In this episode, Joe goes back to basics with the things he wishes he had known when he started his marketing career.

Key takeaways on the things I wish I knew about marketing 8 years ago

  • The Marketing Meetup is a place where people come together to learn about marketing and connect in a meaningful way; not just about job titles or budgets, but about human beings—and do it all with kindness.
  • Every touchpoint between a company and their customer is a form of marketing.
  • Marketing is all about helping the customer—it’s all about somebody else, not you.
  • In the world of marketing, people want to work with nice guys who have a hunger for continuous learning.
  • People resonate with people, not companies. Even big brands with huge reach and a fanbase get small returns on company pages.

[05:50] The Definition of Marketing

  • The CIM definition:
    • “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”
  • The human definition:
    • “Marketing is meeting the needs of the customer.”
      • e. “Marketing is meeting the pain/challenge of a human.”
    • Thing I “do” -> Attitude
      • What can we do to improve the customer’s life?
    • The equation for marketing:
      • Pain or Desires of a human (Diagnosis) + Your Solution (4 P’s) + Communicated really well (Strategy and Comms) = Problem Solved = Happy customer = Sales = 👍😊💥
      • “We have a new exciting announcement.”
        • “Here is something that will benefit you

[11:18] Diagnosis, Strategy, and the Tactics trend

  • Diagnosis (33%): What is the market?/What does the market want?
    • Market Orientation (research)
    • Market Research (research)
  • Strategy (33%): Choosing what to do, and what not to do
    • Segmentation (statistics)
    • Targeting (building a business case)
    • Positioning (psychology, copywriting, comms)
    • Objectives (business)
  • Tactics (33%): The bit everyone thinks marketing is
    • Product (production)
    • Price (maths)
    • Communications (advertising, social media, etc.)
    • Distribution
  • Unless you’ve done the diagnosis and strategy work first, your tactics will be little more than you getting busy being busy.
    • Tactics comprise of only 8.25% of the marketing mix
  • The Marketing lifecycle gives you purpose to your tactics

[21:47] Knowing yourself and career routes

  • 3 pieces of advice if you’re at the beginning of your marketing career:
    • Ditch the ego.
    • Look to help and learn.
    • Be kind.
  • Your two options when stepping out into the real world:
    • Agency/In-house
      • Agency
        • Work with lots of clients
        • Exposure to multiple situations
        • Likely to be a process-based environment
        • Project-based work
        • Will probably learn a specific methodology
      • In-house
        • Work in one company
        • In-depth exposure to one environment
        • Get the chance to truly develop one brand
        • Limited exposure to anything else
      • Generalist/Specialist
        • Generalist
          • Do lots of things
          • Generally in a smaller company
          • (Potentially) steeper learning curve
          • More responsibility
          • Less clear career path afterwards
        • Specialist
          • Do one thing well
          • Generally in an agency or larger company
          • Become an expert
          • Work within a methodology
          • Specific, but limiting career path
        • T-shape
          • Do one thing well, but have a breadth of knowledge about lots of things
        • The best? “It depends.”

[30:34] Learning

  • Never stop learning…
  • …or start.
  • Books. Talks. Events.

[32:34] Getting yourself out there

  • It’s both what and who you know.
  • The opportunity right now is with LinkedIn.
    • While most social media brands are cutting the reach of pages of individuals, LinkedIn has consistently been more generous than any other social media platform in terms of reach.
    • Moreover, context is important. As you are speaking to people in a business context (career change or unemployment)—LinkedIn is where they will be looking.
  • Personal brand
    • People buy from people.
    • Personal brand has the ability to circumvent many of the challenges traditional brands face when it comes to establishing humanity and legitimacy.
    • Huge companies have been born from the power of personal brand. Founders are becoming as, if not more, recognisable than the brands they represent.
    • Personal brand doesn’t need to be slimy or inauthentic—it’s simply about making choices about what you want to be known for and consistently applying effort in that direction.

How to do it—Quick wins:

      • Content pillars
        • Identify what you want to be known for by answering the question: “What are the three things I would like to be ‘famous’ for in the eyes of my customers?” Ideally, you would have already established this at the strategy level so this will simply be a duplication of that.
        • List all the topics associated with this topic that you are able to speak about.
        • Decide what your narrative/opinion or story that you are going to tell about each subtopic will be.
      • How to write a LinkedIn post with the best chance of success:
        • A story told well will…
          • Capture the attention—Open with a strong hook.
          • Make people read to the end—Keep the level of interest right the way to the end.
          • Get them to do something, feel something, or think something—Make the reader take some type of action or learn something new.
          • Be told with brevity, levity, clarity, and charity.
        • Put together these five lines which will act as a structure for your post:
          • An outline—Let your audience know what to expect.
          • A headline—A ten-word statement that encapsulates your story.
          • A front line—The most important point in the story should come first.
          • A side line or the body—Telling the story you want to tell.
          • A bottom line—Your call-to-action (for LinkedIn, this is optional! Not every post needs a CTA!)
        • Here are some tips for creating LinkedIn posts that land:
          • Momentum really does get behind you—get in the habit of posting. Once a day has been optimum for me, but the important point is you need to get in a place which you feel comfortable with.
            • Jeremy Waite, as an example, gets great engagement from posting far less regularly and that works for him! Just do you!
          • Don’t worry about sharing on LinkedIn, either. The reach is trash. It really isn’t worth it.
          • Don’t include links in your posts, where possible. I kinda hate it; but, the “link in the comments” tactic still seems to be effective.”
          • Tagging people in your post is a good thing. But, do it liberally. Nobody likes being tagged in a post that is irrelevant, or has a wall of other people also tagged in. Make sure it’s relevant if you are going to.
          • I’m unsure of the real value of hashtags on LinkedIn. But, it can’t harm. Limit it to three per post, however.
          • Personal pronouns work best—”I”, “me”, etc. When writing from your LinkedIn profile, you’re writing for yourself so speak like you would speak in real life to a friend down the pub.
          • Break down your posts into short, digestible paragraphs. Unlike writing a blog post, you can get away with a new paragraph per sentence. This helps from both a readability perspective on mobile devices, but also takes up a larger amount of screen space when people click “read more”.
          • Connective words at the beginning of each sentence such as “and”, “so”, “because”, “then” all help stitch together a post into a coherent, single piece.
          • The headline is the crucial real estate on your post. Make sure you’re making the most of it. We’ll investigate that more in a moment.
          • Stop trying to do too much with your posts. Focus on one thing and do it well.
          • Your posts can be short or long. You have 1,300 characters to pay with, but just like speed limits—that’s a maximum, not a target!
        • Writing a good headline for your LinkedIn posts:
          • The best tip I ever received on this is if you write your content—often the third sentence you write will be the one that turns out to be the one that will be used as a headline. This is often the key takeaway of the thing you are writing.
            • The Storyteller’s Opening—Draw the reader into a story already in progress.
            • The Suspense-Creating Opening Sentence
            • The Compelling Question Opening Sentence
            • The Surprising Statement Opening Sentence

Q and A on the things I wish I knew about marketing 8 years ago

Q: Why isn’t this focus on diagnosis and strategy before tactics common in the marketing industry?

A: As marketers, we care about what we do. But what really matters is: Do the bosses know about this sort of stuff? Are marketers educating their bosses on diagnosis, strategy, and the role that tactics play in the wider mix? If the bosses think it’s only about the tactics, it doesn’t matter what we think—we’re going to continue being told to only do x tweets per day. We need to cultivate genuine curiosity about marketing and other people’s functions so that we can relate what’s important to us with what’s important to others.

 

Q: What resources would you recommend for those looking to increase their skill around different marketing tactics?

A: It depends on your path. Generalists typically pick things up as they go, such as SEO if the task at hand calls for it. For specialists, those things become far more abundant and clearer: You’re in PPC, you read Search Engine Land. If you become a CMO, you read Marketing Week or Campaign.

 

Q: What is your perspective on the role of marketing in sustainability?

A: Firstly, in a commercial context, folks are demanding more and more that brands have a sustainability agenda as part of their activities. Diagnosis tells us that it’s not just an add-on anymore, but an integral part of what we do. Secondly, if marketing is communicating a solution to a problem, then boy do we have a problem right now with the environment. If marketing doesn’t get involved, then we have a problem. If opportunities for environmental breakthroughs arise, then it’s our job as marketers to get the word out there.

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