The 4 pillars to boosting your marketing effectiveness culture

Nick Milne, Chief Effectiveness Officer at Go Ignite
Key Takeaways: Practical Tips: Final Thoughts: Transcript (Automatically generated, might contain errors) Speaker 1: Hello everybody, it’s so lovely to see you all here today. Thank you for taking the time. If you haven’t already, do drop in the chat feature where you’re watching from as Vicky, as Dominic, as Chloe, as Laura, as Peter, […]

Key Takeaways:

  1. Understanding Efficiency vs. Effectiveness:
    • Efficiency is doing things well; effectiveness is doing the right things. Both are crucial but should not be confused.
    • Focus on effectiveness to ensure that marketing activities are driving the desired business outcomes.
  2. Challenges in Marketing Effectiveness:
    • Budget Constraints: Marketing budgets are often reduced, leading to a focus on paid media over people and technology.
    • Behavioral Challenges: Siloed teams, lack of effectiveness knowledge, and unstructured processes hinder marketing performance.
    • Political and Cultural Barriers: Internal politics and rigid organizational cultures can impede the adoption of effectiveness measures.
  3. Four Pillars of Marketing Effectiveness Culture:
    • Focus: Define what marketing excellence means for your organization and align all activities towards achieving it.
    • People: Invest in training and developing your team to build the skills necessary for effective marketing.
    • Process: Establish clear, consistent planning processes with defined roles and responsibilities.
    • Insight and Measurement: Use quality data and insights to inform decisions, predict outcomes, and measure performance.
  4. Enabling Better Conversations:
    • Effective marketing is not just about measurement but also about fostering helpful and constructive conversations within the organization.
    • Encourage a culture of learning and sharing, where successes and failures are openly discussed to improve future performance.
  5. Case Study – O2:
    • By setting up an independent effectiveness function, O2 improved its marketing conversations, reduced media spend by 15%, and increased brand equity by 20%.
    • Key to success was taking opinion off the table and basing discussions on evidence and insights.
  6. Building an Effectiveness Culture:
    • Start with small, incremental proof points to build credibility and show the value of effectiveness.
    • Foster partnerships between marketing and other departments, such as finance, to support a unified approach.
    • Use frameworks like the Marketing Excellence Framework to guide your effectiveness journey and keep it consistent.
  7. Advice for Specific Challenges:
    • B2B Marketing: Focus on key steps in the customer journey and measure them to understand and improve long sales cycles.
    • SMEs: Have absolute clarity on what marketing should deliver and manage expectations accordingly.
    • Adverse Cultures: Use evidence and small wins to gradually build support for effectiveness initiatives in resistant environments.

Practical Tips:

  • Empathy and Communication: Understand the needs and perspectives of different stakeholders and communicate the benefits of marketing effectiveness.
  • Continuous Learning: Regularly review and adapt your strategies to stay relevant and effective.
  • Collaboration: Work closely with all departments to ensure a cohesive approach to marketing and business objectives.

Final Thoughts:

  • Resilience in Lean Times: Maintain a focus on effectiveness even during tough times to understand what works and what doesn’t.
  • Leadership with a Small L: Empower everyone in the organization to take on leadership roles in driving marketing effectiveness.

Transcript (Automatically generated, might contain errors)

Speaker 1: Hello everybody, it’s so lovely to see you all here today. Thank you for taking the time. If you haven’t already, do drop in the chat feature where you’re watching from as Vicky, as Dominic, as Chloe, as Laura, as Peter, as Erica and so many more have already done so. It’s a thrill to see you. Thank you all for taking the time and for checking in from around the world. We’ve got Joanna in Switzerland. We’ve got Claire in Cheshire and many more. I think I’ve seen the South Africa there as well, which is incredible. Thank you for taking the time today. If I’ve got one ask, it’s to keep that chat feature buzzing as it is right now. It’s one of the features that makes these sessions so special. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to switch your chat feature to everyone so everyone can see your messages. You’ll be able to see the instructions on my screen right now. This is for you Justine who has just popped in the chat feature. That’s your first time today. Welcome Justine. The thing that you’ll need to do is head into your chat feature and you’ll see a little toggle. If that presently says to hosts and panelists, switch that over to everyone so everyone can see your messages. Justine, everyone will be able to say hello to you. It’s a real pleasure. Let’s get going introducing our speakers today. Today we have Nick McMillan who’s the founder and CEO of Go Ignite. He’s a legend. He’s a kind man and he’s a lot of fun. Nick is a new friend, but we caught up the other day and I left the chat with this sense that the stuff that is in Nick’s brain deserves to be out in the community, specifically focusing on this challenge that we hear about all the blooming time at the marketing meetup, which is how do we get the rest of the organization bought into our marketing? It sounds like an easy question to answer, but it just isn’t. It’s come up every week for the past four years. Hopefully we’ll have a good step answering that question for you today. Today will function as a presentation and then a Q&A. For regular attendees of TMM, you’ll see that the Q&A feature, which is found in your toolbar below, has changed a little bit. You can no longer see the questions from the other attendees which is pretty sucky, but rest assured the questions go into there. If you have any questions today, use the Q&A feature and that will mean that we can get your questions answered at the end of today’s session. Before we get going, I just want to say a big thank you to our featured sponsor this week and they are Redgate Software. Now Redgate are a lovely software company based in Cambridge. I used to work in their offices. For those who’ve been tuning in for the past four years, you would have heard me say that many times. Redgate Software are presently hiring a comms and a PR manager. If you are looking for a role, especially in comms and PR, then head over to Redgate. Also a big thank you to Frontify, Exclaimer, Sticky Beak, Plannable, Cambridge Martin College and Redgate. We’ll speak about all of them more on rotation as the weeks go on. With all that said, now’s the time to get going. Nick, you are a hero for joining us today. Thank you so much for taking the time and it’s over to you, my friend.

Speaker 2: Thank you, Jay. I think that is possibly the nicest and the warmest welcome I’ve had a long time in taking you through your presentations and insight and knowledge that you’ve all got. I’m slightly nervous about the fact that you’ve teed it up as this is something which comes up every week and I’ve got all the answers. I think we’ve got enough to help people on the way and let’s see where we get to with the conversation. Thank you for that. As Jay says, I’m Nick and I’m the founder and chief effectiveness officer at Go Ignite. Essentially what we do is we help brands, we help agencies transform to a position of marketing excellence by helping them build a strong and healthy effectiveness culture. Over the next 45 minutes or so, I’m going to demonstrate hopefully why building an effectiveness culture is important and a really good step in adding value to your business or to your client’s business. I’m going to show you the building blocks that we use to take people on that journey. As part of that, I’m going to talk a little bit about the importance of enabling better conversations, which is really important in any effectiveness agenda. By positioning effectiveness in a way that it makes it really inclusive and regardless of the size or length of journey that you’ve been on your business, it is for everyone. Then I’m going to challenge you, I guess finally, to look up and out across your organization and see if you can be the glue with marketing back across the rest of your organization. That’s what we’re going to take you through today. I want to start with three challenges which set up the importance of why having an effectiveness culture is important. Challenge number one is the old efficiency versus effectiveness conundrum. There was some research done, a bit dated 2018 by Ubiquity in the UK market, but it’s still increasingly relevant today, which shows that there is value being lost through businesses focusing on efficiency over effectiveness. I guess what we mean by the difference between efficiency over effectiveness, where efficiency is doing things really well, effectiveness is doing the right thing. You could be doing the wrong thing really well, which is why it’s important to understand what are the right levers to pull when you’re driving value in your business. That is challenge number one. Challenge number two, a bit more up to date. This is the latest research that’s come out from Kantar. Sorry, from Gartner, not from Kantar, which shows that marketing budgets are being reduced this year as a percentage of the revenue of the business. In terms of where those budgets are being spent, they’re being spent less on people and resources and technology, and it’s going more into paid media. Marketing is having to work harder with less resource to deliver value back to the organisation, whether that’s your organisation or whether that’s your clients’ organisations. I think challenge number three is maybe where the really interesting things start to be uncovered. This is around the fact that if an organisation focuses on efficiency, then it can create some really deep rooted behavioural challenges. This is where we see the biggest challenges with effectiveness cultures. This might be siloed marketing teams working in isolation from each other. It might be a lack of effectiveness knowledge and experience from a people perspective. We’re seeing inefficient and unstructured ways of working and unclear processes and individual measurement and insight programmes providing multiple pictures of marketing performance. These are all quite deep rooted and great problems that we’re seeing is being accelerated as a result of COVID and coming back to ways of working. What we’re seeing as we go into organisations that marketers and other departments within organisations are very head down, very task focused, just getting the jobs that they need to get done and passing it over to someone else. That there’s no one, although there’s a real challenge with linking things up from what you’re delivering from a marketing perspective and how that delivers value back to an organisation. That might be politics. It might be ways of working. We’re seeing this as a real challenge at the moment. An example of siloed marketing behaviour, which was one client that we were working with last year. This is a added, an old problem around the differences in behaviours and focus of different teams. Having a brand team responsible for building brand, building brand experience out across all touch points, having commercial teams having responsibility for the P&Ls and people not meeting in the middle and not working together to join up and go, well, actually we’re one marketing department. We need to be working together to create an integrated solution to the problems that we’re seeing. What that meant was it causing confusion within the organisation. Both teams had a really strong relationship with finance. Both teams from within marketing were individually going to finance saying we both got this challenge. We both want the money to tackle the challenge. Whether that means creation of a more brand led campaign or creation of a more direct response campaign. Essentially what this meant was that there were two consumer led TV campaigns running at the same time. The CEO had to make a call about which one to stop and which one to go with. That’s not great from a marketing perspective where you’ve got different teams in an organisation essentially working against each other to try and tackle business challenges. I would argue that marketing’s role is to be the glue within an organisation. It should be the team that has influence across all parts of it and bringing people together in a way where it’s delivering what people expect from marketing. Some interesting challenges in there. It’d be interesting to get everyone’s take on whether they’re seeing similar challenges within the organisations you work with or organisations you work for. I guess, how do you overcome those challenges? This is where it starts to get a bit more interesting and a bit more cultural focused. We’re seeing a bit of an evolution around effectiveness at the moment. There’s a lot of talk around marketing effectiveness and what it is. There’s a lot of talk about effectiveness culture and how that aligns with marketing planning. We would argue that the latest industry movement is around marketing excellence, being the best that you can be and starting to bring all of these individual assets and ways of working and capabilities together. To do that, we really need to look at defining what effectiveness is and how that differs from effectiveness culture. Now, I’m going to show you a very brief video. This is what normally happens when you ask people, how do you define marketing effectiveness and what does it mean to you? Marketing effectiveness and classic Monty Python, the Olympics, ready, steady, go, everyone runs in a different direction. Marketing effectiveness means different things to different people. It means different things to different organisations. It means different things to different teams within organisations. This is the challenge with it. What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to create a common language around what marketing effectiveness is and how that links through to effectiveness culture. We work at an industry level with one of our partners, the Institute Practices of Advertising. We’ve worked with Walk and with WFA to try and get this language consistent when we’re talking around what is effectiveness culture? How does it differ to marketing effectiveness? How do you then build a strong effectiveness culture? To us, marketing effectiveness has to be about the business value that’s added from marketing activities. That’s the money game. That’s why marketing is doing what it’s doing to deliver value back to the business. The culture then is around the ways of working. It’s the process of improving business performance from marketing activities. It’s made easier and more impactful by people, by data tools and measurement and having a strong and clear focus. We sound, it’s a long and wordy definition and don’t make any excuses for that because when you explain it in that way, when you describe it in that way, then it starts to identify what the pillars are of effectiveness culture. We’ve spoken about it being about focus, people, process and insight and measurement, which is the updated version of data tools and measurement. Focus is around having a clear understanding of what marketing excellence or marketing effectiveness is and the value that it will create for your organization. It creates clear buy-in and support from across the organization to what your excellence and effectiveness approach will deliver for you. That’s basically a proxy for getting organizational support, buy-in and alignment. In an integrated way, you’re getting teams to deliver against what marketing excellence is going to create for you. The people side is around creating the confidence and experience for individuals to perform to the best of their abilities and their role. That’s training, that’s development, that’s creating the right skills for people to be as effective as they can be in their jobs. Process, and this is the always on bit, which is your planning processes, whether that’s quarterly, whether that’s annual, whether that’s campaign led, but it’s about having a clear stage to each of those processes, where there’s clarity around the roles and responsibilities, who does what, what’s needed at each stage and what should it deliver, i.e. the inputs and the outputs, and what do you need to do to move on to the next step. Then finally, you’ve got the insight and the measurement, which is around providing an impact for consumer and marketing evidence and insight to help better plan, predict and measure the impacts on marketing activities. That’s based on quality, timely and relevant data. Now, over the last 12 months or so, there’s been a bit of a change with effectiveness culture, where we used to explain it as, if you perform well, or how well you perform against each of those pillars, sets your effectiveness culture. What we’re seeing now is that effectiveness culture is actually a thread on its own. It then plays out across each of those different pillars. That is this framework, which we’re now calling the marketing excellence framework, because it is empowered by effectiveness culture, and it enables you to understand then, across each of those different pillars, what are the things that you need to do to be in a better position to deliver marketing excellence. Hopefully that’s clear. What we can see then is that as we go in and talk to organisations around each of those different areas, then there’s some really common themes that are coming back out around the pain points that you need to overcome to unpick what you need to do to build a strong effectiveness culture. Whether organisation has been impacted by transformation following COVID, misalignment between teams, fear of failure, a more culture-led pain points, lack of adequate effectiveness training or learning, agenda being delivered from one place. We quite often see that effectiveness, there is one person in big global organisations and they’re being asked to deliver an effective agenda, which isn’t really setting people up for success or an organisation up for success. Lack of visibility of marketing plans, unclear, unmanaged marketing planning processes, poor quality of conversations. They’re all things which make decision-making harder to do. Then if it’s not backed up with strong evidence, with things like lack of linkage between brand equity and commercial performance, you can’t really start to pull different teams together to show why should you be working together? Why should you be creating one plan? Then lack of consistent measurement of marketing activity. These are all common challenges that we’re seeing organisations, be it brand, be an agency, tackling at this point in time. What we’re seeing, and this is one of my big bugbears and makes me angry, is that effectiveness is still being positioned just as measurement, or just being positioned as a marketing mix modelling piece. The cultural point of view is that you need to understand how, when you deliver a framework of more consistent measurement, how you deliver something which is going to tell you how to better invest your money to deliver a better return. How does that change the decision-making that already happens within an organisation? Now, I think Joe alluded to it in the invite to this webinar. My experience is born out of working in deep complex organisations. I set up the effectiveness function in O2. I’ve helped deliver effectiveness through analytics and Samsung across Europe. The amount of times that we have people coming in and try to tell us, if you deliver this is what’s going to be the change. Without getting organisational buy-in behind what that project will deliver, without understanding how it will shift decision-making, and if you just focus in on measurement, it’s not going to get anywhere very quickly. Measurement is a great place to start, but how does that enable you to do better planning upfront? How does that enable the people that you’re working with to help build the best plans, the best content and create confidence that the plans that you’re going to deliver are going to work for you? When we’re talking about effectiveness, we’re talking about the end-to-end marketing planning process. This is really important to it, is what’s the intention behind your effectiveness culture? There’s two sides to it, and this is maybe being a bit flippant, but there’s the police state side of it, which is the judgment side of, as marketers, you said you were going to deliver this and you didn’t, therefore you’re not doing what is expected of you, or there’s the helpfulness side behind things. Helpfulness is a really good principle to bring into your effectiveness culture, and is one of those words which just really softens the language of effectiveness and helps marketers understand, from an effectiveness point of view, you’re helping people create rather than telling people whether they’ve done a good job or not. Now, a classic example of this is an organization that we’ve been working with, where there was a real fear of failure because it was more of the judgment side of effectiveness culture. People weren’t willing to share results around whether they were working or not working. What they were willing to do was cherry pick the things that they could say, yes, we’ve done this and it’s working really nicely. In that position, as a business, you don’t really understand what do you need to do to be better. This is where helpfulness comes in, is that if you can create a culture of helpfulness or other people call it learning as well, then actually it really softens down the impact of, well, if things aren’t working, how do you spot that early? How do you change it so you can actually be in a position that you’re going to make things better next time? That really helps come over that fear of failure and helps put effectiveness into not just a scorecard, not just an analytics piece, but it puts more emphasis on people working better together across marketing to be in a position to say, we’ve got the right plans. We think it’s going to deliver this and we’re going to tell you if it has, or if it hasn’t. It starts to get you thinking about the heart, the decision-making heartbeat of an organization and feeding the right conversations at the right time to be able to learn and to be able to do better next time. One of the case studies I want to walk you through is the work that we did when we set up effectiveness as a function in O2, which sat within the marketing directorate, but it’s independent. It’s sat to serve all the organizations. Now we set up, yes, effectiveness function O2 to do two things. Firstly, we took the pain points from the CMO, the urgent pain points that she didn’t have answers to and said, how do we fix those? That gave us credibility straight away at the top table, her top table to go in once a month, once a quarter and say, how is your marketing working? How is it performing? What are the things that you need to do differently? The biggest impact that we had within three, four years of delivering what we delivered in O2 and we did scorecards, we did a big econometrics program. It wasn’t that which made the difference. The difference was helping the CMO and her leadership team have better quality conversation based on evidence. We took opinion off the table and that suddenly enabled you to have richer conversations, arguing less around what’s driving what particular behavior, what’s driving what outcome. It meant then that you could get to a position of more unity and integration across marketing between the different teams, whether that’s product proposition, pricing, commercial teams and really get behind one plan for what marketing was delivering. I think the proof point behind this was that we had something like a 15% reduction in media spend, but we delivered a 20% uplift in brand equity measures, as well as still driving value and profitability. Over a two year, three year program, by having better quality conversations, by having clearer insight, aligned to the decision-making process and rhythm of the organization, we were able to take opinion off the table. This is something that we’re seeing today is that the biggest conversations that we’re being asked to have, and this might resonate well with you. everyone I think a lot of people are aware of the long and the short of it and the work that this is a bit of work that Dan White, who’s a illustration artist that marketing principles has pulled together with work that he’s done with Tom Roach and Grace Kite, which shows that we all know that there’s a balance to be had between sales activation and brand building, but how do you take the organization on a journey to understanding that there needs to be a better balance of investment across the two? For us, this is about informed conversations. Now, I already stated that you can be anywhere on your journey in terms of how long you’ve been in business. You might not have all the data that you need to start to have a really forensic econometric program, but if you can start to build up the evidence to have a conversation around what’s working, what isn’t working, creating a culture of people being able to share whether things aren’t working and understanding why they are, why they aren’t working, then you can start to be in a position where you are taking the organization through this journey to say, well, actually we think we can deliver better value by increasing slightly more within brand versus acquisition activity and proving whether that’s worked or not. It’s about partnerships with marketing and finance, partnerships with marketing and commercial teams and hosting much richer conversations based on the evidence that you’re creating around the plans that you’ve got. Once you start on your effectiveness journey, it’s really hard to get off. In fact, you shouldn’t get off. We’re in a fortunate position where we run the IPA’s annual effectiveness culture benchmark. What we’re able to show in the first year that we ran this was that the biggest impact you can have with effectiveness culture in any organization, be it an agency or be it a brand is start your journey. Start your journey and create your roadmap for what effectiveness means to you or marketing excellence means to you and what you’re going to do over the next two years to deliver against that. That will double the impacts that it has. It will create a stronger effectiveness culture because you are essentially creating alignments across marketing teams and broader than marketing and creating an integrated view of what you’re delivering. Then it’s about being consistently on that journey, understanding where the pain points are and the four pillars, having your finger on the challenges, whether you can see them coming and you can stop them impacting your journey or whether you can quickly overcome them and keep that consistent view on your effectiveness culture and keep that journey going. If you can do that, then you should start to see improvements and transformation in two areas. One around the ways of working. By identifying and overcoming the effectiveness challenges, designing and delivering the right approaches, the frameworks and toolkits into the ways of working aligns then with increasing the incremental value from marketing activities and striking that better balance between effectiveness and doing the right thing and efficiency in terms of doing things well. What we’re seeing then is that you can overcome those pain points that we highlighted at the beginning of the webinar 20, 30 minutes ago. We’re seeing then teams that have dedicated approach to building an effectiveness culture are more successful in creating integrated and aligned marketing teams. We’re seeing that there’s better support for people to learn around what you can do, balancing art and science of effectiveness. We’re seeing that there’s a clearer way of creating planning processes, which are articulate. They’ve got a step-by-step view of what’s needed, what the inputs and outputs are and whose roles and responsibilities there are across those processes. Then we’re seeing that people are moving from a position of individual insight and effectiveness programs into having a machine where everything feeds into the rhythm of the business and the decision-making. Now, we run an effectiveness community called the Ignition Room. If anyone wants to see and learn around how to better build an effectiveness culture, then we’d love you to come and explore that. We do monthly get-togethers called huddles. We give one-to-one conversations through the Ignition Room bite-size. We bring together all the best in learning in effectiveness, reading and articles to help build an effectiveness culture. I guess my question to you is, and I haven’t seen whether there’s the number of questions that we’ve got coming through, and I think, Jay, you’re going to help me tackle those and answer some of those, is where do your biggest challenge building effectiveness culture, either in your organization or organizations you work for? Secondly, what are you going to do today to have a better conversation hopefully now knowing that is a route for everyone to help start to drive a strong effectiveness culture? Wonderful.

Speaker 1: Nate, thank you very much. That was a- Whistle-stop tour, that went very quickly. I hope we’ve got some good questions coming through. We do have some good questions,

Speaker 2: you prompted some really great chat as well

Speaker 1: in the chat feature. I hope you enjoyed that. In the chat feature today as well. Thank you everyone for contributing in there as well. I think that’s endlessly interesting just hearing some of the pain points that folks have shared throughout the duration of your presentation today. There are a few excellent questions as well as probably some Leslie, less Leslie, lesser good questions from myself as well to deep dive into what you’ve been speaking about today. Thank you first and foremost. It’s well worth looking at those two questions because I think it’s all well and good sometimes watching these presentations, but then to be provoked to actually do something off the back of them. I think that’s a wonderful touch there, Nick. Thank you very much. Let’s get going with the questions. The first thing that I wrote down, and if you wouldn’t mind stopping sharing your screen, then we can see your face too. The first question, because I found your framework on marketing excellence cultures really interesting. The fact that you broke it down to focus people, process and insight and measurement. The thing that struck me was, and maybe this is incorrect, but you can correct me, but the focus element of it, where you’re speaking about getting a joint understanding of what marketing excellence can bring to your organization. Feels like super collaborative piece where people are sat down in a room together, they’re having a conversation. What does good marketing look like in our organization? Whereas the other three, so the people process and insight seem to be a little bit more like, okay, how do we go about delivering that almost to a certain extent? To nail in on the focus point, because that feels really interesting if we’re answering the question, how do we get the organization bought into marketing? How have you had some really successful focused based conversations brought together that joint focus organizations?

Speaker 2: It’s a fascinating one. I love getting in underneath the skin of organizations and finding out what makes them tick. The really good thing when you focus on the focus, pardon the double focus, is that if you don’t just look for the marketing view of what marketing excellence is, then you suddenly get a really rich view of the expectations and challenges of what marketing should be delivering for people and trying to put some guardrails and narrative around what it is. There was a really good example that we went through. One of the first projects that we set up, it was with an online secondhand car business and went into organizations. We speak to the CFO, the CMO, we talk at all different levels. We went into the CFO, we asked one question and 20 minutes later, we were still being told exactly what marketing should be. It was fascinating because his expectation was that marketing should have a view across every operational bit of what the organization should do. Whereas marketing’s view was a bit more, actually from where we are as a business, we need to focus on just really creating strength in our brand, being really clear around what we offer the strengths of it, rather than having a view on, for example, the range of cars that we should have in stock, which are then going to impact the visitor quality onto the website, for example. I think the focus there is really critical bit to starting to set expectations of what marketing delivers today, but also the journey for what it should be delivering in 12 months time, in 24 months time. We always say to people, it is almost more important to say what marketing isn’t delivering and shouldn’t be delivering today versus what it should be in 12 months time, in 24 months time, because you’re then controlling the narrative, you’re controlling the expectations and it enables a much richer conversation when it comes to things like, well, is it working or is it not working?

Speaker 1: I like that a lot. Out of interest, what was the conclusion of that? I’m not bothered about the conclusion of the conversation, but how did you reach a conclusion and what was the output in that in terms of how it’s sort of articulated? Was it like, we are responsible for X and not for Y or was it?

Speaker 2: Yes, yes. Yes, very much that. It was something which the marketing team hadn’t become aware of that expectation that they should be having a broader reach across the organisation. Then it becomes then, well, we can’t do that because of X, Y and Z. We haven’t got the resources, we haven’t got the experience, we haven’t got the manpower, the ability to do that. It becomes then a joined up, it became a joined up conversation of how do you get there or maybe it shouldn’t get there. Therefore controlling the expectations or being able to deliver against those.

Speaker 1: That’s wonderful. Thank you. That’s really useful. There’s a great comment in the chat feature, which I’m going to link to a question in the Q&A here. The comment comes from Grant. Grant says, I find this a critical and challenging topic because it strikes at the heart of the quality of marketing leadership as an organisation. Some CMOs are phenomenal, others less so, and some companies don’t have one at all, leaving heads of marketing out of the border and when it matters. There’s also a huge difference between marketing led businesses and businesses that have a marketing department that is essentially an internal agency working for internal clients, which is a really good comment. I want to link this to a question from Eileen, who has popped it in the Q&A, who has asked, how do you push these transformations through in a sales led short term macho culture? I think the reason why I link those two together was that Grant sort of points out that different cultures exist, which may not be consistent with a good marketing culture and then Eileen appears to be living in one. How, if we take the question, but you can broaden it out. How would you push through these transformations in a culture that perhaps isn’t consistent with what we’ve spoken about today?

Speaker 2: Yes, I think I feel your pain on that last one around the macho commercial cultures of organisations or the drug of performance or however you want to call it. I think in our experience, the only way to start to do that is firstly not shy away from the conversations. I think by not being in the conversation and not understanding why they believe performance or commercial focus is a stronger and better return for the business is critical. Secondly, build up those small incremental proof points, which tell them otherwise and keep coming back and being part of that conversation. Now it does require strong leadership from the top. It’s increasingly hard if you are building an effectiveness agenda or an excellence agenda and you’re trying to change those conversations at a working level, because then without evidence, it’s just opinion versus opinion. An example I can give of this, we’ve been working with a big global organisation. Perhaps less yes, as the culture was described in that second point, but what we saw was there was a big gap between central global teams telling local markets, you’ve got to grow the brand and you’ve got to do it in this way in a way of building brand affinity and local markets saying, well, actually we’ve got no idea what brand affinity is. We’ve got no idea how to build it, but we’ve got these sales targets and we’re going to focus on delivering against those sales targets. Now in that organisation, the recommendation was, well, actually you’ve got to create meaningful brand equity. In that situation, we understood that their brand health studies were once a year, which is fine for giving you a sense check, a temperature check, but it doesn’t give you a view of how does marketing drive brands and building those evidence points to then link it to your commercials. That’s part of the conversation which you need to then have to say, you might not be able to influence those conversations today, but if you build up your capabilities, as you say, by focusing in on the people, the processes, the insight and measurement in 12 months time, you can start to have those conversations. That’s the value of the conversation. You don’t need to be in a position to evidence everything today, but you need to be in a position to have that conversation.

Speaker 1: I love that. It strikes me as you speak that, I actually like the optimism, the optimistic tone of it. I’m not saying optimism in a-

Speaker 2: Not blind optimism.

Speaker 1: Yes, exactly. It’s optimism in the sense that this can be achieved. It also strikes me as you’re speaking that there may be some organizations and even some people watching in today who are like, there’s no way we can have that chat, one way or another. I guess, in the past we’ve had marketing leaders come on the marketing meetups and say, well, that’s your opportunity to leave. I appreciate that’s sort of very privileged advice to give in what is a rough market, but have you ever been able to surmount those odds and found those cultural organizations where it just doesn’t work and do you just have to give up sometimes or is it surmountable in all occasions? I guess is what I’m trying to ask.

Speaker 2: I have had a brutal experience in an organization I’ve worked in where everything we tried failed to create an effectiveness agenda. Whether that was because we went too big and tried to look more transformationally around the ways of working in a big Asian global powerhouse and trying to nudge and change behaviors that didn’t work. I think the best advice I’d give from that is there’s always one way to crack a nut. It’s just finding that way, which is speaking the language of the person that you’re trying to implement and being able to say, do what? We may have spent six months believing that this is the way to do it. As effectiveness people, we’ve got to be reflective of our own behaviors as well around effectiveness culture because it’s around ways of working. If what we think isn’t helping drive better decision-making, then you’ve got to find a different way to do it. We repositioned from trying to launch a European-wide marketing mix program to then delivering a European-wide business intelligence platform, which didn’t look at effectiveness from a value creation point of view, but looked at a value in terms of the amount of man hours we saved in terms of the reporting that we stopped. That suddenly spoke the language of the organization. It’s that balance between what is best practice versus how the cultural organization and knowing what’s going to work and finding that middle ground. You’ve got to have the resilience, you’ve got to have the patience, you’ve got to have the motivation to do it.

Speaker 1: Yes, love that. Thank you, that’s really helpful. I liked your point there because you sort of spoke about going really big on something. Here, Rob in the chat, who is himself a fabulous strategist, who we will absolutely get on the market to meet one day, says, so many successful businesses slash CEOs think of themselves as ambitious risk-taking leaders when they’re really complacent, cautious copycats. Every marketer should have a 10% line for total have a go experimentation and call it the Pioneer 10X Fund. How can the CEO say no to that? It’s like, I love that because I guess that speaks to a small something that could be the gateway to a big something. Yes. Speaks to your point.

Speaker 2: It is, but that’s the blend of the art and science as well. There’s so much of what is annoying about effectiveness is if you just focus on the measurement, you just focus on the analytics or the marketing mix or however people tend to start with effectiveness, that doesn’t look at innovation. It only helps explain what’s happened previously. That’s great from a confidence point of view and a credibility point of view, but you should be doing that to enable better. That’s where it comes back to helpfulness. If you can position it as all we’re trying to do is give you better confidence that something’s going to work. Yes. Then that’s a different conversation.

Speaker 1: I love that. You’re so right. Using words like helpfulness and confidence and conversations, I love that because it is easy to overblow these things sometimes. Yes. What you’re speaking to there are three very human, two emotions and one act of very human things, which is beautiful and important. Thank you for highlighting those because I think it’s easy to get lost in the theory sometimes, but what we’re trying to generate are very human things. Yes, exactly. Let’s take the next one from Catherine. I think Emily in the chat might have lent on their keyboard. Let’s take the next question from Catherine. Catherine says, long sales cycles time can be a challenge to proving marketing effectiveness in B2B markets. There are likely so many different touch points that impact the ultimate sale. Any advice for B2B marketers here?

Speaker 2: I feel a pain on that one. Our lead time is anything between about two weeks and two years. I think in that situation, I think that there’s knowing you’re doing the right thing and proving that you’re doing the right thing and having the feedback loops to know then why things are or aren’t working. The B2B LinkedIn Institute is brilliant for creating some nice stats. The one that always resonates with me is that there’s only 5% of your market looking to buy at any one time. That goes down to 3% in a recession. We’re probably still at that 3% line at the moment. I think it’s listening to your feedback loops where ultimately, what the end goal is in terms of revenue generation, but what are the things that you can measure which are critical steps or gates to get you to that sale, which you can measure it more in real time to show that you’re doing the right thing and it should get you there. I think, the B2B sales measurement side of things is harder because it’s more people focused and that becomes more account led rather than individual response, touch points led. It’s harder to measure, it’s harder to get an accurate view. I think that there’s enough data out there where you can identify the key steps in the journey, however long that journey is, and get a good feeling, even if you can’t measure it 100% accurately around whether things are working or not.

Speaker 1: Yes, hang on, love that. It’s worth checking out, we did a webinar a few weeks ago with Rima who spoke about reporting and she made a similar point around the touch points and how, even though they may be longer, there are still some classic steps that most folks would go through. Obviously with customization along the way, but that’s something to watch if that would be useful. By the way, having picked up on Emily’s comment in the chat feature, she subsequently said, followed up and said, sorry, 18-month-old lap. Emily, I want to point out, you do not need to apologize for having an 18-month-old on your lap because blimey, feel that pain. I have done very many things very similarly over the course of time. They’re very welcome. Thank you for starting them young in the marketing meetup as well. That’s a lovely thing. The next question comes from James who made this question quite early. I think we’ve covered quite a lot of it already in our discussion, but James has named four conditions nonetheless. I just want to get your viewpoint on whether these conditions are necessary and whether you agree or disagree with James’ statement. James says, really enjoying the presentation when it comes to effective marketing effectiveness, but to deliver this, do you need, one, a business and leadership that values marketing, two, a leadership that invests in the marketing function, three, that they have a collaborative business culture that empowers functions and all employees to deliver across clear strategic objectives and KPIs, and four, this leadership that empowers marketing to be involved in cross-functional projects. Are they all strictly necessary to be able to deliver a marketing effectiveness culture or can you get by with one of those or none of those or so on and so forth?

Speaker 2: Sorry, it’s a long question. No, it is. I’m puffing my cheeks and thinking on that one because my flippant answer would be, show me an organisation which has got all four of those. I think you’d probably be able to count them on one hand. I don’t think you need all of those, but I think you need to strive to improve them, I think is the shortest answer I can give on that. What we’ve been able to prove through the work that we’ve done with the IPA to look at the strength of the effectiveness industry is that it is always a stronger effectiveness culture if it’s a top-down led approach. That isn’t just from marketing. It then creates then an even stronger culture if you’ve got finance and marketing working together to deliver your effectiveness agenda. I think that in whatever form you need to have leadership investing in what marketing excellence looks like. Then you can work on the collaboration. You can work on the empowering because that sits across all different levels of a marketing organisation. The biggest challenges that we’re seeing at the moment is getting things, effectiveness principles, effectiveness ways of working, getting that embedded into the day-to-day working of teams. Organisations can understand the value of effectiveness and you can have a nice presentation, which is created by consultants, I say that very tongue-in-cheek, who can tell you what effectiveness is going to deliver for you. Until you get that working individually, at working level across teams, across departments, where there’s collaboration, where there’s leadership with a small L, it doesn’t need to be hierarchical leadership, then that’s where things really start to make a difference. I think you should aim for, don’t think about it in terms of other than buy-in, hierarchically, you can lead. I think that’s what we mean by challenging viewers and everyone can be signing up for this webinar and watching this to say, how do you look up and out across the organisation? Knowing that most marketers or a lot of marketers are head down, getting tasks done, moving on to the next person. How do you take that position of leadership? How do you be more collaborative and how do you empower the next person you’re sitting around to be better and more effective, more excellent at what they do?

Speaker 1: That’s wicked. I absolutely love that point. Leadership with a small L is a fabulous way of putting it and thank you for making that point as well. That’s dead useful actually. It does feel very empowering. Again, to reinforce that message about looking out feels really useful. Thank you. Actually, as a small plug on that, our next season of webinars is actually going to be getting non-marketers to come in and speak to the marketing meetup community about their jobs and what they do and the concepts that marketers should hopefully know about their job. I’m hoping that’s going to be really useful in that world as well. That’ll be announced in the next week or so. Thank you, Will and Montserrat for saying that’s useful because I hope it will be. Picking up on the leadership with a small L stuff, I think this might be the same, leadership with a small L might be the answer to this question, but I think it’s a brilliant one nonetheless. The question comes from Anonymous, who says, this has been incredibly interesting. I’m the marketing manager in a small company that is willing to look at having a marketing-centered culture. Leadership is on board, but how can I get buy-in from the rest of the team who are more skeptical? It seems from a hierarchical perspective, they’ve got the buy-in, but maybe not necessarily from the rest of the company. Is that a continuation of what we’ve been speaking about, or are there any more tactics that you could sort of suggest for Anonymous here?

Speaker 2: Yes, I think it’s a continuation. I think a lot of the resistance you get from marketing on a day-to-day level is the effectiveness is just another thing that people have to do. If it feels like you are just landing more things into people’s job description, or more things for people to do on a day-to-day basis, that’s where you get the resistance, and that’s the bit that you need to navigate around, which is why it then comes back to helpfulness. If you’re helping people make easier decisions, you’re helping people better understand what it is that they need to do to deliver what’s asked of them, then that’s the key to getting there. I think what we’ve seen really work is the point of effectiveness of champions. You have different people from different teams who get together once a month, who can see where the pain points are around your effectiveness culture, who have responsibility for driving it through their teams and bringing it together, then suddenly it becomes not just one person’s responsibility, which is where it can often sit, and often then be hard to make a difference. If you’re enabling through helpfulness and enabling through empowerment as well, then I think that would be our recommendation for how to do that.

Speaker 1: Lovely. I’m going to get super tactical here because I think folks sometimes appreciate that. How do you go about facilitating some of those conversations? Montserrat, for example, here has popped in the chat that I reckon the biggest resistance comes from the fact that not many other people know what marketing is or does, particularly technical marketing. I love your point about helpfulness because it’s like, what are your challenges and how can we help? Ironically, I was going to suggest lunches and learns and then Montserrat’s put in the chat, lunch and learn doesn’t always work. How do you practically sort of engage in those conversations when other people are head down in finance or operations or HR and stuff like that? Are you signing up for desks? Are you saying, how can I help? What does that look like? On a very tactical, very specific level, I appreciate it’s very micro rather than macro.

Speaker 2: Yes, maybe this will answer it, maybe it won’t. I think the biggest thing that we’ve seen make a difference is thinking about effectiveness upfront in everything that you do. Starting any business decision conversation with what’s the lay of the land at the moment and what’s worked and what hasn’t worked and swapping it round from being an end piece to swapping it round to being an upfront piece and then it’s putting everything on the table to say, what have we learned over the last two years and how does that help us navigate the next 12 months? Then it’s less around the fact that it’s marketing and it’s more about it being organisational learning which might still be too macro rather than micro on this. I think it’s the biggest thing that you can do is swapping it round in your planning process. Start with what Everyone’s got a view of what Tap those conversations up front. Find out where the differences are. Find out where the similarities are and build relationships from that.

Speaker 1: That’s fabulous. I appreciate you’ve been making this point throughout the duration, but actually when you’ve just phrased it like that, it really landed for me in the sense that we’re not walking into these conversations as marketers. We’re walking into these conversations as Nick who wants to help. Rob, and you come in and say, what’s ailing you, Rob? They might tell you and you might be able to help and it might be a marketing solution. Then that conversation, I guess.

Speaker 2: Yes. There’s a really nice organisational bit where some organisations work around this was they work in pods to tackle business solutions, business challenges. Rather than creating a marketing view of what the business challenge is or a finance view or an operations view, you’ve got teams of experts together centred around tackling one thing. That’s a really nice way of working, which gets you out of your, you’re there as an expert with your knowledge alongside other people. That might be a more marketing led view or a finance led view, but essentially you’re tackling the same thing.

Speaker 1: Yes, I love that. Thank you very much. I really appreciate that. It feels lighter in a way, which is good. This is useful. I want to take a question from Charlie because a large proportion of the TMM community will be in SME size businesses. We’ve spoken about marketing in general, but it’d be good to focus in on those folks, particularly for this question. Charlie asks, it’s hard to prove the effectiveness of a brand, especially for a small company, any suggestions? Maybe if I just broaden that out into, marketing is difficult in these smaller organisations. With the stuff that we’ve spoken about today, are there any modifications that you’d suggest for those who have less resources, less time, many hats, et cetera, et cetera?

Speaker 2: I think my top recommendation would have absolute clarity around what marketing should deliver. Because I think in a world where you’ve got small teams, you’ve got small resources, people are having to flex and wear many hats. Having absolute clarity around what marketing should deliver, it is critical. An example of that is a conversation we’ve had with a health business around whether it’s marketing, so there’s some B2C touch points. What they do is they have some samples on their website, which people sign up for. Marketing delivers that. It’s someone else’s responsibility to then drive that through to sale, but marketing is being delivered on the sale. Having that conversation to say, what absolutely are you going to hold your hat on and die for to say, we are working, we are not working and getting buy-in to that is the best thing that you can do.

Speaker 1: I love that. That’s really helpful. Thank you very much. We’re drawing to a close. I’ll take one last question from Christina with a question that I think is really pertinent for the times that we’re in at the moment. It’s the bottom question in the Q&A presently, but I think it’s a great one. Christina asks, leadership support is not linear, like nothing human is linear. How do you build resilience and prepare for drought periods? Presumably, is that a similar answer to what you’ve just said? How do you start to see that? Because I can imagine effectiveness feeling great in great times, but these conversations feeling more strained potentially in difficult times. Is there any difference?

Speaker 2: Effectiveness becomes more important in lean times. I think it’s easy to not, when times are good, it’s easy to not think about what’s driving that good performance. When times are lean, you need to really forensically understand, well, why is that? What are the roots out of that? I think that’s why everyone always should have an eye on what effectiveness is. If you’re just waiting until the times are lean, you’ve probably left it too late because you haven’t got your view of, well, what is it marketing’s deliver? Where’s the money gone? Has it delivered what it’s supposed to do? What are the efficiency side of things? What are the effectiveness side of things? Yes. I know that’s probably not a succinct answer to that, but I think it’s just about having the right framework to be able to say, we know things aren’t working and this is why, which comes back to the conversation. Beautiful.

Speaker 1: Mate, you’ve been outstanding today. Thank you very much. Really appreciate you sharing as you have.

Speaker 2: It’s been a pleasure.

Speaker 1: Thank you for having me and thanks for the questions. Not at all. The community has been on fire today. Thank you all for some wonderful chats and some wonderful questions. Folks, we’re not here next week. We’re having a week break in our webinars. I just want to highlight that if you haven’t seen our interview with Seth Godin, then that went live last week. If you’d like to catch up on that and haven’t seen it so far, there’s a QR code on your screen right now. It’s another fabulous session, which we’ll hope you keep you going in the week intervening. Also a big thank you to our sponsors for this week and specifically Redgate as our featured sponsor. They’ve got a marketing role presently open in comms and PR. They’re a lovely company. Worth checking that out as well as a big thank you to Frontify Exclaimer, Sticky Beak, Plannable, Cambridge Marketing College and Redgate. They’re all fabulous. Thank you everyone for popping into the chat right now. Nick, I hope your ego is exploding because you’re getting a lot of thanks and a lot of praise from a lot of lovely people. With all that said, we’ll hopefully see you in a couple of weeks for our first session in our next season where we’re going to be inviting non-marketers to speak to our community. With all that said, you’re absolute legends. I hope the rest of your day is fabulous. Thank you again, Nick. We will see you all very soon. Take care.