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My Toolset & Tech Stack

As a CMO a day and half a week and company culture and strategy consultancy leader, I use a number of different tools to help keep on top of my work and help me to stay productive and on top of upcoming meetings and coaching sessions.

I am often asked about what tools I use and if I have any recommendations. I thought it would be useful to share in a dedicated blog post.

Here is my tech-stack, I am a mac user and iPhone user so the majority of these are available for Windows and Android phones.

📲 Video Calls

Meeter

Deeplink for video calls, it can be a nightmare to manage all the different calendars and quickly grab the right URL for video calls. Meeter helps to centralise, remind and deep link straight into the right software or URL. Pricesless when you have back to backs or different clients on different software.

FaceTime

I like to centralise all activity onto my MacBook, this is a personal preference so I have attempted to shift as many calls, mentoring sessions and coaching calls onto FaceTime over Zoom, this helps clients go for walk and talks and allows flexibility with making notes when required.

FaceTime Audio

FaceTime audio also helps me use my MacBook and keep my headphones in so no need to keep searching around for my phone or the right headphones. FWIW I strongly recommend using headphones with all phone calls, video calls etc, the echo and background noise without headphones is a nightmare for both parties.

Circles

Zoom is something we will live in, some see it as CCTV but others see it as the only way they can keep in touch with their colleagues by seeing their faces and their reactions.
Circles is a great tool that sit on top of Zoom and opens as your default app on Zoom meetings. It enables the attendees as bubbles (floating heads on the top of your screen) and allows you to see everyone speaking and see the presentation or continue with reading documents and finding answers vs the default Zoom view which is controlled by others not you. I highly recommend Circle with agency meetings, with larger internal meetings and a way to concentrate and amend the size of the attendees head etc.

Whereby

As a solo business consultancy owner and CMO/CGO, I don’t always have a need for large video calls. Free zoom, meet and FaceTime are all good options but I have been using whereby in recent weeks and it’s a great alternative. Great quality for up to 4 people for free, I have not had an issue with the video or audio. There are two other options for premium services but if you have had enough of other alternatives or have a need for a high-quality product Whereby is well worth a signup.

Logitech Streamcam

Two things that we have all realised, cameras on laptops are poor quality, fuzzy and frustrating, seeing your colleagues clearly is essential and good audio makes and breaks meeting attention.
Thankfully my girlfriend brought me a dedicated USBC webcam the Logitech streamcam, it is crystal clear HD, has a good mic inbuilt and streams by default in HD. It works well with FaceTime, with Google Meets, Zoom, Whereby and Zoom. There are not many other good webcams available, and I have found it really helps me and was a talking point for many people who said how clear my video is.
Always remember: headphones make and break remote and hybrid meetings.

📆 Calendar Management

iCal

centralise calendars – I have four different email and calendar providers, if it wasn’t for Meeter and iCal it would be impossible to keep on top of everything in one place. I am unique that I deliberately break out my email clients, as you will see below.

🎧 Headphones & Mics

AirPods Pro

I cannot say how much the AirPods Pro are a step up from the AirPods, the pro’s are great and last hours, especially when you are like me and have to listen to music, mixes and podcasts while working, AirPods Pro are great on video calls and webinars. I tend to use wired headphones so they never run out on webinars, panels or remote presentations but AirPods Pro has not failed me yet.

Wired Apple headphones

I might be one of the ten per cent who has no problem with the classic and wired Apple headphones, they are durable, reliable and the mic is perfectly placed for calls, webinars, panels and when you present on remote conferences.

Samson QU2 Mic

In the recent isolated talks I wanted to ensure I had the best audio possible, after quite a lot of research the Samson QU2 was the bundle every podcaster suggests and mic expert recommends for podcasts and easy plug and play. It’s great even in larger rooms and the sound quality and settings are easy to tweak. I have used on a number of calls and panels and works really well.

🗣Presentations

Apple Keynote

I personally prefer keynote to all other presentation options out there. It has many more customisations and allows better presenting options especially remotely vs PowerPoint or browser-based apps. It has its flaws has it is not as easy to share and collaborate however for the style, the ease and the ability to export in multiple formats you cannot go wrong.

Google Slides

Startup clients love slides, if I have to collaborate or co-create slides tends to be easier than shared PowerPoints. Slides is a good option if you need multiple people working on the same presentation. Be wary like I said in remote pitching advice, as it is still designed for solo demos, not multiple pitches and demos.

📧 Desktop Email

Spark

Email can be distracting and misleading of importance, Spark is a great tool if you like an intelligent mailbox that uses smart tech to notify you of important emails vs just emails. Once you use it for a couple of days, you will become an expert in shortcuts and being able to schedule emails and send quick responses. Well worth getting used to and if you prefer having all emails in one inbox, the multiple inbox mode also works well in handling notifications vs Outlook which still wants you to spend your day living inside it.

Web – Gmail

Gmail has improved recently, it is Google’s obvious play to be the centre point / the canonical option to work from. Gmail is getting smarter at filtering emails and allowing you to quickly read attachments and quick response, especially with AMP-based emails. I use different browsers for different clients, so Gmail tends to work best outside of Safari as like all Google products it resources heavy. Firefox and Chrome (or Brave) work best.

📧 Mobile Email

Outlook Mobile

Outlook is by far the best mobile email app available. The customise settings are great, especially when training the app who is important and who is not. Outlook syncs very well and is my go-to app for my Focus consultancy.

Spark

Like the desktop version, I cannot sing Sparks praises enough, the multiple inbox management is definitely one of the standout features as is the integration with so many other tools, if you are out on a walk the cloud attachment options are invaluable and the makers have clearly thought of the important use cases. If you like to schedule emails Spark will be a great addition to your toolkit.
Spark is great for business or personal email management.

Mac Mail (iPhone default)

Often overlooked but a great canonical mail client, the clarity of the app is brilliant, the ability to quickly manage important emails makes it a must-have app. I personally keep for my personal emails.

🎙 Podcasts

Mobile: PocketCasts

I am a huge Podcast fan (podcasts vs vodcasts), I am a ‘super listener’ which means I listen to way too many. It is therefore important I use an app that helps to cut out white noise and removes the frustrating blank spots. Pocketcast is simple to use, free and manages notifications well. I love pocketcasts because of how you can share podcasts as URL’s and embed them. There are hundreds of good options but for me, Pocketcasts is the best player on the market.

Desktop: Podcasts

I never used to listen to pods on the laptop however I have found whilst working from home I have fewer interruptions and whilst cooking etc I can play from the MacBook and take my headphones in and out, alongside if there are calls etc it will pause etc. The podcast app has improved and if you use shortcuts, and (dock menu) control + right-click you can rewind, pause and forward. The related podcasts and host information has improved this year so if you love an episode or enjoy the host it is a good tool to explore and discover other podcasts.
If you love podcasts, here is my updated podcasts I recommend and update weekly

📝 Notes Taking

Notion

I am a huge believer in note-taking, having your own knowledge centre and keeping an internal personal wiki, note-taking is an art form that many people need just do not realise how important a note, a log or history of ideas and thoughts can benefit them personally and professionally. Having any structure in notes is invaluable, being able to link the notes together and have hierarchies is going to level up your operational skills and your professional career.
Notion is your one-stop-shop for notes and organised notes. I am a huge fan of what Notion has done and how they have made a tool that answers so many problems alongside helps you take quick or detailed notes in seconds. I tend to use Notion for more detailed and structured notes, especially around clients, the CEO or CMO mentorship clients I have and the ability share these notes as documents, PDF’s or a client area.
It can be free but the small business option provides great storage. Their YouTube channel and templates will become invaluable if you dedicated some time to Notion. Notion is what every good product should be:
easy to learn, easy to use, easy to share.
Their iPhone widget is brilliant and if you have a team or department and struggle with knowledge centres before, Notion is the tool to roll out, train very briefly and see knowledge become more accessible, searchable and less hidden or hoarded.

Apple Notes

I love apple notes simplicity and the ability to share quick and snappy notes. I personally use Apple Notes for quick ideas, concepts, to do and a listen of information I need to do or share. One feature that many overlooks is the scanning feature and ability to save PDF’s centrally from downloading on your mobile. Then iCloud will give you a log of important files and PDF’s vs trying to find them in numerous different devices and folders.
Apple notes are definitely one of my most-used apps and something I couldn’t live without. I will often start in Apple Notes and move to Notion when needs more thought or more connection. Even with the other more detailed notes products available,
Apple Notes has always won over others for me, especially paired with Notion.

If you have any great tools or something I missed in my tech stack, happily let me know by clicking the button below

An important related read is remote meeting rules & remote pitching tips.

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Filtering Agencies & Agency Criteria Framework

With over two decades in Marketing, Growth and Product leadership roles, you typically develop your own internal framework for filtering agencies or criteria you use when working through onboarding an agency.

This framework and series of questions are going to help you to filter through potential agencies and help to select your right partner for future success.

Skills-based

  • Internal skills gap – Are there skills gaps or missing knowledge where an external agency or consultant can set up and drive the business forward?
  • Headcount – Is there a headcount struggle? Are there restrictions on hiring or a need to keep headcount low? If yes, an agency might be the only way forward.
  • Agency fees – Does the agency charge much higher fees? Will the agency fees stay static?
  • Agency skills – Does the agency have unique skills or understanding of your market? Does the agency have the skills to fill the requirements?
  • Important Question: Will the external agency help to train and develop the skills gap within the team

People-based

  • Will the agency align with the team?
    – Important to understand upfront and use company culture and department subculture as a guide.
  • Will the agency team add value to the existing team?
    – This is important as a close working relationship will be important, especially if the agency is taking on acquisition.
  • Will the agency team or account team be able to ramp up within two work sessions?
    – Agency onboarding can be challenging, this should not take more than a couple of sessions to hit the ground running and improve numbers.
  • Can the agency own a line as if they were an internal team member?
    – Your trust of your agency should be on par with a new staff member, you are hiring for them to fill a role and objectives. If they will not own the stream of work, these are likely the wrong partners.
  • How good is the actual agency team vs the pitching team?
    – The pitch team often is very different to team working on your account, the account team is the fairer representation of the agency vs the pitching team. Ensure you virtually meet the account exec or manager throughout the pitch process.
  • How good is the account management?
    – If account management is poor or constantly reactive how will they address this?
  • An important question when you will rely on working closely with the new agency partner. Would I hire the account manager or director if they were available on the market?
    – If the answer is no, are you adding to the existing team? Are you improving the output of the team? Really dive into this the first few weeks of the relationship.
  • If there was a problem would they own it and let me know before I knew?
    – This is essential in teams of any size, you will want the agency partner to act like they are part of the team and owning the line. Ensure you manage expectations up front and list as a requirement.

Budget based

  • How much will it cost?
    – Cost should never be a surprise, especially with follow up pricing, extra charges or work that is outside of the retainer, these have to be called out up front.
  • Are they worth the extra vs another agency?
    – This is hard to judge unless you really ask the right questions and understand the output. Cheaper doesn’t mean more value, more expensive doesn’t mean better results. Understand the cost and value of both.
  • How much is their agency fees?
    – Fees can be complicated if not a flat retainer, if tools are extra, ensure you receive a full breakdown of costs and fees.

ROI based

  • Will there be a positive ROI? When does the agency suggest there will be ROI from their activity?
    – ROI is essential in almost all companies, especially with Marketing teams, ROI and ROAS can be mapped out. If your agency partner cannot predict this and map out according question are they worth working alongside.
  • How long before ROI vs how to maximise x?
    – ROI is important but if you are looking for an agency to maximise a different metric, are they going to be able to help you with these goals or KPI’s? An example would be in Marketing & Growth, would the agency work add benefit to amplify your message, distribute your message in a cost-effective way to an audience you don’t have access to? Will this then lead to better metrics?

Reporting Based

  • What type of reporting do they offer?
    – Does this answer the problems you are looking to solve? Is it telling you numbers vs insights of the campaign?
  • When do they report?
    – What are you looking for? Weekly, monthly, quarterly?
  • How do they report?
    – Automated report? Added commentary? A run through in person? Or a remote video with insights provided?
  • Will dashboards be repackaged as reports?
    – If yes, this is likely not the right agency partner?
  • How is their communication based around numbers and insights?
    – Does their insights add value? Or do they just turn numbers into %’s?
  • Passive reporting vs proactive reporting?
    – Is reporting an important area for the agency to add value? Do they proactively dig into the data and numbers to improve your relationship and numbers?

Tools:

Does the agency have unique tools?
– Many agencies have a tech team or data team that build out unique tools, will these add value vs off the self tools?

Do they have any unique insights or tool kits that would help you excel?
– There are many tools and unique tools that can help you win, some agencies can offer completely unique insights with Analytics extensions, browser extensions and plug and play tools.

Other Important Questions To Ask:

Ask: How is the account team set up?

Ask: How regularly does the account team change?

Ask: When there is a problem or issues, how will you address these?

Ask: What are your working hours?

Ask: What is your ETA’s and turn around times?

Ask: How will you support us through annual leaves

Ask: Is anything bespoke we can benefit from?

Ask: How big you are and how important you will be for the budget you will be spending monthly.
Some agencies are set up to support you and help you thrive, others are set up to scale their agency, a scaling agency going through growth can underserve you as a client. Understand if price and retainer impact you as a client, many will not expect this question and the answer is important.


Your Next Recommended Read:

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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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Five Communication Tips For Leaders

Communication is always the hardest element of any job. Especially when you are a manager or a leader of a business.
Being able to: talk simply, write important updates, to cut through the noise on instant messages, to explain hard decisions, explaining the next action plan or importantly asking for help are all essential elements of leadership communication.

Here are five tips for leaders to take on and improve communication for you and those you work with closely and influence those around you.

Post-It Note Comms – Clear communication comes from understanding the subject matter simply if you cannot explain it simply, you likely do not understand it simply enough. Take the time to understand and explain it as simply as possible. If you cannot explain it by writing on one post-it note you likely need to try and explain it again.

Small Notepad & Pen – always have a tiny notepad where you can write the points you have to get across. Write in forms of bullet points and have trigger words that help you explain your point clearly and concisely.
Military leaders to astronauts to elite sports coaches (including Jose Mourinho in the Amazon all or nothing series) all carry around notepads and pens and use this technique.

One Channel For Essential Communications – we all struggle to get a message to cut through as we are overloaded with communication channels. Agree with your teams and or department which channel is for essential news. There should then be no excuse for missing important comms updates.

Decision Document – Create one home for all decisions that are essential and important for everyone to know and understand. Unknown knowns kill companies inside out. Ensure you have a decision document or hub where all important decisions are marked out and a record is kept. Always assign a date and a follow up where possible.
Notion, Google Docs or Confluence are all popular choices.

20 Minute Planning – Each week block out twenty minutes planning sessions where you plan out your week, the priorities and how you are going to discuss and communicate all actions. This twenty minutes will help you centralise your thoughts, prioritise what to communicate. A twenty-minute wrap-up block is also something I recommend when coaching or mentoring leadership teams.

Bonus: A sitdown session as leadership teams are some of the most interesting and useful 10 – 30 minutes of any week. Have one person who takes more informal notes of wins and upcoming challenges and shares these, the two little ways to get strides forward for the week ahead.


If you are a leader or enjoy leadership posts like this, go and sign up for my weekly leaders letters below, you will join super smart leaders from Amazon, Google, Facebook & Venture Capital firms:

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Vodcasts Vs Podcasts

Podcasts exploded in 2020, it is likely the third step change for podcasts.

1st Chapter:
The first was listening on the go on your desktop or your iPod.

2nd Chapter:
The second was around 2018 when there was an explosion in better bluetooth headphones (many suggest it was the AirPods that gave podcasts another explosion)

3rd Chapter:
The third, better tech, cheaper tech, actively choosing your own time while C19 happened.

Podcasts, in essence, are straightforward and simple tech, typically powered by public RSS and able to be syndicated across the world in a matter of minutes. Despite a more recent movement towards gated podcasts and private RSS feeds, we are seeing popularity spike.

Eyes Vs Ears

One point a few people have made is we are inundated with visual content (content for the eyes) but we can decide what goes into our ears (Aural content). Video requires two senses, audio tends to need only one.

Why Popular Now?

The joy of podcasts is often the conversation, the simplicity of Q&A and hearing people discuss topics as experts.

The audio space is expanding rapidly, voice notes, voice assistance, voice search, podcasts, vodcasts, music, radio, audiobooks (aka audible).

Podcast’s still divides people, you are either a podcast listener or you don’t like podcasts.

You will often know a podcaster as they will tell you or like me be able to recommend a podcast for any given topic. I can recommend numerous within seconds.

What Is Winning?

Daily’s and regular shows people can listen as episodes or look forward to, daily’s are based around the news or a very specific niche.
Daily’s are harder to create and require quick turnarounds vs longer editing times on longer shows. Charts like this will be a good guide

Vodcasts aka Video podcasts

Vodcasts grew massively across 2020, why? The technology shift, the ability to record and publish has never been so easy.

Why do we love vodcast?

It is how we are wired as humans, in 2020, we have had less interaction, but as humans we have a few safety measured baked into us to enable our survival. We look for cues, we look for how people interact and react and we feel a connection. These are all areas why vodcasts are having their moment.

Zoom for sure made it easier, but platforms like Instagram Live, YouTube, LinkedIn and Vimeo all made it almost frictionless to hit post and publish conversations between a few minutes and in other cases over two hours.

Business Casual Podcast – Gary Vee & Kinsey Grant

This is a great example of how what was a podcast has been turned into a vodcast by using tools like Zoom and Squadcasts.

Most known example: The Joe Rogan Experience is the most famous example of a vodcast, 2-3 hours of two people talking, moving over to Spotify is a clear sign of how popular a presenter and guest vodcast can be. Joe was smart in releasing it into snippet format, YouTube clips and also releasing the full audio version (podcast) for free.

FWIW: Spotify brought the exclusive licence to Joe Rogan’s podcast for north of $100m. It is Spotify’s most popular podcast but not everyone is happy about it, especially his fans. Exclusive is good for the podcasters/host not so good for the fans built on platforms.

Vodcast Over Podcast

Here is a brilliant example of when to put a vodcast out over a podcast. Rio Ferdinand appears on comedian and presenter Mo Gilligan’s podcast, you see the vibe, the energy and the connection when you watch this vs just listening.

Rio Ferdinand & Mo Gilligan Podcast

If you are looking to make the shift or start a few things to consider:

  • In-person interviews with multiple camera’s works well
  • Zoom can be messy if more than one talks at a time
  • Guests can find it hard to answer questions with a camera, I struggle to focus in on the little green dot vs consider my answer
  • Many creators or hosts struggle to edit so really consider if the quality is up there and right for a vodcast, video podcasts will be filtered in coming months, like almost everything, quality will beat quantity

Consider watching or listening to my recent appearance on Re:Signal’s zoom podcasts How to move from a specialist marketing disciple to CMO.

Re:Signal Podcast With Me & Kevin Gibbons


Three good recommended follow up reads on podcasts

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The Brand Book 2021

2020 was difficult for everyone for many different reasons.

Some companies have excelled others unfortunately have struggled.

The world of brand and marketing has never been as challenging as it has today.

I wanted to help Brand Leaders, CMO’s and startup founders for the upcoming year and different battleground we are all entering.

I reached out to a number of smart brand leads and asked them a series of questions.

The contributors were: 

Harry Lang,  Sophie Greig,  Anna BrookJulia Rast, Simon Swan, Pierre Dadd 

The Brand Book 2021

The questions you will need to answer in 2021 post will allow you remove or download the worksheet for you to answer.

Download the Brand Book 2021


The Brand Book 2021 Quotes:

If you would like more important reads for success in 2021:

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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.

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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.

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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

Isolated Talks

I was lucky enough to be able to support Isolated Talks with two videos.

Isolated talks is like TED talks from home, from isolation or lockdown, mine was recorded from lockdown 2 in London.

It was suggested to me by a friend Simon Swan to record Hidden Leaders and Giles who looks after Isolated Talks asked me to consider creating a video based on my Focus Manifesto.

The Focus Manifesto

I ran with two call-to-arms, the first is my Focus Manifesto, it is my mission: To fix the broken world of work.

I walk through why:

  • Chat culture is dragging us down
  • Why having to have meetings to make decisions is slowly killing work
  • Why HiPPO’s (the highest paid person opinion) are killing businesses by dictating decisions
  • And why the calendar and emails are terrible tools unless managed correctly

Hidden Leaders

The second is Hidden Leaders what I have uncovered in two decades of work, there are obvious leaders by title and then those who are leaders without the title but guide the company forward and other behaviours that these elite few have baked into them that others don’t to get the best out of the company and their people.

If you are in a place to, please support Isolated Talks and the Samaritans here.

If you prefer viewing as decks:

Happily let me know what you think by tweeting me (@dannydenhard) or sending me a message on LinkedIn.