How to prove the value of marketing

Daniel Gilbert, Founder & CEO of Brainlabs
This session is relevant because as marketers, it’s not good enough to do something and expect the budget to keep on flowing when you haven’t proven the value of it. This session is important because as marketers, we often do a bad job in marketing ourselves and communicating our role in a company. This session is important, because we have one of the world’s most unique thinkers on marketing in our company for an hour, so by the end, I hope you would have learned something new, had your perspective shifted.

Key takeaways on how to prove the value of marketing

  • Media is no longer about buying power—it’s about brainpower.
  • Ad copy is no longer for wordsmiths—it’s for computer scientists running thousands of micro A/B tests to optimize performance.
  • Targeting is no longer guided by intuition—it’s calculated through data analysis.
  • Impact is no longer estimated—it’s measured.
  • Better businesses don’t just test and learn—they turn those learnings into new challenges, and then into earnings (“Test and Earn”)


Step 1: Find out what the business cares about—your business’s core capabilities support the Test-Learn-Earn loop.

  • Test
    • Data Measurement
    • Testing
  • Learn
    • Testing
    • Insights
      • Earn
    • Challenge
      • Team
      • Strategy


Step 2: Do whatever it takes to measure that—optimize the loop.

  • When your measurements are no good, the loop falls apart.
  • Aim for repeatability.


Step 3: Link all your marketing to it.

  • Launch
  • Emerging
  • Expansion
  • Complexity
  • Best-in-Class


Q and A on how to prove the value of marketing

Q: How do you look to measure or explain the value of top-of-the-funnel activity/brand-building marketing?

A: I don’t buy into the distinction between “brand marketing” and “performance marketing”. Test ideas about where your brand could be, have the right framework to be able to measure those, and take those insights to actually try and understand what your customers care about and what they don’t.


Q: With wall gardens such as Facebook and Google across the digital ecosystem, how would you suggest overcoming data management challenges when you cannot afford an expensive provider?

A: The first thing is to accept that none of those measurement models are perfect in the first instance. I’m not against attribution models. There’s a place for them. But you’ve got to come up with your own ways, particularly in the case of wall gardens, to measure and tie back to business outcomes some of your marketing activities. I’d ditch impression-level optimization for bigger marketing problems for now. Always ask if what you’re spending on marketing is what you’re getting in return. Do this before optimizing campaigns, keywords, Facebook ads, etc.


Q: How did you find your biggest clients?

A: They definitely didn’t come from phone calls! The big secret to business success is retention. Build a reputation by finding that one big client and capitalizing on the confidence and success that comes from them.


Q: If you could start your career over again, what would you do sooner?

A: The success of your business or your career is a reflection of what you put into it. Double your joy and energy when doing your work, and you’ll double the value you put into it at the same time. That’s what I’d do.


Q: How can a creative mind develop a more analytical understanding and appreciation of marketing?

A: Play to your strengths—find your superpower. It’s okay not to work on your weaknesses but to instead surround yourself with people who fill in those gaps.


Daniel approached his talk by structuring as so:

  • Why we need to prove the value of marketing, heading back to the ‘Mad Men’ roots
  • Daniel’s test, learn, challenge, earn approach
  • Why marketers and advertisers are less trusted than policitians
  • Daniel’s model for truly understanding what matters to organisations
  • Why we are not the CFO’s enemy
  • A model for marketing: strategy, team, insight, testing, measurement
  • Why it’s vital to simply understand what a business wants
  • Daniel’s insight into growing an agency

Daniel’s profile:

Daniel is possible the most successful marketer we know. In 2012, he founded Brainlabs – an agency with a mission: make marketing more scientific.

Through experimentation, a mathematical approach to marketing and a very human approach to building a company that also does good, Daniel has lead Brainlabs to be a 400+ person company, picking up clients such as Vans, Expedia, Which, Bed Bath and Beyond and a shed full of awards along the way.

On a personal level, Daniel is one of the most influential marketers we’re aware of. Joe, our founder said “When I worked agency-side before taking The Marketing Meetup full time, it was fair to say we could barely move without seeing Daniel everywhere with his regular contributions to PPC Hero, eConsultancy and many more. You’ll have to check out his linkedin profile picture to know what I’m talking about, but at the time it was almost like his little avatar was smiling directly at me, saying ‘here I am again!’. While at the time this was amazing, in the time since this has turned into nothing but respect for Daniel’s knowledge, passion, and eloquence. If you told me Daniel didn’t sleep, it wouldn’t surprise me.”

Basically, thank you for doing what you do for our industry, Daniel.


So the broadcast button has been pressed. So you gradually start seeing the participants number shoot up.

Unknown Speaker 15:27
Just mean you

Daniel Gilbert 15:30
it’s just me. This is also why I was never into events businesses, history of relapse because you know, I think it’s like this maybe childhood insecurity. You have a party and no one turns up.

Joe Glover 15:42
Well, right now

Daniel Gilbert 15:44
we bought businesses that have events and then we can do as events.

Joe Glover 15:49
Absolutely. Well, presently we have 152 and rising people in our party so people are turning up. So

Daniel Gilbert 15:59
party, they

Joe Glover 16:03
So everyone, season two, Episode Two. Today is webinar day, and it’s mid afternoon, which is very different. But everyone Welcome. Do pop in the comments box in the chat box where you’re watching from. There was 152 when I checked a second ago, but there’ll be more coming in. Let us know where you’re watching from, it’d be wicked to see that. Today, our guest is Daniel Gilbert, who’s the founder and CEO of brain labs. In 2012. He founded brain labs, an agency with a mission, make marketing, more scientific, through experimentation, a mathematical approach to marketing and a very human style of building a company. Daniel’s built something very significant that also does good. Daniel has led brick brain labs to be a 400 plus person company, picking up clients vans, Expedia which Bed Bath and Beyond and a couple of high profile acquisitions, as well as a shedload of awards along the way. It’s been a pretty crazy eight years no doubt on a personal level, Daniel, someone that I’ve learned a whole lot from when I worked agency side before taking the marketing meetup full time. It’s fair to say that I could barely move without seeing Daniel everywhere with his regular contributions to PPC hero, he consultancy and many more. You kind of have to check out his LinkedIn profile picture. It’s not what I’m talking about here. But it was at that time, like where it almost felt like his little avatar was smiling directly at me. Just saying, Here I am again, here I am. And while at the time, I will confess to a semblance of jealousy. Daniel success, this has turned into nothing but respect for his knowledge, passion, and his eloquence. And that’s really quite something to have built over the course of eight years. And if you told me Daniel didn’t sleep, it wouldn’t surprise me. So right now, if we’re going to sum up that that little section, I’d say we have a person very much worth listening to. And as a final aside, I can also testify to him being a thoroughly nice chap, to lift the curtain to the backstage interactions. He’s been nothing but thoroughly friendly, open, willing and sort of wanted to understand the community so we could put together something that’s going to be really useful to. So today’s session is called proving the value of marketing. It’s relevant because as marketers it’s not good enough to just do something and then expect the budget to keep on flowing. When you haven’t proven the value of that activity. It’s also important Because as marketers, we often do a bad job in marketing ourselves and communicating our roles within companies. Today’s session is important, because we have one really unique thinker on marketing in our company for an hour. So hopefully by the end, you did learn something new. And your perspective shifted, and had a bunch of things you can implement at the end. The session will run as a presentation. But very, very crucially, we’re going to be taking your questions. So wiggle your mouse down the bottom, you’ll be able to see the q&a feature. That’s the place where you stick your questions, not the chat box. If you stick your questions in the q&a that makes my life easier and we can make sure that the right questions get asked Daniel Don’t forget to use the thumbs up feature in there as well because if you see a question that you like, you can just walk it up and we’ll take them from the top. Also, if you are commenting in the chat box, don’t forget to switch your messages to all panellists and attendees Otherwise, only me and Daniel can see it, which if you want to only message us, that’s one thing. But if you will have a chat with a wider community, do switch that to all panellists and attendees and then you can communicate with everyone else.

Finally, before I hand over to Daniel, I just want to thank the sponsors. I feel like people are starting to take the Mick out of me by how much I actually make sure that they are thanked but it’s so so important. These sponsors will keep the show on the road, so to speak with the marketing metre. And you as the community have been amazing supporting them too, just by thanking them by using their services by engaging with them. We show our value when we’re talking about proving the value of marketing to these sponsors, which is incredible. I won’t go into depth here because we’ve spoken about the sponsors here but also before in the email and will do so in the follow up email. But very quickly, too many them here we’ve got pitch content cow fibre red gate, came to Martin college leading brand further third, light, bravo and human. My only ask with each of these brands, you’ll see in the follow up email, there’s a follow up message where their LinkedIn profiles have been linked. Just take the time to message them. It makes them feel appreciated, which they are, and allows us to sort of communicate with the community directly. All that said, that’s my introduction done. So Daniel is 212 people in our party today. So over to my friend,

Daniel Gilbert 21:36
I thank you very much more glorious introduction. So thank you very much. They were excited to be here to meet the community. I see in the comments flying in on the right ready, mountain. Thank you for remembering that remarketing campaign.

And a classic. I was going to as I mentioned to Joe, and leave as much time as possible for questions because I understood that the community likes To interact. So I’ve got my opening piece, which I hope sparks some debate. And but I’ve kept keeping it relatively short and snappy, with some with some cool kind of takeaways that I think. And you’ll find, perhaps more straightforward than you’re expecting. So anyway, here we go. Joe, give me a thumbs up if that’s up on the screen. Because I can see you in a tiny thumbnail and no one else, all the comments coming in.

Joe Glover 22:26
Yep, you’ll get a lot getting

Daniel Gilbert 22:29
feedback. You have to shout out to me, and then that includes insults. We’ll take those two. Sounds good. Firstly, hello. And the best place to reach me is on LinkedIn. I’m very active on their post regularly and you can find me there. And I wanted to talk today about measure measurement of marketing. And in order to do so I thought it was useful to give a brief kind of tour of history to understand where we are today and where we come from as a marketing industry. So, if you rewind 30 or 40 odd years, the marketing industry and the disciplines within marketing were creative and commercial, you had your kind of Mad Men and your media agencies, so come up with brilliant ideas and then purchase space centralise that package it and we sell it to clients. And, you know, I think it’s worth remembering that in 1973, there was three TV channels, one of which carried advertising. So if you described advertising in that time, it required its own type of genius. But of course, I’m painting the picture for how quickly that’s changed to a new type of genius required within the last few years. So this graph shows us biteable as a portion of media overall. It’s also called Digital search, auction based media. There’s lots of different versions of it or even digital it speaks to the way that the media is traded, not necessarily the actual media itself, so TV at some point is not going to disappear, but it will become traded programmatically. And that’s not the purpose of today. That’s, you know, that’s that’s quite widely agreed with most industry experts. It’s a case of when not if, and and it’s not really the point that I’m trying to get to today, because even if you don’t think it’s gonna happen, well, 50 to 60% is already digital. And so it’s highly relevant. Regardless, it’s within that portion of digital, it’s either half or going to be all of media, and that the rules have changed from that kind of creative and commercial that I showed you earlier. And in the right, there’s some comments on there about buying power kind of disappearing. Those of you that buy Google or Facebook ads know that it’s an auction so there’s no discounts. Harder, some people might try, they do not exist and everyone can bid at the same price. With without Computer connection really. These days, in certain instances, ad copy is not about one brilliant piece of creative. It’s about multiple iterations and testing those to work out what speaks best to each customer. And that’s the kind of test and learn I’ve referenced in the title. And likewise, targeting isn’t intuitive. It’s not the opinion of one cmo who thinks that they know their customer. And we can calculate responses from customers through analysis. And lastly, to the main point of this presentation, or webinar, the impact doesn’t need to be estimated we can measure impact if we choose to do so. So in this kind of testing, learn era, and people that have run digital campaigns, I think it will be native to him, I think, and I don’t want to preach to the converted Joe. So thumbs up if this is the community that’s well aware. And I think one of the core ingredients are we all understand potentially that high performing marketing businesses. In a digital era use this kind of process of testing. Because this kind of loop where we test something, and we learn something from that, and you only have to call out the likes of a booking calm as the sort of leader in the digital space, it’s quite well known the kind of testing engines that they’ve built. And better businesses don’t just test to learn, they, they, they turn those learnings into new challenges that they can take back to the business and then they test those and they kind of operate in that iterative loop. There’s another distinction that I want to throw in today, which is relevant for our purposes, which kind of breaks out from that loop, and then activates some of those learnings as earnings. I call this process testing land. And I’m aware that learnings is not a real word. Thank you for all of those commenting, no one commented that yet.

And I also wanted to point out that earnings Is yes at the heart of the framework that I think we should be using to run effective marketing activity. And, and I don’t know, at what point this became the norm. But marketers seem quite free to talk about money. And actually, I think that’s a mistake. And I think one of the biggest mistakes that the marketing industry is made as a whole. I saw a brilliant article by Tom wrote travelleave, his name is come out the other day, that’s well worth a read. And I’ll get Joe to add a link to it as we distribute materials, but and he kind of references this idea that marketers are references the data that hopefully all of you would have seen all your wonderful folks and seen that marketers or advertisers are the least trusted group of people out of any and organisational unit scoring lower than even politicians and forgive me I don’t remember the number but it was. It was low double digit percentage of people that actually trusted Thousands of marketers and so he interprets the even this kind of recent push towards brand purpose or meaningfulness, etc. in marketing, as you know, this kind of company what his words are, but it’s this this kind of need to feel more important significant or value additive than perhaps, than perhaps people give us credit for because people think that we can’t be trusted. Whereas my kind of response to this is actually doubling down on what we should be doing, which is making more money for businesses. And there’s no shame in that much like there’s no shame in sales. We are helping connect people with the products of the businesses that we represent. So I say earnings. And yes, I think we should be afraid to talk about profit or shareholder value. And if those times any of those times are fear, feel or seem Unusual to you, then that’s probably my challenge. Number one is understand the metrics that actually drive a business and are actually important to a business. So we’ll come on to this afterwards. But one way or one useful tool that I found of doing that is, is asking someone in the business whether your agency side, I think we’re kind of 5050 split. And if you were to ask the business, what they’re trying to achieve, the first answer is not normally profit earning shareholder value, even though they might say, customer engagement.

And one way that I found to really

unlock this or arrive at the true answer is this kind of five why’s process. Okay, so why do you want to track customer engagement? So if because if we do well with customer engagement, then you know, customers will keep coming back and have a great product. Okay, why don’t why don’t customers keep coming back? Why yyyy and eventually more or less, depending on the structure of the business, you’ll come back to something that fundamentally links to long term value creation in the business. Right. So earnings, shareholder value, long term profit, etc. and profit being a measure of sustainability. Right. And I don’t, I’m not getting at profiteering here. I’m talking about em conscious capitalism. Insofar as it’s not necessarily one or the other. And, you know, for the purposes of this talk, probably not probably slightly off topic, so I won’t go into it. But most businesses stated aim is to make a profit. And, and understanding that realising that depending on where you are in your careers, sometimes it takes people entire careers to realise that and the sooner you kind of recognise that, and the quicker that we can make marketing relevant again. And I think, you know, I don’t I wouldn’t understate this either. Apart from being the least trusted people. CMOS, who are I suppose the people that we would all look up to as the ultimate kind of pinnacle of seniority within our particular stream, also the least trusted member of the boardroom. So 80% of CEOs in a recent study, either didn’t trust or weren’t sure about the CMM. And you know, if those types of surveys with their slightly patchy data, don’t float your boat, then have a look at the more empirical data around longevity in the boardroom of each of those roles, because then a shorter serving member, so something’s going wrong there. Right. And, and I would argue that it’s probably baked up in this kind of process here, which is where’s that link to earnings, where’s the link back to the business to be able to say that what we do is bringing value to the business in the same way that every other part of the business is expected to do.

Unknown Speaker 31:56
I saw some

Daniel Gilbert 32:00
That’s a commentary. And I think Joe might have been included in this I can’t remember but this this popular kind of trip around look, you know, after, after a recession, the brands that succeed are the ones that invest a comment what it is exactly. And, and you know, don’t cut your marketing budgets, etc, etc, etc. and respectfully, like I looked at that, particularly as we were going through a post covid moment where obviously braindumps represents, I suppose the market as a whole, right, we’ve got lots of different clients from different sectors, so really representative of the market. So we took a real downturn. And, of course, we cut our marketing campaigns, like, it doesn’t mean that they’re off forever. But but when it’s a choice between discretionary spend, and people, you often go for the discretionary spend and slot and it’s not that surprising. And then I think connected to that. And what we didn’t carve was the part of our marketing that we could link to sales. So you know, I think there’s something thing in there for everyone, which is. And don’t be surprised if stuff gets cut when you can’t link that to actual value creation within the business. And don’t be surprised if your job is at peril because you can’t link it to success in the business. And don’t be surprised if no one listens to you or thinks you’re not important. And if you can’t take or understand the very simple principle between, you know, from company to company about how that business makes money, and what they care about most. And I don’t mean that to sound threatening, because it’s actually much more of an opportunity. Because the moment you get to do that is the moment you’ll start to see careers, decisions kind of accelerate around you. Rather than being the CFO of enemy for example. So, and the core capabilities in a business can support this kind of test them test them early. So starting with a challenge, turning into a test, learning from that test and then turn that test And so I’ve tried to summarise here, what I think are the kind of components or capabilities within a business that support this. And it starts with a strategy, which I guess using different terminology could just be an idea. Everything starts with an idea, any marketing campaign has an idea. And that’s where that creative genius still exists. By the way, it’s my reference, the kind of creative and commercial that definitely hasn’t disappeared in this new version of marketing. It’s just that there’s this kind of scientific layer in between that we’ll get onto in a moment. And so you’ve got ideas, and it still requires a certain type of genius to come up with brilliant ideas. And there’s an element of that I don’t think can come from machines, Ai, or any of the other fancy data stuff that we might talk about later. It’s a it’s an art part of it not to science. But then, of course, in order to turn that idea into a test where we either validate or invalidate that idea, before we can take that to a channel tense, we have to know through the kind of data measurement Section. Oh, hang on, I am I can annotate colour.

Joe Glover 35:05
You’re gonna get fancy here with the

Daniel Gilbert 35:11
face, I realised I was pointing at my screen, see where I’m pointing to this webinar well.

So before you can turn your ideas into channel tests, we, we need to set up the right data measurement framework. And that is to say, you cannot successfully run a test. If you don’t know what success looks like before you started running that test. It sounds kind of obvious, but I’ll kind of come back and circle back to that in a moment because it happens more than you would say. So you’ve got an idea you’ve got the right way to measure right when we when we run a test, is this gonna work? Then you have to have the right capability to execute those tests within channels that could be search social programmatic, SEO and digital channels. Do my hair not offline at the moment. And you know, there is a different level of skill in different organisations, of course that you have to build in that area. Some are geared up to test at scale, and some aren’t. And, and I think it’s that scale bit that I’m really interested in. Because if you want to test big ideas, not tactical ideas, you’ve got to be geared up to kind of measure that correctly and test it. So by way of example, I’m not that interested in, for example, an on site test. And it was a spin off of the oversimplified Expedia test of changing a coloured button colour from green to orange or something and making $5 million extra. And that sort of stuff is tactical, probably overhyped, and in the context of the multibillion dollar business is not actually that much. And so probably over marketed like, what we really want to be testing is is, likewise in any ads for example, like Sure, you can test multi different versions of I copied I think winning for me is when we test big ideas like product flows, and entire products, for example, and the entire website flows, systems, attribution models, etc. In any case, I’m waffling. So let’s move on to the next part of the wheel, which is around the insights. And again, if they’re big tests with big strategic ideas, then there’s some level of data science required to interpret them, right? Like it’s not straightforward to interpret, multi stage multi product type test. And that’s the point at which analysis becomes big data. The only difference really is that there’s lots of it. So apart from that, don’t get don’t get too upset by the term data science. And but critically, I think the power of insights or data science team is to then take those insights and then feed them back through the team into new challenges or new ideas. So It’s not just about implementing them and implementing the successful ideas. It’s about feeding the loop. It’s about feeding the loop so that we use insights from those big tests to come up with. Oh,

Unknown Speaker 38:14
we lost me. Yeah, with last year.

Unknown Speaker 38:21
Stopping halfway through the loop.

Unknown Speaker 38:25
You guys, it’s Oscar.

Joe Glover 38:27
So this is actually the top question here. From Leslie is, Daniel’s camera is such high quality. What’s the secret for this?

Unknown Speaker 38:39
I tell you, I really want to go into my whole routine. It’s nothing to do with the cameras.

Daniel Gilbert 38:46
Guys and Joe, and I just had an old dlsr camera hanging around and there’s this piece of tech called an Elgato cam link and you plug it in and it kind of behaves as a camera.

Maybe I’ll send a little link around to you.

Joe Glover 39:02
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, that’d be good. Yeah, we’ll add it to the book. Anyway, we digress.

Unknown Speaker 39:08
Thanks for appreciating.

Daniel Gilbert 39:12
So we digress here we are back on the slides back with the camera and and talking about how that data measurement piece that’s got lots of beautiful squint squiggly lines around it, and is his quarter kind of the loop and probably one of the areas to my earlier point where and we see businesses fail more often than not. Now how do I turn off this tricky thing? There we go.

Oh, I still got my annotations on the screen. So what we do,

Joe Glover 39:44
that’s hilarious.

Daniel Gilbert 39:47
Okay, all drawings. There we go. So here, here I have given an example. And if you think about a wheel like you need all of these parts of your kind of team or your capabilities working well together to deliver a brilliant data driven testing programme. So you need great ideas at the top. And the one that we were kind of focusing on today was this data measurement piece. And this is what I’ve observed in many different teams. There’s lots of good ideas. And that’s a process in and of itself, right? The creative process is not just individual brilliance. These days, it can be customer surveys, internal surveys, the CEOs, opinion, the CMO, CMOS opinion, taken an interpreted and all carefully brought into, you know, tests that are weighted by how lucky they are to be impactful, and how big they are really, how likely they are to fail as well. So it’s not a good indicator. And so there was a process into that kind of focus for today was on that kind of measurement piece, which is critical to the kind of testing and loop and saying, Look this, this team has great strategy. And the data measurement isn’t right. They’ve got loads of ability to test at scale because got great insights team, they’ve got great team overall. But and in data measurement, they do not they cannot measure the success of the individual tests in a way that’s agreed across the whole of the business and in a way that’s then linked to what that business value is at its most. So it is not the same metric for every business. And there are too many, having looked at the audience list, there are too many different types of business. And every single one of them will have a different way of defining their own success, how its measured, what the business thinks is important and what isn’t. and easiest way to find out is ask and if you can’t currently give an eloquent description of how your business makes money, and then take that as today’s kind of first takeaway Go Go and ask some people and ask your CFO You know, they’re often locked in the backroom so they love talking to marketing people. But really like that would be my my first kind of challenge to you is in the process of doing so. Trying to understand how a business really works. And much like you would do, I’m sure client side or agency side, if you’re trying to write a good marketing response to a brief, they really are trying to understand the client and what motivates them and what they’re trying to achieve. And I think it’s the same thing here, but in the context of how the business really works, and digging deeper to try and find out what it is. So, and it’s difficult to say what best in class data measurement looks like, on an individual level, but on a kind of macro level. It’s that we can track the success or otherwise of any idea, no matter what size and there is an agreed upon set of metrics across the whole business that are shared.

And it links to a

metric with longevity within the business. So repeatability that’s it. So I think that’s the kind of focus of course, and I think given you this diagram, but of course, it says great strategy and we can measure it, but that no testing capability, things can fall down there. And equally, if the insights are no good, then it might be that we’ve run some, we’ve got some brilliant ideas that we can measure. And we’ve run great tests for but no one can actually interpret those or feed them back to the business. Which, again, is a failure point. But the kind of topic for today, before we can switch to questions was around data measurement, the importance of measurement overall, to a business and hopefully, some of what I’ve presented has helped demystify that a little bit. Because it’s not mathematics necessarily. It’s it’s more commercial than that. The masses, stuff can happen at the insights level. But you know, the understanding of the core business and linking back our activity to that doing everything that we humanly can to understand that and link back to it is what really will make our marketing or us as marketers more successful. Each and every one of you really in their own way, I believe As you interact with your businesses overall, so I’m trying to I’m trying to go to the next slide and Miami, there we go. No, shut down and I’m never annotating again, I’ll tell you, I’ll practice my annotations. So there you go. And I want to open this up to a discussion, but just kind of recap some what I would call simple steps. And so find out what the business cares about ask, just keep asking, ask different people, ask senior people within the business, ask their bosses, also the CFO, and find out what they’re really measuring what they really care about, or what they have to report to their stakeholders about. And if you’re a publicly listed business, read, do read the shareholder report and see what they actually have to report on because that’s really what they’re worried about. So when you go, they’re saying our CPA has gone up by three pounds and our impressions have gone up by x. And they don’t care because it’s not linked to anything that they’re accountable for. responsible for find out what it is, then then do whatever it takes to measure that. And there was always a way. I appreciate that in certain channels, it’s more complex, that we don’t have a perfect view of people online. I think that’d be a mistake to even suggest that there’s no way that we have even full visibility in digital that line offline. And but there are proxies for that, right. That’s where that’s where you start using what we’ve kind of always used which is proxies for success. And, and then finally, link all of your marketing to that. So report on your marketing according to what the business cares about. And make sure that it’s simple to kind of take away from that. And then, lastly, enjoy your newfound marketing, fame and success.

stop sharing I will also stop annotating

Joe Glover 46:00
But the the killer of presentation flow

is the annotation stuff. And right thank you so much, Daniel. That was That was awesome. And the reason why it was awesome was because I think there was an element of hard truth in there, which is ground your marketing in the money and or whatever matters to the business, which is often money, which is something I think we so often need to hear. But I think, you know, as much as anything else, it also removes that kind of that mystery about this, this this stuff because at the end of the day when we speak about individuals and businesses, and so often we we relegate people to like these, the CFO role or the CMO role or whatever, but at the end of the day, they’re human beings and those human beings have a set of needs, which quite clearly needs to be matched. So if you match those, then you’re onto a winner and you can enjoy As you say, your your marketing, fame and success. So,

Unknown Speaker 47:04
thank you very much guaranteed.

Joe Glover 47:07
No, no, no, well, no, but there’s, there’s obviously a lot of hard work involved in every one of those steps. But, you know, that is also our job, you know. So if you were to sort of present that, well, that seems like a really good starting point. And so we’ve got some a bunch of questions that have come in. But folks, if you’ve got more questions, then do drop them into the q&a feature, just found down below. And if you see any questions that you’d like, likewise, please give them a thumbs up so they can get to the top. And there seems to have been some themes that have come out too. And even though today we’re speaking about how to prove the value of marketing, some people are looking to benefit from your experience in growing an agency as well. So hopefully, you won’t mind taking so No, of course.

Daniel Gilbert 47:56
I asked you about and that as well in case that was like an interesting angle. Sure,

Joe Glover 48:01
though, there’s certainly some interesting folks here. So we’ll get back to those questions. But first on the first topic, so we’ve got a question from James, my mate James, who says it’s a question about brand marketing. So he says, How do you look to measure explain the value of the top of funnel activity slash brand building marketing? brands wants to look great, have great interactions with clients, but I usually focused on the on the, on the dollars, so to speak.

Daniel Gilbert 48:32
Yeah, I think it’s a super question. And I didn’t and I didn’t actually reference this in the talk, but I actually, I actually don’t buy into the distinction between brand and performance marketing. I think it’s an unhelpful distinction. If you took, I suppose classic examples of like brand building marketing, versus like bottom of the funnel, and they were like funnels, but they At the bottom of the funnel search marketing, right like someone, Google’s your product and then clicks on it. And versus let’s say like top of the funnel, proper brand building Coca Cola type will advertise on TV, we have no expectation that you’re going to go and purchase a Coca Cola after seeing that. And the difference between those, yes, you can call one brand performance. But the difference fundamentally is the ROI model. It is not the Coca Cola do not have a measurement model for measuring the ROI of their marketing, right. They’re highly trained, highly successful marketers and quite brilliant. And their their model is not a last click model. It is not. It is not a immediate response model. It’s a completely different one. So like you’ve got that kind of difference between those. So I think you know, it’s a great question. I think the same to me the same logic applies both to I didn’t I wasn’t specifying I guess performance marketing. That’s the kind of logic I would apply to and to brand marketing which is Put out ideas, test ideas about where your brand could be, have the right framework to be able to measure those, and then take those insights to actually try and understand, you know, what your customers care about and what they don’t. So definitely not anti brand, you know, I’m a absolute, fervent brand advertising supporter, but just don’t think it’s immune to, to being linked to some sort of profits, shareholder value, revenue, and, and if it’s truly not linked, then and it’s very welcome in canon as as art. But to me, it’s not it’s not marketing, and it kind of misses the point of what we’re, what we’re really tasked or supposed to be trained to do. And by the way, I’m not trying to take any of the fun out of it right, some of the most amazing advertising you know, is truly creative, but like, you know, its effectiveness. I’m really interested in and I think we should be focused on. And that doesn’t, that’s not to do a disservice. Like, I love art as well. And, you know, I just don’t think it’s part of our core role what we’re supposed to be selling. And so yeah, like I think both and like a balance between the two is, well, it’s almost like actually like the framework. This kind of test and learn or testing framework is what I would use to try and understand what the balance between brand building and activation should actually be within a business, right? Like, there’s a lot of theory out there. And a lot of is well studied and kind of looked at but, and a lot of that is postulation. Right and until you kind of experiment with that, so by way of example, and, you know, splitting a country into and having like a, you know, 70% upper funnel, 30% lower funnel strategy in half and the reverse and the other one and actually seeing overall what’s more impactful on your business. Because it’s really quite difficult to do with econometrics and econometrics is quite static almost, you have to gather lots of data and look back. So I’m much more in favour of understanding, or at least experimenting with the truth in a marketing model. And, you know, I think, when you think when you think about what that means, or what it links back to, it’s kind of this kind of scientific method. And the same is actually true of a lot of kind of your classic science, in terms of how drugs are discovered. People try out a bunch of different ideas, and then they arrive at the answer. And then, of course, like they’re rationalised afterwards as though it was meant to be or it was obvious, but really, they have a bunch of different ideas at the beginning, tested alone and saw that something worth. And so I think, you know, it’s not it’s not to be scorned upon I think actually actively encouraged and managed around in a marketing context.

Joe Glover 53:00
No, that makes perfect sense. And yeah, no. Great. So we got a question now from George who says, with walled gardens with examples of Facebook and Google, across the digital marketing ecosystem, how would you suggest overcoming data management challenges? Sorry, john, I missed the very start outside. So with walled gardens, such as Facebook and Google, across the digital marketing ecosystem, how would you suggest overcoming data management challenges where you cannot afford expensive provider?

Daniel Gilbert 53:33
pile the pressure on Google and Facebook to reduce the walled gardens?

Well, I mean, I’ve spoken to both of them quite actively about it. Yeah. Anyway, let’s let’s not get into that. What can you practically do as a marketer? Today? I think Firstly, except that like there was that none of those measurement models were perfect in the first instance. So I see a lot of stuff going around around attribution and like coming from quiet Data Science, the background. And I was always a bit suspicious of attribution and how it was sold as a product because, like, it doesn’t reflect how people buy. But we all know this from personal experience, right? Like even a holiday purchase. It’s not it’s not one journey on one computer, or across devices that you’re all logged into the same thing on. There’s conversations that you have offline that reflects most I would say, if not, if not, if not a minority. And so you’re kind of starting with a very imperfect data set to begin with, you know, which further losers by like ad blockers, Cookie blockers, changing of devices, browsers, etc, etc. To the extent that like, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re kind of dealing with a sort of 40 or 50% data set that’s kind of presented as an empirical truth. So I’m not against attribution models. I think there’s there’s a place for them, there’s value for it. And to the point about Ward Gordon’s you know, that makes it even worse because you haven’t got one single view of the truth anywhere. That’s where this kind of skill in measurement comes around because you can’t rely on that. And and you’ve got to come up with your own ways, in some instances of actually measuring and tying back to real business outcomes of your marketing activity, if it needs to be more top level than click level or impression level. And then then so beer right like that’s you can you can optimise towards micro KPIs within channel but still link that at a greater level outside of those channels, which is kind of what we’re forced to do at the moment. Maybe in a non walled garden world, and there’s more data available, and we can do a better job of impression level optimization, I probably ditch that and focus on some big bigger marketing problems. Such as

Joe Glover 55:50
that. That’s a really interesting point, actually. So one of the thoughts that came to me over the course of the presentation was, you know, as you observed about our Since there’s a bunch of people that are a bunch of levels in different size companies, so obviously we speak to a lot of people, and a fairly significant amount of those folks will be in slightly smaller companies. So they’re not necessarily gonna have access to the same big data or as you know, your your experience of whoever they may be. How do you begin to adapt, you know, this sort of data measurement approach? Is it you take the approach and then you just apply it on a smaller scale? Or are there specific lessons that folks can be taken?

Daniel Gilbert 56:33
Yeah, at a smaller scale, I think, if anything, is, is being deliberate about having it’s being deliberate about the strategy, not just inheriting what’s already there necessarily, or what someone else told you is done in the team. And it you know, I would always try and start from all the way at the top down, right, like every business no matter what size no matter what sophistication, is going to want to know. What do I spend on marketing? And what do I get in return? And if that’s the first thing that you work on before you start optimising campaigns, keywords, Facebook ads, creatives, etc. And then then just stop and do that. That would be my, my sage advice, take take it, experiment with it, I guess. But honestly, like, that’s, that’s where we begin and then everything down there from from there. It’s like, it’s a progression downwards. So,

Joe Glover 57:26
yeah, I love that. That’s really cool. Thank you very much that’s very accessible. And actually, you know, the takeaway from this talk is about how human, you know, describing and demonstrating the value of marketing is, you know, but it’s obviously backed up with a whole tonne of, of data as well. So if we if we take a step change, because there are some folks who are interested in your agency background as well, and you’ve obviously been just like, your journeys been ridiculous. It’s so like, I mean, it’s so so impressive. So we’ve got a question here. From the Lucas himself runs a young agency who says you’re only eight years into your journey, so to speak. I mean, previously a Googler, but eight years into the green labs journey. So how did you get in front of the bigger clients that you now serve? Were your best channels, referrals, awards, or was it your good old phone calls?

Daniel Gilbert 58:24
definitely wasn’t phone calls.

There’s never one moment right? I think

oh, well, I mean, I’ll answer the question and forgive me if this is not relevant for half of the community. But there was a what like, two years maybe into the business there was four or five of us I think at the time and we got this thing called an RSI from a from a business called which are known for reviewing products and services and bless them in their process for selecting agents. They carried over their core products, which was review every product and service in the industry, which meant interview every agency. And thank God they did, because we were on this very, very long list of 72 agencies or something that they interviewed. And I think like to shorten the kind of process, they’ve been through lots of different approaches, they’ve been through large networks, independence, mid mid tier independence, etc, etc. When we showed up, like, you know, without really understanding how the agency ecosystem worked at the time, if I’m honest, and we just presented like stuff that probably thematically relates to what we’ve covered today, which is like, they presented us with a, you know, like an LTV model. I think it wasn’t going back five or six years now. They presented us with like an LTV model. And we’d kind of taken that divvied up and then turned it into a slightly different model and showed how sensitive it was to improvements, you know, higher fun. So it was different at the time, I think You know, the market has really caught up with some of that. But it was it was it really stood out at the time. And I think they just wanted to try something different. And they were not from a digital perspective, like, they tried a bunch of stuff and it wasn’t working. And so that was the kind of first big client that we got in front of them. I think we were probably a bit nervous in all honesty, partly because they were 65% of our business when we first signed.

But partly because it was a true test run. They were a large business with large fees. And

the stuff that we’ve been doing that we thought was really cool. You know, this was kind of like, Whoa, this is this is a big deal. And so I think that was probably the inflection point was because we started applying some of that methodology. It really worked. They they are still a client. They’ve grown thankfully, they’re not 60% of our business anymore. They Forgive me for saying they’re an amazing client that have been on an incredible transformation as a business. And I think it was, you know, to answer Lucas’s question it was it was off the back of that kind of Confidence slash validation from doing it with one big client, we sort of said, oh, maybe it’ll work and another big client, and then it did. And then you just build a reputation. And there’s no secret to the business success beyond. And I think that probably the one standout metric within our business I mean, people look at growth, obviously first, but the kind of driver of that is retention. And so you know, we don’t have a revolving door like we just we just get get clients do great work for them and look after them. They grow with us. And then new businesses, actually the kind of growth part on top and so yeah, no, no, no secrets. Yeah, just just hard work and getting that opportunity, taking those opportunities, proving your value, and then and then taking that further up.

Joe Glover 1:01:53
I love that. Thank you. And if you answer already does speak quite a lot to this next question, but I asked you Just in case there’s there’s an additional layer of stuff to be on Earth, which is that you’ve obviously been on a journey over the past eight years of being a marketer, a Googler, an entrepreneur, and also very successful with it. So I think particularly focusing in on these past eight years, if you were to start entrepreneurship or your agency again, knowing what you know, now, what would you do? sooner? Or, you know, and that can either be personal or from a business perspective, because I think, those reflections,

Daniel Gilbert 1:02:32
yeah, I think one of the things that I learned, and it took me maybe a few years to learn that which applies, let me relate this back to the wider community. So this is relevant as much for a marketer as it is for an entrepreneur is that you’re in the business and I think this translates as well to how you show up internally. And as a marketer. I think that the success of the business or the success of your career is a reflection of what You put into it, and your own physical mental well being. And, you know, I probably, yeah, I probably got more out of the business at the point where I kind of focused on those first, and then the kind of business followed from there. If it makes sense. That would make it sound too easy. But there’s this brilliant book by a guy called Shawn Aker did a TED talk is the abridged version, if you want to see that. Just Google TED talks on it, the book is called the happiness advantage. And the whole premise is that we operate off these rules within our current society, where, oh, if I do well at school, then I’ll get into a good uni. And if I get into a good uni, which I don’t think is the be all and end all, then I’ll get a great job. And then if I work really hard in that job, then I’ll get promoted, and then I’ll be happy. But the problem is that we’ve deferred that happiness for like 40 Or 50 years, depending on when we finally decide that we’ve been successful or made it. And, and it’s that definition of success. And by the way, we can all define our own level of success. We’ve all got different definitions, they’ve all changed over time. And that tells you instantly, they’re malleable. And therefore, if you want to change it, you can. And so we’ve all got different definitions. And that’s just a really, that that formula I just described is a really unfortunate one. And so what Shawn suggests is, is the kind of reverse of that which is like actually, like the success that you have within your career or within your business will amplify quite significantly once you learn how to be happy yourself, which is a process and it’s something you can train and work on like a muscle in the gym. And that’s probably not what we came here to talk about. But no, I spend a significant amount of time and have done over the years, I think after that realisation maybe two or three years in, not through any particular event of being unwell but Just realising that I could bring so much more when I was feeling and happy, healthy, strong, capable, and and you know realising how much better it was for the business, right? Like it was, you know, I always had this kind of question of like, oh man, like, especially early days in the businesses like as mature as they’d like, if only I could clone myself, I’d get double the amount done well, if you have double the amount of energy, and you know, whether you’re an entrepreneur or a marketer, then you’re bringing double as much to the world, you’re bringing double as much value, expertise, learnings, so on and so forth. And so I think that’s probably how best summarise that advice.

Joe Glover 1:05:38
That’s wonderful. And to your point about like, maybe this isn’t what people have come here today, then then ultimately, you know, we’re all people and like, we can all learn from each other in this regard. And even as you sat there talking, I could feel my shoulders relax a little bit, you know, because, you know, we’re here to enjoy ourselves and And, you know, I think that’s a very important part of life and business. So whether or not that’s a lesson in how to prove the value of marketing, then I think it’s an important lesson nonetheless. And I guess if we were to shift it towards the perspective of this, then it’s a solid reminder that every individual that you interact with, who you are proving the value of marketing to, should also be looking to, you know, ultimately, they want to be happy as well. So that’s, that’s a way of

Daniel Gilbert 1:06:31
10 years link, but we’re Ramin and

the connector between marketing and happiness, what wonderful community you’ve got

lovely marketers, so you can feel that in the brand and the way that you’ve bought your community to life and no, I totally respect that man. So

Joe Glover 1:06:47
thank you, too candid. And we’ll probably close out on one last question. One last question from Allison here. Who asks what’s going on? I’m going to ask Allison’s question, but I’m also going to layer in a question over here, which is, Alison asks, What would be your top tips to help creative minds develop a more analytical understanding and appreciation of that side of marketing? And it’s the it’s also the quintessential question which follows that, which is, are there any resources, books, talks, whatever it may be that that you would recommend as reading for either a newbie or someone looking to sort of expand their knowledge in this area,

Unknown Speaker 1:07:30
and also to the to the to the first one, and this is this might not be the

Daniel Gilbert 1:07:35
kind of conventional answer.

So take it as my opinion not as a statement of fact, but I’ve always believed in and have culturally introduced within my own business, this concept of playing of playing to our own strengths, so superpowers we call them I effectively got a career of this like I’ve surrounded myself with people who are better at stuff that I don’t enjoy doing as much, or I’m not as good at, so if you are a creative genius, I don’t unlike I don’t know you, Allison so we have had a chance to explore it. So forgive me if this is too judgmental, but it’s my top tips without getting too far into it with like, it’s it’s okay not to work on your weaknesses but to pair up with or. And surround yourself with people that kind of fill in those gaps. And sorry about that. So, so and it depends on your appetite. If you are a creative mind, and you absolutely have this burning desire to learn more about the kind of analytical side of marketing then absolutely feel free to delve in. And I wouldn’t want to put up any barriers to anyone’s progress. But at the same time, like it doesn’t need to be forced.

Unknown Speaker 1:08:52
Because you’re playing to

Daniel Gilbert 1:08:53
our secret superpowers. You know, anyone can build a career doing that and this is really no issue with that.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:02

Unknown Speaker 1:09:05
What if I read a lot specifically on measurement in

Joe Glover 1:09:08
marketing, whatever it may be, why it has been useful on your journey, I should point out at this stage that you’re prolific writer. So there is a tonne of stuff that you’ve put out over the course of time. And I’m writing a book, but no one knows about that yet. We’ve got exclusive I’ll stick that in the blog post.

Daniel Gilbert 1:09:27
realised much

Unknown Speaker 1:09:30
more than I can handle. It’s quite it’s quite

Unknown Speaker 1:09:33
certainly more than that writing a few articles. And we’ll throw like and

Unknown Speaker 1:09:39
I like anything by Les Bennett.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:42
And actually we have Mark written on here as well. And people might think that’s some of what I’ve said it’s maybe not from the same school but I think you find there’s more overlap

Unknown Speaker 1:09:53
than perhaps you believe. So.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:55
I really enjoy everything that he puts out and even if not Always a great one. And yeah, I’m gonna pick up I’m quite prolific reader. So

Daniel Gilbert 1:10:10
I’ll send you a list after.

Joe Glover 1:10:12
Yeah, that sounds great to appear for PDF and everything.

Daniel Gilbert 1:10:16
Yeah, yeah, the problem the problem in general with like marketing books, and I saw in the comments that someone was referencing, like, other than the DAGMAR model, which is not in the 1960s or something. And, and that there’s plenty in there, but I think there’s, the world is moving and definitely some of the principles carry over, by the way, but I think the world is moving so quickly. And within marketing that, like,

Unknown Speaker 1:10:42
I’m so

Daniel Gilbert 1:10:44
sceptical of some of the manuals. There are some marketing principles that I believe that we should all invest in and learn. By using models, models for marketing has never been this kind of static thing. I think when they’re presented as an ever present truth. Or in an academic way. It kind of ignores, in some ways the development of new channels of marketing, sometimes principles work, but sometimes you need to update your principles, because there’s new ways of advertising that didn’t exist before. And I think some of that was contained within the presentation today.

Joe Glover 1:11:18
Absolutely. That’s really interesting. That’s a fascinating insight. And actually, we’ve just, we just went around survey quite recently. And we asked folks, what was the most effective channel that they found for learning over the COVID period? And it could be weighted, you know, I mean, there’s the maximum use of audience so there’s going to be a fairly significant weighting towards webinars one would think, but of 537 respondents, only two people selected books, which I thought was quite interesting. So anyway,

Daniel Gilbert 1:11:52
I probably wouldn’t go that far, I think. Yeah. And it’s like balancing balancing a mix, right? Like

Unknown Speaker 1:12:00

Daniel Gilbert 1:12:01
yeah, there are certain principles that apply to how businesses can and could operate. And I think there’s plenty of useful, I’ll send you some some good material.

Joe Glover 1:12:11
Thank you. And thank you very much for spending your time with us today. And, you know, like, as I said at the beginning, you’re someone that I’ve learned a lot from over the course of time, say like, it’s, it’s an absolute privilege to have had you here. Thank you so much for having me. And thank you to the community. Absolutely. I mean, a whole bunch of really brilliant folks been on the sessions then and we can see the questions in the comments coming in as well sort of saying thank you very much. So that’s, that’s awesome to see. And so last stuff for me, very simply to say thank you all so much for being here. Please do take the opportunity to acknowledge research, thank the sponsors. It really does make a big difference. The blog post and associated podcast with this one We’ll be going up soon. And we’ve got conversation club on Friday and then our webinar Next week, we’ll be focusing on conversational marketing and the myths associated with that. So please do check that out. There’ll be at 830 in the morning. I also live in the comment here from bizim. He says 9.9 out of 10 needed for the Superman costume,

Daniel Gilbert 1:13:27
saving it for a one to one.

That’s brilliant. So,

Joe Glover 1:13:33
thank you all and do take care of yourselves. Thanks, Daniel. And we’ll see you soon.

Take care

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