Featuring Lily Thistlewood
Lily Thistlewood has just launched a performance marketing agency. She talks about moving from in house, focusing on big events and CrossFit.
In this episode
- Launching your own agency
- Moving from in house to agency
- What starting in brand marketing means when becoming a performance marketer
- Lessons from working at one of the UK’s biggest ecommerce retailers
- Are performance marketers the CrossFitters of the marketing world?
- The impact of Black Friday on brand loyalty
- T.O.P.T.I.P.S for performance marketers
- Learning from your mistakes
- Cook v Zuckerberg in a battle for privacy (and why I don’t care)
Institute of Directors Event
On Monday 28 June I’m running a workshop with the IoD for people who manage marketing teams but don’t have a marketing background. I’ll be sharing 4 questions you should ask your marketing team (and 2 you definitely shouldn’t) during a 45 minute session and taking questions at the end.
It’s free to attend and open to everyone, not just IoD members.
Full details and tickets here https://www.iod.com/events-community/events/event-details/eventdateid/31660
Digital Marketing Strategy Course
If you’re interested in investing in your own marketing education, 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
Lily’s Book Recommendations
Agencynomics by Spencer Gallagher
After almost 10 years working for one of the UK biggest online brands Lily has left Very.co.uk to launch her own Liverpool based Paid Media agency, Reform the Fold. Reform has offices in Liverpool and Shoreditch and is focused on merging brand with performance to deliver industry leading campaigns.
Find Reform the Fold on Instagram @reformthefold or LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/reformthefold
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.
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.
Eyup and welcome to the Strategy Sessions today I’m joined by Lily Thistlewood. Lily give us a big hello?
Hello, Andi. How are you doing?
Right. Let’s find out a little bit more about you to start with. Lily, you’ve just launched your own agency. Tell us all about it.
I have. I launched Reform the Fold last week. So we are super new. We are one week old. And reform is a performance driven, brand building media agency. And we have got offices in Shoreditch and in Liverpool.
Fantastic. So obviously, if you’re going to launch a performance marketing agency, you’ve got to have some real bona fides in that. You can’t just go. All right. Well, I used to book some Facebook ads from a local hockey club or something like that. So what’s your background? What brought you to the point of launching Fall in the fold?
So I went to the UK for I think it was around seven years and I had the best time and I was there. The brand is huge. They really encouraged people to move about, you know, work in different business and different teams and I did just that. So when actually I started back I was in the email marketing team and then I kept my eye on the Bronte emails, like they don’t like not having a good time.
What’s going on over there? Managed to get myself in a few TV shoots. And, you know, back then it was all about taking the brand would just come off the cats like we were fully going for it online. We were still spending a lot of money. And to was really nice was to see that kind of change over the years. And then I worked on some new chief stuff, some organic, social. And I think, you know, what use is also helps you get to grips with the organic side of things quite quickly.
And then an opportunity came up in digital marketing. So it’s pretty much I had kind of two strands, to my credit, very it was content lad from buildOn. And then the second half, I think around three, four years I was actually in the digital marketing team and that was working on paid social department, whatever. But we did a bit of PPC, a bit of CEO affiliates worked on the arc as well. So it was a really solid foundation for me before I took my current agency side.
So you must be some sort of weird hybrid marketing mystical thing here because you’ve done brand marketing and performance marketing, which is why you mentioned I was going to pick up on us. You mentioned about performance and brand, which is, you know, it’s a bit like having maybe custard on chips or something like that. Yeah. So you’re a rare breed. Little to tell us about them. So you’ve done the brand. You’ve done that. Why did you want to put them both together in your agency?
Why don’t one or the other.
I think I don’t even know if this is the right thing to say, but I’m really fickle. So if I’m on the wrong team, I’m off the brand, the brands, the blessing of the team. It’s all about themselves, you know. I mean, like, you wouldn’t get that that creative anywhere without everything we do behind the scenes. And I really was so passionate about each side I was on and I was always quite separate. And I think anybody who works in-house for a big brand so much that goes into the day to day planning management.
Naturally, the team set quite separately. And it wasn’t until at heart, you know, not like man with my career and I’ve had enough experience where I felt confident enough to say who I thought was right and where I thought the future of digital marketing was going. And I really got to a point where I believe that it was magic, not Brandreth performance. It’s in that sweet spot of stuff that, yeah, looks great, but it’s also super relevant.
And there’s a reason why that person has been targeted with the same campaign that they have been. So it wasn’t until I was, you know, towards the end of my career that I actually set up a new team that was all around that middle funnel execution, the brand that really started to pull back from the huge brand awareness TV drive and campaigns. DPI wasn’t working as well as it wants hot. That’s probably going to continue with, you know, the data limitations people as said, arses like Kill Nachmanoff.
So it did feel like, okay, this is what I think is the right thing to do. It’s where I think the industry is moving to. At that point, I had enough experience under my belt to kind of go for it and stand up and be like, I think I’m just really important. But I also think you need to have an appreciation for that. The digital side of things.
It’s scary as shit, though, isn’t it? Daunting.
Actually, I am on a lot of tablets and even a lot more than I read. It helps me out loving the tablets. Is that what they call them these days is I mean, you look, it was I know we spoke earlier about this before the launch. I joined the group the back end of last year, and I think they were kind of pushing for me to open my eyes, start my own agency. And I was Schats. I mean, I really just left Barritt.
Life was new in all four. Not my own, my own only, and so I kind of wanted to see what was up for grabs, the opportunities on the table, how it could work with new clients and existing clients. Also the agencies that I worked very closely with. And then Ya’akov seemed to be a huge opportunity. So it was really put to me to kind of make this happen and do it quickly.
And with all the sort of seven years of very time upon your exit, understanding where you’re going to go next, you’re going to launch an agency, you’re going to do what you do. You then thought, you know what, I launched this in 30 days and just set the clock running on how to do that for I really don’t know, it was becoming so I would say open till, you know, last week when we launched the full, I was put in all the paid media for the Captivate Group.
And the Captivate Group is an agency group, an umbrella business that owns a PR agency. We’ve got our content creation, how to and influence the agency. And I was going in paid media on behalf of clients who were into the agency. And it was confused. And I felt that there was going to be a clear proposition for me to go direct to market. And the way to do that would be by fronting my own agency and going in that way.
It just made sense. It made it easy for me, for clients, for the agencies, because it was a lot, you know, Maun ends up with fashion clients, with PR agency afternoons, happy with my influence and clients for, you know, food and beverage problems and a split myself quite thin. So, yeah, time to kind of structure and approach.
Well, look, the if you haven’t seen it, go and check out reform the falls, Instagram, the insta is reform of old reform. And that was my first. Is the Instagram name available because that’s going to scream a lot of effort. We we launched our site yesterday as well, all sorts of full of all dotcom.
Brilliant. Well, if you go to reform the Foldes Instagram, it’s saved as a story on that. Have a look how slick this the launch looks like. It just looks cool. You just looking at going on if you’re going to jobs going because this looks like one of those things. I was going to pull my socks up because my mom about my slickness is gone when it comes to producing content. So it looked amazing. The launch really, really good.
And that’s, you know, props the platforms out there at the moment, like Instagram and tech talk. They are scaling to make it easier for content creators. I am not creative outlet, just like gets to Vietnam half ago, but they’re making reels and stuff like that super quick and easy for people to just churn out that content like, you know, yourself. You’ve got to be all over so many platforms. You’ve got to be present, got be reactive.
It’s hard to do that if you’ve got a big, long winded creative process. Why her outsource a graphic design and a content producer and you need edits and that is and you know, things are definitely moving to a place where content is less polished. And I really enjoy that approach, you know, creating content that’s native to the platform that it’s intended. So, yes, smoke and mirrors. But that’s what we did with the launch. We like to use what we’ve got available and go for it.
Stop me, stop being most of it I’m looking for. I just honestly own it. It looked so you might say smoke and mirrors. You might you might be know it wasn’t wasn’t all that. It looked great. So congratulations on the launch. So you’re up there in the big wide world now. You’re part of the captivate group and you’re kind of learning what life’s like agency to agency world, which is very different to what life’s like, a major enterprise at a very.
So what all differences have you seen? Because I know we get a lot of listeners on the podcast who are working in one of the other. And I know when you’re in house, you like you look over at the agency and you’re like, wow, they look so much fun. What is your view on the agency?
Like for me has been wild. Like when I saw it, I was like, oh my God. I was like, I don’t even know what to stop that. It was like there were these fires. What kind of policies? Everything needs to be done yesterday. And when you’re working for a brand, you just seem to have more time on your side. Very was huge law, great people covering a lot of really, really strong teams in those teams.
You got those expert and you can be so in the detail and you can tear up a campaign, put it back together again, you know, every single pound, what that strip and what the results are, you really are all over the detail. Even if it’s you just don’t have that time. You’ve got to move quickly because it was the main shift was a client says jump. You say, how high? And I’ve never been on that side of things to be front.
I was like not even like an ego thing. It was just a bit of a rude awakening. And I was like, OK, on the side of things now and, you know, surfacing, you don’t you’ve got to be able to move quickly, as quickly as. Bond wants you to go and adopt, you know, offer a different insight, so like the value that I can add to my clients is not just limited to the fashion that I worked for nearly 10 years.
I’ve got different clients in different verticals who have different budgets, different objectives across different platforms. And that’s the mix. And that’s the beauty of what you can kind of bring into a client.
Someone once described when I moved to my first agency, which is probably 10 years ago now, I can’t remember, but described it as a little bit like going from being a battery chicken to a free range chicken. And there are times when I thought actually maybe they’ve got that the wrong way around. Maybe you went from being free range, Debuchy. But I kind of know the menu because when you just in a in a business, you focussed on quite a narrow set of things.
And the first agency I worked at, we had tenants as a client, tenants beer with Budweiser as a client. But we also had a client that sold rubber floor tiles. So you’d go from one meeting going, wow, Budweiser investing this in response. And if a couple were going to do this amazing stuff to write, how can we sell more volatiles today? And you’re like, oh, no, but you really have to flex and think and challenge and and your client expects you to be the biggest fan.
They expect you to love that brand, how much they love the brand and little work that you need to do is not premium work that goes into speaking with different clients. For everybody who want to set even Baringo into an agency like wow. Okay. Like go for it’s going to be different. How different can it be able to out there. I think we laugh now because when I saw it, you know, that is huge. It’s very corporate business and I think everybody thought I was like really tight.
I was very full on my emails and I approach and there’s just no time for that. You you truly do get stock in, roll your sleeves up. Whatever level you enjoyed in the agency is like one team, one dream situation. So it’s got good stuff.
And so keeping keep going about very little. But I want to talk a bit more about that. So you worked for start with a performance marketing bit when you were there. Yeah, very cels. I don’t know. I’m going to guess probably somewhere close to half a million products. I don’t know, maybe got a bad number to me, but they’re at least.
Yes, they’re based. And I need to they have hundreds of thousands of products. You also have hundreds of thousands of brands as well. So there’s a lot of it on these different brands, products, different categories. It’s essentially an online department store.
And every one of those categories, every one of those brands. Every one of those. Teams within the category, everyone in that business thinks that their baby is the best looking right and you’ve got to be focussing on that particular thing. So how the hell do you manage that when you’ve got five thousand stakeholders all screaming my products better than that? One is worth more than that one.
Everybody wants a pound of flesh. And that’s it’s nice. You know, everybody really believes in that role that they’ve got to play to contribute to the overall success of the brand. But it just get really life not competitive. But you do have to up like, hang on a minute, guys. Like, we all work for the same brand. We all want everyone to do well here, like we all want that Bernadotte homescreen take over, you know what it was like, really, like aggressive in a good way because people really bark at teams and their categories and they were on edge.
You know that the share that came with it, I think it was actually a lot easier when I moved to digital digital have huge budgets and really tight commercial objectives that they need to hit. So our priority was what Apple was bringing in that when I said whatever campaign was doing well and, you know, we had the luxury because we had so many thousands of products that we could literally take like this by bringing in more revenue this month. And you credit customers that are our primary campaigns.
Anoma and I said no one would argue with those because the results speak for themselves. I think when you’re on the brand side, especially really like the the organic teams, like social and all the different organic channels kind of did really feel for them because they don’t have that kind of I’m not sure the word is what they are exposed. They’re exposed because everyone’s got an Instagram account. So everyone thinks they can do social media marketing, if you like.
I know is that, you know, we have a sale on at Dishwasher’s and you didn’t put that on Instagram. And you know what? We’ve got numbers we need to hit. And they really did believe that that was going to contribute and that was going to drive those numbers. And yes, it was definitely tougher on the guys, I think, to to Ring-fence that that products that they believe that we’re going to hit the overall objectives. I think that digital marketing guys are also digital marketing is quite complicated.
So not a lot of people know the details or they don’t even know what questions they really need to be asking to get the results they need. So I felt when I moved to digital, people kind of just let them do their thing because it was working and it was like, if it ain’t broke.
Yeah, it’s for I’m not going to mention any names, because if I mention the name person who told me this, it might expose them to that business and who they work with. But this person works in an agency and they have one of their clients is an online retailer of white goods, washing machines, fridge freezes, that sort of thing. And they told me about a client call or a meeting which happened the day after an Apple iPhone launch, whether it was a seventy eight or whatever it was.
And obviously you got the iPhone launch. You’ve got people queuing around the block to get one who gets the first iPhone seven or whatever it is, all the excitement, all that drama, and without a hint of irony, sat in the meeting the next day while there was there’s a new washing machine being launched, like, is the new CEO something like lightning like. So, yeah, well, Apple got all that going on. So what are you going to do to get that going for us?
You’re like, man, what a fucking washing machine rubbing their hands together. This is this is our big break, OK?
It’s ten kilos of ocelote we’re in. This is a easy OK. It might not have been Zanussi by the way, if anyone was listening from the. It’s just the brand I think. Of course I’m looking for new washing machine at the minute.
It’s credit to the people at work very like they’re so passionate and not just their age. I mean, this will happen across different brands, all over people I love, like the passion. Like, you know, we’ve got this same set of fresh phrases like, what are you doing? Like, what’s my email support? What’s my strategy? They want it all on the same. Say I can go around, you know, I think as a brand very often looked insane.
It wasn’t to like the late years where they really got a grip on having that brand identity and having kind of the credibility to be like, this is what we’re sticking to. These are brand face and messages like, yes, we sell, we sell toilet seats. I’m sure we’re going to do a campaign about toilet seats, you know, so they really did have to stick to their guns in terms of what’s going to be our brand face in campaigns.
And know you sort of must be strange going for because when you work with enterprise level, you have quite a narrow lane to work. I don’t like you. So you become a specialist within in the detail.
You know, your little lady’s not narrow. Your lane is wide.
Now is the you know as well as being a little bit daunting, are you enjoying that being a little bit more across everything rather than just across that little bit?
Yeah, I am, because it kind of. All comes full circle at some point because you’re a consumer, a consumer as a human being. So at some point you’re going to be a consumer, one brown versus another. You know, you’re your shopping and conversion habits are going to form into the life cycle of a brand. So if I’m not really interested and I think my approach is always just I have to work really hard with clients to be realistic.
A lot of new brands, cocaine. I want to make loads of money, don’t we all? But you can’t expect a user is going to convert the first time they’re exposed to a new brand or new appetising campaign. So that’s a lot of my time spent is bringing them around this way, I think. And I love talking about the whole marketing phenolic, you know, that’s definitely something that still works. And a lot of brands still stand by.
And it is about how you take one campaign, but you break it up. How are you going to reach someone who might or might not be in market? How are you going to bring them through to site once you’ve got them through its type? How are you going to retarget them to drive that conversion? Because you can’t come in on day one and expect to get, you know, those these purchases through the door.
So I want to talk at that point. You’ve kind of nicely opened the door to talk about performance marketing. And after that, as we go through this conversation, just to flag this to you so you have an answer. I want to talk to you about the Apple privacy, Facebook and Facebook scandal. We’ll talk about that soon. So if you’re a fan of listening to people cry and complain about that, let’s get there in a moment. But performance marketing, I have been a little bit sneary and a bit kind of snobbish about performance marketers, not because I don’t think it works, because I’ve seen in every client I’ve worked at, you have a good performance marketer and they deliver results.
Right. But performance marketers, to me, I like the cross features of the marketing world. So, you know, like people have been exercising for millions of years and hundreds of years in gyms forever. But then Crosthwaite turned up 20 years ago, invented exercise, and all of a sudden, like, you can’t be fit unless you they’re just full of bullshit, right? Olsson’s if you’re Crosthwaite, I’m really sorry, but Crosspost just got their paid performance.
Market is a little bit like that. Market marketers marketing has been around as a discipline about 80, 90 years. It’s kind of been codified and taught properly since the 50s, really. So we go down and then performance market is rolled up with the invention of digital and marketing started 15 years ago with ads and suddenly all that matters is ads and everything else is bullshit performance. Marketers like that make me want to get angry and do violent things to them.
But it’s not all like that. You don’t have to be a complete arsehole to be a performance marketer.
You know, there’s a loaded question if ever there was one. So I suppose the better question, have you seen that type of performance marketer around? Do you see a change in that now as they start to realise that maybe the wider approach actually helps them?
How? A hundred percent. I mean, the game changed massively over this past, let’s say, 18 months. And there’s a lot of contributing factors to that. But when performance marketing. Yeah, it’s been around like fifteen years. But when it really started to kick off, I don’t know, five, seven years ago, brands, you were doing it right. So huge success and it was that low hanging fruit. There is a perfect example.
Amazon is not the one. They had a product catalogue that complemented paid advertising. The more products you have, the more Singlish you can generate, the more optimised and phishing your campaign is going to be, the more chance it’s going to drive that performance and get those results that was there. It wasn’t massively complicated. A lot of see, and this is why I imagine your frustrations of compromises like glory hunters who honestly some of the DPAs I’ve worked on have been so efficient I could leave it running and go on holiday two to come back and it would have still been alive like twenty five, like, honestly, they just work really, really well.
But at that time, product catalogues complemented those new formats. Much changed over the past 18 months. You’ve got data limitations. You’ve got privacy concerns. You know, GDP is definitely the first iteration of of things moving towards not having access to pixels and signals and data that meant that campaigns solutions end so, so efficiently. Also, what happens as well as the market become saturated because everybody starts to in paid advertising. So at one point when my mom once was like I just saw some real weird coincidence, I was looking at that dress and then the very next day that was on my Facebook feed.
So I had to buy it. Because if that’s not fame, then why is that like flu apps that just follow you around? Because that’s everybody’s doing it because people think that if they all compete in the space, they don’t stand a chance. And what is right, to a certain extent, the organic algorithm is on its iOS. You won’t see the reach that you want. So people paid appetisers. You can’t just set things and let them run at the moment, I’m really, really, really big on the importance of creative and not kind of limiting myself that I think the reliance on, you know, we spoke about I was a little bit there, but that’s going to mean more so than other people are going to have to invest more into that creative on that broader message.
Mm hmm. I mean, some years ago, a young Eximo guy said to me, he said one of the best Eximo tools around is TV advertising. And it was such a brilliant way of putting it because a lot of CEOs had that problem performance market is to to where they just thought that all you needed to do was to find out how it gets to the board and Google. And that was it. And actually this was like, no, no, there’s a power in traditional advertising.
There’s a power in building that brand that you feel if you basically faced with the choice of an shelf, Google gives you all the answers, which when are you going to click on the one you’ve heard of from TV? Brilliant. And it’s the same with performance, isn’t it? Is that the TV advertising? Actually, it’s probably going to become more important. Am I? I’m not hugely worried about the change with Apple and Facebook and a couple of trillion dollar companies want to go and slug it out.
Fine. Let them write marketing. Existing advertising existed before you could track people around. In a weird way. It’ll exist after you can and you can’t. It doesn’t really matter. But I think it’s the people who know the basics of the craft, who understand that actually people that want the benefit of your brand is and how you maybe have to create a formula in a slightly different way now will probably win. But what’s your view on the whole iOS?
What is it, 14, 15, that that’s caused all the privacy concerns? And are you seeing any impact on what you do?
I am seeing an impact and that does worry me in my not in my personal position. It’s just interesting for brands. What worries me is not understanding what I’m telling them and being like, why am I not seeing the performance I saw six months ago and trying to explain iOS. If you’ve not got an appreciation for digital marketing, you must let me speak in a foreign language. So that is a lot that’s not on me. And I would actually say that is something that takes a lot of my time is bringing clients around to this way, I think and think.
And she’s not she’s asking me off. She just can’t do a job when it’s literally a System-Wide industry wide system change that has impacted. I think, again, it’s coming full circle. Maybe Facebook and Instagram did get greedy. They got greedy because of the OG’s. They’ve been around the longest. That means you’ve got the most sophisticated algorithm out there, but you’ve got people like Tick Tock who are going to try and take a share of, you know, what cops at the moment, what’s on the table.
And they are trying to look appetising since you might say cheap CPMs on tick tock. Then you all see it on Instagram at the moment, but you want to drive traffic and conversion, take stock, just aren’t there yet. Yeah.
Now, it’s really interesting that you said clients aren’t aware of it because sometimes when you’re immersed in the digital industry, you know, like this is all anyone talks about. If I go on Twitter, it’s all anyone talks about the many Apple. Right. Facebook or Apple. Right. And you think of the whole world must know about. And that’s the bias you get from being in the industry, isn’t it? And you talk to a client and the like.
Well, you know, like what did you do? What point did you practise?
Because you just got this dashboard in front of your company goes to shit button. I’m just press that.
It’s like on an off day and it’s not that. And it’s China. There’s nothing worse. When someone asks a question, they leave feeling more confused, like a hyped up. But digital marketing, it is complicated and you really have to break it down. And often I just try to give as much examples that people can relate to as possible. I’m like, you know, every time you try and go to a new website and you get a big pop up message says, do you allow cookies to track your data like, yes, yes, I’ve seen it.
It’s like the Eyup across everything, across every platform, anywhere you go using your mobile phone will be tracked. And some people can say, like, I didn’t want you to track me. And for those people, I can’t reach them because they don’t allow me to. So trying to break it down and you know what you need? You need you should maybe call it the whistle. I’m just like, first of all, what was the whistle like?
Little one minute explanation’s little videos, recording ones. Send it to all your clients. They’ll be like, oh jeez, it’s great. But let’s keep in touch with what’s going on in the industry. Once a week, once a month, the whistle goes out of name. I should be attention.
So I really invoices on its way to you. Don’t worry, captivate green. Send it through.
Yeah. I mean, I should, I should think of a way. It’s like nail this quite quickly because people ask all the time, people say like what is what is paid media, what is digital locks. And I think what doesn’t help is there are a lot of different words that mean basically the same thing.
And it’s not helped either by the fact that most marketers have no idea what marketing means of marketers who use advertising and marketing interchangeably drives me insane. I’m like the two different. I just need to calm down.
Sorry, it wants me off when people start posting, like I didn’t even know that was a phrase that people used to say it.
Well, it was in 2015, wasn’t it?
I think I be in before my time because I’ve never so used to be in the good old days on Facebook. So back in the days when I ran Tenent Social Media, we used to do the advertising for there’s big concert in Northern Ireland, tenants vital. So we had Tinie Tempah was one of the guys. Right. And so we wanted to do different messaging and advertising product wasn’t like it is now. So if you wanted to target tiny temple funds, you wanted to just target, say, music funds and then you just wanted to target people who lived in Belfast.
But, you know, who might just got a gig cos it’s close by and you don’t really get big things. You couldn’t do that in the platform specifically. So you had to create three posts. One might say, Yo, Tony, Temple Fund, why don’t you come down and watch him play and change the creative, but then you’d set it to post a year and a year after you’d written it. And so so it would go in your scheduled posts but not actually leave it be dark.
It wouldn’t be alive on your page, but because it was scheduled you could not use it as an art. So even though it was and then once they had it finished, you had to go back and delete the post. Otherwise, a year’s time this post just appeared, which did happen once. But tenants won’t be listening, so don’t worry about it. Yeah, so that was, that was dark post in back in twenty thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.
Something like that.
Really hung up on that phrase and able to use it. And I’m like oh that’s just it was rubbish then. Anyway, so they all school Facebook had knowledge for you there. Let’s go back to those days. It was great. We used to get also used to get ten to 15 percent organic reach as a general rule, 60, 70000 people on the page. You put any old shit out, you’d get somewhere between six and ten thousand people would see it and like it and engage with it.
It was as. Yeah, you don’t see that anymore. No, no. So before we go, I want to get a top tip from you about performance marketing, something that if people are listening, they maybe they’re running ads at the minute. What were you doing? Let’s give a bit of advice. But that they could maybe look at something that they could look at. But before we do, you can’t have a top tip unless you have the theme tune so you can join in if you want to join in.
But don’t worry, if you don’t want to is what I’ll get. I’ll give it to you once and then you can tell me if you want to sing. It would make it really simple. It’s a top tip. It’s a ti opec ipic ti opti ipic.
I think we’ve got I don’t think I need to help out on that.
Nobody ever wants to join me. It’s fun. It’s fun. So what would your top tip be for anyone in performance marketing.
I think I am one of the reasons that people want to work with ad agency or part of the new agency is because the current setup isn’t work. And if I ever tried it themselves to give it a go about the industry to look to the south, all of that. But it’s not always the best place or, you know, they’re working with another agency and it’s not performance. So where it needs to be when I go into those accounts, I see really, really complicated account structures.
My top tier would be to streamline your account structure as much as possible. I think people think that OK, for break this down. If I figure out who is my most incremental customer, where Eyup is spent the most time geographically, what placements are the end, what copy they’re responding to, what’s my most favourite, FedCorp? And they try and really break it down and get in the detail that will work for huge funds. But we’re not all huge problems.
And I think when you overcomplicate it, you just break it down. The efficiencies, the algorithm, I think in terms of driving performance less is more. And the less information you can give the algorithm to overcomplicate it, the more Falconio favour. So streamline those account structures, you know, that can be used in campaign budget optimisation or even automatic placement, actually logos, placements that you shame you lose the full screen impact. But I think you just don’t know if you’re going to reach someone on and feed or on stories.
A lot of campaigns at the moment. I’m seeing a huge uptake on Facebook marketplace. That’s one of my most popular placements at the moment, or the discovery page on Instagram. So I think in order to cover all placements available, Slatin Automatic placements when you build up a campaign interest in interest, I am not a Facebook advertising expert. Far from it these days. I’d say it’s nearly ten years since I used the book Facebook ads for anybody, but I’m sure a lot of the Facebook that I see about automatic placements is how it can be a bit shitty sometimes.
So it’s interesting that he’s actually there’s a lot of benefit to it.
Yeah, it depends on the purpose of the objective of the campaign. You know, it’s a shame to take the full screen, take that and squeeze it into an inside. Bill, how else do you know? Are you absolutely that sure that you know your customer so well that they only have to spend the time to feed or sometimes given stories? Because if you limit one on the other, you know, you screen them for potentially become pain and think if you use this brilliant.
I love that look at what’s happening with Rales as well. So real is obviously the latest formats come out of Instagram and they’ve just launched paid rails. So I’ll be interesting to see if Rales forms part of automatic placements or not.
Yeah. See how they work out between now and Instagram. Have while you couldn’t say they have innovated by ripping stories off from Snapchat and ripping wheels off from Tick-Tock, just because they’re big and they rob somebody else’s product doesn’t mean it’s going to be a success. I Google have tried to rip off social media for years and cocktail time. So it’s interesting that they’ve actually managed to make it stick and make it a real success, isn’t it? Stories particularly as a monster for them?
Definitely. And I mean, I’m not proud of Instagram, you know, that ready to say the way they take other people’s ideas and things like that, but they stay on the scale really well. And I think although they may be taking ideas, those ideas have the potential to get better an instrument, any of the platforms, because they’ve got the efficiencies that, you know, that album is so much more sophisticated. It’s everything that’s always going to go in their favour.
Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely right. Let’s get back to talking performance marketing again. And I’m big events and bank holidays and black Fridays and Christmases and stuff like that. So very you must see loads of stuff and trade loads of different things to sort of win those big sales events. And you left when did you leave?
Very I left on Black Friday last year.
It so you just left your colleagues in the lurch. It’s like busiest day of the year. I’m all for the drop the mic and walk out the door. So yeah. So you’ve obviously maybe just doubled in watching a couple of clients, the most recent Christmas try and scale. So what lessons did you learn from the big the big events? A very. And what do you think people could learn from that for other businesses that. Well, every business is a little bit smaller and very mainly.
So what can people learn?
I think when it comes to Black Friday, brand loyalty means nothing. If you’re selling something to someone else, selling it cheaper, they’re going to get the jail. I think similar to my point around streamlining your account structure, streamline your campaign, that was what was difficult with Barry, because we had so many different products and so many different brands. We couldn’t do a 20 percent of everything like, as I say, only like self. We just do.
And something that’s so simple, a simple mechanic for customers to grasp. That’s what’s going to work and that’s what’s going to, you know, drive the traffic to say, get those results. I think I love that. Black Friday gets earlier and earlier we had like a teaser campaign, a pre Black Friday, Black Friday VIP’s. It just goes earlier and earlier. And again, it comes down to what deals can you bring to the table? People know what they’re shopping for at this point or the just got their minds in the end up buy it like I do for, I think, a way to just play it safe, but just think and act like a customer.
What’s most important? Iconic that day, that week, even two weeks is so saturated. How do you break through? It’s not going to be with an over complicated message. So I would strip that back as much as possible.
Keep it simple. You’re an easy mark for e-commerce. You’re like, oh, I’m going to miss out on a deal. Bye bye bye. You are everything.
Oh, I got to lose my mind like my nerves. I don’t even know why.
Oh, come on. So you mentioned about cutting through the clutter from Black Friday. Yeah. Last year I saw my first Singles Day campaign for a brand. So Singles Day, if you don’t know, is it was started by it was Alibaba, wasn’t it, who started it in China. And it’s eleven eleven. So single digits and is it’s basically an invented free. It’s like Black Friday was invented for singles. There it is. It wipes the floor with Black Friday in terms of e-commerce sales outperforms about six to one, ten to one.
Maybe it’s the biggest e-commerce day in the world, but it’s driven hugely by sales in China and the Chinese diaspora. But it’s on the eleventh of November. So it’s just a bit before Black Friday, but it’s still in that Christmas window. I honestly think that over the next couple of years we’re going to see the way Black Friday wasn’t a thing to decades ago. Singles, there wasn’t a thing, I think in the next few years in the urge to bring forward that window, to get a jump on everybody else, we’re going to see a couple of brands drive diving in and going, let’s just do singles there.
Let’s just push it on.
And I think Singles Day aside, everything, it’s an obsession. Everything is more campaign able than it was, you know, a decade ago. I think that goes into it like CRM as well. You know, people going through these different life experiences, part of that like customer cycle, people want that brand affinity with our customers on using CRM strategies to make that happen. So, yeah, I love that everything’s an event with its campaign. Well, it’s it’s just like I don’t even know if this party has got something to do with it.
And, you know, just more not time. The way we live, life has completely changed people about the home from like suffocations to dining at home events, baby showers. Home is like everything just seems to be more companionable. So I think for brands to play it smart, you’ve got to know when those campaigns and those life moments of relevance, your customers and the way you know that is through CRM and capturing that data.
Yeah, I’m going to take that and pretend I’m Eximo everything is compatible.
I’ll send you your invoice, so we’ll just contre it’ll be fine. So over the years, you must have been involved in some wonderful stuff done, some amazing campaigns and some stuff that you’re like proud of. It’s on your CV. It’s the thing you tell your mom about and the thing that you tell future employees about. But what’s on the other side of that? What mistakes have you made that you learn from something that you prepared to tell us the time when you cooked up when everything went wrong?
Tell us something about one of those.
Oh, there’s been loads. I probably should not say that. There’s been loads from. You know, when I first started off email, Marxian was actually one of my first jobs at that rate. And it was when personalisation was huge. We just figured out how to pull in a first name and see your email inbox on that subject line to be like, Hey, Andi. And I was like, I can’t believe this today at like my first piece of coding.
And I sent an email to the base that Barry was millions and that messed up the case of everybody received an email that they said, Hey, William. And, you know, everyone’s called William. So that was just in general.
But do you know how a code now that you can do the hard coding now, you were a little bit.
Yeah, that’s a great lesson.
Yeah. And what else? I mean, it’s more like career fuck ups in terms of melee left very and a few years ago for a job that was completely wrong for me. But I had was stand for a salary and a job title and I was really OK that very took me back. And so I think this time around us definitely on the left like that then. But yeah, the mistake I was I didn’t do my research. I had to stand for vanity reasons.
Yeah. I just didn’t really think.
I think what’s interesting when you talk to people about mistakes is how we’ve all made similar all the same mistakes in different ways. I mean, I once moved to a job for money, like a pay rise. And you’re like, oh, I give it.
And literally three days in that job, I sat there thinking, what the fuck of I don’t know, you just everything about. And the annoying thing is that you knew everything about. It wasn’t right.
You just ignore everything I know. I’m just like no, no, no, look at this voice in here. What are you going. Don’t do it. But the voice over here is going money, money, money, money, money, money. That’s never good. And the other one, I think I’ve talked about this before on the podcast when I worked at Durham County Cricket Club many years ago, I was marketing manager there and we sorted our own data before sending it to the mailing house.
And amazingly, using Excel, I managed to saw everybody’s last name, but not everyone’s first name. So we mailed out sixty five, maybe seventy thousand people, all of them who we had a relationship with. They were members, ticket buyers, people that we knew and sent them all out with, you know, Andi official. What, because all the last names have been organised, all those names hadn’t, which then we had to then spend two weeks putting more resource in the box office while everybody rang up.
When have you changed my last name? So it was one of those moments I like.
Oh, that’s pretty clever of. Yeah, that couldn’t go much worse on it.
That’s, that’s, that’s only the start. There is a whole series of podcasts I think about just cockups I’ve made. Not about anyone else, just me. Loads of them. I try if you haven’t messed up a lot of times you’re not trying new things. You’re not pushing out, you’re not pushing boundaries. Are you so cocky. Not too good isn’t it? Just make me feel better.
I mean, once I made and I mixed off a lifetime budget with a daily budget and so yeah.
The bad way I was the bad wife, like the worst at the most expensive way. And once you do that, you it’s ingrained, you obsess over checking that time and time again. It will never happen again.
So did you get the returns on your life and what? So you kept your job because you spent 250 grand there, but you returned half a million or something like that will go up.
What was that feeling like? Do you remember the feeling of dread going into work the next day when you realised what you don’t know yet?
Paul Barry, again, it’s this weird place. It just encourages you to get stuck in rips to open up a go, you know, who is that? You know, break fast, move fast and break things.
It was Facebook, wasn’t it?
And that was very like they really would encourage that. So I felt lucky that it was not that point. You know, obviously that would be horrendous to do to a client, you know, today. Would he be able to do it with your own money, though?
It says, but now was always really look at very that they they encouraged that way of working.
So you’ve obviously you’ve developed you started off doing brand stuff you moved into paid you most of your money and your own agency, which is a whole new learning curve all over again. So you must at least invest some time in your own training, your own development and things like that. So what do you do for your own personal development? What sort of courses do you look at? Have you done any is it just all on the job? Talk to me about training first and then I’m gonna ask you about books and podcasts and stuff like that.
I haven’t done any professional training. I just like to get stuck in on. The thing with this industry is it’s so reactive and things change so quickly that I would worry that Bookchin on to a training programme in a few months time will be completely different than what she gets at that point. I read a law I read all day, every day. I probably get through close to ten different schools a day. I love the platform and that sounds a lot.
But when you actually break it down, you know, in all schools, like a three minute, four minute rate, you don’t there’s just always something in that that’s going to add value, even if it’s not so that I can make a change on in terms of campaigns, I’m going to it. It’s something that might be a conversation starter with a new client and a new type of campaign. So it’s guy up and reading about iOS and about how that has moved now into email marketing and about how Eyup is going to mean that advertisers don’t have access to open rates or click through rates, which is really, really hard.
If you are running an email marketing team and you’re trying to prove performance and measure performance. So that should be a bit reassuring to Facebook Andi that it’s nothing personal. But, you know, the off all major channels, not just those guys, but it’s real market is a shift in themselves about a new jokin full. You know, you just got to think on your feet and think the case you thought was may not was one of my clients.
What would I do? And first of all, I’d find out how many of my customers does that fact? How many of my user base are use in an iCloud email address? This a Gmail and you see the shift. It’s like top ten, for example, Android versus iPhone users. And you figure out the split and then you just, you know, you go from there. And so I’m reading the beauty of being old is that I’ve been in marketing since before any of this existed.
So I see, like, people losing the shit over these changes. And you go, look, it was like this beforehand. You just have to work out different metrics of what success looks.
I actually yeah. I don’t really lose much shit about stuff. I think all like this is going to cakewalks. Like I like to watch stuff kind of like the drama on you. Yeah. And I’m like this is going to piss so many people off but I never think, oh my God, we’re all done for. I think there’s always a way around things.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So books are you said you read. I went off the subject book. Tell us about books that you read. Anything you’ve read recently that you’d like to share with me, sort of keep recommendations for all the listeners.
So at the moment, because I have just launched an agency, I am reading agency nomics, so that is written by Spencer Gallagher and he kind of coined the phrase agency nomics about five years ago now. And he’s been in the process of creating this book, which is great. And it’s all about how agencies can, you know, make their first million. It’s all about he literally started his agency on his own. One person. I can definitely relate to that right now.
So I’m really like I’m I’m struggling to put that down at the moment because I can just relate to all of it. And I’m actually interviewing Spencer next month. So I’ve got some really good questions lined up for him and his podcast, Eximo Starbucks.
It’s one of those things that the most difficult jobs in any organisation, I reckon, aren’t the senior ones and the junior ones. I think the middle management role where you’re where you think. Undoing the most difficult jobs, because you’ve got to get that balance right between what you supposed to do and making it happen, I always find it really, really difficult. When I consult with companies, they seem to be the people who are most stressed to the people who are doing those jobs.
So when you step into that world of right, you’ve got to do the thinking and the doing the delivery as well as the sales. And it’s a really difficult place to be in. When you found in your own agency, you kind of you’re doing everything, aren’t you? And it’s a real. Oh, OK, here’s going to do. No, I’ve got to do that. Right.
OK, yeah. No, it is bull. I’m really grateful for my experience because I’ve literally come from the bottom up like I can still to this day like that I’d still build all my own like advertising campaigns. That means that any slight change to any of the platforms on talks and I’m the first to know about it, I’m the first to test and I’m the first to run it. And I can offer that insight to clients. You know, hopefully it’s not always going to be this way.
We’ve got huge ambitions to grow our team and scale for. It is it’s been huge value for me to add that I’ve learnt this way around. And if I can get my hands dirty when needed.
Brilliant. Brilliant. Now, last question. Same question. I ask everybody what question were expecting me to ask today that I haven’t.
And I don’t know what you might come into the Iowa straw poll bit more and been like what you think think’s going to happen, but it’s really hard to predict. So I’m glad you didn’t.
Are you Team Cook? Team Zuckerberg?
And Zuckerberg, Facebook for life, yeah, and literally everyone is like, why would he try and not continue?
To me, it just feels like I don’t know if you like boxing, but, you know, when you see, like, two retired people, like Mike Tyson for Roy Jones Junior in an exhibition about maybe a year ago, maybe six months ago, something like that, Mike Tyson in his prime was one of the greatest boxers of all time. It’s just an animal. Roy Jones Junior is often talked about the best boxer of all time. Pound for pound.
He probably wasn’t, but he was an amazing boxer. But these two guys in the 50s trying to fight. Yeah. And it just it’s just unedifying. It’s not good. It looked ugly. I didn’t pay anybody to watch it Watch it.
That’s what watching Cook and Zuckerberg is like. That’s how I feel about it is like, look, I know I should be interested in this, but it’s just so far removed from what reality looks like. It’s like, look, my view on it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean whinging about it on the podcast, not going to change a thing. So I just leave the two old fellas to fight out and we’ll just deal with what comes market.
And I’ll still be there either. I mean, it was it was interesting to watch them go head to head on Facebook actually lately shit themselves because you could tell by how they were responding and if they were going out to him and they were really like, take Andi to try and fight back. And the other day it’s happening exactly what they like or not. So I think when you see a use that time to think, OK, what’s a layer on this? How are we going to what are we going to offer to not the is a solution.
I did love how Facebook suddenly rebranded themselves as the friend of small businesses. Yeah, I did a for small businesses and I say are going for the fucking organic reach back and that will make you a friend of small businesses instead of just telling them that you can’t take as much money off them. But lot friends of small businesses, those friends of your own investors, that’s all I don’t know. Bollocks to them, although all but I will just fall short of anything.
No one’s going to look a little. Thank you very much for your time. Good luck with reform the fold. And let us know when The Whistle comes out and I’ll talk about and share it.
I will. Thank you so much for having me.