Hard Knock Life

Learning from kicks not kisses

Welcome to The Beat by Rockstar CMO. I’m Ian Truscott, a 3xCMO, trusted advisor, strategy consultant and Chief Bottle Washer at Rockstar CMO. In this newsletter, I’d like to share a mix of what’s caught my eye from our community, our podcast and our street knowledge blog.


Thanks for opening this newsletter, and I hope you’ve had a good week!

I’m continuing with the same tone as last week, as the topic was “flaws and all” and how to use our flaws in our marketing. Today, inspired by my chum and podcast co-conspirator Jeff Clark, I am reflecting on the hard-knock life B2B marketers can experience and what we can learn from them.

Last week on the podcast and this week on our Street Knowledge blog, Jeff shared some tough lessons he’s learned about implementing marketing technology from the hard knocks of his career. It’s quite candid, so it's a good read or listen.

But it’s not just Jeff being candid. I’ve read and written for CMSWire for ages, and I came across this article this week by fellow contributor Kathleen Schaub, a successful B2B marketer who led IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice. Her article discusses the lessons learned from her hard knocks, specifically career highs and lows, and in it, she says:

Courageously seeking the truth about our role in a career gully can expose the sometimes-difficult realities, which in turn, helps us make better decisions in the future.

She refers to “career gully” from the articles, but if we call it a “hard knock”, it fits here. Our hard knocks often expose the difficult realities that we learn from, or as my coach calls them, “gifts”.

It’s the hard knocks that define us.

As I’ve shared, I am writing a book, and to be honest, a lot of what I am sharing has not come from implementing best practices perfectly the first time but from fucking it up a bit first. It’s a lot of “do as I suggest” and avoid “doing what I did”.

Next week on the podcast, Jeff and I will discuss analysts and influencers, and I’ve started thinking about the folks who influence us. Did they learn from the hard knocks?

I looked at a big analyst firm blog and checked out each of the authors on LinkedIn to see what industry experience they had, and, well, from my rudimentary research, not so much. Maybe I’ll poke into that a bit more on the podcast. Is it important that these folks have had the hard knocks? What do you think?

In the meantime, the tune that gives me the subject line is a bit of Jay Z (or the Annie musical, if that’s your preference) - Hard Knock Life. I’m going with Jay Z rather than Annie to get my Monday marketing mojo working today.

Please take a look at the links below, if you have any thoughts on anything I share here, please reply to this email, be great to hear from you.

Enjoy your week!



Ian Truscott | Chief Bottle Washer Rockstar CMO

Street Knowledge

A collection of articles and podcasts that will give you a perfect guide to being flawed.

Our Beat

Latest from Rockstar CMO and my blog.

Get your Monday Marketing Mojo Working

It’s a hard knock life for us….