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  • Writer's pictureLiza Cichowski

How My Dog Made Me a Better Product Marketing Consultant

This is my dog, Phoebe. And her ball. When I first adopted Phoebe, I really struggled to teach her to drop the ball. She would run away from me at the park and refuse to be leashed so she could have more time with her ball. It was frustrating and scary for both of us.


A brown dog smiles with her ball in a field of green grass

One day, a random dog owner saw us and said: “She knows you’re going to take it away and not give it back.” That simple observation made me realize that the problem was not the ball. It was trust. I needed to show Phoebe that leashing up did not mean she had to give up the ball. So, what does my dog have to do with being a better product marketing consultant? Well, a lot. How many times have you felt like my dog? Like someone is trying to take something away or get you to drop something you’ve spent time on. Navigating change is frustrating and scary. What can we do to avoid being blindsided? I’m always looking for ways to stay in the loop and add value through collaboration. And as a consultant, I try to forge collaborative relationships with clients at a more accelerated pace. Here’s what I do: 🤔 Be curious – I love asking questions. 👂 Listen – It’s so important to be present and really hear what clients are explaining and experiencing. 💛 Empathize – Work is full of challenges. Talking about them builds the relationship. 🗣 Offer ideas – I love brainstorming and solving problems. ✍ Execute quickly – That’s why they hired me! 😶 Know when to shut up – Not every decision goes my way and that’s OK. 💁‍♀️ Move forward with ease – As a full-time employee, I struggled with this. Now, I take things much less personally. I don’t just do this at the start of a new engagement. I do this over and over again. Why? Because I want clients to feel like they’re getting the full value of their investment in working with me. Plus, it’s just more fun and interesting for me to operate in a collaborative way – whether it’s with my dog or with my clients. And in case you're wondering, Phoebe and I collaborated too. Now, she lets me leash her up and I let her carry the ball home. At home, she trades her ball for a treat. She's a happy girl.

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