The 10 Biggest Marketing Lessons from 100+ Leading CMOs | Scratch by Rival

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As marketers, we all want to know what truly drives the growth of challenger brands. We all want to see massive user growth,  successful campaigns, and ultimately, we want marketing to have an impact. So why are these so hard to achieve?

In this fast-paced, ever-evolving world of marketing, the volume of information can be overwhelming at times and obsolete at others.  It’s a daunting and steep learning curve for marketers who are on a mission to change their categories or their entire industries.

In this week’s episode, we take a deep dive into how to market like the best brands in the world and truly set yourself apart as a challenger brand. Distilling the knowledge of 65 episodes of Scratch and 100s of conversations we’ve had with the best CMOs in the world from PepsiCo to P&G, Beavertown to Bloom & Wild,  we decode the 10 core principles of how to market like the best challenger brands in the world.

You'll hear from the likes of Gary Vee,  Linda Boff, Rory Sutherland, and Jim Stengel on topics ranging from customer centricity to frameworks for innovation and the ability to understand and utilize data correctly. In this special episode, we cover all the timeless principles you need to be a high-performing modern marketer. Use this episode as a reference guide and drop in and out for the chapters and feel free to check out the full episodes all linked below.

Welcome to Challenger Marketing Decoded!

🎧Listen to this episode on your favorite platform -

⚡️Mentioned in the show:

CMO Mindmap -

Jobs to be done Framework -

BRIDGE by MENA fintech association -

Episodes from the show:

Soyoung Kang (eos):

Linda Boff & Zara Mirza (General Electric):

John Sheldon (Smile Direct Club):

Matt Webster (Activision):

Martin Lindstrom:

Rory Sutherland (Ogilvy):

Mark Kirkham (PepsiCo):

Raja Rajamannar (Mastercard):

Kate McCutchen (Seedrs):

Gary Vaynerchuk:

Jim Stengel (Former CMO of P&G):

Aron North (Mint Mobile):

Eddie Revis (Magnolia Bakery):

Rory McEntee (Gymbox):

Henry Chilcott (Formula E):

Tom Rainsford (Beavertown) :

Susan Allen-Augustin (HereWeFlo) :

Charlotte Langley (Bloom & Wild) :

Gil Efrati (Resident) :

Scratch is a production of Rival, a marketing innovation consultancy that develops strategies and capabilities that help businesses grow faster. Scratch is hosted by Eric Fulwiler. 

Find Rival online at, LinkedIn, Twitter

Watch the video version of this Podcast on YouTube.

Find Eric on LinkedIn and tweet him @efulwiler

Say hi at, we’d love to hear from you.


Eric: Hi. I'm Eric Fulwiler and this is scratch, bringing you marketing lessons from the leading brands and brains rewriting the rulebook from scratch for the world of today.

Soyoung Kang: One of my principles in, in marketing and I think in life is, is to always be learning.

Linda Boff: Without debate, you wind up in a safe space

Martin Lindstrom: that's where a lot of things are challenging the stand up the norm. Because it basically the same does make sense. The bigger you grow, the less empathy. The less common sense was, is now translated into nonsense instead.

Rory Sutherland: I think there is an aspect where things that are slightly nonsensical, things that we don't expect things that don't seem entirely logical, do have the strange compensating advantage of garnering a lot of our attention

Raja Rajamannar: More industry is operating in isolation. The most successful ones operate at the confluence of multiple industries.

Kate Mccutchen: Is critical, because if you only do what you know works, you're never going to be the one who captured lightning in a bottle.

Tom Rainsford: You know, if you're travelling to brand, dependent on your positioning, of course, and what type of brand you are, you should be positively disruptive. Because I think you should add value rather than just kickoff.

Eric: Hey, everyone, we have a very special edition of scratch for you today. And to end the year we are now through our second full year of arrival, it's been quite a ride. And we've been producing and releasing episodes of scratch from the very beginning. So now we have recorded 68 episodes of scratch. And actually, if you include the episodes of the FinTech marketing podcast that I hosted when I was at 11:FS I realised recently that I've now I've had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing over 100 CMOs, about how they approach modern marketing, brand building, market, customer acquisition, everything that we talk about on this show. And so what we wanted to do is take a step back, think about those 68 recordings of interviews that we've done here at Rival, and all of the other conversations that we've had hundreds of conversations that we've had that haven't been recorded. And think about what are the biggest lessons and the biggest takeaways and the biggest things that you all, as marketers out there should be doing differently based on all of this collective insight and learning and perspective that we've been able to collect over these first two years. So what we're going to do today, this is gonna be a long one, as you know, if you've already clicked on this, and you can dip in and out of it, and we're kind of thinking of it as almost like a reference episode. So maybe some people will listen all the way through. And by the way 2x speed, that's my hack for all podcasts and audiobooks. I won't take offence if you do that, but also something that you can bookmark and maybe come back to based on the challenges and opportunities that you're facing in your own professional life as a marketer.

So what we're going to do is have a very special guests that I'm going to introduce in a second, and we together are going to talk about the 10 biggest lessons and takeaways from interviewing over 100, CMOs, and again, 68 of those being on Scratch, we're going to play some of the most valuable and differentiated clips that we found, and we're going to have a discussion about it. So hope you're gonna stick with us. I think this is going to be obviously very different. But I really hope incredibly valuable for people listening. So before we get into it, I have to introduce the man behind the rival media curtain, The Wizard of rival oz. himself. Viren, who is our executive producer. And anybody who's listened to the show or knows about me, knows that I believe that modern B2B Marketing is about building a media company around what we stand for so Viren is responsible for all the marketing that we do as rival but also building a modern media company, for challenger marketers out there. So you're welcome to the front stage, being on camera now.

Viren: Well, thank you very much for the for that wonderful introduction.I don't think I've ever been introduced as a wizard of anything before. So that's, that's kind of cool. But I'll take it. Yeah, I've been a rival just over a year now. And like go running all three things, media and marketing, essentially. But yeah, it's been an incredible journey. And I think just as you had said, Eric, like, having the privilege to speak to some of these CMOS, who are definitely changing the game has just been so eye opening. You know, I think we oftentimes, especially in our sector, we get kind of, I guess, into this echo chamber, what we think is correct and traditional and the right thing to do in marketing. And just speaking to so many of these different CMOS week in week out through the podcast, but also through our roundtables and all those types of things. It's just been amazing. So I think like this will be a super super interesting episode and yeah, for people who don't like to waste time, I think this is a really fast, fast line. efficient way of getting all the best out of it. overall podcast so yeah, excited for it.

Eric: yeah, I think it's such a good point, you know, obviously, the FinTech marketing podcast was great. I think being now at rival, we're, we're, you know, our ambition, our vision over the lifetime of the business. And the strategy work we do the tech we're building, but of course, in the content that we produce, and put out there as try to understand what drives the growth of successful challenger brands. And being in FinTech, there's, of course, many of them. And so many things you can learn from within that category. But being able to sit here, and interviewing, you know, the CMO of Hyperloop, one week, and the CMO of Pepsi the next week, and on and on, and on all these different categories and stages of business startups, you know, four person startups when we had We Are Riley on in the early days, all the way up to some of the biggest companies in the world, with General Electric and Shell and MasterCard. And so being able to piece together or pull together, what are the consistencies across category across stage across scale across markets, that the best CMOS in my humble, humble opinion, are really applying to what they do, you know, we're gonna go through 10 chapters, you can definitely check the show notes and figure out where you want to dip in and dip out. But with that, why don't we get into the first one.

Eric: So chapter one, as we're calling it, and it's interesting, because not to skip ahead, but chapter two is going to be essentially about customer centricity, which really, in my mind, actually is probably the most important thing. And I always say that the best brands, much like the best products are really built from understanding and being able to deliver on a differentiated need, that the market has, that your competitors haven't been able to yet. And you know, spending time at 11:FS and building product, where we use the jobs to be done methodology, I always recommend that for people as the best way to understand how to build a great brands, you know, go and read about the jobs to be done methodology, we obviously had Bob Mesto, who was one of the architects of that on the show, as well. So the customer centricity piece is the most important, but the reason that the framework for innovation is number one, is because it is the thing that I heard most frequently from all of these CMOs, and I think it's the thing that is maybe what you wouldn't necessarily think of, and also something that I think people can really start to implement tomorrow if they wanted to. So the way that I think about, and how I would define this idea framework for innovation, is basically ensuring that there is time budget focus set aside to do new, different and actually inherently risky things, right. So you could take a 70 20 10 framework, and if you want to go Google that you can, but essentially says 70% of your time, and money should go towards kind of tried and true, whether it's media channels, whether it's creative executions, the things that you know, we're going to work 20%, go to what I call new, and next, the things that are coming up, that are probably going to work pretty soon, relatively safe bets, but not the core. And then 10% is the 10x ideas, you know, the big swings that you're gonna strike out a lot, but you might hit home runs. And I think, again, you know, going back to the product side, you look at innovation within businesses. And it a lot of it typically comes from this type of 10x 10% time, you know, like Google has allocations, and the same thing is there for marketing. So we heard this from a lot of different CMOs, the one that has really stuck in my mind, probably the most, is one of the earlier episodes that we did with the CMO of Eos beauty products. Soyoung Kang. So we focus really, we focused in on kind of like a specific case study of what he else had done. And so Jung is brilliant, you should definitely go check out her LinkedIn, her background, she's done a lot of amazing things. But at Eos, she has a very specific way that she approaches the importance of and how she sets up her team to have this framework for innovation internally. So we double clicked on this campaign that they did this incredibly successful viral campaign that was called, quote, bless your coach, which garnered them an increase of 20/500% in product sales. So not like marketing metric product sales, and 450x their website traffic in the period of the campaign. And this was kind of a punt, you know, for this one that worked. There were probably nine that didn't, but that's kind of the point is you need to take these big swings and I think and you know, fair and you know, we can probably be honest about this within their within within Rival. You know, the client work the tried and true just like the normal stuff always takes priority. But really, you know, these CMOS, the CMOS that break through the bill brands that break through the most consistent thing that I heard and the thing that I would really recommend people listening to do is find a way even if it's not 10%, even if it's 5% Make sure that you're not only do In the things that you know, will work now, make sure that you're putting time aside to tests, to take risks, to do things that are creative and innovative. So with that, let's hear from Soyoung.

Soyoung: One of my principles in, in marketing, and I think in life is, is to always be learning. And so within our marketing team, it's it's a, you know, we have created very much a culture, where it's not about success or failure, it's about success or learning. And in order to do that, as a leader, you really have to create the space for your team to be able to feel that they have room and trust, to take these, take these risks. And to be able to lean in and learn you obviously, you know, as a leader, you have to be measured about it, which is I think, where the the resource constraints, the budgeting process, all of that comes into play. But you do have to set it up with your team and make sure that from from the top to the bottom, it's understood that testing experimentation and learning on a day to day business is just, it's just a part of fundamentally part of what we do. And so we always leave room for testing in every campaign that we run, we always leave a certain portion of our budget, we always leave some portion of how we're of our tactical plan is going to be different from the last time that we did it, we don't repeat the same thing twice. Now whether that is related to the content strategy, whether it's related to the you know, let's say, the organic versus paid mix, whether it's related to platform strategy, like in this case, that can be different every time but the team has now, it now understands that that's a big part of how we continue to grow as marketers. So we leave leave a portion of the budget of everything that we do for experimentation, we always identify what that testing agenda is going to be upfront so that we can manage to to understand what our KPIs and how we're going to just measure success. How are we going to know at the end of this experimentation, that, that it's something that we would want to do, again, that will be part of our ongoing arsenal,

Eric:The interview was Soyoung, as you can hear, like she's brilliant, is definitely one of my favourites from the ones that we've done. There's so much good stuff in there even just hearing it again, right now, the only thing that I wanted to build on that's funny, you know, it wasn't a recording, but it's down in Abu Dhabi this week, because we did the first event for Bridge, which is the Marketing Committee of the MENA FinTech association. So as 12 CMOS from Middle Eastern North African fintechs, kind of having an open conversation about how they're approaching things, etc. You know, what, actually, we did record it, maybe we can, maybe we can get a link to that once it's edited, and put it in the show notes as well. But anyway, there's a CMO from this business called liquidity capital, it's actually based in Israel. And he was saying that one of the biggest shifts that he's brought to the table within the organisation is to help the rest of the company and particularly leadership, think of marketing as a research and development function. As much as anything else, much like product would have research and development, marketing is kind of research and development as well. And that's, you know, just kind of connected those dots in my mind hearing Rori this week. Talk about that, and hearing. Soyoung talked about that as well. So I think that that is also a good takeaway from this in the framework of innovation that might help unlock a different perspective for people.

Viren: Yeah, I definitely have to agree on that. I think like this whole idea. And I think we spoke about it all last, maybe the second to last roundtable we did a couple months back. And I can't remember exactly who it was, but one of the CMOs who attended to that she was sick of the title of marketing. And the reason was because she was like, what marketing encapsulates so much is essentially Yes, at research and development as an innovation function. It does so much more than what people give it credit for, especially across the business. And I think one of those those things is like, as marketers, a lot of times, the other departments of the business kind of look at you as like, Oh, you guys are the ones with the like crayons and colouring pencils, and you just do that stuff. And because you're so close to the customer, you kind of have this weird inflection point where you have to, you have to figure out innovation, like you are the first line of innovation and first line of defence against any oncoming threats, essentially. So I think it's really important that marketers start thinking about that. And I think to your point, like you need to constantly be learning like I know even Jenna in our team, like she says, like, the way paid media has changed in her career that she what she was doing when she started has changed 360 degrees to what she's doing now. Right? And the skill set that's required now and that requires constant learning to be able to innovate

Eric: 100% All right, I know we're going to hear from Linda at GE and Zara and I'll let you tee this one up. But Linda, you know, for the people that don't know her I mean she The powerhouse in the industry, she was actually a client of mine, one of the early clients. So she had to put up with me as I was kind of learning the agency ropes. But she's great what she's done with the General Electric brand. Obviously, they've gone through some business ups and downs. But I think from a marketing perspective, it's been amazing. And she, we probably could have included a clip from her in any of these. But we've got a good one for framework of innovation.

Viren: Yeah, definitely, I think as much as, as much as this is a little bit counterintuitive to what I just said about us marketers loving the colouring pencils and the creative side of stuff. Like, I think Linda made a really impressive point. And honestly, I was surprised that came from a CMO have such a large incumbent business and such a traditional business, the fact that she mentioned, you know, you need to have a framework for innovation, not just for the quantitative side of things, but also on the creative side of things. Because ultimately, your customers are the ones that are seeing those activations seeing those campaigns are going out into the world. So you need to have a framework for innovation when it comes to the creativity and the breakthrough ideas. And it's something that we're trying to come up with as well arrival for ourselves. So I think this is something that everyone every cmo can learn from. So let's jump into that clip.

Linda: I have the highest regard for the creative process. To me, there's magic, there's alchemy, that happens. But I don't think it just happens with white sheets of paper. And people sitting around a table with, you know, m&ms and you know, a couple of beers or what have you, I think the best creativity comes from a few things constrained to me is always critical. If you don't have the constraint of I mean, Eric, you you said this at the beginning, you know, what problem are you trying to solve? Right, you can't open the aperture too widely. I have always embraced attention. And I don't know if this is an oldest or four girls kind of thing. I don't know where it comes from. But I think without healthy challenge debate, you wind up in a safe space. And for a very big company that is well known. GE is a company that you don't have to explain to people, GE, let me tell you who we are. Playing it safe. Playing it overly safe, can actually result in the opposite of what we're looking for. We want to show up in a way that's a bit unexpected, because you do know us so well. So figuring out how to have a little bit of sandpaper, while we are thinking through how we're showing up what we're saying, you know, the type of people that are commenting on, you know, in a different campaign. I think tension can be incredibly important. By tension. I don't mean fisticuffs, I don't mean people throwing bottles at each other. I mean, respect to me is everything. Kindness is everything. Maybe we learned that from the same person, Eric, maybe we didn't, who knows. But I think it is that ability to disagree and commit, as I think Jeff Bezos has said amongst others, that I think is everything, and particularly on the creative side

Eric: Framework for innovation, you can take it from different perspectives, you can take it from different approaches, even with those two, very successful in their own right, CMOs, like they think about it differently. And that comes from their background that comes from the back brand and business that they're in that comes from the team that they built. But I guess if I have to think about and you know, maybe we should actually do this free chapter, what's the one thing to do differently? Need, just make sure you're not only doing the stuff that you know, works right now make sure that there is some explicit, approved aligned budget and time in the calendar. You know, if you're anything like me, what gets prioritised gets done. But what gets done is what's in your calendar, put something in for the team to talk about stuff that is not, we're not sure if this is going to work, or as Dean Aragon of Shell, I think sudden his recording, but it certainly said to me when he was a client of mine is I want to make sure there's an idea in every campaign that we talked about that makes me uncomfortable, push the boundary, do something risky. I know that's hard, especially in this market when budgets are getting cut, and the pressure is on what's going to be the return. But I'm telling you there's a reason that this is chapter one. This is what I heard most consistently from the CMOs that is leading to those kind of 10x breakthrough results that you know, the CEOs and the CFOs want. So maybe playing this clip, if you think that it would help but make sure that there is some time, money and most importantly focus and prioritisation put on. What could we do that's a little bit risky, but has the potential to deliver big returns.

Viren: Just to kind of add two final things that are one should I know and you're going to end every chapter with one thing to take away. And second, yeah, just on that point of like really figuring out what your own personal framework for innovation is. It's really driven by a couple of things, right. And I think one of the key things that we see is like, not only the culture of your own organisation, like understanding the culture of your organisation, but understanding your customers. So I think that takes us nicely into chapter two, which is the relentless focus on the customer. So let's jump right in.

Eric: Alright, chapter two, relentless focus on the customer. So I talked about this a little bit in the intro, and we've also got three clips. One of them at least that's two of them, actually, that are relatively long. So I think I'll keep this short. I actually, well, I guess I didn't forget. But seeing it now, there's a reason that we wrote relentless focus on the customer, not customer centricity. You know, I know it's maybe semantics. But I do think there's a difference. I mean, that is the thing that I heard from John Sheldon, from Matt Webster, from Martin Lindstrom from so many of the CMOs was there is just, you know, it's at the top of their list and the top of their mind, how do I understand, you know, the audience that I'm trying to serve, and what can I and my team do differently, to really make sure that we're getting in there. So I think that I will probably leave it there. But I love starting with John. And I actually forget if it's in the clip, but I remember still, even though we did this recording more than a year and a half ago, him talking about and I've heard this from other people as well, getting on the front line spending time in the call centre. Actually, if you're at a big company, in some ways, it's easier because you have the call centre, you can go and again, I heard from this roundtable that we did in Abu Dhabi this week. Actually, the Chief Product Officer used to go just sit and work for a day from the call centre. And he said that things that would come up that people would mention to him was incredibly relevant and valuable for him. So you know what you do differently. That's obviously a big company. But actually, if you're a startup, it's easier, because you can probably just reach out to the customers. You know, one of the upcoming interviews that we have, I know I said, I keep this preamble, short by cow myself, is with noteworthy scents, which, which is a challenger brand in the perfume space, which I'm fascinated by, especially from a marketing perspective, because I find, I just feel like that needs to be disrupted and done differently. But you know, Ashley, who we're going to hear from one of the co founders, she came from Unilever. And one of the things that she says is incredibly valuable for her at noteworthy is that Unilever, there were like seven layers of bureaucracy and process between her and the customer. And a noteworthy, she can just email them, and ask them what they think and get their feedback. So the relentless drive, and again, I think how I said is probably the thing to do differently, like, everybody's got their to do lists, or he's got the sticky notes on their wall at home, or whatever. Put, how do I understand the needs of my customer, how they're changing the culture around them, have a relentless focus for the customer at the top of your list. So let's start with this clip from John Sheldon of smile, direct club,

Eric: I guess the question that I want to ask or the way I want to tee it up knowing your background. And even in your LinkedIn bio, you say your cmo and innovation leader scaling disruptive brands. So you've worked in challengers like smiledirectclub, like Fresh Direct, like others, but you've also worked in incumbents trying to think and act like challengers your innovation role at MasterCard? What have you learned over the years in marketing slash innovation roles, about how you actually create disruption in the market? I know, it's a super broad question, but it's intentional, because I kind of want to see where you take it. And then we can kind of double click on that. I'm just curious of all the things that drive innovation, what are the most important to you, with all the experience that you have doing this type of work?

John: Well, I think the piece that's the most important in I'm going to just abstract this for a second is know knowing your customer at a really deep level, and what are their core needs, and so on. And so, you know, whether it's fresher Act, or smiledirectclub, or all of the things that we were doing at MasterCard, you know, and I specifically was focused on the areas of identity and financial inclusion, which are two really important areas for MasterCard is to get to know who your customer is at a really deep level. And, you know, some of the work we did on identity. You know, I was literally interviewing refugees in refugee camps, or working on financial inclusion, I went to a town you know, 70 miles outside of Nairobi, and watched a town's footfall of of women bank with a box they bury in the ground for every three weeks. And I just think understanding exactly who your customer is, what are their beliefs, what are their behaviours? And what are the what are the challenges to the way that they're operating today helps you uncover all kinds of of opportunities to innovate, right? So one of the things that smiledirectclub, what we learned is, we, one of the innovations that we put together is we actually ship customers, all of their learners their entire treatment, right up front, it's in the in the Blurple, box, and so on. But between that and all the tools that we put in there to manage their, their treatment, it got a little overwhelming for them. And we heard this from them by talking and listening to phone calls, and, and all of this. And so what it prompted was us doing an orientation call, like, hey, we know you just got your box, let us take you through it together, it'll take 10 minutes, but by the time you're done, you'll you'll be much more comfortable and confident. And what we found is the people who would take that orientation call through, they call us less, they have complete treatment more frequently. And generally speaking, they start, when we go through the orientation call, a lot of people received their treatment box some people receive and like set it aside and just ended up like delaying the beginning of their train because they're intimidated. And right. So that orientation call helps pull them through and get them and get them the confidence to get going in this in this treatment. And so it just comes from listening to you and watching the behaviour of your customers really, really closely.

Eric: Yeah, I totally agree. And at the end of the day, it's interesting. conversations like this just day to day, no matter what you do, as a marketer, really, in any business. So much of it is actually not focused on the customer. And at the end of the day, all growth ultimately comes from understanding and solving a customer's need in a different way. Of course, there's support things that need to happen in order to enable that type of delivery of value. That's really it. You know, that's I don't know, if you're familiar with the jobs to be done. framework, Clayton Christensen, Bob mesta, that type of thing. It's the whole like, yeah, the people don't want a six inch drill, they want a six inch hole in the wall. Haven't you know, for me, having spent a lot of time in agencies and then working in a product business in the FinTech space here in London, it was just such a moment for me, because, obviously, you know, obviously, that is the question and the answer to everything. But oftentimes, I find, particularly with more incumbent businesses and incumbent agencies for that matter. That's not always where things start and end. And that's where I think a lot of loss growth actually comes from. So it doesn't surprise me that that would be your answer, given what you've done and the perspective that you have.

Viren: That was a great clip. And I think, again, it reiterates the point that, Eric, if anyone doesn't know that you love the jobs to be done, framework. I have? No, it's awesome to hear. awesome to hear from John, I think like that point he made about, you know, as he being in the Refugee Council, and he was with MasterCard to really understand like, how are people banking? How are people like transacting? I think that's super important. Because, like, you know, a lot of times you hear about some of these frameworks, and it's really great to hear, like, how do you as you apply some of this stuff? Like I think a lot of times, we get quite cerebral and quite theoretical with it. But it becomes super tricky when you are on the ground and trying to figure out like, where do I apply this? And how do I actually get an insight from this that I can use? And that's quite difficult. Like, do you have any methods? Obviously, you've mentioned at the top of the show that you've spoken to like over 100 CMOs. Now, do you have any methods that, you know, actually stand out that you feel personally have actually helped a lot when going to market with something like this?

Eric: It's a really good question. And yeah, I just, I don't know how to stress it anymore, or enough, like go study the jobs to be done methodology, you know, and I think it's so fascinating, this idea of people hiring brands, right, like they're choosing to bring your brand into their life. You know, they spend their time they spend their money, like why why are they doing that? What's the end that they want that brand to deliver for them? And you know, when we go through our branded product positioning work with the brand OS framework, big thing that we're looking at is what's not just the functional benefit, but the emotional benefit that people want from your brand? So yeah, Can't stress jobs to be done enough? I think for me, I mean, where my head goes, you know, two things that might be helpful for people in setting up rival I spent, and I think in general, I'm a bit more of a, you know, brute force, I'm just gonna put the time and and go do it. You know, you and I have this conversation all the time, right? Like, let's just get going 80% of done not 100% and perfect. I think that's a good tension that we have. But you know, with rival I spent the first six months one of the big things at the top of my list was just who do I What senior marketers do I know, how can I kind of get 1520 minutes of their time? Or send them an email, you know, the early email newsletters and actually, where app started was a kind of friends and family network of like, hey, we'd love feedback on the things that we're doing. What about this offering? What do you not getting from traditional Marketing consultancies, you know, where do you think this is going. But the first six months, so much of my time was just reaching out to people I knew, trying to get some introductions, not for business development, but for feedback, trying to understand what CMOs are looking for what they're not getting from other consultancies are martec providers, or content providers. In the industry right now, I think the other one that I would put out there, and really, this all ties together with like the research and development and the framework for innovation conversation that we were having before, but I remember when we when DuBose, Jen and I were at VaynerMedia, you know, nearly killed jet out. But we were he kind of digital media agency planning a buying agency for Amazon Prime Video, and we ran a campaign that was 192 countries, I think the joke was the only places that we didn't buy media were North Korea and the Sandwich Islands. But anyway, the thing that was amazing about working with Amazon, and you read all the books, and you hear all the headlines, and kind of the, you know, the the how people talk about Jeff Bezos and all that stuff, but you know, the culture there was, whatever we are doing, we're going to spend the money to deliver the results. But we need to make sure that we understand something about our audience when we do it. So yeah, I don't know if that's, you know, I don't have a like, kind of here's my standard structure for doing it. Again, there's so many good things in the in the research and content that's out there about jobs to be done that I'm sure you could take. But I think the biggest thing for me, and actually even thinking about it now maybe I need to get back to doing more of this is how are you spending time with and listening to your customers or potential customers. So I know we've got we got a couple more clips that I definitely want to get to. There's some great learnings in here from Matt Webster of Activision that we're going to play next. And it's fascinating, you know, I'm not as much of a gamer but just hearing some of the stats, you know, and if you haven't listened to the whole episode, I would definitely go back into it. Video gaming being bigger than music and movies combined. It's just a massive, massive industry. And Call of Duty, of course, is one of the biggest properties, one of the biggest brands in that industry. And Matt's responsible for marketing that at a global level. So hearing about how he approached some of the big campaigns that they had to do the launches for new versions of the game, and how he took a relentless focus on the customer and applied it to the work that they did at Activision. So let's hear from Matt

Eric: for a lot of people listening that might not have that, you know, scale and that IP to build on top of with what they're doing. What are some of the takeaways or lessons either good or bad that you've learned from this launch? That could be relevant to really any marketer out there?

Matt: Great question. I think, you know, the, the main thing that's been front of mind, and this is probably consistent across multiple industries is the player first the audience first approach, which sounds a little bit cliched, but it's all too easy. I think once you start to see success, to start to pivot away from that call, and the best companies that I've worked for, I've been the ones that have retained that consistently throughout. I've never deviated you know, Amazon's probably the most well known case study of that of creating the most user friendly and cheapest user flow available at the time. So keeping that consistently throughout, I think, is of utmost importance, and that both centricity. The other thing that I find quite fascinating as well, and it will depend on the different industries you're working in, is the multi sided marketplace piece, and then the flywheel associated. So again, Amazon didn't famously, I think, the Twitch there we had a multifaceted community, from streamers, student managers, to the viewers themselves to brands coming in then and sponsoring that space. So finding ways that that you can retain that place interest, your audience Centricity for other for other industries, but consistently try and galvanise those different stakeholders within that firewall, to be able to drive success. And I think when you have that perfect formula of all of those different stakeholders concurrently.

Eric: that's when you see exponential growth and when you continue to strive toward, actually, I think that that's a great prompt for people to think about. What's my flywheel? What is the flywheel of my business? Even if you're in a marketing, I just think it's an interesting thing to explore. Because we tend to think of flywheel everybody associates with Amazon or E commerce businesses or, you know, I really think that anybody just thinking about what is going to get what is going to bring people value and then how is that going to bring value to the business in a cyclical way in a way that kind of builds on top of each other of the components? I think that's actually a really interesting insight and take away.

Viren: That was a really, really great episode. I think, like knowing the scale of what Matt has achieved. Activision, like launching one of the biggest games in the world with Call of Duty, like, it just goes to show how important is customer centricity or relentless focus on customer is at every single level, but not just like that. The key thing that stands out to me is like it's not just a B to C type. Li, like this is something that we're actively trying to do in b2b Right? Like rival, we're a services business. But we're trying to do this at every step of the way, like, the conversations we have with the amp group. And like, the fact that we are constantly trying to speak to CMOS, about what type of content you want to see what type of research do you want to read, like all these different things, they are all part of a flywheel, right. And I think is super important that you don't shy away from that, especially as you start to scale it. And I think that's one of the things I really took away from the next clip that we have lined up, which is Martin Lindstrom. And he's obviously he's famous for being just a master of being able to find these practical solutions, to really get back to understand your customer, especially when you're a business, you know, the size of Lego or one of these huge behemoth. And yeah, he just really understands that. And I think we should hear from him as to how he's managed to get so many of these age old businesses back into their customer shoes, and really ensure that the KPIs are lined up correctly, with what the customer actually wants. So let's hear from Martin.

Martin: A couple of years ago, one of the largest respiratory disease company in the world reached out to us. And you know, that's the inhalers when you have asked me, and they said, Listen, we want to be customer focused. And I say, fantastic. When did you last visit to patients? And the answer was level now this company has been around for nearly 100 years and never spoken to the patients. So that's kind of disturbing. Compliance was the excuse, which were not true. So we started to visit patients across the world. And I ended up in a home of a 28 year old lady, and she had asthma her entire life, and asked her how did you feel like her asthma as a child, and she started to cry. As he told me this touching story about how she was bullied in school, she was told she was a disgrace for human mankind. That's her words, not mine. She was detached from parties. And I said to Alison, that it feels like you've just gained a lot of confidence since what happened as he pulls out a straw from a handbag literally, and see says this is my magic straw. Whenever I meet new people, new colleagues and new friends, I acquaintance, I always ask them to take the straw in their mouth, hold themselves to the nose, and breathe through the straw for one minute. When you do that, you can, you can feel how these two have asthma, that I took that idea and associate it with the board. And I had everyone at the board live and breathe through the straw. And I'll never forget it because one guy spit up the straw after half a minute. And I said, this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever tried in my life, who can possibly live like this. And I said to him, this is how you costumer live every minute of the entire life. This is how they feel. And they're paying your salary. And if you could hear penny dropped on the floor, he certainly would have heard it. Now that in return meant that when we are now employing new people in his comedy, they receive a straw in the mail, to breathe through the store to feel what other employees are feeling. They do r&d around it to feel the perspective of a customer. And yes, marketing is also changing their perspective. But it's suddenly became a company wide initiative, very simple, simple to implement, simple to understand, using the power of empathy. And that's really the key coming back to Snapchat. If you are able to through marketing to infuse a sense of empathy through the organisation, people mostly will start to instal common sense, because suddenly we have one thing in common, that's the customer is not some bureaucracy inside those walls was occupying perhaps 65 or 75% of our time.

Eric: So what is it that leads organ, you know, this idea of the immune system, I get it. And I think it's a really interesting metaphor. But these people running these big organisations like they're not dumb, they're probably some of the smartest business minds out there. And everybody talks about being more customer centric, even having empathy for the customer, although I think that's a that's a newer thing. But how do they get there? And I guess, you know, one of the things I'll throw out to you is the term technical debt, I think the same concept applies in every area. So we talk about marketing debt for big organisations, and I think cultural debt, maybe that's part of it as well. It's not that from one day to the other, they had empathy for the customer. Because at the beginning, every company is a startup, every company is customer centric. In order to disrupt a category to build a business. You have to be focused on solving a customer need in a differentiated way. But he's adjusted over time, layers and layers, weeks and weeks of nudges in the other direction of more more to protect more being more risk averse, being more focus Isn't short term returns like, is that how these companies get there and they just need someone to come in and shake them out of it and shift their perspective.

Martin: Partly,I think there's multiple factors building on what you said one factor for sure is the short term focus. I'll give you an example. And a client of ours mercy, which is the largest shipping company in the world to sit around, and around 25% of all shipping in the world, reached out to us and asked us to make the organisation more culture focused and empower the brand. We went to China we're sitting in a call centre with 3000 Call Centre staff and this cause centre was allocated to handle customer complaints. So as I was listening in using interpretation, I realised that whenever people called the call centre they were attacking or ticking a box and categorising it as force majeure. Now, you and I know force majeure is COVID-19, or an earthquake, every single one of those 1000s of complaints every day. So I went back to the nursery to Hong Kong. And they told me that if you tick that box, you only have to fill out one form. But if you don't tick into, you have to fill out four forms. And this call centre was measured. That KPI was on time, not on customer satisfaction. Which is kind of ironic, because if you categorise things as far as mushir, you will be covered by the insurance. So you actually have directly unhappy customers in the end of the day, what I realised was that through history, Wall Street ever had a profound impact on removing companies from from reality. Meaning that in the old days, you will go from destination A to B, you have to KPIs, earning money and happy customers, and then you would break down those small that arrow was so long arrow to smaller arrows. And each of these arrows would be sub KPIs that would be a division, whatever, because the street wanted to have the quarterly announcement earnings off that wanted to have some announcements. So you could only do that by talking to their division heads and had them share what they thought the revenue would be why. And suddenly, these KPIs would be individual, but the arrows would be pointing in the same direction. Over time, as time went by, and more waters passing under the bridge, these more errors would go in each of the different directions will be let their little ecosystem, which will take control because they had their own agenda, that different KPI suddenly different areas of interest. And that silver lining or recently, kind of defining the position of that era will disappear to all sorts of different errors. And this is probably the essence of it. That is that it becomes a self serving agenda, which is put into progress in the organisation, when everyone has different KPIs, or too many KPIs. And so those personal agendas is what is disturbing, the bigger good, the old pivot of the organisation.

Eric: And he's just so good. I mean, one of the best, he's famous for a reason, that's for sure. And actually listening to that clip now, just reminded me, I need to go back and reread some of his books. It's classic. But I mean, I don't know how to stress this enough, I guess the only way that I would tee it up and try to tie off this chapter. And maybe maybe one thing to do differently, is I really believe, you know, like I said, in that clip in that interview with Martin, you know, all growth at the end of the day comes from having a differentiated understanding of the customer and their needs, and being able to deliver that on a way that other people haven't. But it starts with the understanding. And even if, and you know, sometimes in this conversation, people bring up that Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, if you ask people what they wanted, they wouldn't, they would have said a faster horse, nobody would have predicted the iPad, whatever, you still need to understand the customer in some way. And I know some of the brands that we're going to talk about later, they kind of have more of the instinct gut feel. But it really comes from, you know, the perspective and from spending time in that world in that culture. So that's probably a good segue to move into Chapter Three about seeking out new, different perspective and ideas.

Eric: So we heard from Linda and Zara from GE earlier, and they were talking about in the framework for innovation chapter, how the gathering of different perspectives and ideas in their teams, you know, both internally and with the agency and external partners that they work with is so key for a creative approach for having the right insights. And you know, creativity is kind of connecting things in a way that hasn't done hasn't been done before. By definition, you need different perspectives and experiences at the table. So I think, you know, this is certainly something that gets talked about more particularly with hiring and diversity within hiring and of course, that's a big place that it can come from, but I guess the thing that we heard, you know, I mean, look at the look at the people that we're going to hear from right now. Rory Sutherlands Mark Kirkham of PepsiCo, Raja MasterCard, I mean I feel like I should Just shut up and we should hear from them. But I guess the thing that I would say and you know, maybe kind of teeing up something to do differently is it's none of them kind of have a passive like, Okay, well, I'll just get different diverse people at the table. And that's that they are constantly driving not just their teams, but also themselves. You know, Rory is, I mean, I don't even know, like, what his it would be and the amount of stuff that he knows, I feel like I would forget, and five lifetimes, and also Raja, and just how curious he is about learning other things. So stepping outside of your box, as you know, not just marketing, but having kind of like the intellectual curiosity and drive to learn about behavioural economics, like we're going to hear from Rory or you know, what the next trend and and dimension of AI is going to be, but just constantly striving to learn new things and make sure that perspective and diversity of perspective is constantly being grown, proactively being grown within your team from you as a marketing leader. So let's start with Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy,

Rory: I think we've lost a little bit of our swagger because it's now it's no longer these guys make money from the media, and they agree to work with us. It's kind of dance for me, Monkey Boy, you know, it's a fundamentally different dynamic in the relationship as well. I mean, it's a mixed, I don't have the solution. I do think there is an interesting solution, which is in probably somewhere between the agency and the event space. In getting a mixture of people together to work on a problem, I think the hackathon model, incredibly bright person who's just left vccp, as a planner, who's called Amelia to road, I noticed that her new agency effectively, they discovered that the thing that clients really valued was the hackathon model. And by the way, there's a big advantage to the hackathon model, I think, which is that you can bring people in who are not who are not only marketers, you can bring in people from operations, you can bring in people from finance, you can bring in people from new product development, okay? Into a hackathon. And you can create something much more multidisciplinary, and it's problem solving. When I was a creative director, in Ogilvy and Mather, direct or OgilvyOne, as it then was, I had a rule, and I said, it's a terribly pessimistic rule. But quite often, creative teams would come up with a brilliant solution to a problem. But it wasn't a pure pay and play communication solution involve changing the pricing, changing the distribution, doing something outside the realm of mainstream Mark Holmes horrible phrase, but I used it anyway. Okay. And I always had the rule, which is that if any idea you have requires someone in marketing to phone up someone outside marketing, that idea will never happen. Now, the hackathon might be a way to actually preempt that problem by having those people in from different disciplines at the beginning, for instinct Tesco, I learned from Tesco that whenever they have any kind of brainstorming, it is mandatory, I think, in a Tesco brainstorm of any size that you have to store managers. And the idea is that store managers are kind of in charge of everything. And they can make things happen. And they can also tell you when things can't happen, because they understand the practicalities of everything. And I thought that was a very smart thing from Tesco, you have to have these two store managers who have to come in. And both provide you with sanity, which is not a bad thing in a hackathon. Otherwise, you can tend to get into sort of delusional territory, but they can also if they like an idea, they just go well, okay, I'm gonna try that in my store. I think there was a brilliant one, which was an idea about changing the labelling, so that when you marked down sandwiches, you only had to stick the new price label on once rather than twice. You know, that was one of the ideas that emerged from one of those things. Because I think the barcode was on a separate the barcode might have been on the hypotony News, and the price label might have been on the baseline. And so every time you change the price of a sandwich, you have to cover up both,

Dubose: I think it's such an interesting point you raised there about the the implementation of the ideas, often holding ideas back, I guess one of the things I'd be curious to know a bit more about as well is, I think, is marketing holding itself back sometimes from scaling based on the idea of approaching every problem fresh. I think one of the things I think you've spoken about before, as well as the ability to kind of stand on the shoulder of experience, the idea of collective knowledge within the industry. You look at something like law or something like medicine, and there's a real understanding that the things that have come before can help to inform new solutions.

Rory: That's That's my major hope for behavioural science because by codifying findings, and by finding recurring patterns, it makes it much much easier. We do a thing in the behavioural science practice here called lateral category analysis. And it's based on a kind of slightly the insight from TRIZ, which is your problem has probably already been solved. It's just been solved in a category different to your own. Okay. And so one of the things we try and do is we try and codify clever ideas. Now an interesting example, okay, which was basically waiting to be had, just as every time I'd meet anybody from a large multinational food and beverage firm, I asked them, Why has nobody done the Nespresso of tea? Okay, because it seems to be such a screamingly obvious category crying out for innovation. Okay. Just as I was asked that, I spent a few years ago I couldn't understand why So, few people know Tesco has now done it with Clubcard plus, but so few people copy that Amazon Prime model, you know, which is you make a commitment, okay, it costs you money. But in return, you will get recurring savings, which increase with the extent of your loyalty and when frequency of purchase, okay, actually, without Amazon Prime, Amazon probably wouldn't have any super frequent customers. Because, you know, whereas 10 People don't mind paying for delivery once a month, one person isn't gonna pay for delivery 10 times a month. But it always struck me that the Amazon Prime model was one which almost anybody could adopt your airlines could actually EasyJet did, but that was partly me. So I was the CO inventor of a thing called EasyJet plus, where you paid about 80 pounds a year. And it meant that when you flew, you tended to get the upfront seating? Was it a bit of baggage allowance for about I think you've got speedy boarding and upfront seating route every time for free. So it was a kind of Amazon Prime for EasyJet. And, but it's, it's surprising to me how few people have attempted to replicate that I have to say, because it strikes me as you know, a very clear pattern of how it works is patently say, you know, clear. And that strikes me as odd. And so I think one of the great things about behavioural sciences by codifying data only gives you the watch behavioural science gives you the why. And if you know the why you can see recurring patterns in human behaviour and preference and so forth. And you can, what it enables you to do is to enjoy that efficiency of redeploying an idea from one place to somewhere else. And another thing advertising which was overly focused on the brand level of decision making, not the brands aren't important, but they're not the only game in town. Okay. Brands are hugely important. But nonetheless, you know, not every problem is a brand problem necessarily, you know, it could be a channel problem, whatever. Okay. So I think there's something really important there, which is that the ability to effectively stand on the shoulders of giants, if you like, or to build on past experience, I think is made possible by behavioural science, because it has this kind of Linnaean system of classifying and codifying different behavioural tendencies or anomalies

Viren: One of the things that Rory said that, I mean, it's one of the things I've believed super strongly throughout my whole career, like it's very, very important to have diversity of thoughts in your room, in your professional sphere. And in your personal life as well, it's super important to have that because otherwise, you do end up in those echo chambers that we were talking about, right? And just having this, this access to lateral thinking allows you to solve problems are much greater speed, and with a lot more effectiveness, I've found definitely in the creative spaces. And there's I think it's interesting, you mentioned the Amazon model, like this whole idea of bundling products. I know Scott, Scott Galloway refers to it as the great bundling, and unbundling. And now we're starting to see more and more businesses adopt that as an actual commercial strategy, right? Like, everyone's trying to find a subscription variant to their business model. And I think sometimes it's, it's easy to try and just see that in a different space, just try and drag and drop, but you have to have the contextual relevance of how it's going to work for your specific customers and your specific industry. And I think that's, again, it ties back to that previous chapter, like the relentless focus on customer, if you have that, then you can, you can pretty much do that. And you can find these new cool solutions. But yeah, I mean, it's one of the things that I struggle with, is you can kind of either yourself as like a small or large organisation, either way, and so well, we can't we can't approach that the way Rory saying we should do this because of x or, you know, whatever. But what do you think of Eric? I mean, you've been in businesses of various different scales now, like, is this type of lateral thinking just remit of startups? Or should it be for incumbents with huge budgets as well?

Eric:You know, we are rival with the content we do and also the work that we do. One of the things that's really interesting, I think, from where we sit is that we kind of see both sides of the fence as it were, the challengers and what they're doing let's call it the incumbents as a broad generalisation, the established at scale businesses and what they're doing now And that means we can also kind of see what they're doing differently. And so if, you know, I love the expression growth, and the category is a race between challengers trying to get scale and incumbents trying to get innovation, there are different advantages at both ends, right. There are a lot of advantages that startups have about how they can drive innovation. Because they don't have you know, as much that they would be risking, they don't have the restrictions, they can move a lot faster, you know, so many things, obviously, within that. But there's also so many benefits of scale. And if you're at scale, then essentially, you're trying to get more innovation. And if you're at more the innovation ends without the scale you're trying to get to scale. So I think it's easy and obvious to point to how different perspectives can come up within startups. Essentially, that's what they are. If they are anything, if they are growing, if they have gone out of business, it's because they have a different perspective on how they can deliver on the needs of customers in that category. But incumbents have a huge advantage as long as they don't get stuck in the classic innovators dilemma of only focusing on you know how they always done things and what works right now. And so I love kind of to tee up the next clip how Mark Kirkham at PepsiCo talked about this, because it's, you know, one of the biggest companies in the world. But a lot of what he does as CMO of international is he looks at kind of Challenger brands, within the portfolio, but also outside of the portfolio, to bring a different perspective into the broader business and how they do things. So let's hear from Mark

Mark: I'll give you a great little brand that most people don't know, that's been around 20 years, but it's one of the fastest brands that are important, fastest growing brands in our portfolio, that's called sting. It's an energy drink that literally started in Vietnam, 20 years ago has been very successful in India and Pakistan and Egypt. But what's amazing about this brand, it's it's not a traditional energy drink, it's it's an energy drink that is established in in many cases of Vietnam, one of the highest penetrated categories, you know, in the world, it's a 40% penetration of energy drinks in, in Vietnam, but it carved out a really unique proposition, both in terms of the brand expression, it literally had one SKU one flavour, and it just kept growing. What I love about what we've done over the past few years, and I have to give all the credit to the local teams who have really just embraced this brand and made it their own is the cultural relevance, and the very specific channel and call it market development work that they do to launch this brand. Getting the right price point, you know, they've done great work in reducing sugar and kind of making this product even better for you. And even though it's an energy drink, it's it, you know, you're coming into the market with a different proposition than it was, you know, 1520 years ago. They're bringing really local storytelling tied to local culture, they're taking, you know, energy is one of the most important needs. And we saw this particularly over the pandemic, that any consumer has, but how you deliver energy in the cultural context of how you deliver energy. And there's some of the work the team in India has done, for example, tying it back to Indian culture, and the spirit of energy, and the kind of unique ties to Indian culture, Bollywood movies, and just really making it their own, I think that will allow sting, which you know, is literally one of our fastest growing brands in our entire portfolio of the world. To be an iconic brand of the future, it's already an icon in the eyes of certain markets. I mean, it's it's the leading beverage with in, in Cambodia, for example of all beverages, our portfolio and others. And it's one of the fastest growing in some other parts of the world. And I think the other thing that's important is, a lot of these things happen outside the US. And I think that's another shift that we've seen in our careers is like some of the best innovations and ideas are coming from different markets around the world. And they're they're taking this ability to scale global and regional brands, but do it in a locally relevant way. And ultimately, is someone in my role in this job is to say, I'm responsible for brands internationally, I have to find that balance. And I think that's the important thing. How do you drive global scale and local relevance, and to be iconic for some of these local brands is, hey, I can build this really cool local expression, this local idea. And then my job is how do I grow that? How do we expand that? And so that's to me, what, what makes these kind of, I'd say, fledgling or younger, iconic brands really exciting to watch grow and to nurture. And also, it's a great learning for the big iconic brands like the Pepsi's and the gator, it's because then we can say, well, how how do we just continue to evolve what we're doing and look to the smaller brands and look to other categories to inspire us

Viren: I think is a really interesting approach that Mark has taken especially on a global global level, especially an organisation of PepsiCo size. One of the things I've always kind of struggled with is you know, just as idea of like, as you grow in seniority and also as your brand skills like, you just become increasingly siloed in your perspective and your team's perspective and your outlook, basically. And like Martin Lindstrom said, like your own KPIs, ultimately. And it's something that I'm actively trying to get better at. And it kind of reminds me like when I, when I ran a production studio, we used to do like a Monday meeting. And it was kind of like everyone sat down with like a coffee. And we kind of always had to someone, you had to always present a new idea. And it was kind of like, you just see different campaigns out there in the wild. And you just present that it's kind of like a show Intel type thing, you have 30 seconds to one minute to present like this new campaign, you've seen why you think it was cool, and why you think it worked really well. That's it. And the whole purpose of that was just to broaden your perspectives and broaden your horizons. And that's one of the things which I think Raja from MasterCard said, as well, he had an actual, a much better strategy than my Monday meeting, for as she making sure he's able to keep that, that experience, broad and varied and keep his perspective fresh as well. So I think that's a great point to jump into his clip. So let's hear from him.

Eric: If you had the opportunity to start your roll over from scratch, again today, what would you do differently?

Raja: I would say probably a couple of things. The first one is, I would have spent a lot more time in technology. I never spent actually time in technology per se, I leverage technology interacted with technology people, but there is merit, I think in understanding technology from within technology. So that's one thing I've done. Number two, I would have also spent time in certain categories, like for example consulting, where you get exposure to multiple industries at once. So it could be like a consulting, or it could be a private equity or hedge fund. So these are the folks who are looking at multiple industries at the same time. So the amount of learning that you get from this is absolutely incredible. So that's something we should have done quite some time back, if I had that foresight, then these will be the two things at the tops of multiple industry experiences very, very critical. Because today, no industry is operating in isolation, the most successful ones operate at the confluence of multiple industries. So if you know more about these, you can really connect the dots much better than everyone else, and then bring it to power in you know, it bring it to life in a very powerful fashion. So I think that that that will be the thought behind

Eric: Raj is so good. And I put him in kind of the same bucket as Gary, who I know we're going to hear from pretty soon on just the amount of energy and drive that they have to constantly, you know, even at the stage that they're at, be learning about new things, and putting themselves out there and getting outside their comfort zone, I think is so key. So, so many, so many great learnings in there. And again, with all this stuff, you know, obviously we're playing the clips, but, you know, especially for new listeners, because some of these were like Roger Juan was probably right at the beginning maybe two years ago at this point. So definitely go back, if you're interested in listen to the whole episodes. But let's keep moving, we're gonna move on to chapter four, and talking about the importance of moving fast and the things that matter. So when it comes to speed, and actually I had an interesting back and forth with a CMO who I really respect or accepting of auto books, so on LinkedIn recently, because, you know, I talk a lot about speeds being being being speed being the most important factor in any organisation, one of the biggest advantages that startups have against incumbents, and he was like, speed isn't, you know, from his perspective is not the right way to think about it. Because speed could mean moving fast on the wrong things. And so I've actually been thinking about that a lot. And it has impacted how I think about this. And hence the name of this chapter is not move fast. It's move fast on the things that matter. And so there's a little bit nuance, a little bit of nuance to that. But I think so we're gonna hear from Kate McCutcheon, of cedars first. And I think the only thing that I would say, to tee this up is obviously we talked about, you know, jobs to be done and figuring out what the customer needs are and how you build towards them. But it really is two factors in that equation. It's not just knowing the right thing. And that gives you the impact. It's knowing the right thing, and particularly in the market and how competitive it is right now for attention. But also, you know, for people's money at the end of the day, whatever business you're in, you need to be able to move faster than other people once you know the right thing to do. And I think Kate has some amazing experience from cedars and some of the other challenger brands, including away one of the Challenger kind of suitcase travel brands that we point to all the time. So let's hear from her on how she thinks about being able to move fast as a superpower within businesses, and this idea of principled risks.

Kate: I think that's the most important thing is the ability to move quickly and capitalise on moments. So I mentioned at the top and you asked who my favourite challenger brands are, I said, there was a marketing example I wanted to give you been given to you now, union pub in Washington, DC. Union Pub is a few blocks from Capitol Hill. Without going into politics, the US is in a bit of a pickle at the moment. And union Pub has launched a promotion, which is for $218, you can become the Speaker of the pub, you get given a gavel, you get all of these different things, you know, you get certain drinks and food for your group and all of that. And that, to me, I think just encapsulates how do you think about the moment? How do you take advantage of it. And, and so that lightning in the bottle can be, you know, it can be a week in time when you can capture capture on something like this. Or it can be a brand new channel or a brand new avenue that opens up that you may be able to capture for for weeks, or months or years, you know, the way away was able to leverage social media, particularly in the US. And so I think that the most important thing is to recognise the moment or recognise the potential of the moment, and then not being afraid to take a couple of risks, to run with it and see what happens. I think that you know, taking principled risks is, is critical. Because if you only do what you know, works, you're never going to be the one who captured lightning in a bottle. Because by its nature, it's the first person it's the first, you know, that it's that rarity.

Viren: And Eric hearing from Kate, then on this idea of capturing lightning in a bottle and moving at the right speed or at rapid speed. Like you've worked, obviously, with Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the guys who is known for moving at such a rapid pace. Were there any sort of like, I guess, tips or tricks that you picked up from him? Like when he was launching new ideas or new businesses? Like were there any sort of principles that you learned from him in terms of how to decide what to move on and how fast to move?

Eric:Honestly, I think the biggest thing is how much he prioritised and valued speed in itself. And again, now I've got a little bit of the nuance to that, because he certainly has had the biggest impact on me as a professional working for him for seven years. And at the stage of the career of my career that I did. So the little bit of nuances move fast. But yeah, on the things that matter once you get it right. And also, you know, our conversations via and about kind of rival as a brand and the content we're putting out and when is it 80% And done? And, you know, fuck it, ship it, and when is it 100%. And perfect. I think that's been really helpful. It helped to kind of evolve my perspective. But I think the biggest thing is, I think that for the most part more opportunity is lost through not moving fast enough. As opposed to moving too fast. every business, every individual is different, but on par, especially if you consider big organisations 100%, like I will die on that hill. And so I think and I can't remember where I said this, where I posted this, but I think it's interesting to think about as a CMO or senior marketer, giving yourself the task or prompt, you know, maybe you put it on your to do list or sticky note or whatever, how do I get my team to move faster? I think that's something that's not really talked about enough, like, can you prioritise moving fast on the right things as a, as something on your to do list? I think that that's really interesting. So what else from Gary? I mean, you know, let's certainly hear from him. But I think that probably the other thing that he was really good at is constantly hacking time. You know, of course, time is everything, how we spend our time dictates what we're able to do. And so he, you know, fifth 15 minute meetings with him was a luxury, there were literally five minute meetings when he would come over to London. So maybe that's a little bit extreme for most people. But I think the constant hacking of what is this meeting needs to be 60 minutes. If I'm in a car going somewhere, Can I schedule a call when I'm doing that? Just those little things that really do add up. And then I think his comfort level with just getting stuff out there. And then iterating and being able to learn and evolve as he went, I think was great. I think you know what he's done with the friends, obviously, the NFT market, going through the expected, you know, maybe a bubble bursting, and I think I totally agree with him that it will come back. But I think what he's done and how quickly he was able to get the really empire of V friends up and out was pretty amazing. So let's hear from him on that.

Gary: I had a moment in January. That is a moment that I felt twice before my career, which was Oh my god. This is going to be enormous and Nobody knows about it yet. The first time was the internet itself in 95. And when I say nobody, nobody in the 7.7 billion people on Earth, clearly 10s of 1000s, hundreds of 1000s of alpha pioneers, I saw it in 95. I saw it in 2005. And now I was seeing it in very early 2021 with some stuff that was smoking and brewing and 2020, which was this NFT thing is now happening this is we're now on our way to people doing it, using it, knowing it. And, and I, I took that very seriously, this is going to happen. And in 95. And in 2005, when I decided the internet was happening, and when I decided social media was happening, my reaction was to do when I observe I do. So I didn't even own a computer when we launched wine Let me say that nice and slow for you and listeners, I did not own a computer when I was 21 years old when wine launched. Like that's how quickly I moved on something that I didn't fully do. Same thing and oh five, back to the joke I just made I hadn't I was 30 years old when Wine Library TV started. You know, I'd already had eight years of professional career Wine Library was already a $40 million business like I was a businessman. And now I'm making content. I didn't think of myself as somebody Anybody would know, outside of the business trades. And and now number three, you may even know this because you sat meetings, I doodled a little bit during meetings of draw it all you know, because I couldn't, you know, it was probably like everybody making fun of me for doing that stuff because I should be taking notes or what have you. But it's how I processed so it was had a little bit of doodling in me. But I knew NF T's were real. And I knew that I had to make a project. Now what's really cool is I'll be putting out this content soon. Two years earlier, I was working on a toy concept called workplace warriors, where I was going to make empathy elephant and patient pit panda and pig and put it into toy form like Kid Robot, or some of the stuff you see on people's desks actually happened to VaynerMedia. I was like, I was getting all these emails, and DMS from people that were really upset at work while I was walking by talking to somebody in one of our rows, and everybody in that row had toys on their desk, Simpsons, you know, ugly dolls, you know, Star Wars, and I was like, You know what, I'm going to make these characters that inspire mindset. And so I was working on that I didn't get around to fully finishing it, you know, I'm always working a lot of projects, then COVID happens, that kills it. And all of a sudden, I have an opportunity to do something in NFT land, and I reboot, these characters that have been in my mind, specifically patient Panda, and empathy elephant, and I build a whole universe. And and that's kind of how it happened. The opportunity was, I've, you know, this my most consistent narrative to the world is I'm building Vayner X. And I'm gonna buy nostalgic brands and reboot them by adjustment to reality was oh my god, I think NF Ts are going to be this generation's morning cartoons. Where if you look at the 80s and cartoons, he man, yeah, Thundercats transformers, that the cup, the cartoon was used to build the intellectual property, the cartoon and the toys. I am going to use NF Ts to build this intellectual property, I'm not going to reboot, Captain Crunch, I'm going to create VeeFriends.

Viren: One of the key things that really stands out for me personally is like having come from a background of being an entrepreneur, myself and all those things. I think what Gary's saying is like you can sometimes you have such a strong feeling about okay, this is going to be the next thing that carries the business for the next five years, 10 years, 50 years. But being able to spot that is one thing, being able to execute against it as another thing, right? Especially if you're just a small cog within a big machine, like a MasterCard, a PNG, a shell, whatever it is, right. But that's one of the things that really stands out to me. And I think this whole idea of like, finding the brand purpose so that your employees can also figure out okay, if they spot something new, they know it aligns perfectly with what the business's vision and mission and core values are. They have the ability to basically bring it to the forefront and bring it to the people who can actually action.

Eric: Yeah, and I think again, you know, this conversation and moving fast. Our perspective on it probably airs more on the side of startups right there, the speedboat, the oil tankers, but I think it's, it's it was really interesting hearing from some of the incumbent kind of CMOS, the marketers at large organisations about the importance of speed and how they approach it. And, you know, probably no better example than Jim Stengel, who of course, is the famed X CMO of Procter and Gamble, and how he approached it, just the importance that he put on long term and the opportunities but also getting there quicker. So let's hear from Jim on that.

Jim: Dean, I'll give you a very fundamental answer. I don't think you're curious enough about what's around the corner. We're still spending way too much of our time on today's business in this month business and this week's business. And if you think about your allocation of time, how much time are you spending preparing your brand or your company for the future? What are emerging consumer trends, especially now as things are so so volatile? What What about me? What business model trends? What social trends, what environmental trends? And how are you trying to prepare scenarios to deal with these so that you can stay competitive and win in the future, we just don't spend enough time on that. And to me, the remarkable senior leaders and senior marketing leaders are intentional about spending time on the future and spending time on today's issues. And they're both important. But in most companies thus far, we spend far too little time on preparing ourselves for the future.

Viren: I love that perspective from Jim. And here's something which I actually mentioned last week, and kind of like Taco taco taco, meaning that, you know, listening back to these clips, and if anyone doesn't know what taco taco taco is, please email us and we'll let you know. But, yeah, that point that Jim made around this idea of like segmenting, hey, who's who's looking after what for what time period was super important. So that you know that you're always looking towards the future, you're not just dealing with the day to day putting out the fires today? You're thinking about how does this grow? How does this scale? How does this expand, and all within that remit of making sure that the product you're putting out there and the marketing you're delivering out there is for the customer and is built around the customer? So yeah, I think that's probably a good place to leave this chapter and move on to the next one. So chapter five is all about being creatively brave.

Eric: And look, I feel Honestly, I feel like this inside show is a bit of personal therapy for me professional therapy, because it's tackling all the all the things I think about that keep me up at night. But this idea of like being creatively brave, and understanding, like, you know, when do you execute against a new trend or a new idea, it is just about putting your neck out there on the line. And in today's day, and age is super difficult to do that, because everyone has a voice. Everyone wants to critique something. I mean, we do it naturally right as human beings, so it's really difficult to just put yourself out there by realise that that's such a huge blocker for a lot of people in my position and across the marketing, marketing space. And, you know, again, I keep referencing our roundtables because we have a tonne of discussions which don't get publicised and we don't ever, ever record any of that stuff. But we had this discussion about the idea of a new challenger brand and how they're okay with customers adopting their brands, you know, so I think the example that we spoke about specifically was Roblox, right? And if you look at the way brands have been created and architected up until this point, it's all this idea of like, okay, a brand is sacred you, you protect the brand within this, these defined brand guidelines in a box. But now brands are coming out today, they have to be able to like go with their users and allow their users to adapt their brand however they want. So if you look at Roblox, Roblox allows their users to generate their own versions of the brand and create these old, their own realities within this Roblox framework, right. And it's something which I think we need to apply in terms of a mindset like understanding that all brands are just like, as DuBose likes to put it and what he does for a lot of brands in terms of strategy. Brands aren't like a brand awareness, it shouldn't be a brand guideline, because a brand OS is a living thing, which you get software updates to things change over time, the core basis is the same. And the platform remains the same. But you'd make adjustments you make tweaks, you make software updates to overtime. And I think that's super important for us to think about in order to be creatively brief. Yeah, and I think building on that, and kind of segwaying into the first clip that we have from this one, you know, there's knowing the story that you want to tell to the market, and then there's being able to tell it in different and interesting ways. And I think for me, you know, never having been the creative guy. I think I learned, you know, this lesson that we're going to hear from Aaron north of mint mobile very early on the creative output of the agency or even when I was CMO. At 11 Fs, the creative output from us was not about me, it was about how do I enable and support the people that are gonna bring the ideas to the table. And so I think that thinking as a marketer, you know, maybe you are the person that brings the ideas, but maybe you're the person that needs to enable and support other people bringing those ideas and kind of create the space for them, to bring the creativity and to be creatively brave. And so it's probably a little bit easier to probably a little bit easier when you have Ryan Reynolds as an owner and someone who's heavily involved in the marketing. But Eric North, who CMO of mint mobile, one of the very successful challenger brands, in the US, talks about the importance of trusting your creative teams, and in this case, trusting Ryan Reynolds with his gut instinct of what he thinks will be creatively interesting to the audience in the market. So let's hear from Aron

Eric:I do want to talk about Ryan Reynolds, because you are in a unique position of having a celebrity owner, and someone who in the many businesses that he's involved in now has been pretty involved in front facing in a lot of the advertising, including for men mobile. So I'd be curious about a couple things. One, what's that like to as CMO? How do you think about him as an asset? for building the brand? Like, how does it fit into your strategy and what I will do, because I actually really enjoyed some of the ads have been a Ryan Reynolds fan for a while. So that was not hard to win me over. But I will include a couple links to some of the recent ads in the show notes as well, so people can go and check them out. But how does that fit into your world?

Aron: Yeah, and I don't want to mince words, but I think it's important that you understand the audience understand that he is an owner, who is a celebrity, and also is featured in the ads like he's an owner first. And he's involved in the business now, Is he involved in the day to day minutia of running a wireless company? No. But he's incredibly involved in strategic vision. He's very much involved in the marketing planning we do and how we plan to set the year, the innovation schedule, he's very dialled in to all this because, quite frankly, he needs to know because he is also like you said, the spokesperson for the brand, right? But it's not a spokesperson, it's genuine. He is an owner, the coolest thing about Ryan was before he became a mint owner, he was a mint customer, we didn't know. So he bought the service, use the service, validated the service, then got into the company. So that makes a difference. Because it's not just a paid talking head like he is invested in this and he genuinely cares. So that's a really important distinction when it comes to the marketing plan. He's really smart. Like, I remember the first time we met with him, I presented the marketing plan. And he was just like, there's too much here. I think you're trying to do too much too soon. Let's think about it this way. I was like, This is good. This is amazing advice. So we simplified the calendar, and had an amazing year, because we were really just pounding the core message of, you know, critical serves 15 bucks a month. How does it go into your thinking, as the CMO will tell you? I don't necessarily think of him as like a spokesperson for the brand. I think about the team, right? The whole team we're building in the marketing we're doing and their smarts as an agency. He's writing scripts with George, right. They're coming up and concepting ideas. So I just look at the ideas, and we weigh the ideas based on their merit. The best part is their ideas are amazing, right? So it makes it very, very easy for us. But I'll tell you the one thing I had to do early, and I preached this, but I had to live it. It was a little nerve wracking was, you've got to put faith in your creative team. I don't care if it's Ryan and George or whomever and whomever. But you have to trust your creatives. If you have a good team and you've written a good brief, then trust the output. And I'll tell you a very specific example. Our first real campaign was called Ryan. And so it was Ryan and somebody else. We had really interesting folks like Teacher of the Year who was a math teacher named Rodney. We had Paul Reveres great granddaughter, so like interesting characters, and then the agency recommended Rick Miranda's now is a brand that typically sells to a younger audience. Rick Maraniss was a bit of a head scratcher when it came across my desk and I was like, Ghostbusters, like little shop or whatever. Right, Miranda's? Yes. I'm like, we haven't really done anything in like 20 years. They're like, exactly. And I honestly had a moment where I was like, shit, am I going to approve this and it'd be a dud and then I look But I like genuinely was like looking at myself going, why are you questioning your creative team? And their creative geniuses? Go with it? So we did and ended up you know, went nuts like it was, I think one of the biggest things we've ever done as a brand and spread like wildfire. And I will tell you like, they are tapped into the zeitgeist better than I could ever be. That's what they do they live for that. But I think the big lesson and the lesson I would take take to the to the audiences, you got to be willing to trust your creatives, when they have a risky idea. It's worth it. Right. And if you're really concerned, find ways to balance the risks somewhere else. So whether it's an expense, I don't know what the risk may be, but like, try and try and back to your crew,I would say,

Eric: I love that. And there's two things I would build on top of that briefly in ways that I think about that same topic. One, if you're not uncomfortable, then maybe the idea isn't big enough. And two, I think the I think, increasingly not always, if you're on the client side, you should push yourself to think of your role as saying no to the wrong ideas, as opposed to having to find and say yes to the perfect idea that you think is right. So it's more about guardrails, rather than bullseye.

Eric: So much good stuff there. I love that conversation with air and everything that they're doing with mobile and they sold to so Verizon, they got that T Mobile, I think they sold the TMobile. So clearly, it's working for them. And then another business that it's clearly working for. I love this conversation with Eddie Rivas. So moving from technology to baked goods, and I'm actually pretty hungry right now. So this might be tricky to listen to. But Edie is the CMO of Magnolia Bakery. So kind of pretty famous bakery in New York, heard some amazing things. And I loved how he talked about the ability to let your creative teams come up with ideas, even if or I guess, you know, part of that conversation with Aaron and what I said in that interview, especially if you're a little bit nervous about them

Eddie: To put a brand back into culture. The first thing that that we've had to really adjust in our mind here is why this idea of why be good and we can be great. And what I mean by that is always thinking about the next step, or the next 10 steps of what you think you're supposed to do. And then take the 10 steps forward and just do that one instead. And that comes down to how we plan our advertising campaigns. It's how we pick our partnerships. It's how we think about our channels, is we have this constant challenge or brand mentality and ourselves. Why be good, and we can be great. Why? And I'll give you a great example. We did a partnership, a local partnership in New York with Jake was pickles. If anyone listening has ever been to Jacob's pickles. It's like Max indulgence. It's the best brunch spot in New York City. It's an hour and a half wait on the weekends. And the team was ideating. And they were like, oh, would it be funny for the April Fool's post on Instagram this year to do fried chicken stuffed with or banana pudding pancakes stuffed with banana pudding and fried chicken. And everyone's laughing and we're having a good time. And then it took a push. And I took a push with him. And I said because what if we actually did, like Why stop it at a at a Instagram post for April Fool's. And let's scrap that because every brand is going to do and we're not going to get anything out of it. It's a waste of our time. I was like, take this amazing idea. Take this Genesis, and like what if we actually did it, and the teeny bag like yet it will take us pickles at the end, they want to do it. And they want to do it for the whole summer. And we're going to go to a tasting next week. And we're going to try it. And we're going to have this amazing menu placement all summer on their menu. So if you ever went to JPS pickles, we had a whole third of the menu with our logo and the dish on it. We sold over 1000 dishes in the first five days, partnership influences we're obsessed with the local community, our local Air Force community was obsessed with it. And I use that as an example. Like we've got put back in the New York City culture, right, we reminded people that we are the desert authority where this indulgence authority in the city and we're just a few blocks away from Jacob's pickles on the Upper West Side, by the way. But it has to start with idea of like, why why to get good idea. Why not make it great, and one that actually turn this crazy idea that we have for an April Fool's joke into something real and something impactful for the business

Viren: Yeah, I love I love listening to that episode, not just because of the baked goods being one of my favourite things ever. But yeah, just at his whole approach to you know, bringing back Magnolia Bakery and to like cultural relevance, like through these very brief creative ideas is something cool, like I think is something which you don't hear enough about. And just thinking thinking more recently, because I know we recorded that episode a while ago. We just recorded an episode with Tom Davies from yonder. And I remember him saying something really similar like every single thing they're trying to do right now in terms of marketing requires that bravery to an extent They've done some incredible stuff. They're the unofficial sponsor of the Wimbledon cue. They do like tube ad placements right next to IMAX like really, really punchy stuff with their creativity, and they're starting to resume. And I think the other the other key point that Tom made to us as well, building on that was like, Look, that that level of courage, bravery doesn't come from just one person within the organisation. It comes from a whole team. And that's where you really have to make sure like the people that you're hiring into the team really get, like, what the bar is for creative execution and how brave you're asking them to be basically.

All right, chapter six, managing the people and building the team. And I will say before we get into this one, Shail, who is typically the associate producer with Viren on Scratch and behind a lot of the content that we do, he's in the driver's seat and is actually producing this episode. And so he told us that we were, the energy levels were dipping. So we took a quick break, we got some more coffee, I had an apple, hopefully we're bringing the energy levels back up to you, but man, I don't know, like.You know, like the acquired podcast that I listened to that actually you turned me on to Viren that's like three hours every episode or, um, who's that guy Dan? Is it Dan Carlin that does hardcore histories and like eight app like, man, I mean, keeping the energy level high for that long, um, this is, this is a challenge. I think I should have at least done it standing up. I think that would have been a good one anyway.

Viren: Yeah. Oh yeah, hardcore history. Yeah. It's definitely easier being on the back of the backside of this recording versus being on the front. Like I know that note that Shail gave was mainly aimed at me, which is fine. I'll take it. But yeah, it's definitely easier being on the back of the list.

Eric: Yeah All right, let's do it. Energy level's high. So chapter six, managing the people and building the team. I guess the place to start with this is, you know, I find it interesting that it's chapter six. I guess that makes sense. And I'm the one that kind of, you know, made the order. But you know, the thing I always say is the best strategy, the newest technology, whatever it is, doesn't matter if you don't have the right people set up in the right way. So I guess it's chapter six, but let's not skip over this. I think it's easy to talk about what you should be doing differently, being creatively brave, breakthrough innovation, but like it's easier to talk about that stuff. And I think we gravitate towards it because it's like, Oh, I can do this thing differently now. Whereas as we all know, the people, while it's the most important, can also be the hardest part, finding talent, retaining talent, keeping people engaged and supported and aligned is so hard, but it really is the most important thing. So we're going to start with a clip from Rory who's the head of marketing over at Gymbox. We did this one relatively recently and to be honest, I feel like the conversation with him could have fit into almost every single chapter. It's a really good episode. You should go listen to it if you haven't already. But we did wanna focus on one aspect of it where he really talks about, you know, the headline and the title of the episode is how they're able to deliver massive campaigns with minimal budgets, which is of course, something that we all wanna be able to do as marketers. And of course, part of that is the creativity and the instinct that he has for what's gonna be interesting and different. But a big part of that is how he set up and how he enables the team. So there's only three people internally. They of course use some external partners, but really the team structure, the culture that he's built and also the working relationship with the CEO to be able to get ideas approved and out there is so key. So let's hear from Rory at Gimbox.

Eric: So I want to talk about the internal dynamics and structure that allow you to do all these things. He talked a little bit about kind of the team that you have within marketing, but I guess around you, right? You said in our prep call, that you have a CEO who quote, lets you get on with it, which I love. And I think any marketer listening is like, how do I how do I get that? How do I get a CEO, a CFO, a board that kind of gives me the autonomy, to do interesting, potentially risky push the envelope types of things. Because I think that that's what limits a lot of creativity and opportunity for brands to grow, is not necessarily the marketing team, not being able to come up with something, you know, effective, but the business around them, particularly with incumbents, you know, not allowing it to go out. So how has that worked for you at Gymbox? Like, how have you cultivated that relationship with the CEO? And what does it look like? Do you like, do you even have to run stuff past him? Is there an approval process? How do you How does he just let you get on with it?

Rory: I hope he doesn't watch this when they're when you say it like that, because he'll lead No way. I'm no, no, I think it's an ongoing process. So I've been at Jim box, you know, five years, the first six to eight months, were pretty challenging, because you know, you come in from a brand you work for Paddy Power every month cinnamon, I feel like I knew, you know, I know how to how to run a challenger brand, I know how to do things, I've done marketing for quite a while, you didn't come in fresh with new ideas. And you, you almost have to take a step back, you've got to learn from other people, you've got to understand the gym audience is very different than, you know. Cinema goers, or sports betting. So the first kind of year or so with a bit of a challenge, but really getting underneath the skin of the brand. And both our CEO and founder who is heavily involved in the business still really love marketing, and the brand has been built on on marketing and brands. So they're very hands on individuals. So that trust takes a long time to build. And you make a few mistakes along the way, you know, there would have been would have been in the early days some some work or campaigns that I've brought to the guys and pitch. Thus, when I look back at it wasn't right for the brand, and it got rightly kind of rejected into, you know, the creative graveyard, you know, for every idea we get out we probably got about 10 to 12 that, you know, end up in this kind of creative graveyard. So it takes a long time. I think as you as you grow as a business and you know, I have to bring in you mentioned the team. I've got a small team of three full time people in house and I've built a number of freelancers and agencies that are experts in PPC or paid media PR agency, a great copywriter who I worked freelance work. And I think the CEO then sees the team that you build around you. And he has trust in the output of the work that you're doing week in, week out. I think that's taken a long time to kind of build that trust. But I think to answer your other question around, can you can you just get work done and signed off? It works in two ways. I think either one, I bring him an idea. We sit and we procrastinate over the idea for hours. And we think, you know, will the audience buy into this is this crazy, because we have some crazy ideas. And there are some more we sit, you know, we sometimes get out of the Get out of the office, go to the pub, have a few beers, we brainstorm ideas. And there are other times where I may have an idea at 9am. And he's unavailable, he may be working, he'll just trust me to get that out on social because we it's taken, it's taken years and years and years to develop that Rory gets the brand, He knows our audience. But it's not an easy thing to do. It's not an easy thing to do. And and I think, you know, a lot of cm CMOs and CEOs have different relationships. But I think, as a small brand, you have to have trust in somebody who's going to, you know, allow let somebody pull the trigger, and you'll live or die from those consequences

Eric: Yeah, I think I think a couple things that I draw out from what you said, that really resonate, and are interesting to me is one, you know, you have a boss who said, you can't sell to somebody who doesn't want to be sold to like, you can't change everybody, right. And I think a lot of people listening can probably relate to that in terms of banging their head against the wall to get stuff approved. And it's just not gonna happen. But the opposite is also true. Whereas you have CEOs and organisations that are just into this from like, who they are and how they're wired and how they think. And I'll say, you know, as an anecdote, the last cmo role that I had before starting rival that was a big part of my decision making process was spending time with the CEO and seeing how much he was bought into being brand led and doing disruptive things. And I knew that I would have that partner, like, it sounds like you do. So I think that's one and two, that it takes time. You know, like, you probably didn't walk in day one. And we're able to do this stuff like you've cultivated that relationship over time. And the last thing that I think is really interesting is, I really think that even if you have the most Numbers spreadsheet, or engineer, like if you're the least creative marketing CEO out there, I feel like everybody gets a little bit excited about, hey, let's brainstorm this together. Let's go have a beer and talk about what crazy shit we could do. I think there's something to kind of bring them into the process, maybe that depending on the person could help with that longer term journey of building the trust and kind of creating that autonomy that everybody wants.

Rory: Yeah, well, I think you know what, you're right, I think you hit the nail on the head there with bringing someone on a journey, I think what I've learned over over years is if you come to somebody at the end of that, that journey and pitch them the idea, and you've worked it off with your your agency, or your freelance team or your marketing team, there's an element where a CEO may say, we're not sure about that. But if you if you if you bring somebody on that journey early, you're going to you're going to be tweaking, refining together as you go on. And you get to the end result, as other team, I think, I think is how you, you know, get things out the door, to put it in a better way. But the other piece, you know, as a as a brand, and you know, we have that culture throughout the business I have with my CEO, but we have it across the business with my team members. And you know, I've got to go on holiday occasionally. And it's a lean team. And we still have to get stuff out. And I think one of the things we were very keen to do as a team, myself and Mark, my CEO was to, as we scaled the business up, you know, the business is, you know, we don't have brand guidelines, you're in the way that big companies have brand guidelines, we've got to look and feel our design, but we wanted kind of internal brand values, what we stand for, and they kind of existed in in a weird way kind of floating around, but we needed to get them down on paper. And what we did as a team was we brought everyone from the business from the top level to the bottom level. So from the CEO all the way down to the receptionist, and even our cleaning teams, and we got everyone around the table over a couple of weeks. And we worked at our brand values. And we came up with five brand values which have essentially steered the business in terms of everything we do from our marketing to the products we put in and the classes we develop. And I think that has allowed us as a way to get things out the door quickly because we know what we stand for and we have a sounding board for our marketing with when we come up with a campaign does it hit these brand values? Does it have a giggle to them? People smile, does it sweat the details? Does this you know, not offend people don't be a dick, you're either some of our brand values. And that has helped with the decision making process internally. And it's brought the rest of the team on that journey to be able to kind of make sure we're consistent with our with our brand and our marketing. But also, just from a decision making point of view, just to get things done quickly, we have a really great sounding board.

Viren : Oh, what a great episode. I think actually to date that's probably, it's close to being one of the most downloaded episodes we've ever done actually. Rory's episode. I think it's only beaten by maybe Gary's episode that we did. Um, yeah, just an incredible, incredible insight into how these huge campaigns get delivered by Jim Box when they have a very lean team and very, very lean budgets as well. And one of the things that really stuck out for me. with that is like this commitment to the values and like how the values are so front and center. I think it's a, I guess it's that moment, those real force module moments, which really separate like true challenges from the ones who just like challenger wash themselves and say their challenges. I don't even know if that's a term, but we're gonna roll with it.

Eric: I like that. Let's do something with that challenger washing. I think there's something to something there.

Viren : Yeah. But yeah, just like on that point, like, what do you do when your backs against the wall, right? Because like all of, all of these CMOs that we've spoken to who have done amazing campaigns, they say like for every good campaign that we put out, that is punchy and is like in the zeitgeist and it really creates a stir. There's like 10 campaigns that failed or 10 ideas that did you don't even see. Right. So what do you actually do when your back is against the wall and like when things go wrong? essentially, like how do you handle that then? Because, you know, like Rory said, he has the trust of the CEO, but that's been built. What if on your first campaign, the first campaign you did goes completely awry and your CEO is like, what the fuck have you done here? You know, so it's kind of like really figuring out like, well, how do you come up with these amazing ideas, but also like, how do you stand by them during crisis moments as well? And that's a lot easier this next clip, Allison in McLeod, what she said she does when, you know, and how she handles it when things go badly. So let's hear from her.

Eric: Positive person. I got those vibes. And it does sound like you've truly created a really special culture and special team within Flywire. What happens when it doesn't go well? Performance issues firing. What about the other side of this conversation when you don't have the right talent or you're not able to find the right talent? I'd just be curious to hear you talk about that for a little bit.

Allison: That's always the stuff that no one wants to talk about, right?

Eric: And deal. But it's just as not more important the way right

Allison: It is. Because I think part of it is always making sure, I think there's a couple different things to look at again of where are you going? And you see this a lot with companies and teams that evolve. People that are great for say that early stage and love to do everything and have their hands and everything are amazing at that stage. And as the company grows and matures, there are bigger expectations. Our expectations get bigger every year. So I keep saying too, if I was still doing the same stuff I was doing three years ago, I probably shouldn't be here anymore. So I have to keep learning and expanding and growing. But I think part of that is having the right conversations and making sure that those expectations are easier set than done. Because hard conversations are hard for everyone, especially me. I don't like hard conversations, but they're so important. And having them as early as you can is even more important, right? Because it's a lot of times easier to sort of say, oh, I'll just deal with that later. Oh, I'll just deal. Oh, maybe we'll sort itself out. But I think having those, I go back to, you mentioned Kim Scott earlier, right, of the radical candor. So how do you be clear and how do you set the red expectations? And then also learning. It doesn't always have to be bad. Sometimes there's cases where it could be that way but it doesn't always have to be. Having those honest conversations of performance and where people are I think that's such a big piece of it. And it's a necessary piece to listen to the feedback and to understand what you need. And just like any team, whether that is business or sports or whatever it may be they're players that play different roles and different parts at different times of growth.And I think that's so important of a leader. To take a step back I'm more than anyone, of course, I want to be liked, that's who I am as a human. But I also have to realize not everyone's going to like me, and I have to be okay with that. I know not everyone likes me and I'm quasi okay with it, but I'm learning, I'm learning, I'm working on it. I'm learning to be more comfortable with it. But that's such a big piece is it is my job to make sure that I have the right to team to perform on the goal. So when you're in it, it's so hard to be like, oh, I don't don't want to deal with it. But then if you zoom out to say, but what is my job? It's to have the best performing team. And there may be players, it may not be right for this next phase but it's always, it's an evolution, right? It's a process.

Eric: So that point, what you said about zooming out in the last word there, process, I was going to ask, do you have any processes or frameworks that you use to make sure that you are having those hard conversations when you need to? For example, this isn't specific to having a hard conversation, but one of the things that I've always done with my teams is, you know, have the weekly, you have the twice a year annual review, but I also have a monthly one-on-one that is specifically not to talk about the day-to-day, week to week stuff, but to take a step back and just have a general informal conversation. How are you doing? How am I doing? And that creates the space to actually have more of a feedback conversation that can be positive, but also can be more constructive. What do you do tactically in your system as a CMO to push yourself to do that? Particularly, and I think this is the case for a lot of people listening, that's something that maybe doesn't come as naturally or that you're not as inclined to do.

Allison: I like the how are you doing? How am I doing? One, because normally I try to make it a little bit different, but one thing I have learned is that everyone likes to be managed differently. And that was a hard lesson too, right? Is you kind of want to use the same playbook of, all right, Eric, we're here. Let's talk about what are your roadblocks and what are things going well and not but that doesn't work for everyone. I have some people that they don't want to hear the small talk. They don't, I do it anyway cause I can't help myself, but they don't want to have clear things that they want to get through and they need my undivided attention to listen to. Others may want to talk about more personal stuff or where they're growing. Sometimes it naturally evolves into, it has to talk about a career conversation.One, I like the how are you doing? How am I doing? One, because normally I try to make it a little bit different, but one thing I have learned is that everyone likes to be managed differently. And that was a hard lesson too, right? Is you kind of want to use the same playbook of, all right, Eric, we're here. Let's talk about what are your roadblocks and what are things going well and not but that doesn't work for everyone. I have some people that they don't want to hear the small talk. They don't, I do it anyway cause I can't help myself, but they don't want to have clear things that they want to get through and they need my undivided attention to listen to. Others may want to talk about more personal stuff or where they're growing. Sometimes it naturally evolves into, it has to talk about a career conversation. So I would say one, it's making sure and now, and I give this advice, but I'm also horrible about following it. Even when you think about the time with your direct reports, try as much as you can to protect that time. Sometimes it's hard, right? You're like, oh, well, it's always on the calendar so I can we'll just move it to tomorrow. Guilty. I'm very guilty of that. But I try to be more conscious of it, of this is someone's time. Let's protect this time. Let's make sure that I am listening and fully engaged. And like you said before, the listening piece and making sure you're not just listening to speak if you're turned but in. So how can I be more present and how can I listen? But I do think it goes back to that expectation setting. So in order to, harder conversations are always going to happen. If any leader out there is saying, I have a perfect, I've never had a hard conversation, never had to deal with performance issues. Well they're probably lying, or they just didn't deal with it.

Eric: They're not, or they're not doing their job well deal with it.

Allson: Yeah, it's just part of the role. But I think making sure of how are you holding people accountable? Are the expectations set correctly? Do people know where they stand? Do they know what's expected of them? Having those conversations is so key to avoid the awkward <laugh> hard conversation of, well, you're not performing, I thought you would. And it's like, what? I thought I was amazing. So I think that again of how do you make sure you're weaving that in of how are we doing against our goals? How are we checking in on that quarterly or monthly?  

Eric: Have you read Surrounded by Idiots? No. Just check it out. Okay. Great book. All right. It just basically goes into kind of how everybody's different, different personalities, different way that people need to be or want to be, or can most effectively be communicated with each other. The other one is culture map, which is really good. I have not heard about, so is the woman who co-authored read Hastings most recent book, like the Netflix culture? I can't remember exactly what

Eric: And then I'll do, I'll pick up and do the segue, It really isn't that conversation with Alison was a while ago. I think it was that Money20/20, 2021. Um, but going back to that, I mean, I love that episode because she and obviously others, but it really stood out to me in the 68 episodes that we've recorded, how much she really focused on the team first, because at the end of the day, and I think, you know, when we, um, in that CMO mind map or whatever that we put out a while ago, one of the things that I said was like, you're, you know, if you are, if you want to be a CMO. It's really about being a manager first and a marketer second, because at the end of the day, it is about how you enable the output of the people around you. And a big part of that, you know, like you teed up, Viren and like Alison hit on is, is the hard conversations. That's where you make, you know, that's where you have to cover a lot of really important ground. And so I think there's so much good stuff in that clip from Alison. And again, it's kind of like the red thread that goes throughout all of the conversations that we've had, but being able to manage the people, being able to build the team. If you want to be a senior marketer, certainly if you want to be a CMO in any company at scale, that's really a skill that you have to develop. So with that, let's move on to Chapter 7 and talk about brand differentiation.

Eric : All right, brand differentiation. So when it comes to the brand side of marketing, I think finding and owning a point of difference is so key. So we've talked a couple of times about methodology and the framework that we use for the brand strategy work that we do. And one of the biggest things, particularly with technology companies or maybe organizations that don't have as much marketing muscle or DNA, what we think they get wrong is that they focus their brand platform, their brand story to the market on the product. As opposed to. the point of difference for the product. And we heard not only the importance of this, but how many of these particularly successful challenger brands are approaching this. And I think that Henry Chilcott, who's the CMO of Formula E, you know, obviously motorsports and the massive machine that is Formula One these days, they are challenging that for attention and eyeballs. And Henry actually came from working at McLaren where, you know, of course they're a big partner of F1. So we kind of saw a new the inside track, sorry, no pun intended on, um, you know, how the industry positioned the brand of F1 and kind of how those conversations were told. And he purposefully took a very different approach that did flow through to the content they do, to the race experience, to everything of how they're bringing that business to the market, but it really started with how do they find a known point of difference as formula E and of course, a very crowded world of not just motorsport, but really entertainment in general. because that's the category that they play in. So let's hear from Henry.

Eric: So let's start with differentiation. And, you know, I think for marketers listening, and really anybody out there, obviously, that is a huge part of what builds a successful brand drives the growth of a successful business. And actually, our methodology, the way that we develop brands and build brands strategies is specifically focused on tying together the needs of the audience you're trying to serve, the competitive set and the category convention that you're in, and the proposition of your own brand, both functionally and emotionally to triangulate, what is that point of difference, but we think and really believe that successful brands, Challenger or otherwise, are built on top of a clear, sharp point of differentiation in the market. So I guess the place I want to start is, you know, of course, any reactions or builds to that. But you coming in three years ago, you weren't starting the brand from scratch, but you've clearly taken it and scaled it, you've taken it and run with it. What were the first steps that you took when you came in? To think about how to solve? Because there's the there's the obvious answer of well, it's electric cars versus gas cars. But I'm sure from a brand and marketing standpoint, there's a lot more that you've done. So where did you start?

Henry: Well, oddly, I started with going undercover in f1 for four years. So I was at McLaren, as I said, which is, which I loved had a fantastic time there. And, yeah, it was a big move to come over into full MURRAY But But what I guess that did show me was a decent amount of time in a 70 year old championship with a six year old team within that championship. So really understanding just how passionate that that fan base f1 fan base is. And, and understanding the the bleeding edge technology that sits within that, that creates the platform for those kind of racing gladiators that perform week in week out. So that really helps, because then I'm gonna move over into Formula II, I had a real respect and understanding for the history of the sport. For the brands, and the teams that sat within the sport, but then understood, we need to find a way to create a positioning for the brand, which would accelerate and unleash greater fandom, deeper fandom and, and broader fandom in a way that could speak to those f1 fans, but not exclusively. And, you know, yes, we're electric. But that's how we're powered. And it's a, it's a little more than that. The weather where we live or die is on our product. And no one chews into us because we're electric, no one chooses into us because we're showing the world that, that you can be more sustainable in in our you drive kind of performance. They tune in because it's an entertainment platform, it's something I give my time to, because it's going to give me pleasure, and I'm going to be entertained alongside any other in competition with any other platform. So so at the core of everything we have to do is make sure that the sport itself, it's it's incredibly powerful and entertaining and dramatic and all the things that I'm sure we'll talk a little bit about that later. But the first kind of step that that that I took was to articulate a purpose to the brand, that the company and the ecosystem so by ecosystem, I mean fans, teams, manufacturers, FIA, local governments, for the race cities to be racing, good all unite behind. That gives a roll also to all of our partners who join us and obviously bring the kind of revenue into it into into our business to allow us to do what we do. And that was a shift from where it was when I arrived, which was we accelerate the adoption. We're here to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the fight against climate change. to a shift to become to accelerate sustainable human progress through the power of electric racing, because not every one of our partners is involved in electric vehicles, but every single boardroom on the planet, at the moment are asking the question of how can we drive high performance, whether it's washing machines or holidays, or whatever it might be, or the the new technology that we've just seen from Apple, but do so and deliver it in a, in a sustainable way, with a with less negative impact on on the planet with a more positive impact on people. So this formulary should be a platform that is a lighthouse that demonstrates that high performance and sustainability can happily coexist. And that platform allows our partners to tell great stories to that narrative.

Viren: Yeah, that couple of things that Henry said that I think there's so much nuance in that short clip that he just spoke about in terms of how he established a brand platform, but it spoke to so many different varieties of his audience from the FIA all the way down to actual consumers who would look at the product and, and just be entertained by it, right. And that is so, so important when you are talking to multiple different audiences, you need to have a brand platform that works for everyone, right? You can't just have a very different approach to each category of your audience. It just wouldn't work, right? It would fall apart. And one of the conversations that it reminds me of is actually probably my second favorite conversation that we've done on this show with Tom Rainsford actually of Beaver Town and like how, you know, he's been at the forefront of two major challenger brands here in the UK. Like he led GiffGaff as CMO and head of culture as well at one point.
for 10 years and then he's joined BeaverTown and grown BeaverTown into the huge behemoth that you see today. And he says, you know, it's all good being a disruptor and being a challenger, but you need to have a reason for doing it. You can't just come out of the gate and just start, uh, you know, firing shots at everyone and just think like, Oh, I'm a disruptor just for the sake of it. You have to have a clear reason and a methodology for doing that. Uh, or a real reason why you're doing that essentially. Uh, and that really resonated with me, I think. from what Henry said.

Eric: So moving on to this idea of finding the point of your disruption. So, you know, we talk about this term challenger brand all the time. And of course, with rival what we're trying to understand is what makes successful challenger brands at us, you know, someone who's been now at the helm of two, you're certainly a good person to talk to about this. So I guess I'll just throw that out there and let you kind of unpack it when you say you need to have a point to your disruption. What do you mean by that? And what do you think a lot of Challenger brands are getting wrong on that journey?

Tom: I think come it's very easy to be disruptive, right? You can run into a restaurant and hit the cable over people dining in learn, and that is highly disruptive, completely pointless unconstructive to deliver your point, right  I think when brands truly identify why they exist, and who their enemy is, or what or what they're challenging, it doesn't always have to be we want to take on X brand. It could be an ideology that you you want to change. If you can truly identify that then it gives you something that's razor sharp, that as you grow as a business, and it becomes more complicated and you've got more people that probably don't have that link back into the founder that wasn't there. You know, with the little scrappy bits To paper on the wall, you've got something that you can continuously keep reminding people of why this business exists right? Now, ultimately, you want people to come to a business every single day and be able to do their best. The minute that people start to lose clarity over why they're turning up, and what they're doing, or what they're communicating externally, that it becomes weaker as a as a brand. So you need to have that point, you need to have that reason, right? So if I think about the example of gift gap, right, it was always David versus Goliath, where David and everyone else is a Goliath. And in the story, you know, you outwit and outsmart and that's how you win. Right? That element of mutuality, that, you know, I touched on in regards to what got me that was always baked in. So we always had something come back to just being in a position where you go, I think we can do you know, I don't know, I think we can do this fashion thing better. Right? Well, okay, cool. But why? What's the point that you want people to care about? And I think if you can do that, and have that I think it will ultimately make the brand more powerful, and more successful

Eric: So good. I mean, there's so much stuff in there. And I love how, um, Tom, I think he even said this explicitly, but really his energy and his perspective is coming from a place of like, don't just build on top of what the rest of the category does. And actually most advertising is shit. Take it from who you are as a brand and Beaver Town. And he tells the story of the episode.

Eric: You know, it started with a guy who came from a certain background. I think he was in like a heavy metal rock brand, rock bands or something. And, you know, even the distinctive kind of logo that they have and having the most stolen pub glass in the UK because of how unique it is, like it comes from the inside, their differentiation is just who they are and his job as CMO is to kind of to communicate that to the market, not to worry about what the standards are. I mean, obviously from a regulatory standpoint, but the creative standards are.

Viren: Yep.

Eric: for advertising beer. So another one of, you know, it's always, you always have to know how much is recency bias, but I do think that this next clip and this episode, this conversation with Susan Allen is one of the co-founders and I think her title is Chief Brand Officer. I mean, it's a startup, so they do a lot, but she's essentially overseeing marketing for one of the fastest growing brands and personal care with Here We Flow. And man, I mean, there are so many good examples in this conversation of how

Viren: Yeah.

Eric: They've differentiated the brand, how they've differentiated the product, how they've differentiated the culture. Like it's so refreshing to kind of hear the energy and enthusiasm that she has for what they're doing. And again, just another example of kind of it coming from the inside, but then flowing out to really different distinctive ways that they're building the brand and actually going to market. So let's hear from Susan.

Eric: I know a lot of the success has come from, of course, the product, but also you all are doing consistently brilliant and breakthrough things on the marketing front. So I want to talk about some of these campaigns that you've done and just. What has allowed you to kind of produce, you know, hit after hit. And, um, I don't know if you'll be the next episode after this one, or there'll be one in between, but anyway, uh, I'm sure, you know, Gymbox, you know, the, the gym brand brand here in the UK and we had the CMO of Gymbox on. And so that episode is out now, either the previous one or the one before that. And kind of in my mind, I put you and Rory and kind of that same bucket of just like, how do they keep doing it? Um, so I want to, I want to come to that and certainly dig in. And I've got a couple ideas based on what you said in our prep call, but just going back to kind of how you introduce the brands and from everything I see on the outside, you all are so sharp and consistent with who you are and what you do. thing, right? And I'd be curious to kind of hear a little bit about the product expansion of it as well into different albeit related and tangential categories, but the shamelessly natural care for life's messiest moments. Easy, simple, straightforward, you get it. There's a little bit of humor in there as well. Was it a, excuse the pun, was it a messy process to get there? Or how did you get to such clarity and definition around your positioning statement, your platform?

Susan: Yeah, we love a good pun, you know, puns and alliterations. I think that we were really clear, sort of even from that conversation in the bathroom, that we had a big vision, and it was really about creating a company that.
could support our customers throughout their life. So when we would use to say sort of like if Oatly and Honest Company had a baby, that was the Here We Flo vision. We're wanting to create products, well branded products, that sort of used humor, it was able to engage our consumers in a way that felt relatable, felt like that best friend conversation, but served each stage of life that they were in, which is something we see that the big corporates, often you don't know that the same company that produces like a cleaning product is the same one that owns your personal care products, but what they're excellent at is at distribution. And so they're at every point, you go to a gas station,pharmacy, you go to a grocer, you're able to reach their products. And so that was really the vision in terms of retail but wanting to create a strong brand behind it. And of course the we're do-gooders at heart so wanting to have that sustainable swap for those products that actually make consumer it easy for consumers to make better decisions as they're consuming. And then just to have where it's like, it's not fun. There are some of our consumers that are like, periods are sacred. There's some people who feel like that, but there's others who are like, my period sucks, man. I hate it. And so just bringing a bit of like fun and laughter and light to it is something we really wanted to do as well.

Eric: And what I'm getting out of that, but correct me if I'm wrong. I mean, I guess two things and one will segue into the next question, which is kind of, this is who you were and it kind of came together maybe naturally and organically, um, but the other is that you're not for everybody and you're okay with that, like you're kind of, this is, this is it, like we're going to be, we're going to talk about it in a funny way. There's going to be some humor. There's going to be puns and. That's fine. Other people, you know, maybe a different brand or a different product will be a better fit for you. And I do think that that's a, um, you know, we do a lot of work in B2C and B2B. And certainly the brands that are kind of at the tip of the spear, I think everybody can learn from regardless of the category, but as my co-founder DuBose says, who leads our brand strategy work strategy is the art of sacrifice. And really you have to be not for something and not for someone if you are to be truly for. Someone and something so that's part of what I picked up out of what you said.

Viren: I think it's always a good point to leave it wherever DuBose has kind of capped it off with a cool little statement like Brian's strategy being the half sacrifice. So I think we'll leave it there for that chapter and move on to the next one.

Okay. Chapter eight, doubling down on the data. So data is such a buzzword now as we all know. Um, but you know what, like I often, often wonder, like, what does that actually mean for us as marketers? Like, honestly, when I first got into marketing,
In a way it was kind of running away from the data because I hated looking at spreadsheets and I hated looking at all those things. And in my head as well, early days of my marketing career, I was like, marketing is supposed to be creative. It's supposed to be like, you know, all the fun stuff. Like you just feel it instinctually. It shouldn't be stuff that's driven by data, but obviously times have changed. Things have changed. We have so much data out of our fingertips that we have to be able to use it properly. But. I know there's two different scales of it from having all these conversations through the podcast. Like there's two different scales of data, right? Martin Lindstrom speaks about this idea of small data, but you know, I find like a lot of marketers can't really articulate what the idea of big data means for us, but I know one of the conversations that stood out for me was the conversation you had with Gila Frati of who was formerly the CMO at resident. Uh, one of the biggest mattress brands in the world at that point. And they were spending something ridiculous, like $250 million every year in ad spend, uh, just because of their insane ability to control the data and control that big data. But Eric, I'm really keen to hear, like, what was your perspective on that conversation and what did you take from it?

It's definitely, I mean, there's a reason that it's in here. It is the, uh, interview that sticks out the most for me when we talk about the importance of data, because obviously, like you said, great marketing is a blend between creativity, of course, but also data it's art and science. It's both in every category, every business, every CMO, every marketer is going to have a different balance of kind of where their comfort and experience lies with those things. But when you come across a CMO like Gil and a business like resident, that is just so honed in on the numbers around what they're spending, what they're getting back, just how the whole marketing machine works. I mean, they are engineers, really, just doing marketing. So I thought it was a really interesting conversation. And, you know, the amount that they spent was one thing. But the other thing I remember from that conversation is they got to a point with their kind of understanding and their analytics around attribution that basically.
It wasn't setting a marketing budget. It was setting a return on ad spend budget and they could spend as much as they wanted as long as they kept things above that floor. So for anyone who's either more of a data led marketer or wants to be more of a data led marketer. And I think with where we are now, you know, we're talking a lot about how the next frontier of modern marketing is really about customer data marketing automation, I think listening to this clip for sure, but maybe going back and really digging into this episode is something that would probably be worth your time. So let's hear from Gil.

Eric: So Gil, the other thing I wanted to touch on as part of this chapter in our conversation is iOS 14. So many ecommerce businesses have really struggled post iOS 14, with the privacy changes that have gone into place and the decreased effectiveness for many of them, particularly from Facebook and Instagram and social digital media. How are you? Or how have you adapted to that?

Gil: Yeah, that's a great question. I think that's like the billion dollar question for a lot of companies. Because I've seen great DTC companies that were very reliant on Facebook, that really kind of like crashed and burned once the platform became even like, 10%, less effective, right? Because it can crush your margin and your business, I think we've been fortunate enough to, you know, it's not like we knew to predict what's going to happen, that Apple is going to launch these privacy limitations, but the, the infrastructure that we've built, allowed our channel managers to understand channel performance, without even looking at in platform data. So our channel managers don't really care what Facebook says the CPA is, or what Facebook says, is the performance on each individual campaign or ad set, our internal systems tell the channel managers the like, the true performance of, of every, you know, every ad set and every campaign. And so yes, Facebook targeting has, has been dinged a bit and it's getting better over time. But one of the biggest limitations coming out of iOS 14 Is that marketers couldn't really understand what's going on. Right? Facebook will tell you this campaign is performing well, when in effect, it's the other campaign that was doing well. And if you're relying on only on any platform data, which again, 99% of companies, that's what they do, they don't have any other tools to do it, then your performance gets hurt. For us, I can say that we have actually benefited from it. Because if you think about it, you know, up until I was 14, everybody was you know, had two eyes. And everybody saw the same thing. After iOS 14, everybody's blind. We're the one eyed man. Right? So yes, we, you know, everybody had a harder time with iOS 14. But when you have the tools that we have, then you're not as being well, while your competitors are severely impacted. So, you know, it turned out well for us. But I've seen a lot of businesses that have struggled, even outside our category. And in other categories

Eric: It's amazing. And I would imagine that the data being a data company that sells mattresses, having data at the core of the culture capabilities, I'm assuming that that doesn't just affect marketing, I'm assuming that's affects product and probably distribution and supply chain and all the other elements as well. Obviously, this is a marketing conversation, but just my mind went in that place of how much of an advantage it is not just for marketing, but probably every capability.

Gil: Correct. And it starts from, you know, from the top or CEOs are very data driven. And every that's kind of like part of the pre qualifications. To be a leader at the company is you need to know how to work with data, you need to like it, you need to make your decisions based on that. And we are big believers in democratising data. So everyone has access to data. And if there is something that you're keen about knowing what are your interests, or you feel like could could make the difference for the business, you will get the data that you need to make the decision. And we don't just encourage it, we kind of forced that culturally. And I think that's what makes us successful across the entire business.

And there's so many of these clips that could literally be in any of the chapters when, when we're listening back to them, like thinking about what Gil just said there, like this idea of there are essentially there are data organization that sells mattresses and thinking about what we were saying just previously in the other chapters that look like marketing is such a broad, varied term in terms of what that means for every business now, like the data people are reporting into the CMO.
at resident and reporting into Gill. That's so important. And it's so important to see how data is now leading the product development, not just for better CPAs. And I think it's super, super important that we recognize that like, innovation is coming through the data that you're able to pull, right? And it's not just being beholden to meta, but actually figuring out your first party data is something that we're doing a lot of work on behind the scenes while Jenna and Rom are doing a lot of work on behind the scenes for us. And that's something that we're going to have a big opinion on.
in 24, right? And one of the episodes, like we spoke to Bloom and Wild, Charlotte Langley, the chief customer officer there. And you know, the title of that episode is how delightful customer experiences powered Bloom and Wild to 20 million deliveries. I think the precursor to that title almost is like the data that powered the delightful customer experiences. And that was a really, really cool example for me as to how they've used that data to really ensure that their customers love what they do and that they're always providing the best thing that their customer wants. So let's hear from Charlotte.

Charlotte: because we have this culture of well, how can we make the experience better, we really developed I think best in class customer service and, and we frequently get people writing into a saying how amazing the service has been, or tweeting us or whatever.Unknown Speaker  21:38  And that is powered by data. And I think that is different from what many kind of brands in this space are able to do. So we're constantly collecting anything that we comes in through our customer, we call it customer delight, rather than customer service. So it gives you a sort of sense of culturally how we think about it. And so we're constantly collecting that data, it goes through something called qual bot, and we're able to see patterns and be like, Okay, this one bouquet, there's a problem like a consistent recurring problem with these stems or something. So we can go into the warehouse and be like, pull them out, change something and mean, make sure the experiences better for the next customer. Equally, like around Mother's Day, we track one of our this sounds kind of crazy. And I couldn't believe it when I write the company, but we track with our couriers where the delivery is, and we can spot where we think it might be late. And if we think it might be late for a big occasion, that Mother's Day, we just proactively resend it. And we just send them a message saying, Hey, we think your flowers might be late we sent you another one. If you get to no problem enjoy them both.Unknown Speaker  22:48  But it means that that kind of generosity and it powered by being really on top of the data. People are just blown away by that level of service. And that is really like embedded in our DNA as a business. I think that is that sort of really stepped changing the experience in a category where it was quite dated and out of step with what people expect now, especially from online brands was a really important part of the journey. And there's loads more I can say.

Eric: Such a good episode and she and Bloom and Wild are probably one of the most kind of customer oriented businesses. I know that we didn't include her clip in, uh, the relentless focus on customer centricity chapter, but. You know, really it's there. And I think the thing that I would draw between that and the data is, you know, data is of course a means to an end, right? And the whole thing about it's not the data is the insight. It's about value instead of volume of data, you know, small data, big data, whatever.

Viren: Yeah

Eric: but really it's a means to an end of what type of business and brand you want to be. And so for them, it's about delivering delightful customer experiences. And so what they do with the data is find ways to deliver more, better, delightful customer experiences. So I think that's interesting for me. And actually I hadn't thought about it before, but just listening to that clip, it's doubling down on the data, but knowing what you're using it for so that you can actually take action that builds your brand and grows your business in the way that you want. So hose were so that's chapter eight. We got two more to go. The next two are a little bit different. They're kind of passion points for me. They're less kind of strategically tactically. What do you want to do as a senior marketer? And more just a couple of my kind of takeaways from just the, I guess, energy and attitude of all these people that we've interviewed. So moving on to chapter nine, staying on top of your craft, let's do it.

So what I heard from so many of the CMOs that I interviewed, and actually you already heard it in a couple of these clips. I'm thinking of Raja, I'm thinking of Jim Stengel, certainly Gary, and the conversation about different perspectives and speed and everything. But I really felt that it was important to talk about staying on top of your craft, because these CMOs, particularly if they're operating at businesses of any scale, whether that's incumbents or scale challengers,
They were not just good up to date in the know about marketing at any one point in time. They also have the skill set and the attitude to constantly stay on top of their craft. And as any of us know, you know, the world and certainly the world of marketing is constantly changing. The pace of change is as slow as it will ever be. It's only going to speed up. And so how do you as a marketer stay on top of everything? And the answer is, and what you're going to hear from this clip that I love is like you don't. You focus on the things that matter, but you also set yourself up to listen, to learn. And again, just have this emphasis on, I need to be a constant practitioner. And what I do, I can't sit on the sidelines no matter what stage of my career I'm at. So the clip that we have for this one, although really it could have been from anybody, but I love the energy and perspective of Scott Brinker, who's a VP over at HubSpot, but if you know anything about MarTech, you will have heard of him.
He puts out a very famous kind of report on the state of Mar Tech and the landscape of Mar Tech every year. But I think I think it's also interesting because MarTech in particular, obviously, has been an explosion over the last 10 years. It's impossible to know even within a tiny sliver of it, you know, what are the new technologies, what are the latest companies that are kind of coming up. But he does a great job of kind of breaking it down and I think making us all feel a little bit better about trying to stay on top of our craft as marketers. So let's hear from Scott.

Eric: So coming back to, if that is about what needs to happen inside the organization, coming back to the question about how do people stay on top of all this change and everything going on outside the organization that they might want to bring in, what's your advice besides, of course, reading the MarTech 5,000 every year for staying on top of what's going on in the field of marketing technology?

Scott: Well, let me start by disclaiming. I am not able to stay on top of everything that's happening in marketing technology. I mean, the world is just too large at this point. There's too much innovation happening in too many sectors. So if you are feeling as I suspect many of your listeners are just like, ah, it's overwhelming. Let me assure you, every single other person on the planet, including me, feels the exact same way. So it's not you. And I think part of this then is the recognition that, okay, let's set our expectation in an achievable level. It's not to keep track of everything that's happening out there. What is to have a mechanism that is continually looking at new opportunities to make sure we evolve at least relative to the expectations of our customers, at least relative to the competitive set that we're working against a set of capabilities. And again, just like with culture, this really comes down to investing in having capabilities dedicated to this. And so are two very concrete recommendations. One, I suspect most of your listeners already have a marketing ops, marketing tech team but this is one of the functions that team should be responsible for is aside from just the actual operational aspects of what you are running today and implementing today, they should be allocating a percentage of their time to keep looking beyond the boundaries, to have mechanisms to do things like run pilot programs or run little experiments and to just keep learning and to be able to keep bringing that back to you as a senior leader. You know, don't need to get into the details of the technology, but really look to those MarTech and marketing operations folks to be able to distill that down in a way of, okay, based on what we're discovering here and how we're seeing this being used elsewhere, here's possible ways this might be able to influence our strategy, our customer experience, engagement touchpoints. And so you have a mechanism for that.

Viren: Yep. I really, really agree with that. Like it is just about continuing to broaden your perspective and your level of insight. I always, always used to say like, and I still kind of say to junior marketers and junior producers, at least in my line of work, like being good at what we do is really about kind of like being like a good art director or a good journalist. It's about really having your finger on the pulse and knowing what's cool. And then layering that with the technical realities that exist currently. So whether that's, you know, understanding CPAs or programmatic and now generative AI. It's really about understanding that confluence of like creative and commercial and figuring out where you sit within that intersection. Um, but you can only do that by staying on top of your craft. And yeah, this, this chapter is, is purposely short because I didn't even want to keep this chapter in because I felt like. You know, every single episode we've done of the 68 episodes and, you know, and more, um, they all talk about this and it's just the common thing. Marketing is not a job or a career that you're going to step into and then just sit in the stagnant because it's moving every single year. Um, so you just have to be willing to accept that.

Eric: So for the last chapter segueing from what you just said, Viren, you know, this is one that, I don't really know how to frame this up. I mean, we don't have a clip. You could argue that really it's not kind of a chapter like the others are, but it's more just a takeaway from me. Again, after 68 episodes of Scratch, interviewing over a hundred marketers, and on top of that, all the other conversations that we have with CMOs and entrepreneurs day in and day out here. At rival is just, they just love what they do, you know? And sure, this could apply to really any discipline. The people that are great at it are not just talented. They don't just work hard. There's a passion and a love there. And so I'm sure, you know, if you think about it for a second, that came through in the clips, I'm sure if you've listened to any of the episodes, um, that we put out of your been a listener for a little while, you feel it. Now that I say it. Um, and then also for me personally, you know, I always say I would do this.
If nobody listened, because I think it's fascinating. I mean, it's, it really is, you know, I said pleasure and a privilege at the beginning, you know, just look at the list of, of people that we heard from in those clips and listening to them again. I'm like, man, this is fricking awesome. Um, and so I don't know what the takeaway is, but I felt that it would be. Not right to not include this. So I think that for. I guess what I'm saying is that of the people that are successful as marketers, of the challenge of brands that are being built, the incumbents that are innovating, there's a passion that really sits at the core and drives all of it. And passion or certainly love is something that's hard to create if it's not there. And so maybe it is a bit of a question of like, you know, make sure that you're passionate about it. But I do think thinking about it and making sure, you know, even talking about it now, I feel kind of an extra boost of energy and passion for what we're trying to do here at rival.

Viren: Yeah.

Eric: So I wanted to make sure that we touched on it, but Viren would love your thoughts because I know we went back and forth on like, is this a chapter? Should this be in here?

Viren: Yeah, no, I think, yeah, you hit the nail on the head. Like it's definitely this recording that says I actually reinvigorated some or sparked at least something for me. Um, and I think knowing that marketing is so broad, I think it's probably one of the easier professions to find love for in the sense that like, it's, there's so many different angles to it, right. And whether you're super, super passionate about the data side of it, or super passionate about the creative side of it. Like there's so many different angles to it. And just thinking about what we do, like we do have kind of a responsibility in what we do as marketers. Like we're putting stuff out into the world that for better or worse, like improves or, you know, degrades the world. Right. So I think just kind of thinking, trying to take like an astronaut's viewpoint on

Viren: what you do in marketing is super important for me. Like when I try and step back and think like, why am I writing these show notes? Although to be fair, Shale does most of the show notes now, so I feel it for him. But thinking back to those earlier days, like sometimes it's easy to lose the passion for marketing and the mundanity of the day to day, but you have to kind of take a step back and really look at it and think, okay, what am I actually trying to achieve here? Right? And I think it's made...

Viren: Easier when you work in at least for me and not just saying this because obviously we're all part of rival but when you work with people you actually enjoy and people that you're learning from and I think not to date this episode but obviously we just lost the late and great Charlie Munger a couple of days ago and although he's not a marketer I think like he had a lot of great marketing wisdom like those three things that really stick out to me like he always said don't sell anything you wouldn't buy yourself don't work for anyone you don't respect and admire and work with people who you enjoy. And I think those three things really help with improving your love and growing your love for your profession and making sure that you're still putting good stuff out into the world for consumers, right?

Eric: That's it at the end of the day. Sounds so simple when we say it that way. But we'll let everybody get back to the big hairy beast of the reality that we're all working through day to day now as marketers. So shout out to Shale for producing this episode and keeping our energy levels high. Obviously, big shout out to everybody who over these first 68 episodes has come on the show and helped us learn and grow. And if you've been listening, hopefully has helped you as well.
And shout out to my coffee that has kept me going for now. I don't know how long the running of this episode is gonna be, but we've been here for three hours. But there is, I mean, we could have done another three for sure. We could have done another 30 for sure. So we will leave it there. Please do. You know, again, like I said at the beginning, we're hoping that this can be a reference episode. Maybe some of you all stars have actually listened to this whole thing, but we're expecting people to kind of dip in and out. Please let us know what you thought.

If you're listening for the first time, and especially if you've been listening for a while would love kind of a like, comment, maybe leave a review. It really, really helps us, um, as rival and kind of getting scratch out in front of a new audience and hopefully growing it as well. So last episode of the year, we will be back with regularly scheduled CMO interviews in January. Have a great break if you're taking one. And as always, thank you so much for listening.

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