growth on that too.

The ones in the middle that don’t have a clear strategy, that are following a model that is old and outdated, their shows aren’t growing. They’re not doing anything. There’s a pattern to it. If I start a show and I like it, this is what I’ll do. Or if I think I might like it, I search for it. I find a cool name. It looks cool. The cover art looks interesting. I’m like, “This sounds like it might be in the area of what I want. I’m going to read the short description.” No one reads the big, long description, but they read the short one. They go to the first episode. If your first episode is not getting its most listens, then your first episode needs to be redone. It means that you’re not giving a proper introduction.

Get a proper introduction in there. You can always add an episode zero on and bring that on and get a little short trailer about what the show is going to be about, who you are, and why you’re there, guide them. The next thing that will happen is they’ll either go 2, 3, 4. They’ll give it three more episodes or they’ll go two and jump to the last episode and go backwards. That’s how binge-listening happens. If you aren’t seeing that traction at the beginning, and that they’re getting to the end, you’re missing something in the process.

That’s how you know your customer’s customers. You know binge listeners. You’ve done the homework to know what your customer’s customers are doing and thinking.

Trust building should be your predominant strategy.CLICK TO TWEET

People think that they can’t shift. If you’ve had a show for a while and it’s been the me show, it’s time for you to shift to the next level, shift because your audience that has already been there that has been following you is going to keep following you. There’s no way they don’t want to see what’s your transformation, as Tony was putting it before. They want to see where you’re going. They’re watching you because they’re modeling you or they wouldn’t be listening. The fear of, “I’m going to lose my audience,” is a mistake. Technically, you can make some mistakes there and technically get someone to help you so you don’t abandon your show and start a brand new one, that you do it right. Your listeners want to come with you if they already know, like, and trust you. There’s no reason for you not to pivot and not to shift, to attract new if that’s what you need in this day and age.

It’s interesting to think about how to pivot, how to shift and this whole idea of me to we is fascinating. The consumer, the end listener is focused on me. The podcaster has to be focused on the we. The more the we sounds like, “He or she is focused on me as a listener,” the more success there’s going to be. They’re giving me something of value, something that helps me transform because we are going through a massive stage of transformation between our kids learning how to do school online from the classroom and people were learning to work online. I realized it’s been many days since I had alone time. I’m an introvert. I love my alone time, but we have been home as a family for many days. I have to get away.

I have the same thing. Tom and I are like, “We have not been alone in so long.” I’m so excited because soon I get to go to my first conference away. It’s opening up. It’s a small conference. Betsy, it’s Aaron Young’s Inner Circle. I’m sure you’re having him on your show at some point if you haven’t already. There are only going to be ten people there. It’s not a big thing. I’m so excited because it means I can get away. That’s it.

We’re all there, just itching to have that human interaction and get back to at least parts of what used to be like. Tracy, it’s been amazing talking to you. I always learn a lot. It’s been very helpful. One of the things that we like to do on the show is ask our guests is there any nonprofit, community give back, or something that has your attention that you want other people to know about and could shine a spotlight on? If you have anything you want to talk about now is your time.

I’m a big proponent, and it comes from our 3D printing days, of girls in STEAM. There are a ton of organizations out there. My big point is to get art into the STEM. Get that big A in there. Tony is laughing and smiling. He knows because his daughter is emerging as an artist. I’ve already commented on that. She’s got talent, I can tell. The reason I love the A in there is not because I’m a fine artist or that background, but it’s because it involves humanities as well. When we look at our science, technology, engineering, math, our STEM, and we forget to put it in context of what it’s going to do to move humans forward, for social good. We forget to look at it and under that lens of humanity, then we have an issue with our technology. That’s why we see these stumbling blocks of like, “Should we do facial recognition? Is AI safe?”

I get these questions all the time when I’m asked in innovation conferences. If we don’t have controls in place from our own standpoint and how we’re developing them, that has a humanity focus, it’s not going to develop into something good. It’s going to develop into something that overwhelms us, that creates a lot of negativity, that breeds hate. Our job in that is to bring that in. Any organization that is working on girls in STEAM I love, because I have girls, like that’s simply it, but I also think I want more women and viewpoints from women in there. Tony is nodding because he has daughters. That also helps to bring harmony into our viewpoints just like I believe in absolute diverse voices all around, that is really important to me as well. We work hard on all of our shows on everything that we do to make sure there’s absolute cultural diversity, gender diversity. We also want to bring in this humanity focus at all times in everything we do from our technology side.

Tracy, I had a thought. It triggered when you were talking about going to conferences and how you’re ready to get back out there. You’re an amazing speaker. You do I don’t know how many speaking engagements a year plus your own podcasts and all of the things that you do. You’re such a professional. It reminded me of the time when you and I were out in California together. We both had speaking engagements and we both had the stomach flu. We were hiding upstairs in the inner corner of the hotel in the fetal position before taking the stage, yet you got out there and you crushed it. I had already done my piece before I started feeling bad, but I couldn’t leave. You’re such a consummate professional. My hat was off to you. I was like, “I don’t know how she’s doing it.”

All I can say is lipstick is great to hide all kinds of pallor in your face. The adrenaline of speaking and being in it for the audience, that is it. At the end of the day, I know why I need to show up, I’m there for them, that you can swallow down a lot. I walked off that stage and hurled that day. Everyone was lucky they didn’t see that.

Building Trust: Trust is the key to everything.

It’s always a pleasure. People can find you in a lot of places, but where do you like to have people find you?

I like to hang out on LinkedIn. If you want to hear my viewpoints or talk to me or get what’s going on, that’s where I post regularly. That’s where I am and you can message me there and find me there. I’m always looking to connect with new, amazing people. LinkedIn is the easiest way. It’s Tracy Hazzard with two Z’s.

Tracy, thank you so much. Thanks for all you do to support our efforts on our show. We will talk to you soon, Tracy.

I know I say that after every show, but I am so amazed at the guests we have. Tracy is one of the standouts for me in part her understanding of the human experience and this whole idea of care and credibility and what you need to do to build that trust factor so people continually listen. We may have been talking in the context of podcasting, but it’s about the customer. It’s about really knowing your customer and understanding what do they want at their core. Fundamentally, what is it that they’re seeking and how do you deliver that?

Tracy is such a unique person because she’s very left and right brain. She’s artistic. She’s creative. She has this big heart. She understands people, but she has this process side to her too. Both of these things come together so well to serve their customers because, with 400 customers, you have to be process-oriented. She’s a good mix that way. That’s one of the many things I admire about her. What I took away from this episode is it’s not easy. You can’t do it the same way all the time. You have to keep evolving. You have to keep caring. You have to keep wondering and have that curiosity, what matters most to our customers.

As we’ve navigated over the last few months here with COVID-19, the quarantines and everything else, the conditions of the world changed overnight, literally, for most people, most businesses, most employees. As she said, she has seen on the backend how the podcast listening has changed and what’s successful and what’s not as successful now. It’s important to recognize that you have got to be out there in front of your customers, listening to your customers, maybe embedded with your customers. As she said, she runs podcasts so she understands what people are going through and what they need next and the next service to provide. One of the ways that I used to test technology companies when I was in that space of bringing technology into the corporation I worked for was to ask them if they use their own software. That’s something that I have lived by because if they don’t use their own software, then how do they understand? How do they know their customers?

That is absolutely true. Tony, thanks for being on this journey with me. It’s always a pleasure. It’s so much fun. Thank you, audience, for being there. We hope you enjoyed this episode as much as we enjoyed our conversation with Tracy. We will see you next time.

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About Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is an Authority Magazine, Inc. Columnist, co-host of 4 top-ranked podcasts including, The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand –one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the co-founder of the largest podcast post-production company in the U.S.

As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors & experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 Billion worth of product innovation around the world. Her innovative Podetize method and platform, provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their content marketing message from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and retaining valuable platform authority without a lot of time, cost or effort.

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