78: More Effective and Better with Tom Critchlow

Today for our 78th episode, we will talk with Tom Critchlow, an independent marketing strategy consultant and founder of Fiercely Curious.

Tom and I got connected by a friend of the show and previous guest, Dan Shure. Tom was on Dan’s excellent Evolving SEO podcast last year, and when Tom said he was looking to do another podcast, Dan pointed him in the direction of Jumpstart.

Now unlike many guests, Tom and I have never met in person. But we have been in the same room. Back in 2012, I watched Tom give the closing speech at Mozcon, and it’s left an impression on me ever since.

Let me give you the setting. It’s the end of a mind-altering 3 day conference. Everyone is tired, maybe a tad hungover, and ready to either explore Seattle or fly back home.

Mozcon closes with a “presentation-off” where a challenger tries to dethrone the mighty Rand Fishkin as the best presentation for the conference.

Of course, I am a Rand Fishkin fanboy, so I wanted Rand to win. I was cheering for team USA. And all the other cliches. Rand had this in the bag.

Then this guy comes up on stage wearing blue pants, a red sash as a belt, and a white button down shirt, with a few extra buttons undone for effect.

He announces that this is the last talk he will be giving before starting a job at Google. And he only shows one slide the entire time.

Tom Critchlow is on stage, talking from the heart. No notes. Just pure awesome.

Top 5 speech I’ve ever seen in my life. He dropped the microphone on his SEO career (and yes, I hate the drop the microphone cliche so much that I am cringing as I say that, but this is the true embodiment of that phrase; and no, I’m not going to call Tom’s performance a “rockstar” effort, even though he did have the presence of a rockstar). It was great, and fortunately for all of us, you can watch his talk on YouTube. It’s linked in our show notes.

Tom won the the friendly competition with Rand. It wasn’t even close. And he had me as a fan for life.

So you can imagine how excited I was to get introduced to Tom to do an interview. He is exactly the type of person I love to interview on this podcast.

And the episode didn’t disappoint. We talked about Tom’s early years getting started in the industry, and that conversation evolved into awesome thoughts on consulting as a career, the role of strategy in marketing, and lots of waxing philosophical about relationships with clients.

I really enjoyed this conversation with Tom, and I know you will, too.

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Quotable moments from our talk with Tom Critchlow

On looking for the solution to your work-related frustrations:

Sometimes it's simply not your boss. Nor your office/atmosphere. Embrace it and keep digging. Click to Tweet

On big companies catching up slowly with digital:

Being bad at XYZ is directly proportional to being great at ABC. Click to Tweet

On one of the most under-rated skills:

Listen. Click to Tweet

Links related to this week’s episode

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About the Author

Jeff Sauer is an independent Digital Marketing Consultant, Speaker and Teacher based out of a suitcase somewhere in the world. Formerly of Minneapolis, MN and San Francisco, CA.

  • Thanks for having me on the show Jeff! Really enjoyed how this turned out.

    • I had a blast – could have talked for a few more hours!