December Consultant of the Month
As a first year consultant, Chris Stone found success by building relationships with the zeal of a full timer while maintaining the objectivity of a consultant. He bills himself as a “Swiss Army knife marketer,” specializing in digital demand generation. A California native, now residing in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle, he is on a quest to make the perfect artisanal loaf of bread.
What are you currently
Chris' Keys to Success
- Broad experience in performance marketing
- Creative prowess in multiple mediums
- Forcing work/life balance upon himself
- Networking for leads
- Building work relationships
I’m currently at Clover, where I was initially brought on to fuel scalable growth using high end rich media. I help with creative direction, development, production and optimization for all digital demand generation programs — everything from text ads, landing pages, audio and video. Now I also own experimental channels such as social and programmatic media channels.
What was your favorite project to work on? Why?
The most fun I've had is building out paid social media. Using YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram as media platforms, your creative gets old fast, so you have to reformulate and find something new every few weeks. I'm working with a video agency and we have amazing creative sessions going over shots, environments, themes, and music. It takes time to build that creative, but it's already outperforming the legacy ads. I love to think about the audience and how to create content that resonates in a short format that's fun and punchy. It’s a great problem for me to solve.
Why did you decide to become a consultant? What path did you take?
I had been working in-house for a long time when I realized I needed a change from a health standpoint. I tend to just work, work, work, work, work. I needed to find my zen and take a step back. So I left the company and traveled the world for a month.
Then, I was going to see what work I could find. COVID hit and messed up the job market, but I managed to scrape by. I have a lot of friends who do consulting and like the work/life balance it provides. I wanted to force myself to find that too. With consulting, I don’t have to drink the Kool-Aid and work 24-7. I can come in as an objective analyst and try to solve problems, which is what I love to do.
How do you market yourself?
I’ve been consulting for about a year now. I have friends who are consultants, and they get tons of leads. So that was a first step, to feed off their pipelines. I had good contacts at Right Side Up and EM Marketing, which led me to my current Clover contract.
For every company I've worked with, I find a few like-minded people. In my first four weeks at Clover, I had one-on-ones with about a hundred people. When I find kindred spirits, I work to build relationships and am good about connecting to them on LinkedIn. I’m not aggressive, but I keep in touch and ask how things are going.
What are the things you like to do when the work slows down?
I do gardening. I like to travel with my wife when possible. We visit family or friends all over the world in places like Japan, Brazil, Germany or Canada.
I bake artisanal bread and upped my game during COVID. I even got a flour mill, so now I only buy the wheat berries. Freshly milled flour is so much better. My wife complains that I've got an entire inventory of a bakery in the limited space in our San Francisco home.
I'm also an avid cyclist — both road and mountain biking. I often ride in Marin, which has some of the best mountain biking in the world. Going up you get a great cardio workout. On the way down, you’re doing jumps, and avoiding rocks and cliffs at 20-30 miles an hour.
What’s one tip you would give to new consultants?
When you first start a role, be proactive and go the extra mile to meet with people. Build relationships as fast as you possibly can. It will help you to understand the ecosystem, the current thinking of the organization, and who to go to for help.
Don't just email people. We've lost that personal, intimate culture when we moved into remote work. Find ways to bridge that gap. Be friendly, show interest, and communicate consistently. Pretend as if you're working full time internally and you’ll be surprised how strong the reciprocation of that behavior is.