Featuring Lizzy Knights-Ward

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In This Episode

In this episode we discuss:

  1. Life at LinkedIn
  2. Content marketing and successful campaigns
  3. Content marketing in B2B (why it’s not all boring to boring)
  4. Marketers declaring things dead (and why they’re wrong) including me declaring LinkedIn dead once and getting that waaaaaaay wrong.
  5. TOPTIPS for getting the most out of LinkedIn
  6. Tips for people looking for a career in tech marketing
  7. The joys of Google+ (RIP)
  8. Being a singer-songwriter
  9. Sales and marketing alignment – why it sucks and what we can do about it
  10. Account Based Marketing (ABM) and why it works

Digital Marketing Strategy Course

I’ve also launched a Digital Marketing Strategy course with the university of Vaasa in Finland. It’s taught entirely online and in English, so you can learn at your own pace.

By following the course you’ll build a marketing strategy for your organisation and be ready to implement it once you’ve finished.

It’s academically developed, but intensely practical and shares a method I’ve used with over 100 clients in various sectors.

Find out more about it and sign up here: https://univaasa.teachable.com/p/digital-marketing-strategy

Lizzy’s Book Recommendations & Other Stuff

The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human by Arlie Russell Hochschild

Lizzy Knights-Ward

Lizzy leads the Content & Social team for LinkedIn Sales & Marketing Solutions, EMEA and LATAM.

She brings to the table a rich and innovative background in B2B & Tech Marketing having previously held B2B and B2C Marketing roles at Google and Hootsuite, alongside her work leading audience development at WPP start-up agencies, Group SJR & Colloquial.

Lizzy is currently studying an MSc in Organizational Psychology at Birkbeck University.

A fun fact? She’s previously built up her own audience online of nearly 3 million followers through her musical and creative endeavours via YouTube, Google+, Twitter & Facebook.

Andi Jarvis

If you have any questions or want to talk about anything that was discussed in the show, the best place to get me is on Twitter or LinkedIn.

If you don’t get the podcast emailed to you (and a monthly newsletter) you can sign up for it on the Eximo Marketing website.

Make sure you subscribe to get the podcast every fortnight and if you enjoyed the show, please give it a 5* rating.

Andi Jarvis, Eximo Marketing.

Interview Transcription

This transcript has been done automagically using Happy Scribe and hasn’t been checked by a real person, so there may be some hilarious mistakes where the AI can’t work out our accents – I’m sure they’re trained on just the American accent.

So tell us, what do you do at LinkedIn? LinkedIn is a huge company with lots of different roles. What’s your focus?

So I lead the content and social marketing team for two of our business unit. So LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and LinkedIn Sales Solutions, my remit and my team’s remit is Europe and Latin America. It’s actually very nearly my two year, two year birthday at LinkedIn. So approaching that that milestone soon and really my team are responsible for creating top of funnel, middle of funnel content, thought, leadership awareness content, all the all the fun things of content marketing. And that’s what we do.

And that’s quite a big geographical part of Europe and Latin America.

Very… I can’t even think how many countries would probably fall under that, but lots of different languages, lots of different outlook on life, different, you know, lots of different people and targets in there. So how do you help to focus on delivering specific content across all those different markets?

Well, a lot of it comes from working incredibly closely with our partners across those regions. So whether that’s sales partners, our marketing, our fellow marketers, you know, we all have marketers within each region. So really we lean on them and partner with them to help inform our content strategy and to really give us the best chance to create something that can be scalable, that could be localised easily. We do a lot of big thought leadership pieces built from research.

So when we were doing the research, we’re sure to incorporate our other regions to try and make sure we’re getting a full picture or able to differentiate between the regions. A common assumption and something I’ve learnt in my career. Always working in a mirror or across Europe is that it’s easy to assume that we all speak the same language. I mean that in multiple ways. And I think if you you’ve got to spend the time really trying to understand local nuance and localisation goes beyond translation.

It’s more about what are the different behaviours, what are the different buying cycles, the maturity of different markets? You know, it’s not a one size fits all approach and that can be challenging when it comes to content marketing, because the easier option would just be to create one piece and say, here you go. But, you know, when you take the feedback in the the the sort of the nuance of each market, you can’t you learn very quickly.

It isn’t a case of one size fits all. Yeah, no.

I had a professor Kung Pao from Northeastern University in America on the show not long ago, and he was saying some of the research he’s done showed the difference. And certainly for FBG products in Brazil, for example, where the consideration phase is huge, where when they started to do the research and talk to customers, they hear about something. But then what’s spend a really long time talking to people in their network and friends kind of getting reassurance that they should try or buy this thing, which is just something that you said in European markets, doesn’t necessarily happen if people see a TV ad and goes, oh, this is the thing you need, let’s do that, buying in the go buy it.

And sort of those different thoughts on buying behaviour were really interesting to hear from his point of view.

Yeah, I think sometimes you can you can spend you’ve got to be prepared to spend the time learning about those markets. For me, I’m one of my biggest regrets in my career is or actually not my career or my education is not paying enough attention to my French and German lessons. I wasn’t bad, but I often think if I had if I had carried those on, I would have been able to actually speak the language. And I’ve always been incredibly lucky in my career.

And the teams that I’ve led, nearly all of them have had multilingual abilities. I’ve worked with people who have had five or six languages, and I’m just blown away by how this is a thing for people. Whereas, you know, I think learning language is a bit like musical talent. You you have it, you can learn it, but you either have the gift to sort of really get it or you don’t. So I have often lent on other people’s experience to help educate me within those markets and the differences.

But, you know, as someone who is only an English speaker, I’ve had to learn to put the time in versus just assuming that, hey, what I create here, it’s going to be brilliant for you. It just doesn’t work that way.

Yeah, no, but really, it’s really important.

And I think sometimes in Britain, the way we teach languages doesn’t necessarily help us is that we’re almost taught languages as a holiday language as opposed to actually speaking the language, which is different from, say, in Holland, where they taught the languages just as easily as they taught their own language, which is quite a different approach, but will rip the education system to bits later.

Yeah, and in terms of the content you creating, if I had a criticism of not your work, but generally when I hear marketers talk about doing top of the funnel content, what they. Often mean when they say that is that they’re going to try and do something and set some really wolly objectives with it so they can claim success even though they’ve not really done anything when it’s over. Bottom of the funnel content, people are saying, well, you know, we spent less.

We got that top of the film or we raise the awareness. I am absolutely certain you don’t look at it that way. So talk us through how it works at Arlington.

So, I mean, it works in multiple ways. It really is objective based. So we’re a very large matrix organisation, so we’re not all working towards the same segment or audience persona at any given time. So really for us it’s about it. In AMEA with my team, what we try to do is really understand the direct. Actually this has come about really through covid. We had to pivot very, very quickly last year to, as everybody did, to make sure that we were basically there for our clients in what was an extreme time of need.

So it really became about embedding ourselves with our field marketers who are closest to the sales teams with our sales teams to understand exactly what the the common challenges were. And then we create the plan back from there. So a lot of it is around telling the story and creating the perspective of why, as a marketer, you need to either be agile or be ready or whatever the topic might be. And then really, you know, set the scene, tell the story, start the conversation, but then be able to back it up with or here’s how you actually do it.

And I’d say that’s one of the biggest or the common things that followed me around. My content and social marketing career is every not so much these days because I’m better at doing it. But, you know, back in the day when I present a bit of content or a plan or an idea, so often the feedback from my senior stakeholders was, this is good, but what’s the so what am I doing? Oh, what do you mean what?

What’s the so what. Like it’s the worst bit of feedback you can get, but it was actually a point, you know, what is the so what, what do you want, your marketer or your seller, whoever it is your marketing to, what do you want them to do, what do you want them to change? And if you can start answering those questions and bring in the holy grail of and here’s how I can help you, even if that’s not explicitly called out, you know, it’s it’s the it’s the journey you got to get there eventually.

That that for me is outside the fundamental rule of our of our team’s ethos. You know, we’re really just trying to facilitate a conversation, but have the proof to back it up. And another sort of facet of that, actually, I’m sure you I used to get this when I worked to HootSuite. I used to get this that I worked at Google all those years ago was this is really interesting. But how do you guys do it? How do you do it at LinkedIn?

How do you do it at Google? So there’s always this other layer that we’re able I guess we have the privilege of being able to bring into our content is the the LinkedIn story or, you know, the internal case study. Because if you go to practise what you preach, I mean, it’s it’s not a it’s not new news. The whole idea of drinking and champagne or dog food and all the weird sayings you have around these things, but they always say, yeah, yeah.

Actually, you know, I had a conversation the other day where some someone and I talked about dog food and I was like, I haven’t used that phrase in years and I’m so glad I haven’t, because it’s one of those like, why do we say this? But yeah, so there is this real kind of, I guess, privileged position that I’m in working at a company like didn’t like LinkedIn, where we’re a massive Matrix organisation. We are working with multiple businesses of all shapes and sizes so that the level of knowledge that’s flying around and expertise and skills and you name it, it’s just amazing to like bring that into the content as well, because I’d say that is something that does set us apart perhaps from from your average kind of content marketing strategy.

Well, look, let’s I want to come on shortly and talk about your career. You’ve mentioned HootSuite and Google, and I think we can dive into that a little bit as well. But before we move off content, can you talk to us about maybe a piece of content that you’ve done or a campaign that you’ve done that really stands out and pull it apart a little bit? Tell us, who was it for? Why did you do it? Why do you think it worked better?

Just, you know, let’s let’s do the retro on it. Let’s have a look at it.

Well, I mean, I’ve got a fair list of campaigns that I could bring to the table, but I suppose I’ll go with the one that so in my role as the head of the team lead the manager, obviously I. I manage a team of expert content creators who are always creating epic campaigns that I feel like I can’t use a lot of their because I’m taking the credit. But I also have to sort of, I guess like play a coach role.

And that’s not because I have to it’s because I haven’t ever really let. Go of the love for creating content, so as much as I have a huge remit of managing this very productive team. I also like to continue with my own campaign. So I would say let’s pick the most recent one. So very, very recently, my colleague, Jennifer Bunting, she leads our product marketing for European and Latin as well. We released a five part video series that really unpacks video advertising on LinkedIn.

And it’s kind of a strange, serendipitous thing in that we found this really like beautifully shot video series the day before. We had to close the offices for four covid at home. And in some kind of weird, I don’t know, prediction that the agency that we worked with useful, social, brilliant, brilliant group, they they said we looked better if we sat further apart.

More on these two chairs. The reason why we did this is because the research that Jennifer had conducted, because all of our big content campaigns, there’s a big research element behind them. And she spent like months and months watching hundreds of video ads on on LinkedIn. It’s just like I don’t know how she did it, but that sounds painful.

Well, yes, but the pain is gain because some of the some of the insights that we’ve we’ve drawn from this research, it’s just it’s brilliant. And this is one of them. There was a video or an ad by a client that was one of the best performing ads on LinkedIn of that year of 2019. And it was just two gentlemen sitting on very small, almost toadstool like stools, sort of at a strange angle, face to face, talking to each other.

And it drove all this engagement. And one of the sort of trends that popped up in this research was the visual look of a video is incredibly important. And the almost the more unusual the potential for hooking and hooking, in your view. So because our agency, in the name of practising what we preach, had recommended that we have this sort of interesting position in these two chairs. And when we watch the video back, we realised that we were actually two metres apart and that it was a fully open space.

It was like social distancing.

Yes. Yeah.

Because there was a lot of work that I suppose we had to do. We did have to prioritise because it didn’t suddenly wasn’t relevant. You know, if if you’re shooting outside, for example, in a big busy crowd like that, that wasn’t going to hit the message for the next however long. And of course, none of us could predict how long. So, anyway, long story. We’ve just launched the three search and video series in this campaign, which really is I mean, I can’t take credit for the content or the content of the content because it was Jennifer’s research.

But what we wanted to do is really try and make it accessible for our audience by turning it into something practical and something relatable and something that you could actually put into put into a strategy there. And then so often, you know, you’ll see things that you already know, especially when it comes to video marketing really boiling down things into. This is exactly why you should do this versus why you shouldn’t do this for us isn’t something that we’ve we’ve necessarily done before.

And I suppose the reason why I put my hand up to work with Jennifer on this is because I would say as a content marketer, you’re looking for the holy holy grail of amazing thought leadership topic that can really track all the way down the funnel. And it’s surprising. It’s not often that you actually get a perfectly matched product to a thought leadership topic. To give you an example, another campaign that I’ve worked on in which I’m sure we’ll talk about sales, marketing alignment, did a huge piece of huge piece of research.

Really, really interesting piece of research. But actually, it’s quite difficult to specifically show this is exactly how your product can help on sales and marketing alignment, because it’s such a broad topic. And yes, we’ve got tools and parts of marketing solutions that can work with sales solutions. It’s there, but it isn’t necessarily as clear cut as something like the video ads product or LinkedIn events or whatever it might be. We’re able to create thought leadership around.

And I think that’s really what you’ve got to try and look for is again, to that question of what do you want your customer to do? You’ve got to be there to help them do it. So, yes, I think I’ve gone all over the place and I haven’t really unpacked the video campaign. It’s just launched five part series, incredibly interesting tips and tricks and just an interesting visual. And I I’m looking forward to seeing how it performs because I have a hunch that it might do better than your average.

So we will include a link to that in the show. So if you’re listening, if you’re watching, find the show or not, click on it. Go and have a look and and see that compared.

I think what you’re talking about there as well, about the those videos of the two guys talking in the way you’ve replicated that. And I’m sure the content from what I’ve seen is going to be interesting and moving into being entertaining as well.

And we spoke before when we were prepping for this about a try and keep this podcast entertaining, if I can, because having listened to many podcasts, they’re really not.

But also on WidePoint business to business marketing is not interesting mainly, and he’s definitely not entertaining in most cases.

Regular listeners will know that I call B2B marketing bore into boring marketing, you know, because it’s just dull and where you see it done well. And I, I have no scientific analysis for this, but I think when people pull out all the great B2B campaigns that they’ve seen over time, the one thing they have in common is they’re all entertaining. And I’m still amazed that people haven’t switched onto that.

So what’s your view on on boring to boring marketing? You do you spend your life railing against this? How do you cope with it?

You know, not so much anymore, because that’s not opinion. I don’t think it’s I don’t think my team and I create and what we create at LinkedIn is boring. And I suppose perhaps four years before we have rallied against the idea of it being boring. And we have spent a lot of time looking at what we can learn from B to C, and I think that’s actually a common misconception or mistake to sort of see them as very separate things.

But and I know how this sounds because it’s not new news. But at the end of the day, we’re all human beings. We’re all people. Yes, we’re marketers. Yes, we’re B2B. But we have lives. We have families. We have we’re fun. You know, it’s it’s it seems we’re missing a step if you’re treating them very separately in terms of the techniques of marketing. I’m not saying like the customers of the same or anything like that.

That’s just not reality.

But so I think, like we the team that I work with are probably some of the best content marketers that I’ve ever met, the tons better than me. Like I sometimes think, where are you getting these ideas from? How do you have this? Because I I’m getting old fashioned in some ways, but they’re always challenging themselves. They’re always trying to find the next thing and be on the edge of of content marketing trends. To give you an example, I have a little girl, a woman on my team called Grace.

She has recently that’s not that recent anymore, but she’s launched something called LinkedIn Advantage. And what she done is taken the model of choose your own adventure, Netflix plan to snatch all of those great things and apply that to essentially our product, worked with a great agency to bring it to life. It’s this beautiful animated adventure that you, as a marketer, click different options to determine how to create or optimise a strategy for the general brand building. And that on paper sounds like, oh, that sounds thrilling.

But actually, when you go through it, you’re suddenly you’ve done it. You’ve got all these tips, all this great content, because you just dare to think a little bit differently and bring in some of that consumer sort of, you know, especially in the pandemic with the consumption of video. It’s like we already I want to go and look for that campaign.

So, again, there’ll be a link in the show.

And, you know, I want to go and look at that. But I think the point is, is that I don’t know if we went and had to look for a B2B marketing. Generally, what we’re going to see is a whole collection of white papers or ebooks, which are just derivative of an e-book that their competitor wrote a year ago. And all they’re trying to do is hijack just to get a little bit higher in search engine rankings by, you know, instead of having thirteen tips to do whatever, having seventeen tips.

Oh, Lord, come on, we’ve got to be better. Please do know I saw an article on LinkedIn the other day that said a new article that sent the PDF is dead. And I thought, well hang on, I mean this is a new news that I was reading through it and I that it is amazing how many PDF based marketing campaigns still exist. And I’m not going to lie that we do PDF within our within our content campaigns. And the reason is every time we don’t do a PDF and let’s say we do a shorter version of the report or we distil the research in its own form, blog, post, video, whatever it might be, there’s always people that say, have you got the full report?

So I think the PDF is dead as the central asset to your content marketing campaign. And that’s where you do get into this very repetitive, boring thing. If it’s a smaller part of it, it’s going to serve a need that some of our audience still have, whereas a lot of our audience doesn’t. They want quick content, snaggle, insights. How do I make this work for me now? But I think if you’re. Discounting it all.

You know, it doesn’t have to be boring, and I think the thing about my other annoyances market is a wonderful at declaring things that it seems to be you can’t be a marketer unless you’ve declared something that I haven’t declared anything.

Do you listen, Lizzie, go back over your career. At some point you will have declared something dead. Absolutely certain. I’m going to admit something rather embarrassing here.

I want declared linked in that it would have been. Maybe 2013. So it was the pre the Microsoft acquisition and the product felt like I’ve been on LinkedIn long before that and it felt like it was changing and evolving and there was maybe a year or two period.

It just felt like it stagnated and the algorithm wasn’t right. And it just sort of it turned into, I don’t know, it just didn’t feel like it had moved on at all, which, you know, I was wrong about.

You know, the product seems to evolve and evolve, not evolve and evolve and develop. I put my teeth in and gets better.

But yeah, I declare the debt market is declare loads of debt. But I think we sometimes forget how untypical marketers are of the rest of the world.

I mean, I work with agencies and I go into some great places and market as I sat there with top of the range. Mike Brooks, great tech doing this one thing on the PDF dead.

And work with an enterprise, a very, very well known UK brand, enterprise level, tens of thousands of staff, and the thing that strikes me every time I go into their office, which I haven’t done for a while, but the thing that really strikes me when I go to the office is just how shit all their computers are.

You know, like one of the people I work with has to turn their computer on in the morning and then we don’t have a coffee and have a chat while their computer boots up like this is a company that counts its turnover in many, many times of the year and their tech is awful.

And then, you know, the market is like, oh, no. Well, this works brilliantly on this 48 inch mark screen that I’ve got here. You’re going someone’s using a nine year old android to look at that. You do.

You do forget. I think, again, that sort of comes with the I suppose the both the privilege and also the, I don’t know, say blissful ignorance. But I think it’s blissful necessary. But if you are working like forward thinking companies or big tech companies, you are most likely going to have the best of the best. And that means everything, equipment, opportunities. You know, it is a part of it. But I think that’s where historically marketers have perhaps got fallen into the trap of assumption.

To your point, the assumption that everyone’s going to experience something in the same way. And a lot of the work, again, that my team really started to laser focus in on, the more we create these perhaps less boring campaigns, that is more interesting content formats is the accessibility of those, both in terms of how it actually appears on screens, but also from a neuro neurodiversity point. You know that there is it is not something that if you’re alienating so much, if you’re just thinking it’s it’s one size fits all.

And then the other part of that is the risk of assumption that your audience are all experts. So just to give you an example on this, years ago, it feels like years ago it wasn’t actually that long. But when I was at HootSuite, I did a lot of a lot of speaking, a lot of keynote about social trends and what was coming next. And one of the big campaigns that we did when I was there was all around this idea of human to human marketing, and it became a big thing for many B2B organisations.

Well, actually, yeah, more so B2B. Like, remember that we’re all humans. How do you talk to the human? And I remember when I first got the keynote and started to add my own touches to it and think about presenting it. I just felt I felt like I was about to go onto stage to tell everybody exactly what they knew and I was going to be laughed off and OK, maybe a little bit of imposter syndrome. It crept in because it usually does for most people.

But I remember this is a fear, surely. Am I am I going mad? And of course, I gave the keynote and I couldn’t believe how many people were taking notes, asking questions, tweeting that this was one of the best things that they’d seen, not necessarily me presenting the content.

I’ve seen it as well. You saw me present with a near broken toe after my accident and the misspelling. No, not that. Not the best bill it was. Oh, my God. The the Shelbourne dropped a luggage rack on my toe just before I had to come and speak. Anyway, so it dawned on me in that moment with all these like this is really interesting. I haven’t thought of this before. Is that because I’ve been in the organisation that had one of the organisations that were putting this message out and I’ve been involved in the creation of it and it all seemed completely obvious to me.

But of course that was me assuming that everybody knew what we were talking about. And I think that’s, again, a really important thing to remember when it comes to both content and social marketing, is that you literally live and breathe this as a as your career. Nobody, not everybody else does. And therefore, you’ve got to you’ve got to remember that people aren’t necessarily as up to speed as you are.

There’s a lot of I think you need a lot of humility to be a marketer. I think we we have a bad reputation in the wider world as probably just below bunkie’s in a state agencies as complete arseholes. But it’s not true in my experience of markets. And I think the best marketers have that humility to put themselves in their audiences shoes. And it’s an underrated quality, I think. And it’s hard to teach as well as you. You can’t learn that at university.

Yeah, no, no.

But talking about to dive into you and your background a little bit, then you mentioned you worked at HootSuite and also at Google. So you you’re taking off all the major tech companies that everybody wants to go and work for.

How do you talk about how your career developed, Linton, and work backwards from there?

Yeah, well, it’s a bit of a weird one, because I’d like to tell you that I just had this big plan that I wanted to go and work for some of these big tech organisations. And it was, you know, or it’s all fallen into place exactly how it how it should have. But it’s not how it works. So my time it looked to me like I said, I’ve been here for very nearly two years and I would say out of all the places I’ve worked and it isn’t just because I work, this is my favourite place.

And I think it’s because I the roles I’ve had previously haven’t necessarily been at this level. They haven’t necessarily have the access to or haven’t known so much about what I’m good at and what I want to do. So I think there’s a context of I’m incredibly lucky to be in the role that I’m in working with the people that I work with. But I think if I joined LinkedIn, when I joined Google, when I was just actually joined as a contract, a lone lowly coordinator, I didn’t appreciate perhaps it as much as I appreciate LinkedIn and all the things that I’m being taught.

So my my career, though, is weird because when I left university, I had very grand ideas of grand ideas. My Plan B was to become a writer. My plan at the time was what I was living and breathing for about 15 years, which was the singer songwriter. And that was my biggest thing in life. My my career, my job was always plan B sort of was a second thing. And I didn’t really think about jobs.

I just wanted to write music. And I took very low paid jobs just so I could play music, playing gigs in London, write songs all about, you know, my heart, break it a all bit, all the fun things that you did as a young, young musician. And my music just became like my I had a I had to live. So I was gigging throughout the UK. I would gig in different countries. I was played on radio.

I have been on TV a lot. My songs have been used on TV, all this stuff. And I weirdly moved to Australia for two years and I moved to a tiny little town in Western Australia for personal reasons. I went with a boyfriend at the time.

I was going to say, look, this has got heartbreak. I know, I yeah, it is. So I went to Western Australia, I left London, and in that time I suppose I had again hadn’t really thought about how lucky I was to live in London or the UK where the gig scene was just, you know, you walked down off the street and you the five musicians playing in any different bar in Islington. Right. And I was very lucky because I worked my way through the the sort of maybe the dirty pubs to playing it really nice places.

You know, before I left for Australia, I played at Camden Round House. I used to play at the Hope and Anchor, which is my favourite pubs, Brixton Windmill, all that really good. These are great venues. Yeah. And then I moved to this tiny town in Western Australia and suddenly there was one, one gig venue that had a six month waiting list because it was for all the Australian touring bands and there was little old English me turned up, can I play who are you know what.

Anyway, so I needed to find another way to get my music out there, because at that point it was still like the only thing that I really cared about. And I started to stream my gigs on YouTube and Google Plus. Remember, Google Plus. It was a thing. It changed my life, right? Yeah, it genuinely changed my life. So I was one of the weird ones that somehow managed to make Google Plus work for me.

And I built up a community on Google Plus.

You can probably see where this is going, so whispered quietly, I love to do. Plus, I thought it was amazing. I really liked it.

But anyway, yeah, no, it was so I built this community on Google Plus of around about fifty thousand followers who are really engaged with my music, my poetry. I used to write a lot of poetry. My videos are very set.

We’re going to link to you must have a YouTube profile. But I like this.

Yeah. A few sketchy homemade videos that I tried to edit and all this kind of stuff. Anyway, it caught the attention of the Google team in Sydney who invited me to talk to them, interview sort of press team thing and tell them about how I was using Google Plus. And then it ended up in a I went over there for a two week trip to spend two weeks with the Google team. I went to the ARIA awards. I did all these gigs with them.

I was teaching or helping other record labels understand how to use Google Plus for their for their music that they act. I don’t know, because I’ve made contacts with Google. Eventually, I was approached about a community management role on a small medium business team. And it was like a job that was going to allow me to do all my music and sort of be the face of Google plus the people in Sydney and in Australia and have a job that for the first time was at.

Actually, something that was really interested in and really cared about, and that’s really where my tech marketing career started, now I still play music. I love music, but I done everything I could with music and have become really exhausting for me to pull my heart out all the time. There’s only one thing I’d still like to do. And let’s have a song on a movie, but I’ll get there one day. But it sort of pushed me into, like, I can put both things together and and have it in a way that I feel an expert in this area of community management.

And that’s where it began. So I did a couple of years at Google and then I joined HootSuite because I’m one of those people that have a list of companies that I’d like to work at. And I always used to be so impressed with HootSuite employee branding and how they presented themselves online as an organisation. And I wrote I wrote to them when I was looking at them and I said, look, I’ve got this this these skills. I’m desperate to come and work for your company.

Is there any way we can have a conversation about life? HootSuite and one of the recruiters said, yeah, we can have a chat and we did, but there was no rules. And it took about seven or eight months for a role to actually appear that I was suitable for because I’d already made a contact there. I was top of mind for them, so I was invited to apply. And I think that’s that’s an important thing to do, is like try and think about your career one step ahead.

So I’m constantly amazed how many people don’t do that. I got my first proper marketing job, having written to did a spot marketing degree and then wrote to every sports club in the area, professional sports club in the area. I got two responses. I sent loads of letters. I got two responses. One saying thank you, but with no jobs. Another saying thank you will keep your CV on file. I got a phone call six months later saying, Can you come in for interview?

I remember.

Who are you again? Yeah, it all right. Yes. I mean, you know, I think it’s it can feel like a lot of effort. And trust me, that’s been hundreds of times where I’ve been ignored or rejected. And I get it. That’s part of job hunting. But I think especially in this day and age where it’s it’s all about connexion. It’s all about building your network. Even if you get a I’m really sorry, there’s nothing available at the moment but sign up here and keep an eye on the jobs, get in contact if you see something that’s that’s better than nothing.

And yeah, I mean, they say job hunting is a full time job. And having worked with some of some younger recent graduates, I mentor a lot of graduates, seeing how they’ve struggled to find to find roles in the in the last year has been really it’s been really sad. But they have found them now.

So I’m like heartbroken, isn’t it? I mean, I’m so glad I’m not graduating now. I’ll graduate into the financial crash of 2009, whatever.

It just must be heartbreaking trying to get into the job market at the minute.

Yeah, well, that’s why I mean, so quick sidestep. I’m also studying organisational psychology at the moment just because, you know, it’s super interesting how work works. So I’m doing a master’s in that at Birkbeck and it is mind boggling that there’s so much mentorship is a big part of what we’re looking at. And I’ve always taken mentorship incredibly seriously, not necessarily having my own mentors. I’ve got a few that I’ve they don’t know that my mentors and it’s never been formalised.

But I’ve always wanted to be a mentor to younger versions of especially young women coming into the workplace from diverse backgrounds, whatever it might be. I just want to be able to give them help, give them either a step into the working world or support them as they navigate it. Because I didn’t really have anybody doing that for me. When I think about my early career, which was in magazines and I, I worked at a magazine that I really didn’t do too well, I was arguably in a bit of a I didn’t have a very nice boss and I was too young and naive to say this is acceptable.

And yeah, and I hate the thought of those kind of things happening to two young professionals. So I’m always trying to help them get into where they want to get whether that’s through job applications or whatever it might be or just to be a sounding board for. Is this is this contract fair? Is this is this how I should be being treated? You’d be surprised how many people feel lucky that they’ve been given a chance. And it’s a two way thing, especially at the minute as well.

You know, you hear people say, oh, you know what, we’re looking at a job at the minute. So, yeah, but the law is there. So you don’t have to go around saying, I’m lucky I’m having a job, even though my health has been docked and my like, no.

Yeah, and actually, that’s one of my my biggest sort of pieces of advice to anybody interviewing, especially for first jobs or second jobs, is you’ve got to you’ve got to remember that you and they’re interviewing that employer as much as they’re interviewing you, it’s they need you. They need someone like you or you wouldn’t be sitting in that seat. So if there’s anything in that interview that triggers a gut feeling that, oh, I don’t know if I I don’t know if I would fit here.

I don’t know if I like this. Like, don’t be afraid to go. This doesn’t feel right in the name of I’m lucky to have a job. I understand that you sometimes you don’t have a choice. But yeah, it’s my biggest thing when I think of some of the early jobs that I’ve done or some of the interviews I’ve been in. And I’ve progressed through the process. And I knew and I knew in the first interview that it wasn’t going to be a right fit.

Yet I still put myself through the pain of rejection anyway.

I mean, you think of how much of your life you spend at work. I mean, it is I’ve learnt the hard way as well. I just will not take being unhappy at work anymore. I started my own company to get some of that happiness. And even now I’ve been in the company coming up to four years is that I only work if I start to get that vibe off a client when I’m meeting them.

I’m like, now that work with you, I, you know, it’s just I am, you know, this is my life. I am not losing my life for you. If I don’t think it’s going to be worth it.

I think it takes it takes a while to get there because especially early career, whether you work for people, you work for yourself. But there is this period of time where you’re building a business or you’re building your career. So you don’t really say no. Absolutely. But I think having the the goal in mind to be able to say this isn’t right or you know, that when I’m a manager, I’m not going to treat people whatever it might be, as long as you’ve got that forward view of what.

Yeah, what matters, I think that that’s really important.

Right. Well, now I know you’re a singer. I’m going to sing to you. I’m going to sing the top tip theme tune in a moment. I’m what I want you to do is people love LinkedIn. And what I want to hear is a top tip or two from you about using links in general, you know, so just whatever you and you can also give me a score out of ten for my singing.

And if it’s anything over for I know you’re lying, but that’s OK.

You’re right. It’s no time for everyone’s favourite part of the show. T o ip from Lizzy above Willington Lizzi.

That was beautiful. That was magical. So many tips then. I think the biggest from a job hunting perspective. I think remember that LinkedIn is a search engine and whatever you’re putting on your profile is going to increase your chances of being found. So it’s really important to tailor it, to update it, to keep it updated, to keep your skill section updated. And, you know, it’s it’s very easy to endorse people these days. So making sure that you’re asking for the right kind of endorsements, I try to give my LinkedIn profile a quarterly review.

Not that I’m looking for a job, but, you know, it’s important it’s important to keep it up to date. So I’d say that’s from a kind of personal brand, job hunting perspective from a marketing point of view. Given that I’m marketing to marketers in my job, I think it is all about the content that you share. LinkedIn has impeccable targeting options. It has multiple formats and ways that you can reach your audience. So it’s really taking the time to go back to basics on your content strategy to think about exactly what it is you’re trying to get your customer or client to do, so that you are standing out from the crowd because we have a lot of people using LinkedIn at any given time.

So standing out is really important. So just take that time to really understand your audience and you can do that by partnering incredibly close with your sales team. Sales and marketing alignment is a big topic close to my heart, as you know, because that’s what I spoke about when we were inbound. And yeah, I’d say that’s a long winded tips, which is a beautiful I’m going to the theme to one more time.

You don’t have to join me, but please do.

If you want to go, you go ahead. Well, thank you for your tea or IP, but you’ve also helped me so great. Brilliantly back into marketing sales alignment’s.

Yeah, I look, this has been it’s almost a battle as old as marketing is marketing itself, isn’t it? Sales team sitting on one side of the desk say marketing is not doing their job. Marketing sense is not doing their job.

Why is it suck so much generally?

And what are the what are the the things you can do to make it better? And what does it work?

Well, I think why does it suck so much? I think it’s because it really does take work and commitment so that. I’m in a huge organisation. There are hundreds of sales folks and teams, you know, even I, who preaches about the importance of sales, marketing alignment. There’s a lot of people who probably wouldn’t even know who I am. I’m like, well, she’s she’s obviously not practising what she preaches. So the it’s a challenge, I think, in a large organisation.

I think if you’re in a small organisation, you have the luxury from the get go to just go, let’s have a conversation and we sit next to each other and we can have a coffee or a beer and we can make a plan together. We so actually this time last year, I finished a piece of research that we commissioned Forester to help us with, and it was to really try and understand your question, like, why is it so hard?

And we surveyed across Europe, numbers will have to clarify, but around three hundred and fifty senior senior summit to senior sales and marketers. The reason we went mid to Senior is because I think if you were to speak to the ultimate senior crew, they’d be like, yeah, we’re aligned because we’re literally planning together. But it’s when you start to filter down into people like me who have to get get it done, it can. That’s where it can all go a little bit, a little bit by the wayside.

So what? Came out of this research, was a very interesting kind of Instagram versus reality story, so you had the like 97 percent of the community that we surveyed. Said, yes, sales and marketing alignment is incredibly important for us in the next 12 months, and this was as covid was really coming into a thing. It’s incredibly important. We all believe it’s going to increase our revenue. We all believe it’s going to result in a positive customer experience.

This is absolutely something we should do. Additionally, there was the the flip side, which was 97 percent of people said, if this isn’t working for us here, we are struggling for core areas, which is which was process, strategy, content, content and messaging, my favourite one and culture. So this huge sort of like belief that, yes, we really believe in alignment and we are aligned.

But then when you actually dialled into the nuts and bolts of what a business strategy is, it was almost the same results in reverse. So I was just like blown away by that because I just kept thinking this Instagram versus reality.

If we’re telling everybody we’re alive, but we’re really not touching onto your your master’s in organisational psychology, MIT, where I’ve worked with organisations trying to get marketing and sales alignment.

The common goal I see where it’s done badly is that it’s not the planning for, you know, there’s this great planning phase and marketing gets involved, sales gets involved.

The right people are in the room. And then. Yeah, and then, well, why isn’t this working?

But when you talk to the individuals about what their targets and objectives are. That’s where the alignment goes to shit. Yeah, yeah, he’s that well, yeah, but we talk about this, but now I’m measured on this. And if you if you show someone, how are you going to measure them? They show you how they’re going to perform. Yeah. So they perform the way they measured.

And that seems to be where it where it falls apart for me. Is that something you’ve seen. Yeah.

And that’s what came up in the research is one of the fundamental reasons, particularly when it came to strategy and content and messaging. You know, they were again, this is a link that I can share with you, but there was this sort of overwhelming response that sales didn’t get what marketing was saying in their content. Sales were measured on quarterly quarterly targets. Marketing were had a longer working to a longer biogenic. There’s so many like conflicts in that.

And, you know, again, in the name of practising what we preach when this what was brilliant about this research is we kind of qualified a framework for how you would move forward. And that is looking at the nuts and bolts of the process pillar, the strategy pillar content and messaging and culture. And of course, in my role, content and messaging, is that the easy, easy, easy place to start. So my team now, particularly when it comes to things like ABIM, when it comes to a C suite engagement or high value campaigns, I would be in shock if I saw a plan that didn’t involve close alignment through the funnel, if you will, with sales, I, I wouldn’t sign it off.

But also if it’s a muscle memory that’s now being built with with my team that we typically working in partnership with the field marketing team and the sales team. And believe it or not, that’s not something that we were necessarily doing before. And I think it does speak to this evolving nature of content marketing. Now, I know I’ve got my LinkedIn blinkers on, so it may not be like this for everybody, every content marketer out there. But it seems to me that the role of content marketing is really stretching in different directions.

And the sales relationship and sales and enablement piece is becoming a bigger part of that, whereas previously it would be his his an e-book you can send to your clients in an email drip. We’ve done our job, so. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

And it is is a the account based marketing. Is that the answer to marketing and sales alignment.

I think it’s it’s one of them. It’s one of the easy places to start again. I keep using easy as if it just magically happens overnight.

But I listen to for consultancies ABM, you know. Yeah.

If you just throw enough throw enough marketing acronyms that people it’s like, well, they really know what they’re talking about.

So I posted, you know, I think that I think APM is a really good place to start because it forces you both to put your audience hat on. And again, I know that sounds crazy, but I, I have surprised myself starkly where I’ve realised that I haven’t thought about the person or the person on the other side, you know, it’s all about it’s all about me. How am I going to prove my worth? How am I going to show how good my team is?

You know, hang on. You’re actually not important in this. It’s the person who’s spending the money on the other side or you’re hoping is going to spend the money. So I think it does force this collective understanding of who it is you’re trying to specifically target. And it does allow you to be a lot more specific in your approach for high value, for high value marketing, in my opinion. I think at the scaled level, again, it’s still kind of forces in this conversation, but it can be managed separately if that makes sense.

As long as sales know what marketing are doing in a scaled way, then that’s kind of kind of cool. But I think when you’re targeting high value accounts and you really want to go the extra mile, the integration part is so important and a lot of it should feel like it’s a shared campaign. And maybe the lines of sales and marketing are a little bit more blurry in that.

I describe IBM as is overlapping the lines of sales and marketing so that I think people talk to me about handoffs between sales and marketing. Yeah, I mean, it just it sounds still sounds to separate to me, but you have to be overlapped so there isn’t a handoff. It just naturally, you know, sales. No, they’re involved in this bit and they’re just all of a sudden you don’t really notice put marketing on involved anymore.

Yeah. When did that happen? And I think that’s more organic than a handoff process.

Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I’ve been in roles where you’ve literally handed a spreadsheet to the sales team of Leeds after an event and you like any follow up on these leads.

And I do think as marketers, you meant to be looking at those. So you are meant to kind of follow up, but I think it’s fully dependent on the size of the organisation as well. I mean, if you’re a sales and marketing team of 10, it’s very different to if you’re a sales marketing team of five hundred, you know. Definitely. Definitely.

Listen, I have just seen this. I’m having an amazing chat and we’re going to be here for another hour or two. So just before I let you go, you probably got another meeting to run to. But let me ask you the two questions. Nobody’s allowed to leave until they’ve answered on. What books do you read? What would you recommend to people or podcasts or whatever? What’s your answer to that one?

At the moment, I’m doing a lot of academic reading for my Masters, which is which is brilliant but intense. And also, I’m not a natural academic reader, so I try and find things that are a little bit more accessible to me. So I have the books that I’m reading at the moment is called The Managed Heart, and it’s commercialisation of Human Feeling. It’s by Arlie Russell Hochschild. And it’s I think it’s amazing to just understand the how human emotion has become like a commodity.

And there’s some really great examples in here of how back in the day, flight attendants biggest, biggest asset was her smile and literally that the psychologically psychological view that if your flight attendants are smiling, your plane is never going to crash, you’re going to be fine. And that was what they were trained on. So it’s really, really crazy. But I think as a marketer, it’s been really interesting to just further drill into why human feeling is so important when it comes to marketing, especially in B2B.

So this is this is the one that I am reading and I just don’t like.

I heard a story of I think it’s Shangri-La Hotel, where the word not training tells you to never say no problem. Someone says, oh, can I have a drink? Yeah, no problem to standard response because it has no problem in it to negative words. So don’t say that. Of course.

Yes, yes. It’s lovely rather than negative.

So yeah, it’s a bit like that. I’ve seen a lot of them. I don’t know if you call the memes or comments or whatever it is that comes back saying if you’re late to a meeting, don’t apologise for being late, say thank you for your patience, some more leadership type tone. But I’m like, I don’t know if that works anyway.

So my final question, what do you usually get asked on a podcast that I haven’t asked you? Oh, my goodness, I what’s my favourite beverage?

I mean, as a as a scene setter, what is your favourite?

Well, the reason I thought you can ask me is because I, I have my very fancy teapot and it’s tea cosy here because it’s a little little jumper, a cap on it is against the Tea Party that I know etsi homemade I it’s Tea English breakfast specifically, but I’m getting more into herbal tea at the moment to try and lessen the amount of caffeine that I drink. I don’t know why I thought that was a question you were going to ask me today, some of the answers we had.

So some people take it really seriously, some being one of them is about golf handicaps and stuff like that. So anything is possible at those questions. So don’t worry about that.

OK, Lizzie, thank you very much for your time. That’s been amazing. We’ll get links to everything we’ve talked about. And if you want to reach out and contact Lizzie, that will be in the show notes to. So just click on the links and it’ll take you straight to thank you for listening. And I’ll see you back here in a fortnight. Thanks.