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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.

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Blog Uncategorized

Mentoring and Coaching

I am a huge believer in personal mentors or coaches.

In the professional world the more senior you become the less training you tend to receive, the less time you make for self-learning and although you feel like you do coach and offer to coach, the less you deliver.


In the near future, I truly believe many individuals should self start and actively look to find a coach or mentor. 


Over recent years I have found myself being introduced to senior Marketing, Growth and Product people and asked if I could help one of their colleagues or have a coffee with them. 


In many cases, these introductions and virtual coffees have become informal mentees or have become formal coaching clients. In many cases these are CMO’s or VP’s.


Mentoring

I personally love mentoring, like many skills, it is a skill you have to work on, the more mentoring the more you will learn, the better you become, not just for you but for the mentees and future mentees.


In over two decades of professional work, I have mentored a number of people in and outside of the company I worked for and I believe mentoring is one of the most rewarding activities you can do. 


Something to keep in mind with mentoring is, mentoring often is unspoken or informal, so mentoring often happens without your realising. 


A coffee with someone regularly might seem like therapy but is likely mentoring or coaching.


A good percentage of the mentees I was lucky to work with were some of the smartest people I have met or had the pleasure to work with.


A good mentor relationship is two ways, a mentor who says they do not learn from their mentee either isn’t a mentor or is part of the unique 1%. 


A great mentor will improve your confidence, learn with you and help you with some tricky decisions and where possible introduce you to good people. 


Coaching

I have also coached a number of professionals who had hit their ceiling or felt like they needed someone external to help their growth and help provide a different context to their work


In the near future mentoring and coaching is going to be priceless especially within organisations. Companies will have limited budgets, they will have to make hard decisions around how much they can invest into formal training and many should turn to the right internal coaches and mentors, or, go external and take on paid coaches or mentors. 


Coaching Vs Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring are two different disciplines. 

Mentoring is lighter, longer-term without a formal written down set of goals but should feel the benefit over these regular sessions after a few months. Mentors often provide you with a few avenues to take and helps to guide you softly. Rarely should a mentor make your decisions for you.


Coaching is harder, shorter-term with an agreed set of goals and you should feel improvements within four to six weeks. Coaches should be improving a set of skills or helping to shape you and improve you tactically and strategically.


Coaches are important to everyone’s careers, whether you are a CEO of a large successful company (even Apple, Disney and Google c-suite have coaches) to someone starting out on their professional journey.
Even the highest performing athletes, like boxing champions, Olympics double gold winners to footballing icons like Ronaldo or Messi have coaches working with them and improving them constantly. 


Coach or Mentor? 

Are you still wondering if you should be looking for a coach or mentor? 


If you are looking to improve specific skills or a set of skills a relevant coach is the right choice. If you are looking to discuss tactics, campaigns or projects and looking for actionable feedback a coach is the right choice. 


If you are looking to round out your professional career, discuss general issues and look for guidance or options of how to tackle potential issues a mentor is the better choice. 


Coaching and Mentoring Combined?  

Mixing the two can work, however, it is important to state and call out if it is a mentor or coaching session with actions to come off the back of it.


Internal or External

If you wanted to know if you should look for an internal or external mentor, question if the internal mentor has the time, the energy and can remove themselves from the job to mentor you and be objective about your situation. 


If external, always have a chemistry session and ask if they have the time and commitment to one to two sessions per month. Paid mentors will, of course, have the time but might not be the right fit. 


Coaching And Mentoring From Me

I have made the conscious decision to take on more paid mentor clients and more paid coaching clients, the areas I will be offering include Marketing, Growth, Strategy and Culture.


My approach to paid coaching is building a structure, we review your plan (or build one if you do not have one), review your process and address and solve problems, typically one problem at a time. Expect homework and challenges throughout the coaching sessions. 

Read more about my Marketing Coaching service.

My approach to paid mentoring is to have open mentoring sessions where we talk through how you are feeling, what you have on, what is going on with you and what areas you are looking to discuss and potentially nurture and we work through. Mentoring is far more informal and deliberately more relaxed, there will be times where I set homework and push you.

This has worked for me and my mentees previously and an important call-out.


If you would like to discuss this happily hit the button below or email me. You can reach out over LinkedIn by clicking this link.


I also offer dedicated Growth Advisory services which will help to take your business to the next level. Happily reach out with any questions.
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Blog growth Uncategorized

Problem, Pick, Plan, Prepare, Predict, Present, Preview, Prove, Proof

Here you go, it has a name. The 9p’s (not as catchy as the title) is the process we all go through at large organisations, every quarter we run through the same process to understand what we should be working on, how we hit the goals that are set, be proactive in making positive change, present it and then spend months chasing the goals or in many cases trying to prove and get proof it worked.


This process is a silent process, we typically run through this but rarely map it out in a way that it formalised or easy to apply for many departments.


I was recently speaking to a senior leader of a business, we discussed an array of subjects but one that stood out was the difference between teams within organisations.

We landed in saying that Marketing, Growth and Product Departments have the impossible task, they are the only teams that have to predict the future and then make it happen. 

Let that sink in for a minute, only three departments truly have to think, collaborate (yes the best ones collaborate) and create the future alongside making it happen. 


Product Departments have the difficult task in managing and delivering big techinical projects, Product Teams are often behind on delivery, catching up with predicted and long serving roadmaps or having to pick up tech debt.
While Marketing and Growth have to pull the company and their users to the future and help to enable the future to happen. There are no real excuses for Marketing and Growth teams not to do this.


There is a but, almost all departments follow the same flow;

  • Understand the problem(s) we are solving,
  • pick what they are going to be working on,
  • plan for the future,
  • prepare a presentation or the numbers,
  • predict the outcomes, (assign yourself a large enough number to please the bosses but in near enough reach for you to actually hit
  • present to senior stakeholders,
  • preview the work,
  • prove it was the right thing(s) to have done
  • Show proof that it worked.

Then rinse and repeat. This can be frustrating but it is the nature of the business world.


Marketing and Growth often have what looks like the easiest or best jobs but the constant need to pull the company forward, breakdown every penny they spend, analyse and communicate user behaviours is challenging and getting harder.


The more channels that become popular the harder the job becomes, the more effective the messaging and targeting has to be and then passing over users to other teams to ensure they have a great experience often removes marketing from understanding their customers and who is likely just browsing.


Growth often has to pick up where Product work drops out and Marketing do not have the time or resource (typically technical or development) to improve the experience for the customers they worked so hard to get to the product or service. 

Marketing does not sound so easy now, does it. 


So although the 9P’s sounds like a silly process, it actually is a good way to build action plans and connect into the company-wide strategy. This 9p process will work in Marketing, Growth and Product Departments, a word of warning – do not allow teams to run off and create their own team version otherwise you are instantly siloing projects, tests, campaigns or programmes.

In recent conversations I have used these nine steps and have simplified the process down and enables staff of all levels to write down their action plan for the quarter ahead. 


Why not try out the 9P process and see if it helps you focus the departments efforts for the future quarters ahead. 

9 P’sExplainer
ProblemProblem(s) you and the team are trying to solve. List out the problems and think through the next three to six months. 
Pick Pick the most important problems and the ways you are looking to solve said problems. Pick a date for when they need to rolled out by 
Plan Plan your activities, plan the projects and the campaigns and demonstrate you understand the impact you are going to have. This is the spike or hunt phase for Growth or Product teams. 
PreparePrepare the data, prepare the deck, prepare the communications and understand how you are planning to move forward and backing up your problems and why you picked these and why they are a priority. 
Predict Predict the outcomes, breakdown by priority and show you understand you are going to move x or y metric. 
PresentPresent the findings, present the campaign overviews and present it in a way that will get cut through
PreviewCreate a preview of the work, show the teams around you, preview the campaign or project and start to roll out to live. Your plan and deadline dates will be important here 
Prove Prove you have done the right thing, prove you know the metrics you are moving and update to the teams and management that you picked the right work, prove it is working and show when you know how to optimise and improve. If it is working this is where you can ask for more investment. 
ProofThis is the second most part of the process, gaining and showing proof you have answered the problems, that your plan was right and you are pushing the company into the right place. 
The 9P’s

With strategic projects there are so many ways teams and departments tackle presenting these issues, they all create in different formats and all predict in different ways, this is a way you and your departments can tackle the coming quarters and apply one theme or process for all to follow. I cannot stress how important it is for teams to collaborate and partner through the creation phase and check in constantly and not on slack or teams but on a centralised tool or in person.


Remember numbers are what senior leaders want but it is hard to demonstrate a story and growth of what you are doing without a presentation or video. Lead with numbers for trust but story-tell for cut through.

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Blog

The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing. The Content Marketing Documentary

If you are into marketing and want to understand content marketing, this documentary from The Content Marketing Institute is definitely for you and in my personal opinion it’s a must watch and share for you and your business.

It covers:

  • the history of marketing
  • the point that marketers took content to marketing
  • the development of non branded content
  • the evolution from blunt marketing to telling stories
  • the true impact of technology and the opportunities it has made for marketers
  • the power shift from marketing to many to marketing to your actual audience
  • content marketing ROI
  • the move to video and interactive content
  • how to put your customers first
  • the education you will need to cover to move your brand into a dedicated content marketing brand
  • what the future might hold

The documentary includes thoughts from content marketing thought leaders such as Julie Fleischer, Doug Kessler, Joe Pulizzi, Robert Rose, Ann Handley, Scott Stratten, Jay Baer and Mark Schaefer.