Too often, the finance team is presented as the enemy – the unreasonable person delivering the ‘computer says no’ answer to marketers. In this webinar with Deepa Shah, we debunked some of the myths surrounding the relationship between finance and marketing, and much more.
- How marketers can approach working with their finance team, and vice versa
- How can we make budgets more accurate which look into the future?
- Methodologies for budgeting and the degree of tolerance do you tend to build into it?
- Advice for folks who are cash poor right now, but with strong orders on the books in six months time?
- The fundamentals of finance Deepa wishes everyone would grasp?
- Where marketers should be looking first to upskill?
- The most important factors that guides your decision making when it comes to marketing spend? In other words, what is the key to your buy-in?
- Should SME’s take up the government bounce back loan? Pros and Cons?
Deepa is a senior leader, with 20 years’ experience working for fast growth global businesses within marketing, creative communications and technology, including insights agencies that specialise in healthcare.
In brief, her core areas of expertise include:
• Financial planning and management (including restructuring, cashflow management)
• Long/short term business strategy planning (including exits, market expansion)
• Commercial and operational positioning (including pricing strategy, procurement, internal operations structures/processes)
• NED/Board advisory
• Business mentoring
As a trusted, strategic business partner, she can advise and support dynamic businesses with their operational management, strategy and growth. I bring external thinking and fresh perspective to organisations. These are demonstrated by my growth mindset, courage, determination, creativity, and willingness to experiment and learn.
Beyond the technical excellence you would expect, I am open, curious, and empathetic. My ability to debate key human issues, and my perseverance to drive lasting change to make a positive difference in people’s lives demonstrates a much deeper commitment to the social change agenda.
I am an active mentor and give my time to help women develop professionally in their careers. This ranges from entrepreneurs, to helping those working their way up the career ladder.
In March 2020, I took on the role of Business Mentor for NatWest Group’s Enterprise Accelerator Programme. The role requires me to mentor start ups in the programme.
Since April 2020, I have taken on a similar role to the NatWest role with The British Library, also as a business mentor.
I am a Governor, Trustee and Director of London South Bank University. (Pro Bono NED role).
During my time at Publicis, I have been the Chairwoman of the VivaWomen! Board. VivaWomen! Is an employee-led Gender Equality community, which focuses on raising areas of gender inequality, supports women to develop skills to better their own outcomes, and in turn builds confidence within the workplace for everyone. VW! also encourages men who want to be involved as champions and supporters for women they’re working with, in order to drive equality for everyone.
Joe Glover 0:10
Wicked. So hello everyone. I hope you like that little video. That’s like the added little bit first time of doing that. So, hi and welcome to this sixth marketing webinar is lucky to have you all here. Thank you so much for spending the time.
Tonight we have the absolute pleasure of welcoming de Pasha, founder of lobby and former UK CFO of publicist sapient.
It’s a real thrill to have people with us, especially in light of originally branching out into running our own business, where she will be helping startups SMEs and entrepreneurs scale up smartly. She’s got an awards list longer than the one. But some highlights include Business Awards at the Asian women of Achievement Awards and the CFO of the year at the world. in finance awards, deep is a new friend to me. But in this time, I’ve been impressed by her a single mindedness, tenaxcity and willingness to help others. Indeed, that’s why she’s here today. Today’s session feels more relevant than ever, is the day removed from the time when the US announced that they’ll be borrowing five times the amount that they did in the wake of the 2008 crash. So money really is on everyone’s mind, not only to businesses and humans needed to survive, but not one, not all of us have the knowledge or the experience on how to manage it best. The consequences could be the loss of livelihoods and much more. But on the flip side, a great financial strategy can see a company grow and grow and grow and grow. And while at the moment that might be a distant dream for a lot of us, things will get better and when they do, we need to be prepared. Underlying that mean, issue is something that I’m quite surprised that myself. And it’s just an opinion, there’s something that I’ve sort of observed. But it does seem like there’s an unfortunate relationship to marketers in the finance team to while we meet each other, the coverage in the press and the general Zeitgeist is one of animosity rather than collaboration. And like, I just find this really, really sad. And I hope by the end of this session, we’ll come to a place where we can look to understand each other a little bit more, and look to work with each other a little bit more. Not that I’d expect our community to act any differently. But today, I hope that we live up to our billing of being the most positively lovely community out there. Deep is here to help and your continued loveliness will be appreciated. And before we get going, I just want to make sure that we thank the sponsors all of whom have been absolutely unbelievable. During this period, particularly given everything that’s been going on, they’ve stepped by side. And they’ve said that we’re going to be here to support the community. So you’ve got them up on your screens right now. And I won’t go into depth here because they’re going to be included in the follow up email. But what I do want to say is thank you to pitch content Cal fibre red gay, Cambridge Martin, college leader brand further third light, bravo inhuman. I made the Ask an email afterwards as well. But I’ll ask you here too, right now. And that ask is very simple. Please take the time just to thank them one by one and just say thank you for supporting our community, because without them, then we won’t be able to do what we’re doing. We won’t have the inspiration coming into our heads. We won’t have the smiles on our faces, and we wouldn’t have the opportunity to get better together. So thank you to those guys and please do take the time. Today is a pure q&a session. So we’ve got some questions prepared. But if you were going to mouse you for the q&a option beneath as well, please be nice. I feel like I can’t say that enough right now. Please be nice. And let’s use this as a opportunity to be constructive and get better together. So, with all that said, welcome, DITA, how’s it going?
Deepa Shah 4:25
Yeah, thank you so much, Joe, for inviting me on here. And, you know, let me talk to your community and hopefully, you guys will find a session really useful. Everything’s going good. I mean, I’m a little bit nuts launching your business during, you know, the middle of a global pandemic, but here I am, you know, it was, it was always a plan that I wanted to launch something in April, and I decided to just go ahead with it and see where it takes me. You know, it’s always challenging to launch launch your business. I’m sure many of your community know and I think I’ve just been thrown into a totally different set of market conditions. You know, but that I wasn’t prepared for but it’s been, you know, it’s been four weeks and now it’s been so much fun in terms of I’ve met loads of people, really cool people connecting, talking, just learning. You know, it’s, it’s brilliant. I’ve spent, you know, the best part of 20 years amongst the largest holding groups, you know, Omnicom publicists. So to get out of those and start meeting people, you know, across independent agencies, it’s been really refreshing. And people have been brilliant, really, really nice and supportive. So I think I’m fairly lucky and so far, it’s been a really good start. So I’m enjoying it. You know, I mean, I’m enjoying it.
Joe Glover 5:37
I mean, I’ve been really, really impressed by the way that I think it was slightly before the left, you know, so you must have started that process, you know, when you knew it was gonna happen, but now you got your message, and you were just like, I’m impressed with your networking skills, you know, like, I was like, suitably impressed. I guess we should probably get to one. We’re here today. And we’ve already got one, one comment here from Orion who said, bravo.
Deepa Shah 6:05
Thank you. Thank you, Ryan.
Joe Glover 6:08
He’s lovely, absolutely lovely in so many ways. And so when we were taking questions for today’s session, one of the reoccurring themes and everything that we got, whether it’s positive or negative, the wording is differently, though, sort of like a really sort of common thread, which and it’s very broad question. How can marketing best work with Finance?
Deepa Shah 6:31
Yeah, I know, when I read when I read a few of the, you know, those that were coming through the same theme around you know, finance marketing, it does make me a bit sad because I have seen it, you know, through my career, I have seen it happen where finance or just kind of seen as a back office operation to the rest of the business, not just finance but other internal teams like HR as well. And for me, the way that I develop my teams across businesses is really, you know, integrate them
integrate them into the businesses. So that means sitting amongst, you know, the marketing teams or client facing teams, so that they hear conversations going on, they understand what’s happening in the business and vice versa. I think it’s really, really important to remember that we’re not all separate teams. We are one team working for one company, and how we educate each other around our different roles and functions is super important. And that includes that, you know, that involves communication. It involves conversations. And, you know, I think it’s really, really important to integrate all the teams so that you get the full richness out of them and it’s not a seminar. And I’ve seen that work really, really successfully. Where I haven’t seen it works as successfully as when when teams are kept very separate.
And that’s when you do get that, you know, get that divide.
And people want to be part of bigger teams, you know, they want to feel part of the community. They want to you know,
Want to feel part of the culture? And it’s incredibly hard to build a culture if you’ve got very separate siloed teams. So for me, it’s about integration, communication and education. So you know, learn what each other’s doing, and how do you help and support each other through that?
Joe Glover 8:17
And then did you have any sort of like, really sort of successful
Deepa Shah 8:22
tactics or ways of sort of really sort of creating that integration and making you know, people actually sort of see the value in each other and hope? I mean, one of the easiest ones is make sure that you know, if you have open plan offices, make sure that the the team’s like finance, HR, integrated and sitting within the client facing teams. That’s one thing Another thing is trying to get, you know, people within finance to attend other meetings. So you know, if there’s like a new business meeting going on, or if there’s like a, I don’t know, a quick fire meeting going on for a Monday morning, get get different people from the finance team to go in and listen in on what
happening, and other things I like in company meetings. And make sure that the finance team or the HR team are also presenting something informative so that the business knows what they’re doing what they’re up to, as well. So I think there’s, there’s small things that you can do. But I think, you know, the most important thing is just talk to each other, you know, don’t do over email, go over to somebody’s desk, it takes like two seconds, unless you’re in a massive building somewhere. But I think communication is really, really important. Understanding the pressures and the challenges of the other person on the other team is really important, and supporting each other. That’s when I’ve seen it really work well, we thrive.
Joe Glover 9:40
That makes a lot of sense, and it’s not bonkers.
Deepa Shah 9:45
People on all mean, a couple of mean people.
It works both ways. You know, we you know, I think it’s super important, particularly for agencies. Now a lot of agencies Don’t have massive finance teams, particularly sort of small independent, to get into your business, know that, you know, it just it, it really would. It’s much better when they know how to support you and what to support you with as well. It makes it a lot easier. And also educating the finance team about, you know, the work that you’re selling the clients that you’re working with, all of that really, really helps. And it goes back to, you know, the level of support, it just makes it that much richer,
Joe Glover 10:29
for sure. 100% does actually a question that was a little bit later on in the session, but I feel like it’s relevant. Now. They’re like, what is the most important factor that guides your decision making when it comes to marketing spend and having those marketing discussions with other folks? And in other words, what are your keys to buy in? And the reason why I’m asking this now is that I think you’ve sort of spoken about Looking to understand other people’s needs and pains? And I think maybe your key to buy in will probably be sourced from your needs more than than anything else. Yeah,
Deepa Shah 11:11
yeah. Okay. So I think, you know, it’s a good question. I think the most important thing, whether it’s marketing, marketing spend or any other, you know, overhead spend, understanding the value that it’s going to bring into the business is really, really important. Like with any expense with any investment, whether it’s bringing in a new hire, whether it’s, you know, buying some more capex, whether it’s marketing, I think, anything, it’s about, well, we’re going to get this what is the benefits of the business? What is the value that it’s going to create? Is it a priority against something else, you know, if a business is going through a challenging time, and you’re really reviewing all expenditure, so I think it’s how you work with your, you know, management team, your CFO, your CEO, your CFO, whoever it is that set, you know, asking for these budgets, and really understanding the value to the business. What does it mean? Why do we need it? And having you know, it’s a bit like a business proposal, you know, we want to spend this money. Why, because of this, this, this, and actually, this is what we could get out of it. And that’s what it’s about. It’s not just about, you know, presenting to the CFO, CEO, or whoever it is say, you know, what, we only spent 10 grand on this. And that’s, it’s having a conversation about the value impacts of what the what the spend is for. And that’s really important, as opposed to just a cost conversation, which nine out of 10 times don’t really go anywhere.
Joe Glover 12:30
Yeah, absolutely. And I guess on that is that this is more of a personal opinion, is you speaking for the world of finance, you know, that? I mean, how do you sort of do things which have, like, a more intangible value? You know, so I guess the argument marks will go back to
Deepa Shah 12:47
Yeah, yeah. And there’s so much that you can’t measure and I think a lot of it has to do with the way that you work with the rest of your team. You know, trust is a huge part of it. So someone’s that comes and says to me, Jim, We want to spend this money on something we don’t know what return, you know, monetary return we’re going to get from it. But we could do x y Zed to really help our clients boost them, you know, whatever it is. And I think it’s about having that sensible grown up conversation around it. If you can’t really measure intangibles, right. So I think it’s doing the right thing for the business and and making sure that the whole team is aligned. Because if if you’re not aligned, it’s going to be really hard to successfully do it.
Joe Glover 13:29
Sure. For sure. I mean, again, not bonkers advice. I think there’s probably a tendency and I don’t know whether other people will feel the same. But when you end up speaking about the same things again and again, they almost become like a trope in your mind almost this like, Oh, this person’s the big, bad, scary person and they’re gonna say no to me, whereas just reframing it as
Deepa Shah 13:57
I don’t think I genuinely don’t think majority of people On unreasonable, and I do think, you know, if you do get stuck and you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall, maybe think about approaching it a different way, you know, think about that person’s personality. Actually, what what, what is the most useful way of having that conversation, think about the way that person thinks, and, and receives information. So it goes back to the, you know, what is your relationship with that person as well. So go back to those sort of basics and say, actually, how am I speak to, I don’t know, a five year old about this might be very different speaking to a 10 year old or whatever it is, just think about that person’s personality because everybody’s different everybody receives and listens to information in a very different way. And then some people might hear but might not listen. So I think, you know, if you do get if you do get CFOs, or SDS who were, you know, part of the no pocket, like computers, no, I think it’s about how you approach it and you know, how you spin that conversation around because I don’t believe People are unreasonable. I think it’s just hard to get them on board, how’d you bring them on your journey with you on what you’re trying to achieve in it, that’s really important.
Joe Glover 15:08
Hundred percent. And one of the things that we, we thought could be fun as we were chatting beforehand is if folks feel free to in the chat box of like, leave your experience of working with finance, and maybe we’ll have a look at look at those things later on. So if you were getting a mouse in, you can see at the bottom of the chat box, and we can maybe explore some of those things a little bit later, if anyone sort of chooses to volunteer and put their head up above the parapet in that kind of way. And in many ways, I feel like we can almost end the session there because I feel like there’s lots of stuff where it’s like, people got so wrapped up in this horrible CFO stuff. And it’s actually almost just quite reassuring to hear the other side of it and sort of saying that we’re on the same team. I think we frame that’s a very useful thing to do. However, there are some more questions. So. So the second question was from my mate Babs, who is a legend in many, many, many ways. And he said that in stocks and shares, they say past performance is not a guide to future returns. How can we therefore make budgets accurate, which look into the future? Because the past can’t be a reasonable judgement success outcome? How could the future
Deepa Shah 16:32
I think there is some truth in that but not fully. I do think that looking at your past performance, evaluating how you’ve done before what’s worked well what hasn’t worked well can help you build future budgets and forecasts, you know, that the whole point of building a budget and a forecast is so that you can work towards a plan you know, work towards your your business ambitions, you know, what, what are the things what are the leaves that you need to pull to be able to get to your goals over a certain period of time. The whole point of budgets and forecasts is they’re never going to be 100%. accurate, you know, which is why you always tweak, change, adjust, depending on what’s going on with the market, what’s going on with your clients. And to make them as accurate as possible, you need to be as close to your business as possible. So that’s going back to your clients, making sure you’re having conversations with them all the time understanding their budgetary constraints, you know, what’s happening with them? Are they going to be releasing more budget at you know, in a few months time, so having those conversations always keeping up to speed on what’s happening with client budget is really important. And then the other side is obviously the cost and overhead aspects of it. So budgeting for cost, thinking about investments, what are you going to be able to afford what you’re not going to be able to afford? What do you need? What do you don’t need? Because a lot of the time, you know, there’s many businesses that have cost system on there, but they actually don’t need and could reinvest that money elsewhere. So I think budgeting good forecasting goes back to knowledge and you know, and that that’s knowledge on the top line revenue growth. on what you’re selling, when you’re selling, who you’re selling to, will clients be able to afford what you’re selling pricing? And then the overheads looking at what what you need, what you don’t need, you know, what are we going to need to invest in going forward? And also thinking about your short term and long term, you know, financial ambitions is part of that. But but there’s no magic You know, there’s no magic one say that. Everyone’s going to have 100% accurate budget at any time. But I think that past past performance is a good indicator and helps because you can review you can reflect on what’s what’s worked well. What hasn’t. areas of growth, you know, how you can improve what you need to do profitability around projects, you know, where did you make money? Where did you lose money that will help with your budgeting forecasting?
Joe Glover 18:50
Sure, I love you know, that sort of mindset. It’s like very much tied into the business, you know, again, an activity that you do for the fun of it. It’s like
Deepa Shah 18:59
now And you know, it’s really important that going back to the whole finance team and, you know, client facing teams, it’s really important that the teams work on it. It’s not a finance problem to, you know, to pull some budgets and forecasts together, it’s about having the conversation with the rest of the business. And that’s why I’m saying that the teams need to be integrated and work together. Because because that’s how you’re gonna that’s ultimately how you’re going to produce the best forecast as well.
Joe Glover 19:26
Sure, absolutely. And that question was actually do you have a methodology for purchasing? So this might be basics for some folks, but,
Deepa Shah 19:35
yeah, I mean, not really. I think it goes back to what I’ve just said, you know, my methodology is, first of all, have the conversation with the leaders of the business, you know, that the people that are out there talking to clients selling the work, understand the market, understand the market conditions, what are your challenges, what are the risks, what are the threats, what are the opportunities, so it starts off by having a strategic conversation. Looking at the business plans, ambitions, you know, what is the growth strategy, and then the finances are built off to that. So that’s when you start modelling out the numbers.
Joe Glover 20:09
Nice. And there’s a question here. I think you’ve already sort of mostly answered it, but it’s coming from one of the attendees, which says, How do you forecasting new areas where there’s no track record at all?
Deepa Shah 20:21
I think you have to be knowledgeable enough in those areas, you have to understand that you’re going to have to adjust your pricing structure. So think about how you’re going to charge what you’re going to charge how much work they sell, but I would have thought that you would have done enough research before, to understand who your clients are going to be, as well. You know, to be able to price it at the value it should be, and then start adjusting and building forecasts you might hit you might miss and I’ve seen plenty of businesses do this before. Many have missed, you know that it’s about adjusting and learning as you go on. And I’m looking to see if there are any other businesses out there doing something similar. But if there is no track record, you know, you are starting from zero. And you have to you have to see see how much you’re able to sell and adjust along the way?
Joe Glover 21:14
Absolutely. That’s awesome. I mean, it makes a lot of sense. And, again, common sense. You know, honestly, I can speak as someone coming from a marketing perspective as a marketer, as a, as a business owner. And personally, I find a lot of elements of finance, you know, quite intimidating. I’m sure that that’s probably the same as what some folks would say about marketing, you know, or, you know, whatever it may be. So, to even have this conversation is quite useful for me as it is for other folks to sort of reframe it as just, you know, actually something that’s not all that intimidating.
Deepa Shah 21:55
It’s not It’s not scary, and I think you know, it is just about talking to people And learning and understanding. It’s not it’s not really a scary world. It’s, I think people always fear what they don’t know. I think that’s what it comes down to.
Joe Glover 22:10
Sure. No doubt, no doubt at all. And I’m interested in there with you. So, next question. What advice and I guess this probably goes more into what you’re doing now, really nothing else. So there’s no doubt a lot folks out there who are probably quite cash pool that, you know, but they’re in a position where in six months time, they’ve got the orders coming through. Yeah, then. And I guess you’ve had, like, a few hours. That’s based on the questions through but I mean, have you got any thoughts on how a business should be approaching that sort of position, right.
Deepa Shah 22:49
I do think, you know, I’m pretty sure that many many, many businesses have learned through through the last few weeks how important cash flow is its equilibrium. Equally as a concern at work equally as important as profit. And I know many businesses right now are struggling with cash. If it is purely a short term issue, and you’ve got an order book like you know, US government loans that being you know, offered, go to your friends and family, talk to them first, if that if they can help you before you go to an institution for loans. I’m not a financial advisor, you know, I’m not regulated by the FCA or anything. That’s not what I claim to do. So I can’t give advice around investments and loans and things but there’s plenty of resources online, if you go to the British banks website. There’s lots of resources on there around the loans that are being offered at the moment by High Street banks that are backed by the government. And there’s also plenty of information on the government’s website as well. So you know, if it is short term, think about how you can find some, you know, quick cash and if it is friends and family, great. It could be a loan a loan from the existing and the new schemes. One thing I would say is please do some financial planning around it and make sure that you have got the order books sorted and you are able to repay these loans in future. Last thing you want to be, you know, stuck with as a loan and, and not be able to repay it, the orders are not coming through. So just be really careful around planning work with your finance teams on doing some scenarios and things to make sure you can afford to repay it, it’s really important.
Joe Glover 24:31
And on that specific, sort of the new loans and stuff like that. You’ve already covered a case where some people may choose to take it up, but can you see any pros and cons in the current schemes that are out there? And again,
Deepa Shah 24:49
it’s really hard for me to I mean, alone is alone at the end of the day, you know, you’re you’re taking on a risk that you have to ultimately you know, taking on the liability that you ultimately have to pay back. So Doing it in in the least risky way possible is important taking out a minimum loan that comes to you as important. I think there’s pros and cons to both sides, you know, if it’s gonna really help shore up your business, cash flow, you know, you can pay it back great. If your business was not doing well or not forming well before this period, and you’re taking out a loan, I don’t think you know, without doing a full assessment, you should be taking out loans really, that you might not be able to pay back because you’re really going to screw yourself. And so get proper advice around it, go and do your research, talk to the lenders, around what’s on offer and and see if it’s viable for you and your business. You know, don’t get stuck with something that you’re not going to be able to repay back is I’m gonna say that again, I’m not a financial advisor. So I can’t I can’t elaborate any more on that. But I think you know, get proper, independent financial advice around that.
Joe Glover 25:58
Show sweet Some effects are quite serious time. So I guess these are these are strange times indeed so. So heading back towards your experience as someone working, you know, in a finance role, and what are the fundamentals of finance that you you just wish folks grasp or should grasp?
Deepa Shah 26:25
And I think you know, it, it all goes back to the, you know, where we spoke about finance and relationships. It’s not necessarily just about understanding the numbers, I think you understand the numbers, you can get to, you know, client facing teams to really come on board understanding numbers if you have those conversations. So it’s really about having regular consistent meetings, updates, sharing of knowledge, what’s going on? I don’t think there’s anything around you know, grasping fundamentals. I think it’s more on education of what these numbers mean. What did the story what as a storyteller, and you know, the finance story, or the financial numbers, or other back end of the story, what’s going on with clients of people as the front end? And so how do you bring that whole story together is really, really important. So I think it’s making sure that you yourself and everybody else is on that journey and being consistent around what you’re presenting. So that people that don’t work in the finance team, do you understand what you’re talking about, and how it affects them, how it affects the work that they’re doing, how it affects the work that they’re selling, is really, really important. And I’ve seen, you know, places that haven’t done that very well. And it goes back to the lack of communication, the lack of the finance teams, sharing knowledge, sharing numbers, giving, you know, regular updates, what does it mean? Going back to things like forecasting, if you’re not regularly regularly updating teams, having regular meetings, how are you going to get the basketball car sells business? So it goes back to communication and sharing knowledge and having conversations is really, really important.
Joe Glover 28:03
I love that. And actually, the irony is, again, during the similarities that we’re always told as marketers to find the story, you know, whether it’s the story of your product, the story of, you know, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. So, you know, that the same thing and I guess this is probably one of the the hilarious ironies of marketing in general, we’ve always done a terrible job of marketing marketing. So, you know, it’s great to sort of get that mindset of, you know, telling the financial story, or whatever the business story
Deepa Shah 28:35
is the business story, I quit the business story, and that includes, you know, the talent that the clients and then the numbers. Sure.
Joe Glover 28:45
I love that. That’s really cool. There’s a question here from Alex Hughes, who is someone very interesting, who you should meet. So hey, Alex, and I’ll make an introduction afterwards. He said So basically, he’s said, Thank you to start off with, and sort of hats off to you for launching during COVID. And one of his many, many startups, and it’s been an interesting experience. But he has asked specifically about the CFO CFO role. So, we’ve spoken about general sort of financial principles, but he’s asking specifically about the CFO, or any elements of the CFO role that people should look to adopt as entrepreneurs. And I guess, you know, you’ve covered up a lot of them, but I guess it’d be interesting to know if there’s any specifics in that one particular role that you can.
Deepa Shah 29:46
It’s interesting because I think the answer will change depending on the kind of CFO that you ask. And I’m not a traditional CFO, I, you know, I’ve never really wanted to be I’ve been quite lucky that I’ve created a CFO role for myself that is not similar to a lot of my peers across the holding groups. A lot of my peers who have left the holding groups and for me being a really good, valuable CFO, one, no one that creates value makes impact. I mean, I’ve, I feel like I’ve been going on about this throughout the whole of this session, but it really is about communicating and building relationships. You know, you as a CFO, yes, you have to be good. Technically, you have to kind of be an expert in your area. You can’t expect, you know, you can’t expect I don’t know, a CEO to be an expert, as a CFO, if they’ve never been a CFO before and vice versa, you know, whatever it is that they’re doing. I won’t claim to be an expert in marketing. You know, it’s not that’s not my thing. I think, you know, anything comes as an entrepreneur, I think it’s about you’re doing it because you are passionate about building business and understand some of the principles and some of the basics that you need to do about how you build a business successfully. Some of the things that you’ve got to look at from a financial perspective, there’s so much stuff online that you know, connecting to people that will help you that will give you good advice is really, really important. By no means Will you be an expert, CFO overnight, it’s taken me 20 years or so. And I still don’t believe I’m an expert expert. I’m constantly learning. I’m constantly learning. I’m constantly learning from people that have used that experience ahead of me. But I’m also learning what I don’t want to do you know, the way that I don’t want to behave the way that I don’t want to work. And so I think that’s really important, but hope I didn’t just ask the question. I feel like I’ve sort of answered it, but not really.
Joe Glover 31:43
Because he kind of addressed lots of different things. Yeah.
Deepa Shah 31:47
So I think I think it’s about as an entrepreneur, don’t try and be a CFO, but understand some of the mechanics around building a business and what you need to do from a, you know, financial perspective. What are the some of the things that you need to look at? What are the things that you need to set up? And if you don’t know, try and work with experts or people that can help you do that successfully? Does that help? Yeah, no question very well, but Well,
Joe Glover 32:16
I guess Well, one way to, you know, sort of summarise it maybe to look at how you’ve started your own business in the past four weeks. So like, what were what would like the number one, two and three on the priority list for you, when you when you start
Deepa Shah 32:32
really figuring out why I wanted to do it, you know, and why am I doing it? Why not just go and go to a CFO and seek out holding reserves. So understanding why you want to do it, what why they’re passionate about doing this is super important. So I needed to, you know, that was the first thing that I did. And I’ve been, you know, building lab eight for a year. It’s not something that I’ve just done in four weeks or the last couple of months. It’s been a whole year. in the making, and it’s been a real process and, you know, you do go through the process is part of the journey and you know, going from Okay, well, why am I doing it? What do I want it to look like? What am I values? How am I going to create it? What am I going to deliver? And then thinking about the practical side of it, okay, what are the things that I need to set up I need I need to finance system I need to, you know, get my VAT sorted out. It’s all that it’s all the boring stuff, the stuff that takes a long time and you know, but it needs to be done. But I think before you get to the boring stuff, figure out why you’re doing it. You know, why do you think you could be successful? Who are the who are the kinds of clients that will buy your work, who want to partner with you? For me, it’s about goes back to the whole thing. How am I going to build relationships, you know, who am I going to build relationships with? Because I don’t want the way that I work to be a transactional process with anybody. I want long term clients, I want to I want to see the value that I create for the clients and I want to I want to see them through their journeys is really, really important. To me, so So yeah, I think for me, the starting point was, Why am I doing this? Is it because I’m really bored being in a holding group? Because I’ve been doing it for years? Or is it because I want to do genuinely want to do something different that I know where I can add value and really make an impact but to different to a different group of businesses? I think that’s the starting point. Yeah. Why are you doing it? Yeah.
Joe Glover 34:24
Yeah, makes sense. And this just makes sense in everything. Whether it’s answering the question, why do you want that 10 grand in budget or business? You know? There’s quite a specific question here from the lovely, lovely, lovely Angie AMG, who says, There’s quite a specific point. And you may be able to find something from the other side, which is how can you encourage companies to pay more quickly, specifically to their quote unquote, small suppliers. Quite direct question. And,
Deepa Shah 35:02
um, so first, we’ve got to take a look at the terms that you negotiated. And a lot of big companies will pay quicker for signing up to terms. And the whole point is you don’t ever accept a contract for what it is always negotiate on it, you know, I look at things like the terms and the notice period, you know, the termination clause is really, really important. If you explain to your client that you’re a small business, there’s plenty of large businesses now that have an accelerated payment scheme for SMEs, you have to fall into certain brackets and there’s like a checklist that goes through. But if you don’t ask you don’t get and I definitely think having those conversations is important. If you signed up to terms that aren’t favourable for you, and you know, we’re obviously going through through cobit times right now, I think having an icon essentially, I said, You know what, we need some help. Can you help us is, you know, pick up the phone It’s always the right thing to do drop them an email, say, look, can we have a chat? Because we need some help. And, again, clients are not unreasonable. They’re, in my experience that they haven’t been and I’ve worked for small agencies where we have been, okay, go to big health that you know, pharma companies, and we’ve said, Look, we are a small agency, we do need federal payment terms, because if you pay us on 90 day terms, which a lot of farmer agencies do, it’s really hard for us to pay our employees we pay employees on a 30 day, you know, first day basis. So explain to them why it’s you know, why it’s going to cause problems for years is really, really important.
Joe Glover 36:40
I think that’s it’s really sound advice and it’s interesting hearing it from your perspective, because being the other side of the station, sometimes I’ll enter these things and I’ll be scared to rock the boat too much. You know, and feel like if I’m, if I’m, you know, assertive or I’m Try to negotiate motion was going to walk away from the deal, which I really want, you know, whatever it may be. So it’s quite interesting to hear from your perspective that you almost expect negotiation. And that that assertiveness and I guess, you know, again, you’re only speaking for yourself. But that’s, that’s a really interesting part of the job, which I wouldn’t necessarily expect. Yeah.
Deepa Shah 37:27
It goes back to the relationship that you’ve built with the client, as well. And then knowing you as somebody, you know, a partner that they work with, and, you know, if you, if you say to them, Look, I’ve got to pay my team at the end of the month, but you’re not going to pay me for work that we’ve delivered to you, you know, for another three months. It doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t quite stack up. So I think just having an honest conversation saying, you know, we really need you to help us. We want to deliver the best work to you, you know, possible but, but we need to So we need to talk about some of these terms. That’s just not gonna work for us.
Joe Glover 38:03
Sure. Makes a lot of sense. Okay, so we’ve got a question here from shavon saying or shavon. Sorry, saying, and I guess it’s about trends more than anything. So it’d be interesting to see, you know, given your experience in the industry today, how this stacks up so says some businesses are looking to remove fixed overheads from their financial plans right now like property and potentially headcount. favour more flexible resource such as you know, co working or freelances. Have you or do you see this approach growing in popularity? And what advice would you give to someone adapting to a more flexible approach such as
Deepa Shah 38:49
I do see more of it happening? I think that I do think the property costs commercial property costs Going up massively over over time. And I think what’s about to happen where businesses start terminating leases, which I’ve already seen happening with some agencies they’ve they’ve basically terminated. So terminating is going to be happening more and more over the coming months as people realise they don’t need such fast fixed premises anywhere. and flexible, working, co working, you know, looking at reduced hours or thinking about four day working week as opposed to five day working week is going to be really, really important. I do believe that we are now in a time where we have to be flexible as businesses, we have to be agile, we have to be able to adjust quickly to what’s happening in the market. If we don’t, we’re not you know, if we’re stuck in this, no, he wants to all have an office space and everybody’s going to turn up to the office all the time. You’re not going to be competitive in the long run right and client, you’re going to become more expensive declines. I just think that being dynamic, diversifying that Work is going to be super important, not only from a cost perspective, but I think also from a people perspective and the talent that you you, you know, attract is going to be really important. So I do, I do believe it’s going to happen more and more. And I think that businesses now are really thinking about new ways of working and, you know, efficiently working without, you know, you know, without neglecting the quality of the output, how do we ensure that we’re delivering quality work, be efficient, but think about new ways of doing? Do? You know, a full team on five days a week, but what’s the new talent that we need? Actually, what have we realised we don’t need anymore? You know? So I think I do think that it is happening more and more, and I am aware of a lot of businesses that are already looking at that
Joe Glover 40:53
and have any advice on anyone who would look to adapt to this approach. I mean, or is it Just look at Yeah,
Deepa Shah 41:02
I think I think you have to do what’s right for your business ultimately, you know, flexibility, whether it’s through flexible working, whether it’s through, you know, flexible workspace, whatever it is, I think being flexible as a business, and being able to adapt is super important. For sure.
Joe Glover 41:23
Okay, so we’ve got a question here from Kira, who says, and you may be able to share this from a personal perspective, again, more than anything, which is what advice can you share around pricing strategy post COVID. Specifically for businesses who are currently ship, I imagine increasing. I imagine some businesses are looking to increase prices to recoup some of lost revenue. But on the flip side concern, customers are also going to be more conservative. In terms of a pricing strategy, I guess, generally.
Deepa Shah 41:57
I think it goes back to What are the what is the value that you’re delivering? You know? It doesn’t matter if for example, your pricing includes a huge chunk of overhead, right? And you’re losing that battle over that, how can you make it more efficient without losing the value? You know, and that means that the value that you your people are creating for for the client? So there’s lots not It all depends on the type of business, it all depends on the value that you’re creating. But it also means that yes, nobody knows what’s going to come out of where we are at the moment, right? Nobody knows if all kinds of goodies completely or if they’re gonna have a new joshy, then open up a whole new set of budgets. I think it’s staying close to the client, same post what your competitors are doing, you know, benchmarking, seeing how they’re adjusting and adjusting their pricing strategies. But also thinking about how you are adjusting yours against the value that you’re creating is really important. It’s hard to be quite specific, unless you’re in the actual detail of But you know, adjusting things like overheads if you if you’re getting rid of an office space, which can generally be quite expensive. I’m looking at looking at things like that, and then offering it back to the client say, look, we’re working in a different way. Now, we want to offer you more competitive prices, because we, you know, we, we are now office less, for example, whatever it is, and have those open conversations. And I think you’ll be in a much stronger, stronger position. If, if you don’t do it if you don’t look at your pricing strategy. And I do believe that some businesses will be increasing their prices to to refute the claims that you know, downtime, but I don’t know how sustainable that is going to be longer term is particularly because other businesses are not going to be doing that, you know, having that approach. So I think it’s, it’s just making sure that you do what’s right for your business and what works for you and what’s sustainable for you. Without giving away your value for nothing really
Joe Glover 44:00
Yeah, yeah, it’s a tricky place to be. And I’ve seen a lot of folks giving away their services for free right now, which is quite is obviously very hard to people’s compete with that as well, you know, so I guess it’s, even if you see other people doing their thing, I guess there’s also a point of conviction in saying that,
Deepa Shah 44:23
I think at the moment, you know, it is about balanced as well. It really is about balance and who you’re supporting hate supporting them. And you know, the value that you’re creating and balancing that out with, what can I help with without having to charge
and you know, that that’s down to each individual, I guess, or each business?
Joe Glover 44:43
For sure. Absolutely. There’s that there’s an interesting experience here, which, I don’t know potentially we can unpack. Maybe we just have to share and let it out into the air, which is from Marie halen, who says I had a meeting about influencer gifting Finance and our head of finance didn’t understand why we would gift products to people in brackets who could afford our products, it didn’t they didn’t even know and understand that we also had to pay them so that we could talk about our products. And then she says that sometimes finance people are so unaware of marketing basics, it’s hard to have constructive conversations with them. As we almost have to start with education, which they’re not willing to admit
Deepa Shah 45:28
us with education and having an open conversation and going back to their we are wanting, here’s our business model, this is what we’re trying to achieve. This is the way to come up with influence. And it really goes back to that education piece. And if you I’m going to be totally blunt. If you’re not going to have a finance team that’s going to support you support the business integrate then you’ve got the wrong people in your finance team quite brutal about it. But I’ve worked with people like that and I very quickly got rid of people like that because that is not how you Create collaborative team. That is not how you create a successful business. A successful business requires every team to be integrated and collaborate and work together, irrespective of their roles and departments. So, uh, yeah, I mean, I’m quite, I’m quite opinionated on that view, because I am aware of people that do work in finance that are very black and white, and you know, there’s no grey, they don’t want to listen. Um, so I think having having teams that are going to support you who are open to listening, learning, being educated is going to be that that’s what that’s what a high performing effective team is going to be in your business.
Joe Glover 46:43
Absolutely. I guess. You know, that’s it’s really tricky situation and no doubt. You know, education as you say, is the is the is the starting point. I guess. The only thing I can add, you know, if you are In that situation and you find it, and you cannot get rid of the folks is stealth education, I guess is, you know, which, you know, is not it’s not ideal, but by any means, but you can help people along that process. And yeah, exactly.
Deepa Shah 47:16
It’s all about bringing people on the journey, you know.
And the more you can tell them about it, the more you can explain how it works, get them involved, you know, get them to get them involved in sessions that you do. It’s really, really important.
And the more they see, the more they’ll learn.
Joe Glover 47:33
It’s 100%. Okay, I’m quite mindful of time, we’ve probably got about 10 minutes left. So if we do like a bit of a rapid fire round, and then we’ll have an opportunity.
Deepa Shah 47:45
tough questions. If
Joe Glover 47:49
anyone does have some real tough ones, then I feel like maybe as the conversations progressed, a lot of it feels like it’s quite common sense but it’s also is really useful in that sense. But there’s one thing.
Deepa Shah 48:04
I think it’s reminders more than anybody knows it. I think it’s just reminding reminding everybody of things to think about and consider.
Joe Glover 48:14
Yeah, absolutely. There’s a question here from Fiona, which I think is really relevant actually, which is that she said that she wrote an article exploring integration of digital marketing teams and how that was quite a slow thing. And her thesis was that it was math anxiety, that caused like, the sort of slow integration of them to defined as negative emotional reaction to maths. In your experience, is maths capability amongst marketers, a potential driver of a less collaborative relationship between marketing and finance. I guess lead into that My thought, the first is that having heard what you said, when you’re telling your stories? Do you have to tell your stories with numbers to a finance person? And then that seems like a stupid question. But you know, is that the only thing they’re interested in or whether you know that story can be the far broader context. And it doesn’t have to be a spreadsheet, you know, which tells a story, it can be a
Deepa Shah 49:26
that doesn’t, it doesn’t have to be a spreadsheet, and it shouldn’t really be a spreadsheet because spreadsheets don’t tell you stories. They give you facts and numbers. And so I think is about you know, what, what is the broader context of what you’re trying to tell me and then how does it fit into the numbers? You know, how does it slot in there, though, okay, I’ve got this finger here, but tell me and tell me how we’ve got there. You know, what, what’s happened in the business, what’s happened with the client, what’s happened with work for us to get to this point. So the broader story is the most relevant to get Today, the number the number is the fact. But what’s happened before that is, is the most interesting piece. And I think I think all finance people or good finance people will be very, very open to hearing to hearing that and questioning in questioning and as well as sweet, cool,
Joe Glover 50:19
quick fire round. That was. Yeah. I feel like this could be a one word answer. Question from Sam, do you advise to set a benchmark ROI for all marketing spend?
Deepa Shah 50:34
Not all marketing spend. No, because if something gets intangible, how are you going to get an ROI for that? It depends on what it is.
Joe Glover 50:42
Yep. That that’s cool. That’s what I thought you’d say. There. Yeah. Okay. We have a anonymous question. Yes.
While they face that as to have to provide credit to customers, but what I possibly suggest might be a better answer is, is there a better? Is there a good scenario to potentially offer credit to customers? And what case would you sort of see that existing?
Deepa Shah 51:22
I don’t think you do need to provide credit to customers. Um, I think, you know, it goes back to what we spoke around payment terms, you know, you’re offering credit around payment term days, and what works for you and your business and that goes back to your sort of expenses, but I’m looking at things like your payroll, and that’s how you set the the credit terms. You know, payment terms are such great for your business, but you don’t need to set like, you know, in undated, like 90 day terms or something, if you if you’re a small business, which I think a lot of this community are, you need to be more aggressive around those terms and not just be nice all the time. A lot of the businesses that you’ll be working With a big businesses with pretty good cash flow, don’t need credit. And when you can help is, you know, on the flip side is you know that the smaller businesses that are working with you so freelancers for example, be nice to them, pay them on time. Any other smaller businesses that work with you just just be kinder to them around how you pay, you know how you, you pay them. But from a client perspective, if it’s if it’s a large client, then you know, no be aggressive around your terms and payment and think about your invoicing and payment schedule as well how you’re invoicing, the milestones, do you invoice them upfront for you know, X amount or whatever it is? Just have a think about that. So it’s not just about the payment term itself, but it’s also about how you invoice you know, how do you schedule an invoice, do you want to do everything at the end and not get paid for three months? Or do you want to break it out? So at least you’ve got some advance payment to get you going.
Joe Glover 52:54
But this is like the world’s geekiest question. I promise but like have you you’ve ever seen any, like, really amazing payment terms or clauses in contracts, which you’re like, Oh, that’s, that’s really smart, or I wish more people would do that, or, you know, that kind of
Deepa Shah 53:15
thing and it’s
Deepa Shah 53:17
Joe Glover 53:18
not can be really
Deepa Shah 53:21
cool. That’s really smart. No,
Deepa Shah 53:23
Deepa Shah 53:25
Okay. They usually tend to be pretty standard. If anything time, I’m negotiating better times, nine out of 10 times it’s usually the case. And funnily enough, it’s always the large, large clients that always have ridiculous you know, we’re not going to pay for 120 days but we have loads of cash. And we know you’re really tiny business so it’s usually the other way around, but nothing favourable. Actually, the only time that I have been able to spin it so it is super favourable, is when there’s rebates and volume discounts involved in a contract. And then they really will pay you on your terms because they want they want those cash rebates. But again, that’s a negotiation that you have to go through. I’ve never seen a contract that’s gone. got this amazing. I don’t
Deepa Shah 54:14
have any work to do.
Deepa Shah 54:17
Be nice, but unfortunately, with more and more procurement people involved in a lot of these negotiations, it’s Yeah, it’s tough.
Joe Glover 54:25
Okay, that’s true. I mean, like, that’s fine. I mean, that was like going down the rabbit hole. I’m sure if
Deepa Shah 54:33
anyone if anyone has come across it, I’d love to hear from you. And
Joe Glover 54:39
it’s like the worst in epi chat on it. Sweet. So last question we got from Lee. I guess I can kind of give a little bit of context this because he, so he asked this question about halfway through the conversation. The second thing is that Lee works for a Successful agency, there’s about 6070 people in the agency. He heads up the finance for that team. So yeah, they’ve historically been very transparent with their finances to the whole team. And I think they’ve probably got quite good relationship in the company. Everyone knowing about where the financial situation is. Yeah. So with that said to someone who heads up a reasonably successful financial team, a very, very successful financial. He’s just gone out with the most general question of all time, which is, what is your top tip or I guess, sneaky, in some shortcuts for a finance function right now? operating during the COVID crisis. But what am i top tips
Deepa Shah 55:49
for finance function?
Joe Glover 55:51
Yeah, he’s gone.
Deepa Shah 55:53
Oh my god. My top tip is don’t forget to have fun, even if it’s remotely even if it’s virtually People think that finance teams don’t have fun. I have had the most fun with all the finance teams that I’ve worked with. And I think just because your remote top tip, right now you’re going to be going through an incredibly tough time as a finance team, people are going to be on you all the time, you have got to be closer to your numbers. Before and want in instant information. It’s going to be hard it’s going to be really tough on all of you and the fact that you’re not all you know, I’m assuming that you’re not all working together, you’re all working at home or wherever. I think make sure that you stay connected, that you keep you know conversations going you have your team updates, whether what you know 10 minutes every morning or every week, whatever. Doing that and making sure you have some fun every week together as a team to help you release all the other crap that is going on. is super important. I think that is really that is really My top tip because right now you know your your role is more important than ever and you will be under pressure by everybody. So making sure that you celebrate yourself, your team. And you know, every week, make sure you take that moment out to do that. I think it’s really important.
Joe Glover 57:10
I love that. What a great What a great note to end on.
Deepa Shah 57:14
Everyone was so nice.
Deepa Shah 57:17
It was a useful session.
Deepa Shah 57:19
Sure. Yeah. Okay. I thought it was going on and on and on.
Joe Glover 57:27
That’s a fast 59 minutes, but I can speak for myself when I can say that you’ve successfully taken out a lot of the intimidation that finance has for me. So
Deepa Shah 57:41
if I find it all nice people, I promise. Yeah. Well, most of us are nice.
Joe Glover 57:49
People more than anything, you know, and I think when we relegate people to the CMO versus the CFO, or whatever that conversation is, then that that’s A very unproductive thing, but when it’s, you know, you know, you and me and we’re just having a chat. You know, that’s that’s a very different conversation. To finish off, I don’t know whether you want to spend like 10 seconds, just saying how, you know, you can sort of help people in the community.
Deepa Shah 58:20
You know, I’m always here to help. And you know, I can really help with things around but like financial planning, long term strategy, if you’re looking to sell a business in a few years time, if you’re looking to expand in new markets, I can help you do that. I can help you with your commercial and operation strategy. So looking at things like pricing strategy, looking at your commercial operation, structure, operations processes. So those are some of the core things that I’m really helping businesses right now. So you know, long term and short term, how do we help make sure that your business has come out of this period in a really strong pace, and a couple of other things I’m doing is just general business mentoring, so a lot of leaders have come to me for some, you know, talks about helping them and As a leader, where they’re taking their business to, and also any D work as well, so I do quite a bit of energy work, different boards. Those are just, you know, some of the areas I’m helping with. But you know, my experience as a CFO helps the majority of that. So I’m really working with small businesses and I’m really, really enjoying it.
I’m not regressing it yet.
Joe Glover 59:25
No, you shouldn’t, you know, we will laugh. We even say where you get away.
Deepa Shah 59:33
So much for having me. I really hope you found session useful.
Joe Glover 59:38
Absolutely. No, you know, there’s a lot of comments and down the right hand side, I’m not sure if you can see them, but
Deepa Shah 59:43
no, I can’t see them.
Joe Glover 59:45
All right, well, just know that there’s a lot of adoration going your way. So yeah, that’s very sweet. And thank you everyone for joining. My one ask, just to reinforce that is that if you can in the follow up, email Just take a second to thank the sponsors as well that keeps my business going as well and keeps the lights on. They’re really, really appreciated. So thank you everyone. Have a wonderful night and
Deepa Shah 1:00:11
thanks everybody. Bye bye
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How have events changed in reaction to COVID, and how to nail them now – Emma Honeybone, Head of Relationship Marketing, Engine Group
In the past couple of months we’ve seen a monumental shift in the events industry. The gut feeling would be that this changes everything. However, much has in fact stayed the same when it comes to putting on a great event. This session discusses both, before answering the community’s questions.
Things are hard right now. Chances are, they will get even tougher.
And while we can’t click our fingers and make things better, we wanted to do what we could to help. So, working with our friends and partners at Brand Recruitment and Pitch Consultants, we’re offering the community 30 minute CV sessions.
The coronavirus crisis will test us all as marketers. Mark Ritson doesn’t pretend to have the answers, but he has earned the right to have an opinion worth listening to after a storied career that has left him as one of the world’s best known marketers.
In this webinar, Lisa shares how brands are leveraging influencer campaigns in reaction to the Covid crisis.
You know how every brand in the world is messaging you that they’re there for you right now? Well, we got Sean Paul to do ours.
In this comprehensive webinar, Dave is questioned on a wide variety of marketing topics sent in by The Marketing Meetup Community.
In this comprehensive webinar, Rory addresses some of the failings COVID has brought to light and also the opportunities during this period of change.
Branding in the COVID-19 environment and beyond – Q&A with Margaret Molloy, Global CMO of Siegel+Gale
Margaret Molloy, Global CMO of Siegel+Gale, is one of the world’s foremost marketers when it comes to branding. The 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought into focus some of the key tenants of great brand strategy and implementation.
Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-Founder of SparkToro, has led companies through tough times before. And while this crisis is unique in some ways, there are lessons to be taken from experience in how to respond as marketers, and business owners to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
BAU is drowning us in a sea of indifference. We’re becoming part of the wallpaper. People walk past us every day, but they never stop to notice us.
Things need to change.
In this podcast, Mike Blake-Crawford, Strategy Director of Social Chain discusses how business as usual, is dead. He also explains how killer creative, along with a purposeful content strategy can make your brand stand out from the crowd.