Blog growth

X of Y

Back in 2014, I was helping brands with their Marketing, typically either auditing existing teams and activities or helped to build our their department and work with teams on workshops and developing long term campaigns.

In a recent googlemail search, I came across a deck I ran through and worked with a large travel company.

The sign that it was a good deck, you could still reuse the majority of the slides.

A go to popular slide that really stood the test of time was:

FWIW: The content matters – my slides are much better designed today 😉

You Have To Be

  • “Kings of content”
  • “Queens of data” 
  • “Chiefs of engagement” 
  • “Leaders of common sense” 
  • “Presidents of user signals”
  • “CEO of Personalised Marketing” 

It dawned on me that these are still true, over the last two years we have slowly seen every brand become a media company, some are media first others are product first with (content) media building trust and audience.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to review these statements and tweak for 2021.

“Kings of Content” – still true, could be improved with rich media.

“Queens of data” – still true and going to continue to be. The question of needing more internal data vs using external data will be the debate for many businesses moving forward.

“Chiefs of engagement” – still true and requires more handholding and more great content and one to one engagement versus one to many as it was back in 2014.

“Leaders of common sense” – still true and actually should be doubled down on much more now than before. Particularly with the rise of personal brands and multiple brands within businesses.

“Presidents of user signals”“Presidents Of User Intent” still true however could be improved to user intent. User signals were more specific to the requirement to SEO first businesses in 2014, today intent is a much better metric, signals are still a vital part of the funnel or loop.

“CEO of Personalised Marketing” – still true, however, in today’s world we are now living in an over personalised marketing landscape, this could be improved and optimised to CEO of marketing personally.

NEW: Masters of Distribution – By far the area of marketing and growth that is grossly misunderstood and still too spray and pray versus being more intentional and deliberate in tracking and optimising for the user and each user. This is not easy but the data and tools are available to make the best distribution action plan at a personal level.

Any new product or a product that is winning in 2021 has three components:
1/ User brings their network and creates a must use narrative,
2/ We serve you great & right content – you will share this to your closest friends and family (one to one or one to few) not blast (vs one to everyone) which brings a recommendation referral to the product or service
3/ This product is going to replace one very clear activity or action – we know our audience doesn’t need millions of tools, or one master tool we need one tool that does something brilliantly and bundles or unbundles current below par products.

NEW: Customer Champion – We live in a time of customer power and empowerment. Are we doing enough to market to our customer at the right time for them, on the best channel for them when it is convenient for them? This is the question to answer in 2021 as reducing churn and driving repeat usage, repeat purchases (retention) as we come out of this cycle.

This all means there is a lot of work to do but core principles you can follow and the problems you can answer for you and your customers.

On your next campaign or pitch, consider these statements and build towards making you the Kings of content, Queens of data, Chiefs of engagement, Leaders of common sense, Presidents of user signals, CEO of Personalised Marketing, master of distribution and customer champion.

Important Related Reads To Improve Your Marketing & Growth

In “marketing is” I break down the 9 actions you have to think about to deliver a great campaign.

In the 9p’s Problem, Pick, Plan, Prepare, Predict, Present, Preview, Prove, Proof I offer the steps you need to go through to build out the right process to help internal stakeholders buy into your marketing efforts and succeed as a marketing and growth leader.

If you would like to understand where you are in the brand hierarchy or brand class system read the 7 brand classes.

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

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:

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

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


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.


  • 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


  • 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?


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:


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


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:

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.

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.