USA Leaders_Logowhite
Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Gerrid Smith


Gerrid Smith: Navigating The Marketing Landscape With Pragmatic Wisdom

Key Points

  • Since 2005, Gerrid Smith has been providing expert SEO and growth strategy services to hundreds of businesses throughout the US.
  • In 2018, he co-founded Joy Organics with his parents and utilized SEO to kickstart the business.
  • Gerrid says the most common mistake he often observes among CMOs and marketing professionals, in general, is that they place too much trust in agencies and fail to ask them tough questions. They aren’t challenging them, so they’re not extracting the best results from these agencies.

If there is one thing Gerrid Smith knows about being a CMO, it’s this: 

 “It’s my responsibility to understand our consumers, their needs, desires, and our industry. I must also be aware of the market’s direction and how we want to position ourselves.”

Gerrid Smith is the Chief Marketing Officer at Joy Organics. With more than 18 years of experience, he has established himself as an SEO Entrepreneur and Growth Strategist. In 2018, Gerrid, along with his parents, began the journey of Joy Organics and utilized SEO strategies to launch the company.

Joy Organics is renowned for its unique selection of organic CBD products. It offers the highest number of organic CBD SKUs in the market. The company primarily focuses on women aged 30-45, particularly mothers dealing with stress. Additionally, they assist women aged 60 and above in supporting joint and sleep concerns. The most common concerns addressed by Joy Organics products are stress, sleep, joint, and muscle difficulties.

In a recent interview with Mirror Review, Gerrid Smith shared his personal journey, evolving from an introverted marketing professional to a more empathetic and collaborative leader. During the interview, he discussed the responsibilities of a CMO, current trends in the marketing industry, and the pivotal role that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will play in shaping marketing strategies for 2024.

(The following Q&A has been edited for length and clarity)

Mirror Review: Joy Organics is a successful CBD brand that you started with your family in 2018. What was your marketing background before that?

Gerrid: I always had an interest in and curiosity about marketing. I fell into the field when I was offered the opportunity to help a web design franchise take off and provide high-quality SEO services to its clients.

My Dad and my uncle, who I currently work with at Joy Organics, started a web design franchise in 2005. They asked me to join them and learn about search engine optimization, which was entirely unfamiliar to all three of us at that time. They needed someone to specialize in this and provide the service to their customers. After doing some research, I found it fascinating. I said ‘Yes’, and even though that initial business didn’t work out, it set me on the path to becoming an SEO expert and offering it to hundreds of businesses since 2005. I then went on to start an agency that served the legal community. By the time I sold the agency in 2020, I had over 80 clients.

Mirror Review: You have switched from being an agency owner to a CMO. How did your experience as an agency owner help you become a successful CMO, and what advice would you give to other marketing professionals who work with agencies?

Gerrid: I remember when I ran an agency, and one of the reasons I believe I have been successful in switching from an agency owner to a CMO is because I have noticed a common mistake among CMOs and marketing professionals. They trust agencies too much and don’t ask them hard questions. They aren’t challenging them, so they’re not extracting the best results from these agencies.

I realized that the most successful clients we had during my agency days were the ones who constantly questioned, pushed, and challenged me. It could be quite annoying, but it compelled me to think strategically about their current status, their desired goals, and the best ways to reach them. I had to evaluate whether the tactics I proposed and executed were truly the most effective or if there was a faster route to their objectives. 

You can’t just say, “We’ve hired the best agency in the XYZ category, so we should let them do their job.” I’ve rarely seen that approach work well, both as an agency owner and now as a CMO.

Mirror Review: What does your typical day look like as a CMO, and how do you balance the strategic and tactical aspects of your work?

Gerrid: I mainly focus on guiding the company’s strategic direction. Marketing influences many of our decisions, which is true for most companies. So, it is my job to understand our customers’ needs, desires, and the industry landscape. I need to know where our industry is headed and how we want to position ourselves in the market. I spend a lot of time thinking strategically about where we are, where we want to be, and the best ways to get there.

On the practical, day-to-day side, I collaborate with our core agencies to enhance our growth. I must understand the nitty-gritty of how everything operates because no one will care for your business as much as you do. To achieve success, you really need to get deeply involved and be hands-on. The only way to effectively manage an agency or any channel is to have a deep understanding of it. This knowledge allows me to ask the right questions and get the answers that will drive the company forward.

Mirror Review: You are a CMO of a DTC (direct-to-consumer) business, but you have also worked in the legal industry. How do you identify and apply marketing strategies that work in other industries to improve your marketing performance?

Gerrid: It’s easy for a marketing professional in a specific industry to focus only on their industry competitors and forget that there is a whole wide world out there to explore and learn from. One thing that’s been a great asset for me as a DTC CMO is that I didn’t start as a DTC marketer before Joy Organics. I came with a fresh perspective, and I brought lessons from my time in the legal industry into the health supplement industry.

It’s simple to identify industry standards, but our ‘secret sauce’ came from doing things for law firms that the DTC health supplement industry wasn’t doing. It’s these little nuances that can give you a huge advantage. Since I realized this, I’ve been curious about how marketing works in other industries.

Right now, I am curious about business development, even though we don’t currently focus on it in our companies. I contacted a top business development expert with 15-20 years of experience and offered to pay him $500 per hour to ask as many questions as I could in an hour about what he does and how he does it. I am confident that I’ll uncover some valuable insights that I can apply to many of the projects I am working on, even though the companies I am involved with don’t engage in that type of sales.

Mirror Review: As a CMO, you must wisely allocate your resources to maximize positive returns. How do you identify and make use of opportunities with the best attention-to-value ratio in the market, and what are some common mistakes you or others avoid?

Gerrid: Ultimately, it’s all about ROI for us because we are a small company. We can’t afford to run branding campaigns without measuring every dollar. We must consistently allocate our resources where we believe they will yield the best returns. I love what Gary Vaynerchuk discusses when he talks about attention arbitrage. He highlights the importance of finding cost-effective ways to reach your audience, and this landscape is ever-changing. As a company, we need to reassess it regularly. We might be investing a certain amount in Facebook and getting a particular return. So, we have to consider what we can do on platforms like TikTok, LinkedIn, or others to make our budget go further.

The most common mistake I observe is people getting stuck. They aren’t innovating enough and fall into a routine. It is easy to think, “SEO is working this way, paid media is performing like that, and affiliate marketing is on track, so let’s stick to this path.” Instead, we should always consider what’s on the horizon, what’s next, and how we find those hidden opportunities that will stretch our budget further because they are relatively undiscovered or less explored than other channels.

Mirror Review: How do you plan to utilize social media platforms to expand your DTC business in the cannabis niche, and what key performance indicators (KPIs) will be your focus in 2024?

Gerrid:  I am currently exploring the most significant trend in our strategy, particularly in the somewhat gray area of the cannabis niche. I am working on how to leverage platforms such as TikTok and YouTube Shorts, which have the potential to go viral and reach a fresh audience every day without triggering algorithmic flags. Social media has piqued my interest more recently. Over the past decade, it was primarily about reaching an existing audience. If you had a few hundred thousand followers, your message would reach them when you posted. Now, with TikTok and other platforms, your message goes beyond your existing followers. It’s never been easier to quickly build an audience and sell products, especially in the DTC market. Many people looking ahead to 2024 need to consider reallocating more funds to these platforms to gain significant exposure.

Regarding KPIs, we may shift our focus as a brand to emphasize brand-related metrics. This could involve brand awareness, views, and similar aspects, which we haven’t prioritized much in the past. In 2024, as we aim to elevate our brand to a new level, this may change for us.

Mirror Review: As a leader, you have to work with your team and help them grow and improve. How do you find and share inspiration with your team, and what are some of the difficulties that you encountered in doing so?

Gerrid:  I find inspiration by consistently introducing interesting ideas to my team and asking them what new tools or methods they are exploring. If they are not exploring new things, I encourage them to seek out fresh tools or ways to enhance their work. I am always on the lookout for things that inspire me and then I share those with the team. I believe that the best performance emerges from a team that is inspired and enjoys what they do. When they enjoy their work, they become exceptional at it. Over the years, my perspective has shifted towards identifying individuals I believe can excel in specific areas and making sure the team has the necessary tools and resources to step up in those areas where the organization may have weaknesses.

One of the major challenges I faced as a leader is that I am an extreme introvert, and when I first started, I was a terrible manager. I recall hiring and firing individuals rapidly, as suggested in books about management. However, I realized that success involves working closely with your team, developing them, and pushing them forward. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand this initially. I used to think that if someone didn’t grasp things immediately, I’d let them go and move on to the next person. I feel really regretful about my poor management skills in those early days. Part of it was due to my extreme introversion, not wanting to put myself out there, and avoiding team collaboration. These days, I feel like I struggle to have the time that I really want to have to work with the team, push them, and take them to the next level where I believe they need to go.

Mirror Review: What is the most important skill or quality that you would advise young professionals to develop, and how did you develop it yourself?

Gerrid: In simple terms, you need to focus on one thing. To be great, you must become a specialist in a single area. You can be good at many things, but you can’t excel at many things. Excellence is attainable in just one area. This is something I often remind myself of, and looking back at my own journey, I excelled by specializing in SEO. It was my sole focus for years, primarily working as the best SEO expert for law firms. When I transitioned to Joy Organics, I had the opportunity to explore affiliate marketing, social media paid ads, and other aspects I hadn’t delved into. Breaking out of that shell was both enjoyable and challenging.

If I were to give any advice to young professionals, I’d say, “What can you really focus on?” Consider putting aside distractions like Netflix, Prime Video, and HBO, and dedicate a year or even two to honing your craft, striving for excellence in that one area. The dedication pays off, and I believe you can achieve excellence within a year if you channel all your focus into that one thing.


“Breaking out of that shell was a lot of fun, but there was a learning curve as well.”

“You must concentrate on one area. To be great, you need to specialize in one field. You can be good at many things, but you can’t be great at many things. You can only be great at one thing.”

Also Read: The 10 Most Innovative CMOs of 2024.


The USA Leaders

The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

And never miss any updates, because every opportunity matters..

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join The Community Of More Than 80,000+ Informed Professionals