Comfort Is the Enemy of Growth
Smarter GTM 12.19.2022

Comfort Is the Enemy of Growth

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In this episode of Sunny Side Up, Kevin Knight, a seasoned marketing leader with deep experience in consumer and enterprise marketing, discusses the importance of a strong and empowered leadership team for a CMO to focus more on market and strategy than day-to-day marketing activities. Listen in as Kevin talks about how a CMO should have a bench across different areas of marketing and be able to make connections between different parts of the organization to prioritize and focus on customer needs. 

About the Guest

Kevin Knight is CMO at Vida Health, a virtual care company that treats chronic diseases like diabetes. Before joining Vida, Kevin was General Manager at Compass where he led the company’s operations and P&L for Northern California. He also held marketing roles at Google and Microsoft. Kevin earned a BA at the University of Utah and an MBA from MIT. He lives in Oakland, California with his wife and three kids. In his free time, Kevin loves trail running, and camping with his kids, and is on a quest to find the world’s best cup of hot chocolate.

Connect with Kevin Knight 

Key Takeaways

  • There is no clear line between B2B and B2C. Every marketer’s job is to convince people to do something. That’s why it is recommended that companies don’t adhere to just a single strategy. 
  • It is important to seek jobs for growth opportunities and not only for the compensation offered.
  • The current economy has made people rethink their careers, and that pushed companies to constantly evaluate their strategies.
  • The idea of being open to changes in a profession or a job can have a positive impact on the overall growth of a person’s career. 


“As we think about how we’re gonna respond in times of economic uncertainty, we have to acknowledge that there can’t be any sacred cows. None of us have the luxury of doing things in the future just because we’ve done them in the past. We have to be constantly evaluating things”. – Kevin Knight 

Highlights from the Episode

You’ve got a very interesting career path. You’ve moved between B2B & B2C roles during your career. Could you tell us about your experience making this transition?

For Kevin, there’s not a clear line between B2B and B2C. Ultimately, he thinks that every marketer’s job is to convince people. Whether it’s an audience of businesses or an audience of individuals; the goal is trying to get a human being on the other side to get motivated to do something. That mindset and what he calls “naivety” got him to a place where he was able to bounce back and forth pretty regularly between B2B and B2C in his career. 

You mentioned during our earlier discussion that people who approach consumer problems with B2B experience are much more sophisticated in how they go after the audience. Can you elaborate on this thought?

Some weaknesses and strengths are endemic to those types of roles. On the B2C side, there is a focus on the emotional side of marketing. It is the storytelling that tries to tap into people’s emotions to help them make a decision. On the B2B side, the focus is going to get more into targeting. The idea is to work on a specific audience cohort that the product is directed to. Generally, brands such as Apple, Nike, or Mercedes are known for their B2C strategies. On the other hand, the B2B brands are not. Kevin shares an example of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Volvo Commercial: B2C brand that deployed successfully an B2B strategy. What they did was to appeal to younger audiences that may be related to business owners buying their products to motivate their parents to buy Volvo, associating the idea of “cool” with the trucks advertised in the commercial. For that reason, it is a good idea to think outside the sandbox that the brand has associated with and try new strategies. 

What does working at an organization that enables you to take up interesting challenges, do to your career growth in the long run?

As humans, we tend to crave comfort. That is our nature. Nevertheless, Kevin argues that if we can recognize and nurture that part of us that craves adventure, we are eventually going to find a much sharper, developed career. It is not to think about the job for the compensation but for the challenges and growth opportunities in it. 

Can you explain the importance of not typecasting yourself into a particular type of role to avoid losing out on opportunities?

Usually, people hold themselves back by defining their opportunities and experiences. What is important is to look at experiences as defining perspectives and how those perspectives can become valuable in a wide range of jobs that might have nothing to do with the career ladder that you may select. That is why is to get better at not selling ourselves short. To not worry about switching jobs or careers constantly, to keep learning, and to keep growing.       

How are you and your organization adapting to the current economic downturn?

The proper way to face economic uncertainty is to be in a state of constant evaluation, and not take things for granted. In Kevin’s experience, having a 100% remote company has helped him adapt despite the circumstances. However, the routine that a remote worker may develop can lead to faster and cheaper performance. So, it is recommended to have strategies that encourage a team to be more proficient by changing the environment and routine around him/her.

Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners?

A book: Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy


Steve Patrizi – CMO at Stride

Yvonne Chen – VP of Marketing at Calm

Nick Stagee – CEO of The Grounded Company, Brenda and Chop Shop


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