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Blog marketing

Anonymous Textline Failure?

Last year I set up Focus, which is a dedicated company culture and company strategy consultant. 

My mission is to: fix the broken world of work. 

Why?

Many people have had negative experiences in business and they typically come down to two key elements, the workplace and the people. Unfortunately, businesses just don’t have the time or right management in place to address these issues.

I have worked in:

  • The best environments where you feel empowered and you win every day.
  • The worst toxic cultures and you feel helpless and no one should feel like that at work.

In most businesses, the more senior you become, the more disconnected you tend to become from the day-to-day. 

What people are feeling, what they are doing and what hurdles they are facing. 

In some instances, I was lucky to be close enough to colleagues to hear what the issues were, what problems they were encountering and how the team were feeling. 

No one is ever trained or prepared to be a business leader and fix every problem.

It is important to call out I love coaching and mentoring and part of the deal when you continue to help ex colleagues after leaving is you become known to provide “therapy” to colleagues years after leaving. 

🧠 Brainwave 🚀 or Brain Fart 💨 ?

In a brainwave, during the first lockdown, I mapped out issues people faced, from the most junior to the most senior members of companies. 

The most common issue that kept coming back in my spider diagram was the leadership and important decision-makers were “too busy”, too unapproachable or disconnected from the day to day to understand that the strategy was broken or the culture was failing. 

The business person in me knew there was an opportunity to help junior to senior members of companies with an anonymous way of getting in touch with me.
No one junior to mid-levels wants to email from their work email address that their company has issues and could be traced back. 

Often senior leaders do not want to be the first person to speak up or speak out against the consensus, sad but true. 

More than an unanswered agenda item

Even more common, sadly, company culture and strategy are agenda items on the ELT agenda or the MT agenda, they are often nudged down or deprioritised while firefighting other issues.

The Marketer in my head kept suggesting that people will want to contact the right person or people to help, particularly with company culture, so I created the anonymous textline, (a simple process really I brought a new virtual number, added to my mobile), where I do not use the name or number of the person who has reached out but some unique identifier and enough background to highlight the issue and the company would benefit from listening and creating conversation around the issues they were facing. 

I promoted out as a content marketing rather than advertising, I promoted via my newsletters, I tweeted, I shared on LinkedIn, I shared to industry leaders and waited for the flood of texts to come in. 

The flood never came. 

The honest truth, I have received 3 text messages in nine months:

  • One was too early for the company to tackle
  • Another was an agency that needs help but cannot sign off the budget due to corona
  • And the other wanted me to cold call without any information as they were in a unique place at the company. 

Why this story?

Some times the best idea even with decent distribution can be too early especially in a pandemic while everyone is just keeping their heads above the (troubled business) water, it can be too subtle, it can be mistimed or misplaced or it can be too easy for people to reach out for help.
Sometimes friction does help.

Or potentially a good idea needs to be made great by investing huge amount of paid advertising behind it to make it hit the critical mass. 

In life you can hit home runs, more regularly you have to stop, review, tweak and go again. 

In marketing and growth being prepared to go a few more rounds helps you standout and win vs other competitors who are short term thinkers, so the lesson is to deliver a great product offering or feature, be prepared to tweak, test and iterate and iterate again

So yes, the above actions is what I am going to do. 

I live, learn and hopefully going to liberate a number of company’s struggling.

FWIW: The anonymous textline number is +447480064060

Categories
Blog marketing The Future Of Marketing

🤯 Everything As Experiences

Everything As Experiences 🤯 is the third theme in the future of marketing blog series. Everything as experiences is a way to think about the next move in Marketing and giving your customers real experiences they want to talk about, share and re-experience.

There has been many things written about the third space, right now we have two clear spaces, home and work.

The third and important space is the experience space. The 10% space where we will crave to have more experiences, enjoy more stimulation and look to escape.

With the number of varying lockdowns and quarantines, we have experienced many fewer experiences, some crave the theatre, some immersive movies, or like me art and zoo’s.

Like with everything as a billboard and everything as contactless, here are five ways for your business to leverage from a Marketing, a Growth and a Product department perspective.

Simple Experiences

We have craved experiences with lockdowns and quarantines, we have had our homes become work and our work defaults to being at home.
Humans are craving experiences, we are looking for immersive experiences, can you add something to the mundane or what has become boring?

Can you add to it by creating trails, walking adventures, walking tours, running playlists etc? 
Simple experiences that you can do solo or in a pair alongside pairing with a leaderboard or leaving notes or tips for others looking to experience this will be great ways to engage this audience.

Safe, Intimate, Personalised

Cinema / Theatre – Smaller more intimate experiences are what we will crave and feel safe with, can you offer an exclusive first look, a slightly more luxurious experience, or consider how you can spread people and colleagues out and build out deeper immersive experiences with brilliant visuals, brilliant surround sound or spaces where you do not want to use your mobile? 

Yes, this does mean scaling down or scaling up experiences with smells, different sounds and more tailored experiences, this also comes with better margins and people talking about the experience vs just the film or performance.

Rethinking Retail

Retail has been one of the hardest hit industries, huge brands have collapsed, many have been sold and brought by younger, online only brands.

Something that has been missed from retail is the touchpoints and the experience of good retailers.

There are many elements that have been missed and are actively being craved and this won’t change:

  • The visuals
  • The inspiration (and the aspirations)
  • The aural experience
  • Hearing the sounds, the music, people around you – many miss being around strangers
  • The touch of something on your skin, the feel of the item of clothing, the varying quality between two items
  • And then the taste, treating yourself to a coffee, a snack from your favourite treat spot and being able to have one day full of experiences.

There are many areas we look for, here are the areas you will want to include when creating your experience, visuals, audio, text (seeing and engaging with text), the touch / feel of something and adding taste into the experience.

I truly believe retail as the biggest opportunity with the right positioning and training can kickstart revenue spending and win over online for many people.

Peloton and connected fitness have really owned many of these areas and re-built to own their category.

Dark Stores & Experience Stores

Dark kitchens aka ghost kitchens have grown exponentially in recent years, not just because of restaurants shutting but down to being able to scale, offer your food to many dinners at completely new and different locations and branch out your offerings in a repeatable way, alongside ensuring you can keep your margins down.

Many dark kitchens operate on the well-known food delivery apps, some are available directly and although the cost and logistics are higher the ownership is higher.

What if in the future, these dark kitchens become hubs of experiences, blended with many of the other options and inspirations offered above but combined with retail, combined with personalised days organised for you.

Partnerships will be essential to win this space, this is how many local highstreets and stores have stayed alive and competed against much larger businesses. Local communities tend to step up and support each other in times of need. If you remove friction points and enable quick, convenient and reliable experiences you have a chance to win the even increasing bagel economies.

The High Street is struggling, many will be ghost towns when they re-open, there will be real estate that goes unopened, unused for many months at a time, what if we rethought this and applied a dark store approach.

In September 2020 I recommended in my 2021 predictions local would be essential as would the opportunity around dark stores.
Some ideas:

  • Being able to offer fewer people (not cramming) into the store,
  • Offering invite-only in-store experiences you make the experience far more compelling. In-person, red rope treatment has been lost in recent years – leverage this.
  • Personalisation: you can offer personalised experiences with personalised pricing
  • You can connect online and offline together, gaining a better idea of ROI and CAC, alongside connecting LTV.

If this location was dark and invite only this would mean customers could book and you can build scarcity around the store, you could offer stock levels and instant picks ups – which many will look to, click and collect is still a huge influence on purchasing.

This truly can improve bad trips and turn into true experiences.

3D / 4D Experiences 

Experiences require more than one layer, experiences are more than two dimensions they are 3d or 4d. Remember going to your favourite galleries, your favourite sporting events, they include the visual, they include a sound (even silence) they include the arena, they include people around you (a small number to a group or crowd) and they typically involve the smell and a feeling.

Taking inspiration from your favourite theme park, the theme part craft experiences:

  • The story is vitally important
  • The way your emotions follow the three-story arch
  • The way you feel and the ways you connect and then interact with the story
  • Most recently they added smell and liquid, typically water to add another layer of connection and experience and leaves you walking away thinking about the experience and wearing it (wet clothes or smelling od something) for the rest of the day.

Is this format something you could leverage, could you create or curate experiences using all of these senses?

Win the future of marketing and growth by creating experiences, where you can consider leveraging contactless tech, leverage billboarding and improving experiences connected to you and your brand.


Read The Other The Future Of Marketing Articles

Categories
Blog marketing The Future Of Marketing

✋ Everything As Contactless

As part of The Future of Marketing series, I took a dive into why billboards is a huge opportunity, the near future of marketing again.

In this post, I dive into ✋ Everything As Contactless and the huge opportunity there is in contactless and innovating.

Everything As Contactless 

1/ Entertaining Experiences

We will need to consider how we market and connect safely for a number of years to come. Contactless evolved massively in the last fifteen months, QR codes were used more than basic uses, contactless payments become default experiences.
How can you make the contactless experience more entertaining, more rewarding, can you offer perks and rewards on receipts etc?
Be inspired by offering experiences with contactless, rewards are great to create habits and make connections to products, people and brands.

2/ Developing QR Codes

QR codes to make payments is commonplace in Asia, it has been for a number of years, it has not been commonplace in the west.

This is now about to change, how do you consider QR code design, how do you make this experience smart, seamless, safe and entertaining.
All area’s to consider, develop out and build experiences.

3/ Online To Offline To Online aka O2O2O

QR codes were designed to connect – we have spent years attempting to connect offline and online together, we are going to see this flow add another loop, offline to online to offline or online to offline to online, this is how to close the loop and build deeper experiences.

Driving footfall was somewhat hard to prove but driving offline online become more important and more interactive.

The question to answer with this is: How do you add a frictionless extra experience to improve marketing opportunities, more growth opportunities and add true value and convenience to the user.

4/ AR (& Mixed Reality) Becoming A Reality

AR (Augmented reality) experiences will be key, something that gaming has led the way with is offering AR and developing their games when it was not as safe to be outside, Pokemon Go won by tweaking their game and introducing indoor experiences versus having to go outside, this led to a record year for the game.
Snapchat has really developed out their toolkits to incorporate AR.

How would you build in an AR experience with mobile phones? Apps, browsers etc. All important and lower cost now than ever before.

How can you drive an extra element of experience with shopping? With pickups? With curbside?
These are all exciting opportunities for Marketing, Product & Growth teams. AR doesn’t have to be expensive but done right is imperative. Can you introduce AR or MR into your roadmap and connect with your customers?

5/ Physical Product Enhancements

Consider how you can tweak your physical product to incorporate different elements of contactless, can you add a QR code to add to the experience like Coke and many other brands have done recently?
Can you add an SMS number or WhatsApp number to contact for quick feedback or help those who could be struggling to download the manual or gain support?
These are not new concepts however these are all areas which contactless can reduce friction and increase loyalty?

So, can you use these five points?

Can you build contactless experiences?

Are you and your business up for the challenge?

If you would a Marketing Advisor reach out below:


Recommend Follow Up Reading:

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Blog marketing The Future Of Marketing

The Future Of Marketing – Peloton & Inspired Connected Fitness

As part of the Future Of Marketing series, I took a closer look at Peloton and how they built and developed much more than a product or a series of products, they recreate the brand, the luxury fitness at home category.

Here are the slides from the broader presentation:

  • Fitness was first mover in affluent communities

Connected High End Fitness Trend

Fitness has always had connotations to more affluent communities, fitness is expensive, gyms membership, personal trainers, work at home equipment are all expensive options.

Peloton – Leader of the Pack

Peloton has been clear from the moment they launched they were for the high-end fitness fan.

So, here are the learnings you can apply from connected fitness and more specifically.

Community Member Living, Breathing, Touching & Sweating Peloton

I created Jess as a persona you can connect with:

Peloton community member "Jess"
  • Jess Loves connecting with people safely and as an introvert, she can work out from her comfort area
  • Jess loves her Peloton, in her space
  • Working out in groups and working out realtime feels like something that keeps her going
  • Jess loves her instructors and connects with them on personal levels not just as her instructor – affinity is key
  • Jess is powered by beating her personal bests and sharing these achievements on her social media
  • Jess was convinced by her friends in their friend’s group chat to buy her bike and subscription – Peloton best growth tactic is friend gets friend, this is a considerable benefit Peloton gains from their business and performance model. Joining an active network or growing one makes a product experience far more
  • Jess is a huge advocate and convinced her friends to invest in Peloton, this is herding her friends not just referring them.

Instructors Are Celebrities

  • Peloton was deliberate with their instructors and turned them from instructors to influencers and celebrities.
  • Emma Lovewell is the original instructor and was part of the original Kickstarter campaign.
  • Instructors connect with millions of Peloton community by training them regularly, engaging with them in real-time (& on-demand) and working out in their homes, seeing their home, seeing them sweat with you are all levels of connection you wouldn’t get with other products.
  • Emma is also attempting to grow her own audience on YouTube, offering insights into her life away from fitness.
Emma Lovewell - Peloton Instructor Celebrity
Source of Info

Addictive Peloton

  • The Peloton community were looking for Pelotons in hotels to book and continue their fitness ritual their streak their status their Instagram update finding their place on the road.
  • When something is engineered to keep you as active and engaged as Peloton, Peloton lovers will do everything they can to continue their workouts (streaks) to stay involved and connected to the brand. Many search and seek out the physical Peloton product vs use the app.
    This is very smart and engineered.
  • Peloton also has app options so you can work out if you don’t have access to your equipment or are looking to work out and cannot afford their specific equipment.

Peloton & Connected Fitness

  • Peloton might not be the first or last but combining with the connected fitness space there are many more reasons to work out and expand the Peloton model
  • Boxing and combat-based fitness has grown exponentially and will continue to do so, Hykso and Fight Camp are just a few in this space that is doing well and connecting equipment tracking fitness
  • With the recent expansion from Zoom with onzoom their marketplace offering for PTs etc and Apple’s move with Fitness+ we will see an unbundling of fitness and see masterclasses from huge pro athletes and ex-pro’s who will love to connect and train with their audiences with inspirational brands.
Connected Fitness Options

The Future Of Fitness Is Shaping Hotels

Hotels will be the first to think about how to become more connected to their customers.

Prediction to leverage becoming:

  • Low-cost gyms
  • Flexible Gyms
  • Pop up venues
  • Flexible offices
  • Room-based restaurants
  • Hybrid conference venues etc

Inconvenient Truth

The truth be told the gym 🏋️‍♂️ was inconvenient like many other offline activities. 

We have however just moved our exercise & sharing habits online too. 

Peloton, Mirror etc are just the tip of the iceberg for offline moving online & having a celebrity instructor train you will be almost normal but only accessible for those who invest. 

Peloton have grown tribes and moved tribal habits into herding, herds of people bring others along with them on their fitness drive.
Why? Price, increased status, feels bigger & more important than a product

Apple fitness+ will be biggest & best athletes training you. Do not discount Apple coming into the space more aggressively and making their brand presence felt, especially with the first non apple produced product that aligns so well with Apple quality and branding.

Lessons To Learn From Peloton & Connected Fitness

1️⃣ Question to answer every year but essential in today’s market? 

  • Am I part of a habit 
  • Can we be part of a ritual 
  • Can we make it onto their lists 

Tribes & Herding

2️⃣ Tribes…

How people think of Tribes: The bond over common enemies.  

But Tribe typically means: 

  • Empathy
  • Meaning
  • Connection
  • Safety
  • Friendship

Tribal Nature 

  • Do I belong? – Yes and with the instructor, we get to know 
  • How can I belong to this? – With exercise & in their groups & leaderboard, it’s being a better you
  • Where do I go for this feeling? – And how do I continue with this feeling?

Why is this the future of marketing?

  • Affluent community = high spend, high renewal, will make their money work for the high priced fitness equipment
  • This is your equipment, it is worth over £3000 – it will take prime real estate in your house. Potentially the only item that will challenge the television for prime real estate in your house
  • The quality product works – a quality product is your best marketing and cheapest marketing campaign
  • The rider gets rider loop = referral loop of friend convinces friend to invest in to the Peloton ecosystem.
  • Social Gold – every ride is posted online and maximises the reach of the brand and leverages vanity as the sharing mechanism
  • Social media groups have really connected members and created a deeper community layer
  • The different option of classes makes it flexible and connective.
    Live classes – connection to the instructor and the other riders
    On-demand – makes the class flexible for you and enables you to connect to the instructor when you cannot be live
  • The instructors form connections with the riders, their backgrounds
  • The leaderboards feature is not unique but allows you to compete or compare yourself on your latest ride. It can be something you choose to review or choose to ignore.
  • Tribal communities connect at a deeper level, herding also happens with friends bringing friends to the product and then friends of friends joining and being able to compete
  • In the future when we return to travelling or having to visit other offices, Peloton and connected fitness members will seek out these devices to continue their streaks and fitness workouts.

Despite the recent issues with stock levels and keeping up with demand, Peloton have built a model many brands can replicate moving forward. Marketing, Growth and Product leads should use Peloton as a guide to affluent communities and addictive products and services.


Learn from their ads and the spoof ads

Original Ad

The Peloton Partnership with Beyoncé is genius

Brilliant Spoof Ad

Categories
Blog marketing The Future Of Marketing

The Future: Everything As A Billboard

In the recent The Future Of Marketing webinar I hosted, I recommended that we would see the future recycle a number of features and tactics we have experienced previously.

I made a number of recommendations where I broke down the future and how to capitalise on it. In The Future Of Marketing blog series, I will include blog posts, decks and rich media-based content to help inspire you and help shape your thoughts moving forward.

The wider larger concepts we will see are:

  • The shift towards interacting with items, objects and people differently
  • How there are going to be thousands of opportunities with objects becoming billboards
  • A new demand for how we see and interact with entertainment,
  • How we view and interact with “live as on-demand”
  • How we will see a huge shift and a new demand towards the third space – the experience space.

The everything as a theme came from how we will be inspired by reliving and re-introducing ourselves to experiences, to objects and

everything as a billboard

Here were the ways I suggested the attendees think and consider with build the future not reacting to it and being too late.

Everything As A

  • 🤳 Everything as a billboard 
  • Everything as contactless 
  • 🤯 Everything as experiences
  • 🤩 Everything as entertainment 
  • 👁 Everything on demand  

In the coming posts, I will share five ways to think about these concepts and how to consider using these in the future.

In this post, we will tackle 🤳 Everything As A Billboard and how to think around billboarding and refreshing the concept in the transitional period we will be experiencing until midway through 2022.

Here are five ways to look at opportunities in forms of billboards.

🤳 Everything As A Billboard 

1/ Walking Billboards

With limited activities, we are seeing a lot less stimulus in person, tote bags, clothes, food and drink packaging are all billboards.
Many brands lost Marketing opportunities when they removed free bags and were charging for brands, this was right for the environment, many brands missed out the second-order effect of this and did not see the risk and missed marketing opportunity.
Starbucks is still incredibly lucky they are open and have the ability to turn any walk into a billboard moment, consider how you leverage this with your brand and brand packaging in the near term future.

2/ Wearable Billboards

While everyone is using video screens to communicate and host events, an opportunity is to leverage what is in view… an example is what people wear, what their backgrounds are, what you make appear as a prop or how your logo appears. There are great opportunities in this, especially with QR codes etc.

3/ Leveraging View, Touch, Sharing Experiences

In the near future, we will see more shops, galleries and ‘normal everyday life happenings’ open up, these are huge potential moments for Marketing, Product and Growth teams.
Consider how your brand can stand out and can create touchpoints back in normalising times.
Bags were and are great adverts, viewing items, touching, feeling, eating all great opportunities and experiences to connect and leverage packaging as actionable and shareable billboards.

4/ Locational Billboards

Consider how you think about key locations where people will be walking, running and when possible eating outside, these are all opportunities to leverage billboard moments or create billboard moments. Leveraging locations will be smart but competitive, see how you can leverage this early and beat your competitors to the punch.

When we are comfortable to eat outside, there will be a number of opportunities to leverage billboards, think of outdoor spaces like sponsoring benches, communal areas, food packaging and working with local councils to offer sponsorship or development of local area’s. Local has been hyper-relevant to everyone, especially those who proactively decided to move out of cities or move further out of busy cities. Shop local will continue but convenience is always the factor that wins.

5/ Micro Moments

Can you offer something more compelling, more engaging, more rewarding with these micro-moments?
Leverage the mobile phone and AR to truly build connections and shareable billboards.

Billboards are not just static and basic adverts anymore, billboards are what you make of them…

More Inspiration Here

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Blog marketing

Building Internal Relationships Advice & Tips

Following on from the recent Deepcrawl The New Era of SEO Automation Event, here are a number of pieces of advice to build relationships and ensure you and your business have cross functional success and improve your business performance.


General Advice

SEO is not new – so most developers are aware of the importance.
Recommended Action: Make SEO relevant to the developer and Product Manager (Or Project Manager).

If you experience big shifts or important updates, have open dashboards or reports where developers can see this easily.
Recommended Action: Let people develop their own understanding, their version of what’s happened and help them understand it from a revenue and then from an SEO POV. Search first can mislead others from how important it is to them, their team, the business.


Revenue Discussions

By knowing what % of the company revenue comes through SEO, you can easily be able to show the benefits of your required work.
Recommended Action: If SEO is low % it will be treated as such unless you have a relationship and prove growth. If mid to high % it will be taken extremely importantly with a good relationship.

Relationship is key to gain buy in.

C-Suite titles rarely want to get into long debates, especially when it comes to dark arts and unscientific like disciplines like SEO.
Recommended Action: Use exec summaries and highlight revenue impact and then ask for longer debate when they can make the time. Forcing time upon c-suite instantly creates a more difficult conversation.


Build relationships

SEO is often a team that is not always connected closely enough to the Marketing Department.
Recommended Action: You will need their support and buy-in – help to build relationships, help social teams understand the algorithmic shifts from search as a lot of these applies to social media and social teams see this happening every day.

Build relationships with Product Teams and Data teams. These will be really important partners moving forward and will be important gatekeepers in important business decisions made.
Recommended Action: Help to share knowledge and insights with these departments and collaborate moving forward.

Build relationships with development team or agencies, the more they see you and hear from you – the more affinity and trust they will have for you.


Decision Makers

Know who makes the decisions internally and the frameworks they use.
Recommended Action: Build and apply to their frameworks. Without this, you will be seen as taking their time or wasting the company budget.

Product teams are often the gatekeepers for decisions and speak on behalf of many teams
Recommended Action: Collaborate, develop their knowledge, share their language and fit into their goals. Making others internally famous is often the quickest way for buy in.


Clearest Communications

Speak without jargon
Recommended Action: Be with clarity and sanity, remove SEO jargon, the less many senior people will keep on track or support with a quick discussion.

If you are technical, never get into a coding debate with developers.

Documentation helps almost 95% of the time
Recommended Action: Share documentation – development teams are used to github and other platforms where documentation is standard

The way you communicate will make or break relationships early.


Coach & Develop

Offer lunch and learns or morning coffee sessions to help to offer teachings to those who are interested.

Looking for a help developing your company or internal teams? Get in contact below for advisory & interim coaching for CMO’s and CGO’s.

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Blog marketing

The Questions For CMO’s & Brand Leads To Answer in 2021.

As part of an upcoming project brand book 2021, I created a number of questions to ask brand leaders from many different industries. Following on from their answers, I created this list of questions for CMO’s and brand leaders to answer to ensure there are ahead of the curve and the many obstacles we will face in the coming year.

  • Do you have Brand respect?
    • Is your brand respected so much so they will buy you again based on your brand and trust you have build?
  • Do you own the cognitive brand space?
    • Do you own relevant brand space for your customers?
  • If you had a product or advertising mistake will customers stay with you or will they leave you?
  • Does your brand deserve loyalty?
    • Does the brand beat the product expectation and differentiate you vs your numerous competitors?
  • Are you a brand that other brands will want to partner with and work within 2021 and beyond?
  • Growth is always at the forefront of every businesses eyes, is your brand an unfair advantage and can you leverage brand over product marketing?
  • Do you regularly make it onto customers lists?
    • Will you be listed on the next shopping list?
    • Next Birthday Present list?
    • Next payday?
  • Is your brand part of your flywheel?
    • Does your brand add more traction to your Marketing or Growth flywheel?
  • Is your brand high or low frequency?
    • Are you being thought about and used regularly enough to be considered?
  • Are you going to be a brand that’s as relevant in a Hybrid office as you were in an office first environment?

How do you score? If you would like a worksheet with the questions so you can your team can answer click below for a copy of the worksheet.

Categories
Blog marketing

End Of Year Wrap-Ups

Spotify has had something magical for a number of years. 

The wrap of the year. 

Super Smart

It’s super smart, why?
It’s completely personalised, it plays back what you already likely knew but will give you a couple of surprises, it reinforces what you thought, it explores your internal curiosity, it drives our inbuilt competitor, you want to compare against friends, social media followers and luckily if you are on social media, you can compare against strangers. The likelihood is it ended up on stories, group chat and source of zoom calls and FaceTimes. 

These are all wins for the listener but also Spotify, at scale this plays into networks, builds teams of people joining in their love of 90’s RnB, of nostalgic boybands and being early on listening to Christmas music which seemed surprisingly popular this year. 

Playlists are not unique on Spotify but are part of their DNA and this is a way to connect listeners together.

Human Connection

We share for a number of reasons, but one that key, as humans we are built to be part of something, to be connected to other humans as that’s how we survived and evolved from cave-people to being part of the tribe, to building villages and onwards. 

Performative 2020

Social media has become a performance platform for so many people, why not share some of the most personal information? You become part of something alongside showing off just enough to receive some feedback from a like, a reaction or a comment question your choice of music or this podcast.

A Quick Co-brand 

End of year personalised reviews is smart ways to market.

Leveraging millions of your subscribers to share your brand across as many networks as possible. 

Artist Spotlight

Hannah Wants – DJ share on Instagram

Including the artist is smart, for instance, many artists dislike the pay structure but it is a necessary evil for them but providing them with their stream data will act in the same way as the listener data and you see how many millions of streams the artist has had.

The Other Side

Mariah Carey makes roughly $16k per day from Spotify streams in November and December for All I Want for Christmas (artists are only paid on average $0.004 per stream), so there is an angle here where Spotify or third parties could share this information and leverage the trend.

It’s Not Easy

End of year reviews are hard, the data set is huge, the design phase is difficult and getting it to become a digestible piece of information on something new is extremely challenging. 

In previous roles, the team(s) and I have implemented this and it took huge amounts of work, it took a dedicated and talented project lead and a designer with a lot of skill and patience. Believe it or not, if you have a data set it isn’t as easy as plug and play. 

Opportunity? Your Own Take

If you have a product that is used regularly and has a number of interesting data points, you do not have to wait for the end of the year to be over, you can leverage many different events or have a wrap-up style workstream from within your product.

One of the products we had was very much a one and done (use once and no need to come back regularly) and we had great success in leveraging the end of the experience and providing similar insights and was shared a lot.

Daily league tables, comparison tools etc all work well if you have the team and engineering capacity to do this.

Spotify, Apple Music etc have many millions of users so they drive interest and build a short behaviour, alongside being able to share their top x albums, tracks, artists and this year podcasts. Will you? Map out these areas of high interest and see if you have the influence to do this.

Growth Wrap Up?

If you have a growth team, this would be a perfect project for them to build out as a SWOT team and bring in the departmental experts.

An Idea💡

One element that appears to be missing is connecting each other and gamification between groups of people, it would be ideal for friends and teams…

Protagonist x Director Roles

If you have hundreds of thousands of users and personalised enough (without being too sensitive) you can do it, what you will need to understand is your unique spin, your unique data point and what is rich enough to drive comparison and the performance angle of putting the user front and centre of the glory, the protagonist in the story and you being the director in the background enabling such a great performance.

Wraps up are smart, they take a lot of work and energy but are very rewarding for the brand and for users. If you can offer something unique and at a different time of the year its something you should look at digging into and releasing, especially with the size of the opportunity and gaining cut through with other marketing campaigns can be challenging with the negative news cycles.

Categories
Blog marketing

How To Move From SEO Into A Senior Marketing Role Podcast

Kevin Gibbons from Re:Signal kindly asked me to join him on the Re:Signal podcast.

Kevin and I have known each other for over a decade and have a good flowing chat around:

  • My personal journey over two decades
  • How important SEO was to my career
  • How important SEO is even today for so many brands and for many more years
  • How search has evolved
  • Why digital on its own won’t work
  • How to establish the right team model and reinforce the right culture to get the best of people professionally and as important personally.
  • How you can move into a more digitally focused role or broaden out into a Head of Marketing, Director of or CMO / CGO role
  • How I’ve landed as an interim CMO and building out Focus, the company culture and strategy consultancy

Watch the full podcast

10 Tips To Make The Shift From SEO Into Marketing Management

  1. Learn the wider business as much as possible as soon as possible
    1. Don’t get stuck with knowing just what you think you influence
  2. Learn to move away from buzzwords – explain super simply and explain the importance of SEO
  3. Everyone’s opinion vs no opinion – Learn that bikeshedding is normal, when simple will have an opinion and when seems complicated or you are expert they will not have an opinion, doesn’t mean senior people are not interested
  4. Learn to deliver your updates in exec summary formats.
    1. Show your impact and report regularly
    2. No news doesn’t mean bad news
    3. If something happens or algorithms change, be prepared to say this is the plan moving forward – senior people want and remember
  5. 2020 has been brutal – understand SEO has always been long term plays, if there are short and midterm wins by ramping up activities step up and take on the challenge
  6. Captain and Champion approach – lunch and learns will really help internally, set them up
  7. Develop relationships with other marketing disciplines and work with product (learn the basics of product management and how they manage many difficult product launches and stakeholders)
  8. Understand what stage of the business your business is:
    Crawl – Walk – Run – Fly
  9. Look at learning other marketing disciplines – the more you learn and appreciate the better your SEO action plan can be and the more likely you are to take on more work
  10. Learn to forecast – SEO typically has to and aligns well with finance teams

Mentioned Content

Personal and Professional SWOT on the Focus Blog –

The Serena Williams coach episode to watch on Netflix

Sir Clive Woodward interview on The High Performance Podcast

Categories
Blog marketing

Giving Your Team Members Their Stage

In my work with Focus, I speak to a number of company leads, department heads and Heads of. I am asked a number of questions, I tend to bucket each question into a category or a theme.

One recurring theme is “How do I get the most out of my team?”.
The answer is not it depends, it is:

  • How well do you know your team?
  • What is your team members stage?

How Well Do You Know Your Team?

How well do you know your team should be straight forward,
I will nudge the manager towards: understand the individuals, get to know the individuals better ➡️ understand their motivations ➡️ and, understand how they work together as a team and then as a department.

What Is Your Team Members Stage?

The second is more straight forward however requires getting to know your team and the individuals better first.

Ultimately what stage do your team members crave to be on?
Where are they most comfortable?
& Where do they gain their energy?

Their Stage

Their stage is always different, your extroverted team member will want to stand up in front of the company and present their work or the teams work. They thrive in front of an audience, they gain their energy from other people and importantly the limelight.

Your ambivert will gain their energy differently, they might enjoy the creation process, they like the detail phase, the write-up phase is where they excel, a detailed retrospective to help the rest of the team to take learnings moving forward and enjoy creating a detailed presentation while actively not wanting to present it.

You can have introverts who gain their energy and know their stage is in delivery. Their stage is performing not putting on a performance.

Their stage is where it enables and allows your team members to truly shine.

Your Role As A Leader

Your job as a department head is to understand these personal elements, their energy sources, the praise they like, when and how they like to receive praise and how your team members like to perform and what and where their stage is.

The best Marketing Departments I have worked with, in or led are typically a mix of complex personalities, introverts, ambiverts and extroverts all having their own unique perspectives, personal requirements but importantly they have understood each other’s personalities, their preferences, how and where they like to operate and how they like to perform and importantly what stage and role each play.

Time To Step Up As A Lead

As I mentioned in f*** fear, it is time for you and your team to step up, get to know each other, understand where you can help to make it tick and this will help your team beat performance anxiety, fatigue and start delivering quality work and campaigns.

In the coming weeks, it is essential you and your team come together, find ways to workshop (remote with docs or tools like Miro or Mural), build out your playbooks and getting the most out of your team by truly understanding each team member and rolling into your team.

In 2021, personal and professional development is never going to be more important, as a lead step up and enable your team or department to reach their potential.


If you would two more blog posts to read:

  1. Marketing Is will help you and your team progress most.
  2. The 9P’s, Problem, Pick, Plan, Prepare, Predict, Present, Preview, Prove, Proof will help get the most out of your department to roll into your company-wide strategy.