Somehow we managed to get to 50 episodes. So we paused, got some regular listeners to come on and talked about lessons they’ve picked up from the show. Andi is joined by Jane Roper, Simon Caughey, Frank Olivo and Maret Reutelingsperger.

Listen below or find it on SpotifyApple and Google or just search for Strategy Sessions wherever you get your podcasts.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Sarah Shimmons (Season1, Episode 22) – how to build a brand to drive revenue
  • Lily Hecht-Leavitt and Gil David (Season 3, Episode 1) – the relationship between brand and performance marketing
  • Noémie El-Maawiy (Season 3, Episode 7) – using events holistically as part of B2B marketing
  • Koen Pauwels (Season 1, Episode 17) – the issue with how ads are measured and what impact brand has on online click through rates
  • Britney Muller (Season 2, Episode 11) – prioritise by impact (possibly the best 3 words to appear on the whole show)
  • Peep Laja (Season 3, Episode 3) – use user testing to make your communication more effective
  • Peep Laja (Season 3, Episode 3) – remember, we’re all humans. B2B doesn’t have to be boring to boring
  • Tom Critchlow (Season 2, Episode 6) and JP Castlin (Season 2, Episode 4) – Remove the distinction between strategy and execution, changing it to strategy and stewardship
  • JP Castlin (Season 2, Episode 4) – defining what marketing terms mean and why no one can agree
  • Katie Jackson (Season 1, Episode 13) – Understand the industry conventions, then decide who you’re going to break them.
  • Juliet Hodges (Season 1, Episode 23) – put a box around your prices
  • Antonia Cross (Season 2, Episode 7) – strategy first, even in a crisis
  • Aris Stamatis (Season 2, Episode 3) – why we should stop worrying about ‘the genius’ who works at an ad agency


Jane Roper runs Marketing & Communications for Co-Ownership in Northern Ireland and has her own consultancy, Behind the Ad. Jane won the worldwide award for the highest grade in CIM Level 6 and is a TEDx speaker. Find her on LinkedIn.

Simon Caughey is Marketing Manager for Devenish Nutrition Ltd and Head of Marketing for Humanativ. His roles are B2B focused and he holds the Marketing Week MiniMBA in Marketing. Find him on LinkedIn.

Maret Reutelingsperger is a self-employed consultant at Mobe Digital, working with niche B2B companies. Maret loves email automation and CRM implementations via HubSpot but mainly focuses on improving the strategic problems of client’s marketing campaigns. Find her on LinkedIn.

Frank is the Founder of Saga Pixel, an SEO focused agency that focuses on the health care industry in the USA. He’s an experienced industry professional and holds an MBA from Fox School of Business. Find him on LinkedIn.

Learn Inbound

Still time to get a ticket for Learn Inbound in Dublin. It’s coming soon – Monday 13 March, The Alex Hotel, Dublin. Tickets from €249 from

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.

[00:00:05.420] – Andi J

Eyup and welcome to The Strategy Sessions. My name is Andi Jarvis. I am the host of the show and the Strategy Director at Eximo Marketing. Thank you for coming along today. This is Episode 10 of season 3, but that’s not really important right now. What is more important is that this is episode 51 of The Strategy Sessions. If you count up all the episodes, right from episode 1 with Jen Hoffman in 2020, I think that was May, a full lockdown episode where nobody knew what the hell was happening. Fast forward to now, we’ve had 50 episodes. This is number 51, so I thought we’d do something a little bit different. If you are watching the YouTube video, you will be able to see everyone who’s on this call giving you a wave. Wave, everybody. There’s nothing like a Zoom Wave. And if you’re not on YouTube, you’re about to hear the voices of Frank, Jane, Simon, and Maret. We thought we’d bring some regular listeners of the show on to talk about some of their favourite moments, some of the lessons they’ve learned from there, and what the shows maybe help them do in their job.

[00:01:02.720] – Andi J

What I try to do with the strategy sessions is to put something together that would help me learn, but also help everybody else learn. So why not come on and talk about what people have learned over 50 episodes? So let’s do a quick introduction so you know who you’re listening to. We’ll start with you, Frank. Do you want to tell her what’s your name and where did you come from?

[00:01:19.960] – Frank O

Hi, everybody. My name is Frank Olivo. I am the founder of Saga Pixel. We are a marketing firm right outside of Philadelphia in New Jersey that works with health care providers.

[00:01:32.200] – Andi J

Brilliant. Thank you very much, Frank. Over to you, Jane.

[00:01:35.060] – Jane R

Hi, my name is Jane and I’m a marketer from Northern Ireland. I currently work for Co Ownership Housing. We are the regional provider of shared ownership in Northern Ireland. And I also do my own consulting on the side.

[00:01:48.440] – Andi J

Excellent. I’m going to embarrass Jane as well. Jane, tell us about your CIM as well, because I’m taking most of the credit for that because I reckon that your CIM qualification is all thanks to listening to the show, right?

[00:01:59.040] – Jane R

Yeah, definitely. During lockdown, 2020, 2021, I was awarded the Worldwide winner of the CIM level six in digital marketing.

[00:02:11.380] – Andi J

I think that technically means you’re the smartest marketer on the planet, something like that. So congratulations. Well done. Maret, we’ll come to you next.

[00:02:21.320] – Maret R

Hello, my name is Maret Reutelingsperger. I’ll do the surname bit. Thank you. I am a digital marketing consultant focused on inbound marketing and basically help niche B2B businesses get their stuff sorted.

[00:02:39.360] – Andi J

We have a shared passion, Maret and I, for niche B2B businesses. The more boring or the more abstract, the better. And on that note, Simon. Thanks, Andy.

[00:02:47.400] – Simon C

I am Simon Caughey. I am the market manager for a company called Devinish for an animal nutrition business and also head of marketing for a joint venture business within Devinish. Looking at how we’re enrich human or improve human health through enrichment of animal diets with Omega 3.

[00:03:06.270] – Andi J

Brilliant. Well, listen, thank you all for your time this afternoon. What we’re doing here, as I said, is we’ve all picked out some episodes that we’ve liked or some lessons that we’ve learned from them, including me, which was a real struggle because every single episode I’ve got something from. So trying to pick a couple of highlights and a couple of things has been a real challenge. So everyone’s picked some things up that they’ve learned from different episodes. I’m going to start with Jane. Tell us a little bit about the episode or episodes you picked and what came through from them.

[00:03:35.060] – Jane R

Well, my two episodes were with Sarah from Smearnaf because she talked about brand and I’m a big lover of brand marketing. And then also it was Lilly and Gil who talked about the relationship between performance marketing and brand marketing. And I guess what it reinforced for me, and we all know that you need to do brand marketing. We all know the theory of that. We all know the net and failed graph, which says X, Y, and Z. We all know that. But it’s very hard when you’re working that you don’t jump straight into performance because performance gives you those metrics that go in our dashboard at the end of the month. The director of finance loves our how much did you get from that campaign? Whereas brand marketing, it can take that year, 18 months to really show the results. And I guess what I got from both of those episodes was the importance of brand, but then the importance of brand to enhance performance. I work as well with small businesses and a lot of them want to jump straight into Facebook ads. And then a year ago, I to do the marketing, Facebook ads.

[00:04:47.000] – Jane R

And you’re like, Well, have you thought about your positioning? Have you thought about even what your brand represents? And they’re like, Oh, I don’t have a website. I’m just on social. I don’t even have a logo. I don’t have any brand values, but I’ve got this product and I just need to sell, sell, sell. I don’t have any time to do all of that fluff in the background. And you go to them, we need to stop and think about all of that stuff before you even go to Facebook because you know, shed in shed out basically. You’re just going to throw your money away and then go Facebook ads don’t work. And I think that an awful lot of performance marketers get a bad rep sometimes because they can’t make… If you haven’t done the foundation work, they cannot go and get you the results that you want long term. They might be able to get you a short term, but they can help you get the long term results that you need. So I think it’s really key to understand that relationship. And it was just good to hear those real life examples because an awful lot of the examples that we would use would be bigger companies that people would be like, oh, but that’s okay for that company because they have all of this in the bank.

[00:05:57.530] – Jane R

They have a team of five. They do X, Y, and Z said. But then you hear Gill and Lily talk about smaller brands, smaller teams, and how they’ve made that work.

[00:06:07.480] – Andi J

You must have the patience of a saint, to be honest with you, because I think if I started working with companies like that, I’d be like, Oh, yeah, that’s lovely. Where are you going? Just away from you. I don’t think I could stay in the room any longer. I’d be like, That’s me. Best of luck, I’m going. But you’re right. I think a recurring theme on the podcast from Michael from Mailchimp, Kyle Lacey was on from Lessonly, and a couple of others coming through the hall is that brand marketing in the performance world, because performance marketers do attract my eye quite a lot. Bit for inventing marketing for us 10, 12 years ago, which is what they seem to think happened. But there is an element where performance is needed to keep the things going. But brand is a real core element to it. I’m going to throw this at you, Frank, for a moment. In your world working with health care providers, brand must be a real key lever for them. I know you’re working on SEO, but that must be quite an important factor for them in a world where everyone’s products are probably broadly similar.

[00:07:04.550] – Andi J

And if they’re a techy, they’re all underwritten probably by the same companies as well.

[00:07:10.400] – Frank O

Yeah. And aside from that, it’s very much a, to use Google S term or YMYL. If you’re looking for an interventional radiologist or p ulmonologist, you’re making life altering decisions, sometimes brand is critical. I can share. My wife is a physician at a hospital that was bought by Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, which is in this region, the largest hospital system and employer actually in the region. And she had patients come in saying things like, I can really tell the change since Jefferson’s taken this over when literally all that they did was change the sign up front. I mean, it’s exactly the same place, but the perception, the reputation has a big impact on the work that we do as marketers, even in the area of performance marketing, which is actually tied into the lesson that I got from the episode that I’m going to talk about.

[00:08:09.710] – Andi J

Yeah, come on. Let’s jump in because I was going to take us down a blind alley with a story about wine. So look, let’s talk about that. Your episode was Distinguished Professor Kompus. If I’ve pronounced that correctly, I got his name wrong all the time on the episode as well. But Cohen is a tremendous brand. So let’s talk about that episode.

[00:08:29.180] – Frank O

Yeah. In that episode, he talked about a lot of different things. The part that I liked the most, and I don’t know necessarily if it was something that I didn’t know, but to Jane’s point, brand really does impact a lot of everything that we do. And in that episode specifically, they talked about the case with eBay and their paid search and how the impact of paid search didn’t or running paid search didn’t really help eBay. But the thing is that eBay had this brand that it could rely on that they could stop running ads and people would still click on the organic result, not the once off off brand auction website that was bidding on eBay’s brand keywords. I think that we very often as digital marketing… My experience, my perception is that a lot of people in performance marketing, PPC, SEO, social media, often the ones that aren’t, let’s say, top notch discount the value of brand. And it’s very much about optimizing creative and targeting and whatnot.

[00:09:41.220] – Andi J

And I think that’s been fueled by the joy of last click attribution, hasn’t it? Which understandably has been promoted by the people who benefit most, the Googles, the Facebooks, or Metas or whatever they’re called these days. The phrase that they use over here a lot is to market their own homework. They provide all the analytics, they provide the measurements of success, and also the keys to the house to get to the people you want. And I think until independent verification comes in, like there is in TV and radio and traditional advertising, it’ll be hard for them to get away from that. But performance marketing world has done really well in terms of getting units out of the door, but that lack of focus on brand, I think, does harm them in the long run. And especially, although I don’t also think it’s helped by the agency model because you can churn through an agency who’ll just get a lot of wins for you. You get bored of them, all their success starts to wane and people just hop to another agency and then hop to another agency. And actually, the problem you’ve got isn’t an agency problem, it’s a brand problem.

[00:10:41.840] – Andi J

But nobody gets into those discussions, do they? So it’s difficult. But no, that was a great episode.

[00:10:49.320] – Jane R

Sorry. Just on that note about agencies, I actually think that agencies need to be more accountable and agencies need to bring… An agency is an educator as well and we work with some really good agencies that bring us on that journey. And it’s also about working on that long term vision. There’s no point in working with an agency for six months because by the time you get them in, get them brought up to see your brand. You’ve three months in and then three months to do something. And you have a bigger company to go in through all the levels to get things signed off. So I think that agencies need to be more accountable. But at the same time, we need to ask as marketers, as inhouse marketers, we need to put our agencies through their places and not go, oh, they’re an agency. They must be the expert. And it’s to have those conversations that go, actually, no, this is not right. I remember first when I joined ownership, I came in mid campaign, and the agency that we were working with at the time, they produced this amazing report. And I was like, But they’re not the metrics I want to see.

[00:11:57.310] – Jane R

I was just like, They’re talking about reach and impressions. And I was like, But this campaign was meant to be around conversions. And an agency is very good at highlighting the figures sometimes that if the campaign hasn’t worked so well, they’ll be like, Okay, well, we’ll just give them reach and impressions because that looks really good and we’ll hide those under. So I do think that we have to fight back to the agency and go, Actually, no, this is where we are.

[00:12:23.830] – Andi J

Morret, you’re nodding quite hard. I think you’re going to get us all back. Come on now.

[00:12:29.100] – Maret R

Well, I was actually just going to say, it goes hand in hand, doesn’t it, Jane, to the point that you’re saying, actually, where you might hire an agency for either specialism, whether that is one particular channel in digital or one particular channel within the bigger picture. But actually, as an inhouse marketer, you are the specialist on the brand. And like you said, the agency might try and just say, oh, well, these are the things we know how to do, we’ll do them and something is going. But it’s a partnership. It should be a partnership, not just like a workload relief.

[00:13:12.000] – Jane R

Yeah. And it’s like having the strength or the courage, possibly on an agency part to go, This isn’t working. I don’t want to say your brand isn’t up to scratch, but where you’re positioning yourself. So, for example, if you’re positioning yourself as a luxury product, someone with expertise, but actually all the little indicators, say on your website, your URLs aren’t working, even other things like that, the wee small micro details that everyone goes, Oh, but it’s so small, no one cares. Actually, those are the little details. I think sometimes in agency needs to turn around and go, actually how you’re positioning yourself isn’t going to get you where you want to go. And it’s those awkward conversations because everyone wants to be like, oh, yeah, we love our agency. We get on so well. Isn’t it so great? Things are going fantastic.

[00:14:01.700] – Andi J

There’s nothing burns an agency’s credibility quicker than putting the metrics that worked for them at the top of the report and the actual ones the client cares about buried because they were terrible. I always say to agencies when I’m working with them is that put the things with a pound sign or a dollar sign or a euro sign, put that first and then use the others to justify those. Don’t go the other way around where the reach was wonderful. People read the… How many times have you given a report of 1, 10, 200 pages to a client? They look at the first page and they go to the back page to see what it’s going to cost. Everything else gets going by the wayside. So go with it on page one. But it can be difficult because being an agent, I’m going to come back to you, Frank, with this. Being an agent, there’s a line, isn’t there, between order taking where you just need to get stuff done for the client sometimes and challenging and pushing back. Because if you push back on everything and if you question everything, they just start to see you as, I are awkward to work with.

[00:14:53.230] – Andi J

We’ll get you another agency. But if all you do is just take instruction from them when stuff inevitably doesn’t work because they don’t know as much as you do about the thing they’ve brought you in to do, they don’t go, Oh, well, it was my fault. It was your fault. If you didn’t think it was the right idea, why didn’t you push back? It’s difficult is what I’m trying to say.

[00:15:13.180] – Frank O

Yeah, very much. I think that any agency that fails to position itself or put itself in a position of the trusted advisor with the client is setting itself up for, at best, a difficult engagement.

[00:15:30.480] – Andi J

They become the ones where you get a phone call at 9 PM on a Friday night demanding something happens before 11 PM and all that thing that just makes agency life hell. I could see you’ve got those scars, haven’t you, Frank?

[00:15:43.460] – Frank O

Yeah, we’re lucky. Our clients really aren’t that… I haven’t gotten a call at 9 PM on a Friday before. Maybe it’s just the industry that we serve. But I worked at a creative agency before I opened SagaPixel, and we work through the weekend often with stuff like that.

[00:16:05.780] – Andi J

And sometimes that can be bad planning by the agency and bad delivery, not understanding things, but also it could just be bad clients as well. Which actually is not bad clients, that’s not why I’m coming to you, M uret. But I don’t know if it’s the one you mentioned, but we talked about the Tom Critchlow episode offline because Tom does a lot with agencies and helping agencies to people in agencies to be better. So did you take anything from the Tom episode at all?

[00:16:33.440] – Maret R


[00:16:34.190] – Jane R

I think.

[00:16:36.740] – Maret R

Certainly within the UK and I’m sure in the US as well and everywhere in the world, here’s me quickly covering everything.

[00:16:43.220] – Andi J

I cover every base.

[00:16:46.920] – Maret R

Tom Critchlow is quite a well renowned within certain areas and certainly in my where I work. He’s amazing for not just, I think, making strategy available to people and accessible to people, but actually breaking it down as to how people in different situations can use it. He’s great. I don’t have one particular learning from the episode with Tom Critchlow, other than I love the way he tells the story. He really knows how to drive a point home, and he’s just generally lovely to listen to.

[00:17:35.940] – Andi J

Just an all round good guy. So, Tom, there was a great lesson I took, which will get me to talk about JP Kastlin down the line in a minute. But Tom, in strategy, which is what I do, there’s a lot of talk about the divide between strategy and execution. Tom just moves it. He talks about strategy and stewardship because if all you do is throw something over the divide onto, well, you’ve come up with this wonderful strategy, we’re the clever ones, you go on and do it. And if it doesn’t work, it’s obviously the execution that was shit. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve used that excuse several times to get out of trouble. But if that’s all you do, you just create this dichotomy between two different groups of people. It’s either the strategy that’s wrong or it’s not that. It’s strategy. And then you’ve got to have a responsibility for the stewardship of it. What happens next? It gets away from this execution thing and it keeps you intact and part of that delivery. That was a really key lesson for me from Tom to take away. It does lead into something else from JP Kastlin, but I will talk about that in a minute because I only know Tom through his brother Will, who was involved at Distilled, and I met Will through Search Love.

[00:18:44.850] – Andi J

Search Love is an event. I am segueing quite awkwardly into talking to Simon here because Simon’s key learning was about event marketing. From Tom to Will, from Will to events, from events into Simon. So Simon talked to us about No Way Me’s Episode, which is the one that you took a lot from.

[00:19:05.640] – Frank O

I think it came at the right time and that we were starting to plan for an event. With COVID, our first major in person event in about four years. Part of it was it’s a common sense approach. Prep for the event, do the event, and then prep for what you’re going to do afterwards. I think part of it is just getting us back into the way of getting that right. I would say from our team, it’s probably been much more better organized in advance as to how we can promote it in advance, making sure that people that are going to come onto the stand. This event is in in Bangkok. In Asia Pacific, we work through distributors. We’re not always interacting directly with that end customer from a marketing team in Belfast. It’s about getting those potential leads warm ed up to make most of the time on the stand when they’re talking to our team, but also then how we can promote our presence there to also get other new people to get them aware of the Davenham Brand to maximize our time there.

[00:20:19.860] – Andi J

I don’t necessarily think myself as a B2B or B2C marketer. I do a little bit of both and I have done for a number of years. But I do know when I first moved from consumer marketing and into business to business marketing, it becomes mind blowing how so much of the B2B world is driven from trade shows. You’re like, This can’t be the best way of doing it. But year after year after year, it tends to work out to be one of the best ways of doing it, isn’t it? And it has an outsize, it’s a huge impact on everything you do. And the four years without it must be quite a shock.

[00:20:54.060] – Simon C

Yeah, it’s nice to get back to in person events. Look, we can all do a reaction by teams. But I think part of it is about getting out and meeting the people face to face, people buy from people. I suppose as part of that, we’re also doing an event, a boat trip actually outside of the main event, which is in the evening, the organizers have decided to move the venue to a slightly more awkward position. One of the easiest ways to get back is actually to hire a boat and come down the river back in the downtown Bangkok. We’re doing that one of the nights and an opportunity for us to get to know our customers on a more personal basis. So looking forward to that one.

[00:21:38.360] – Andi J

There is so much of B2B marketing events that just sounds like living the dream until you’re actually there working on it and you’re doing 16 hours days. And it’s not actually the dream, but it’s still nice though, isn’t it? Sometimes when you do that.

[00:21:52.060] – Simon C

Well, especially I don’t have the most adventurous palette in the world, should we say?

[00:22:01.620] – Andi J

Chips with everything.

[00:22:03.940] – Simon C

Yes. So a week in Bicocke will be a challenge. But look, it’s all part of the fun. Could be worse.

[00:22:11.350] – Andi J

Could be worse. Morret, you do a lot in B2B as well. How do you find that trade show element works?

[00:22:17.270] – Maret R

Sadly, I don’t get to do that much with that anymore. In the past, though, at previous jobs, I have been. It’s almost like… I don’t know if you find this. I did mention earlier, I’m not sure if this is an Andy Jarvis trademark phrase, but we say B2B, we call it boring to boring, though. Don’t we? O ften the industries are just filled with jargon and acronyms and words. And I feel like trade shows actually give us an opportunity to be like, Oh, yeah. Humans just talking to humans.

[00:23:05.300] – Andi J

And I know when you’re selling technical products, you have to demonstrate that you know the technical capabilities that the buyer is looking for. You 100 % have to do that. But you also have to remember that certainly in big ticket B2B items, not if you’re buying… Even if you are buying pens, but the bigger the ticket or if something’s coming with a six, seven figure annual fee, that’s not a decision taken by one person. There will be a series of subject matter experts who love all that technical bullshit. But you’ve probably also got to get the finance director to sign it off or the CFO or whoever in finance. You’ve probably got a sales team who might need to use that software. You might even have a bundle of people if it’s a SaaS product who are going to use it. And if it’s a big enough ticket thing, it’s probably going to go to the board. Ninety % of the decision makers that don’t talk this nonsense. So you do need that. But it has a place in a bit of this. It’s not all of it. And I think you’re right, trade shows where people appear in front of you and you’re shaking hands with them and you’re drinking coffee with them or doing the can can on a riverboat coming down Bangkok, all those things just make you remember that actually that’s a person buying from us.

[00:24:11.940] – Andi J

I think it’s a hugely important element.

[00:24:14.240] – Maret R

I’d say it’s probably the biggest thing I tend to tell clients.

[00:24:20.840] – Andi J

So have you got the can can plan, Simon, for the riverboat? Is that part of the entertainment?

[00:24:25.500] – Simon C

Not this year. No. I’ve done that in the past and I don’t put it away. So we’ll keep it under wraps.

[00:24:33.380] – Andi J

One of the… While we’re talking B2B and messaging, I’m going to come back to you, Maret, and our pet layers episode, who runs a B2B messaging firm. In fact, does he just step down from doing that? He might have stepped down since the episode, or at least…

[00:24:51.430] – Maret R

Anyway, he might have stepped down from the conference. That’s clearly because the episode helped.

[00:24:56.030] – Andi J

There’s actually a scary number of people who appear on the show and then within six months seem to be in a different job. I’m assuming it’s all by their own choice rather than somebody senior’s gone, Why have you appeared on that podcast and elbow them out of the company? Let’s take it as a positive. What did you take from Pep’s episode? Because I think, Frank, you also found this a good one. I’ll come to you first, Morén.

[00:25:18.770] – Maret R

Yeah. First of all, I can’t really remember what he said now, but I remember that you were like, Oh, hi, here’s Pep. How are you? And he said something like, I don’t know. It included some swearing and it was like, I’m kicking ass or so. Anyway, it made.

[00:25:39.250] – Andi J

Me laugh. Yeah, he said something like, Yeah, kicking ass right from the off.

[00:25:43.320] – Maret R

And I feel like that was just the tone of the episode. But what I really got from that episode is how important it is to communicate. And we forget, we particularly marketers, we’re like, communicate to the leads, communicate to the potential customers, communicate outwards. But there’s so much more to communication. It’s like you’ve just said, big decisions don’t just go to that lead. They don’t just go to the facilities manager, whoever found your marketing, your external marketing. It goes up to potentially to the CEO of whatever company that is. And so, yeah, knowing how to communicate clearly. I think one thing he said that stuck with me was the amount of companies that don’t make it clear what they do on their homepage, but do have a CTA at the top that says, book for a meeting now or call now for a demo. And what do you do? I don’t even know how you can help me.

[00:26:52.780] – Andi J

Yeah, but you want me to buy now?

[00:26:53.860] – Maret R

That really stuck.

[00:26:56.080] – Simon C

With me. It’s like a LinkedIn follow up email message on LinkedIn. You’ve connected with them for five minutes and they’re immediately trying to sell you something.

[00:27:06.650] – Andi J

You’ve omitted a lot of buzzwords at me and now you want a meeting. It’s like, come on, what do you want that for? There’s two things about what you said there about PEP. I think firstly is that a lot of the time that confusion on the homepage comes from an internal confusion. I do this when I’m running workshops with companies, you’ll get people in from different departments and you just say, Write down what it is that this company does, or write down the mission statement, or just the key things that you do, depends on the company. Inevitably, if there’s 20 people in the room, you’ll get 18 different things. If no one in this room knows what the fuck you’re doing, how are we supposed to communicate that externally? That’s my first interesting thing. I am going to come to you in a second, Frank, about Pep’s episode because I think you liked it too. But the second one is, this is probably my favourite story of finding a guest is Pep’s episode because I’ve known some of the guests personally. I’ve approached some people, I’ve said, Look, I interviewed this person. I’d love to get this person on.

[00:28:04.140] – Andi J

He put a LinkedIn post up, which the headline was, The Story is the Strategy. And then he went on to talk about this. Now, every single word of his LinkedIn post I thought was incorrect. And usually, I scrolled past these things and I think I was sat in an airport late at night or whatever it was, and I had time on my hands. And I started reading the comments and everyone in the comments was like, Yeah, Pep, you’ve got this right. Yeah, Pep, you’ve got this right. You’ve got this right. I was like, Everything’s wrong about this. So I was like, Right, rolled my sleeves up and went into the comments and I was that dick who went into the comments and was like, Actually, Pep, I think you’ll find you’re not quite right. And then later into his post, he then replied… And actually, then the next morning, I woke up, I was like, Actually, you’re just an arsehole last night. So I sent him a direct message apologising for being a bit of an arse. I apologised on the thread as well. I said, This isn’t the place for this debate. I sent him a message, said, Look, thanks very much for taking it in the right way.

[00:28:56.580] – Andi J

I disagree with what you said, but that wasn’t the forum to do it and it wasn’t the way to do it. And he was lovely about it. And I said, Can we get you on the podcast to discuss this? And he was like, Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s get it on. So from being a dick, I actually got him onto the episode to talk about it. Luckily, not every episode guest comes along like that, but that’s how Pep came up. T hat diversion. Over to you, Frank, what did you take from Pep’s episode?

[00:29:21.620] – Frank O

Pep’s episode is going to be a little hard for me because I listen to his podcast pretty religiously as well. I have this hodgepodge of lessons that I’ve learned from PEP. It’s going to be hard for me to distinguish whether it was on your episode or was one of the 20 that I’ve listened to.

[00:29:38.680] – Andi J

I do love his intro. I don’t do fluff, I don’t do bullshit.

[00:29:43.750] – Frank O

I also like how that episode, he employs something that is good teaching as well, where he recaps the lessons and the key takeaways from all of his guests at regular intervals. But actually, I would say that now that I’m hearing from Aret, what she was talking about, the messaging and the CTA, that would probably have been the big thing that I got from that episode as well. I see it all the time. And it’s also nice to hear someone of his stature also recognising the same problem that we get with all kinds of even small businesses as well as hospital systems.

[00:30:26.240] – Andi J

Yeah. And, Jane, working with smaller businesses, do you find… The one thing I love about marketing, big companies or small companies, we all seem to come across the same problems, don’t we? Is it the same working with the smaller companies and that co ownership as well? Do you find the same getting that clarity of message is really quite difficult to do?

[00:30:42.300] – Jane R

Yeah, because it goes You jump straight into, Oh, we do this, we do this, where you actually don’t go, well, what problem do I solve for the customer? So what search query are they putting in to get them to our website? What are they doing before they come to you? It’s putting yourself back a step. And again, not rushing in and going, Oh, we’re fabulous, because no one’s got… Who is the book… The One Page Marketing plan. I did forgot a little bit, but I did get this recommendation for you, so it works to read it. He talks about that most people offer a commodity product. And he says, so you’re not really that unique and you could talk about a unique selling point, but it’s that how you deliver yourself your message and how you position yourself. And if you stick to your three brand messages, and people think when you talk about messaging that you need about 10 messages, no stick to like, just have one, just do and that’s become their slogan. And just constantly repeat that because people go, Oh, I need to talk about this. I need to have an opinion on that.

[00:31:51.820] – Jane R

I need to talk about this because it makes me look like that. And you’re going, No, just come back and keep it really clear. What problem are you solving? Use the customer’s language that they’re saying. Don’t try and use all this technical jarg in. Yes, later on, once you’ve got them onto the website or through the door, you can show your expertise. But actually, as Maren said before the episode, talk to them like a human and really be clear on your messaging. When I work with small businesses, I say, just give me three. Just give me three messages that you constantly want to promote all the time that they become your brand messages and then how do they fit into your product.

[00:32:29.640] – Andi J

I always think if you spend time with your customer, the number one thing you can do as a marketer is go and spend time with your customers. And not necessarily on a… Like Simon’s going to do on a boat in Bangkok. Don’t get me wrong, that’s important. But if you ever get a chance to go and spend time in a customer’s organization and just watch what they do. Everything that you do in marketing changes from that moment on. Why? Because you see that they don’t sit around all day in their offices going, I wonder if we should? Let’s look at that slogan again from that company we’re contemplating buying something for. We’ve got three competitors. Let’s admire all their slogans and think about what he wins. Each one is going to do for us. They run around going, We’ve got to make payroll this month, and we’ve got a key client that hasn’t paid an invoice for six months. Somebody’s gone off. Joe from the production line’s had a heart attack. Do we need to send some flowers to his wife? How’s he doing? There’s all of this stuff going on. And what you do is like a tiny percentage of the thing that they’re doing in the whole week.

[00:33:27.830] – Andi J

Even if they’re going to block out a whole day to make a decision on your product. That’s one day in the whole year that they’re going to think in depth about you. You’re just a fly buzzing around the room is all you are. And when you see yourself in those terms, you actually do start to go, Okay, well, what’s the one thing we could say to them that’s going to make them stop and go, Oh yeah, I need that thing. And it’s never here’s 10,000 things that I need to tell you in bullet points on a pull up stand.

[00:33:54.740] – Jane R

And it’s that thing of put the feedback loop in. A lot of companies don’t put the feedback loop in as part of their process. So they’re sold to the customer and go, Oh yeah, we’re amazing. We made that target. Look at our lovely report. But they forget to put that feedback loop in. So whether it be an automated survey, whether they do six quarterly or six monthly reviews with key accounts, they just go, Oh yeah, the customer is bought, customer is happy. The customer could be completely badmouthing your product and being like, No, it’s awful, it’s blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. All this. I think that again, educating about marketing, people think that there’s only one pay and it’s promotion. No, there’s process, which is a really key part of marketing that I think gets completely overlooked. And in ownership, we do an awful lot of feedback. We do big feedbacks from research groups and then even monthly feedbacks for trust pilot reviews, survey monkey reviews, because then people go, I don’t have the time or the expertise or the money to do all of that. And you’re like, survey monkey is free and you have the data.

[00:35:00.280] – Jane R

So you have no excuse.

[00:35:02.360] – Andi J

Absolutely. I want to ask a question to you, M uret. I want to talk about Brittany and Molle. One of the things… I forgot to give you a pre warning about this beforehand. Sorry about this. But the top tip feature is making a comeback in this episode. In the early episodes, you used to have the top tip with a bit of a theme tune that I would sing, it would be terrible. Then the guest would give just a one liner or two line tip that people could take away. Have a think, each of you, about a tip that you could give because before we get to the end of the episode, the top tip theme tune is going to come back. So that’s fair warning for it. But Morret, I want you to talk about Brittany because we both had the same take away from her episode, which I loved. There was a lot to love about the whole episode, but there was one thing she said that stood out.

[00:35:45.390] – Maret R

Brittany is such a brainy woman, isn’t she? She’s amazing. I love her so much. And I’ve seen her talk live a few times. She’s amazing. But yeah, what I what I learned from that episode was really about how to prioritise what has the biggest impact at that time. Because there’s always a longer to do list. There’s always more stuff to do. And I guess for me coming into a business as an external person, gives me a couple of benefits because suddenly I am this fresh pair of eyes and there’s this thing that when someone can say, Well, an external person noticed, blah, blah, blah, blah, for example, you have a stupid CTA at the top of your homepage. Suddenly, when you can say actually someone else, an external consultant has noticed that it gives some weight, so suddenly there’s more conversations that you can have.

[00:36:59.020] – Andi J

There is a phrase, Sorry, to interrupt you. There’s a phrase they use in Ireland where first of all, they call consultants insults a lot of the time. Secondly, they say, What is it that consultants do? They say, They take your watch and tell you the time. I do say, Look, 80 % of my job is just parroting back recommendations that someone else in the organization has already put together. Sorry, carry on.

[00:37:19.000] – Maret R

No, I agree. It’s often the knowledge is already there. It’s about getting it out in a way that different stakeholders can digest it. It’s all about that communication again. What I try to understand is, what is the biggest pain point and what is the biggest focus for the company or for my contact person so that we can actually highlight, say, Well, these are actually the biggest pain points. This is how to fix them. And you can almost go, Okay, if it’s a big pain point and it’s easy to fix, do that one.

[00:37:58.120] – Maret R

And so you are prioritising by the impact your work can have. It’s a bit like, I’m sure I’ve learned this in one of the other episodes, but I can’t remember for the life of me which one. But there’s always that 80 20 rule, right? So 20 % of the work can make 80 % of the difference, and that’s what we want to do.

[00:38:18.260] – Andi J

When she used that line, prioritized by impact, I loved it. It’s so simple and so effective. I make some notes during the episodes. I went away going, Does prioritised by impact lead you to performance marketing? Does it lead you to short term thinking? Is that a drawback of it? And I thought, Maybe I’m just overanalyzing this a little bit. Actually, impact doesn’t say short term impact. It just says by impact. So I really love that. And it’s a good rallying cry just to bring people back to, Okay, we’ve got all of these things that need to do. And in every organization, I’ve worked with some of the biggest organisations around expeders, Budweiser and people like that, endless numbers of people. But you never have enough people or enough money to do all the things you want to do. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re working in a one person organization or a 2,000 or 20,000 or 200,000, there’s never enough people time or money to do everything you want to do. So you have to make prioritisation a priority.

[00:39:12.140] – Maret R

And one thing, if I can add that I really loved among that is that she said, make it visible, stick it on your computer, stick it on the intranet, stick it on whatever dashboard you have internally. Make that priority, make that impact that you can make that the department can make. Make it visible so that we’re all working to the same story to actually bring it to PEPs episode. Everyone’s working to that same. That’s it.

[00:39:44.300] – Andi J

Absolutely. And Simon, everyone else except you is a consultancy agency world. You’ve had consultants in and worked with agencies and things like that. How do you view that insultant take your watch and tell you the time issue?

[00:40:02.100] – Simon C

I actually have had reasonably good experiences. We don’t use a huge amount of consultants in the business. A lot of it is done in house. But certainly, say, the likes of the Humana tive brand that we did, we work with an agency, I just had a brilliant relationship with them and we’re really delighted with the results. There’s other times where we’ve done something, we’ve got consultants in to do something, we make slight tweaks and part of that back to prep, get your brief rate. There’s been a bit of a tweak and then suddenly, oh, well, actually to do that’s going to cost you an extra 50 % of your original budget, which then ultimately you shell the thing because you’re saying, well, we’re not willing to invest all that extra to fix those things. I think part of it is just making sure that brief is right in the first instance. If you have that.

[00:40:52.150] – Andi J


[00:40:53.050] – Simon C

That’s going to certainly help.

[00:40:56.200] – Andi J

Get that right. Frank, you’re obviously on the other end of this as well. What are the great signs or the green flags you look for when somebody comes about an engagement? What are the red flags that you look for that makes you think, I don’t know if I want to work with these?

[00:41:10.740] – Frank O

I would say it would be the green flags. First thing is that we can help them, obviously. It sounds a little ridiculous to say that, but I see plenty of agencies and even consultants that take on clients for whatever reason that they may or may not be able to help. We, for example, do very little with social media, and I’ll have clients come in that they have a product that just screams performance marketing on social media ads, and we’ll tell them that. We’re really not the company for you. Obviously, a red flag. A green flag would be a company that is not looking for a short term fix that understands that SEO, for example, can trying to speed up SEO can be like speeding up a turtle. At the same time, a company that has a the does have a strong reputation and brand. Again, getting back to the topic before, that’s also a green flag. We don’t want to work with a plastic surgeon that has negative reviews, for example.

[00:42:13.580] – Andi J

I don’t want them working on me either.

[00:42:16.380] – Frank O

Yeah. Those would be the big ones.

[00:42:19.380] – Andi J

Yeah. Cool. Before we come to the top tip, I’m going to put Simon on the spot first for the top tip, but you’ve got another minute or two just while I talk about a couple of things I learned from the show. Jp Kastlin, who I’ve mentioned a couple of times, had a big impact on… And I mentioned JP’s work in almost all presentations I give now. He wrote a piece in Marketing week, which talks about the language of marketing being imprecise. And if we did, even on this episode, say, what does strategy mean? There’s five of us here would probably get five slightly different answers. Jp’s background is as a lawyer, before he retrained and moved into… He’s not really marketing strategy, he’s more corporate strategy. But in law, everything has a certain term. A murder is a murder, and there is a definition of that. He talks about how that gets marketers into a lot of holes. Then he moved on to talk about this strategy into execution pit, which fit really well with what Tom was saying, Sam Critchford. I found that really good. I love the episode. If you don’t follow JP on LinkedIn or Twitter, just do because he’s great and there’s some good stuff in there.

[00:43:21.880] – Andi J

I also took a lot from Katie Jackson, who was at an agency at the time. She now works for channel 4, a broadcaster in the UK. She runs their inhouse agency. She was talking about conventions. They do work which has been classed as disruptive, or the agency she works for did. And I was like, Oh, no, not disruptive work. And she was like, Look, it’s really easy. Every industry has conventions and you have to understand they are. And then if you know what they are, you can find which ones you can play around with. And it was just a really simple way of talking about it. From a marketing perspective, from an advertising perspective, particularly, you just have to understand what the conventions of the industry are and then find out which ones you can play with that match to your brand. And it was just, again, a real simplicity of working out how you do that. So I love that one. And what else did I love? Antonio Cross. So Antonio, I met at an event. She was speaking at an event and her process was broadly the same as mine, which blew my mind.

[00:44:17.480] – Andi J

So I brought her on the podcast and she worked for a charity, small budgets, a homeless charity in Bristol. And COVID hit and all their income just nosedived. I said, What did you do? And she was like, Well, strategy first, even in a crisis. She was like, A crisis means you have to make sure your strategy is right because you don’t have a chance to get it wrong. You get one shot at this. And there’s so many companies I go and work with and they’re like, We don’t really have time to do this strategy thing because we’re just too busy doing. We just get out there and do it. And you’re like, The busier you are, the faster you move, the more important that strategy is. So you know that everyone’s moving broadly in the same direction. Otherwise, it’s just chaos. So there’s some lovely stuff there. And then I’m going to save for the end two more lessons, one from Ares and one from you, L iud. Now, it’s the moment Muret’s been waiting for, if nobody else. I’m going to sing the top tip theme tune, Simon, and you’re going to give us a top tip.

[00:45:06.500] – Andi J

And then we’ll start to let you all go because we’ve overshot the time limit. So are you all ready for this? It’s time for a top tip. Simon.

[00:45:17.740] – Simon C

Right. M y tip is just take a step back. I think we’ve talked about everybody’s… You’re going to be busy jumping in quick and people just trying to get results and I want to do this. I think it’s take a step back and make sure it’s the right move that you’re going to make in the first place.

[00:45:33.410] – Andi J

Absolutely. And I’d add on to that as well. If you’re going to take a step back, go and spend some of that time in a client’s office because by doing that, it just changes your perspective. Absolutely changes your perspective. I love that. Frank, I’m going to come to you next. We’re going to do the lads first. Lads, lads, lads. Right, time for a team OPT IP.

[00:45:51.460] – Frank O

I would say my top tip would be to better understand how what you do fits into the broader picture of the entire organization.

[00:45:59.060] – Andi J


[00:45:59.720] – Frank O

Preach. I think everywhere from finance to accounting to HR, the work that we do ties into all of that and we very often lose sight of that.

[00:46:12.760] – Andi J

One of the things I really lost in COVID was getting into people’s offices. And the water cooler moments, which don’t really take place on water coolers anymore. I don’t smoke, but I always go out and stand with the smokers when I can just because you hear so much more. You go and talk to the finance team and they go, What’s the big problem for you? Here’s the big problem for us. It might not be relevant, but just understanding what they do and where it fits in the organization. Absolute gold. Absolute gold. Thank you. Jane, coming to you next year. Ready? It’s time for a top tip.

[00:46:43.170] – Jane R

My top tip is to stop talking and start listening. Marketers, we tend.

[00:46:50.340] – Andi J

To talk. Stop talking?

[00:46:51.050] – Jane R

Yeah, stop talking. Terrible idea.

[00:46:53.420] – Andi J

Terrible idea. Jane, thanks very much for coming. I’m going to put you on mute again. Bye. Stop talking?

[00:46:58.910] – Jane R

What? Because marketers, we normally go in and we say, Oh, this is your problem. This is this. This is how we can deliver, because we have all these tactics, but we don’t listen to the issues and what you were saying about the water cooler moments. We don’t go and spend time with other teams. We don’t listen to our customers sometimes. We don’t listen to the culture. You can have this great strategy, but if your culture is really, really bad, you’re never really going to improve. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. So I think that as marketers, we need to stop and listen to what is actually going on instead of going, Oh, we know how to fix this.

[00:47:30.780] – Andi J

We’ve got this. You’re going to start doing Ice Ice Baby then.

[00:47:33.600] – Jane R

I know.

[00:47:33.950] – Andi J

I got to stop calibrating and listen. Right. Morret, a special treat for everyone. I’ll even let you do the top tip theme tune and then you can do top tip for yourself.

[00:47:44.750] – Maret R

Good. I’m so excited. All right, here it comes. I’m ready for a top tip.

[00:47:53.560] – Andi J


[00:47:54.770] – Maret R

Well, actually, my top tip has already been mentioned throughout the episode and actually follows James perfectly. So when you’re done being quiet and you’ve listened and you’ve been at the water cooler, remember that we’re all humans.

[00:48:10.940] – Frank O


[00:48:11.100] – Jane R

All just.

[00:48:12.600] – Maret R

Humans trying to do our day, trying to do our best, and we don’t always need all that jargon. Come on, just talk like a human.

[00:48:23.210] – Andi J

Absolutely. No, I love all of those. I love all of those. And what I’m going to do is I say this and it means I’m going to have to do it. But I’m going to put a little blog together from the information you’ve all sent me in advance as prep for this, so we can have a 50th episode learnings blog as well put together for this. But I just wanted to finish with a couple of little bits that stood out from some of the episodes. One of them was from a guy called Aris Domatis, a German guy with the most amazing beard that made me really jealous. But he was trained as a classical guitarist and he met Leonard Bernstein when he was doing that. Towards the end of the episode, he just said, When you’ve met Leonard Bernstein, that’s genius. What we do, it’s just advertising. It’s just really disparaging. We keep talking about these geniuses in advertising, and this guy was like, No, this guy’s a genius. These guys, it’s just advertising. It’s just such a lovely way of bringing everyone back into the box of let’s remember what it is that advertising actually is.

[00:49:18.420] – Andi J

And then one of my favourite lessons talking about consumer psychology with Julia Hodges, who worked at Booper at the time, she’d done some research into the impact of changing things on menus in restaurants. Taking pound signs off, for example, drove up the number of people who bought that thing, which was weird. But my favourite thing was that if you put a box around something on a menu, three times more people order that than if you don’t have a box around it. Which just reminded me that as Maret said, we’re all humans and we’re all a bit strange. And you’ve just got to really remember that when you’re in marketing that your audience is just weird. We’re all a bit weird. And if you talk to your customers, that’s my top tip, talk to your customers. Because when you do that, you just remember how strange and weird and wonderful everybody is. So listen, we’re over time, miles over time, and you’ve all got jobs to do and things to go back to. So apologies for keeping you so long. But Frank, Jane, Simon, Morret, thank you very much for your time. It has been absolutely wonderful having you here.

[00:50:15.310] – Andi J

Thank you so.

[00:50:16.200] – Maret R

Much for having us, Andy. Cheers.

[00:50:18.420] – Andi J

Thank you. And come back next week. No, not next week, two weeks, three weeks time for the next episode. Thank you.