From Boats to a Boatful of Numbers

Travis Bradshaw, Director of Consulting Marketing at Armanino, LLP

January 17, 2023


I work with a lot of marketers in career transition, and I'm always intrigued by their motivations and their discoveries along the journey. Welcome to The Marketing Accelerator Podcast, featuring three insights, in about three minutes. I'm Drew Dinkelacker, and today I'm speaking with Travis Bradshaw. He's the Director of Consulting Marketing at Armanino, LLP; that's a CPA and consulting firm. Travis, you've transitioned your career from marketing at Bass Pro Shops, to one of the top 25 CPA consulting firms in the US. What was your motivation?

Travis Bradshaw: Well, you know, Drew, it really was personally-driven. I loved my time there at Bass Pro Shops but was traveling a lot, my wife was traveling a lot, but we were also expecting our first child. And we determined that we could not effectively raise a human being, while both being gone, so ended up making the choice because of that.

Drew: Now, that's a great reason to change jobs. Now, you went from marketing boats to marketing a CPA firm. Now, that's quite a change. Is there any similarity to marketing at Bass Pro Shops?

Travis: Oh, yeah. Certainly, there's plenty of similarities. On the surface, one's an apple, one's an orange, but at the end of the day, they're both fruit. But really, people make decisions based off emotions, whether it's buying a boat or buying some consulting services or a product for their business. At the end of the day, it's incumbent on me as a marketer, what I say, it has to be impactful, and it has to elicit some sort of emotion from my prospect or client that I'm reaching out to.

Drew: Can you give me an example of how you applied that principle to both Bass Pro Shops and Armanino?

Travis: Yeah. Really quickly, let's just take a first-time boat buyer. One of the biggest challenges that they may have is they might not have enough expendable income, right? "I pay all my bills but I still wanna go out and have fun, make memories." So, that's one challenge they have, that not having enough, probably enough income. Able to find some ways to meet them in the middle on that through sales and marketing activities. That's one thing. The other thing on the other side, for a CPA firm, our prospects and clients is time. Time is invaluable and sometimes we don't have enough of it, so how can we help them, if that is the pain that they're feeling? We call that the "pain villain," that concept. How can we help them make their time more valuable? How can we help them be more effective or effectively using their time?

Travis: Now, if we can just wash away that pain villain…quick example of that is if I can help a month-end closing process go much quicker, everyone knows that takes inordinate amount of time. And if I'm on vacation, maybe I have to peek in and see how things are going, or I have to miss Timmy's T-ball game or miss a ballet recital, that's a villain and we want to help wash that away, eliciting that emotion and washing away that pain.

Drew: My takeaway is that industry knowledge isn't near as important as understanding good, solid marketing principles, like the "pain villain" and how to fight against it. The Marketing Accelerator Podcast is a production of, where we accelerate marketing leaders to higher performance and increased job satisfaction. I'm Drew Dinkelacker.