Across the pond

The Modern Marketer - (Marketing in a Post Covid World)

In this season finale we reflect on what it takes to be a Modern Marketer in a pre, during and (hopefully) post covid world. We select our 10 big lessons from this season, and give a shout out to the role models and inspirational leaders that fuel our passion for Marketing Transformation. Listen to the end to hear what’s coming up in season 4.


Episode 039 TOPICS:


  • 10 big lessons from this season 

  • Role models, highlights and inspiring leaders 

  • Why we need to act in purpose

  • Shameless plug - please leave us a review on Spotify or iTunes ! 

  • What’s coming up next in season 4

Across the Pond- Marketing Transformed

39. Season 3 Finale: The Modern Marketer

(Marketing in a Post-Covid World)



This episode’s going to deviate a little bit from the past few, as we look to actually wrap up this season of the show. So, we’re gonna just have a little dialogue and a little bit of reflection to look back at how we’ve done, what’s happened, what’s changed, what we’ve covered and why we’ve covered it.

 As we’ve recorded the season a lot has happened in the world and it’s quite fascinating to look back at what is true about marketing, what is true about modern marketing and how that stands up versus what we may have started off in certain episodes saying and doing. Challenge ourselves and have a little bit of a debate, Chris. 



Yeah, absolutely, there’s a whole lot to cover. You look back over the last fourteen weeks and when we decided that this season was going to be about the modern marketer, we weren’t really anticipating what that would mean as quickly, I think. But it’s also good to know that a lot of the predictions in the first half helped us form the second half of the series. We wanted to see how we could build that new marketeer from the bottom up; imagining what they would need to look like to deal with the digitally transformed future. They would need to have a personal brand, act with purpose, have a good relationship with the CIO, be able to naturally manage SaaS businesses. And we’re gonna use this episode to reflect on that, some of the key takeaways and lessons we’ve seen along the side and what we’ve learnt. 

It’s fascinating when you think about it, we started off looking at scale up businesses and some of the lessons that were applied there, the fact that actually, as you scale up, it’s a bit of a tightrope, you’ve got to manage cash flow along with a whole load of other things. But actually, a lot of enterprise organisations now need to think about turnaround and be prepared for turnaround and god, I mean, that’s come around even faster than we predicted really. There’s, I would say, a large number of businesses thinking about putting themselves in that turnaround category now. We then  thought that, actually, the modern marketeer or an entrepreneur needs that personal brand, needs to be creative and act with purpose and that actually, the ones that are going to thrive in uncertain times are the ones that keep some compassion, some human nature versus not all digital. So, that’s the first half, Sam, I think.



Yeah. And the second half, we went deeper into what a SaaS business is and explaining that but also the value of these enterprises which are really building huge value and solving issues and creating propositions that really resonate in the market place and this balance of being digital but also being modern. The idea of leading with compassion and strength and the power of the leaders and the role models that we emulate in modern marketing and evermore so as we’ve gone through the last few months of 2020, the last few months that we’ve experienced certainly. There’s just been an acceleration of how brands and companies operate and how that’s been, essentially reset, the world of work. The world of business is being reset, and we feel it's often for the better. We feel there’s actually a way that you can ensure that you’re taking care of your employees, you’re focusing on well-being, but also, being a more sustainable business, a more sustainable brand. This is no longer tree hugging, do-goody, feeling type of initiatives, this is multimillion, multibillion investments in business models, in platforms, in opportunities. People are now more mindful of how they spend their money, where they spend their money and this principle of social cause and social good. Being a B corporation is no longer something that the fringe do on the niche, this is now becoming front and centre of how to do modern marketing. And that, for me, is so exciting as a marketer in the current times. 



Yeah, and I think, it’s just so fundamental as well, isn’t it? and certainly the last couple of months has really focused the mind on that. So, yeah. Lots to get through then, Sam. So, to start us off, I think it would be really good to just focus on just five lessons that you’ve taken out, five reflections that you’ve seen, as we’ve gone through.


The Big Five(ish)


1.The idea that we discussed in one of the earlier episodes of the season about start-ups and scaleups; this idea of the power of the crowd. When raising money, and it's actually a story I told of raising money for the business my wife and I founded, it was a women’s apparel retailer called Boutique La Roux, which had an online presence. We were essentially able to raise money faster, easier and more transparently from hundreds of strangers than we were from our financial institutions. It was fascinating to see how the platforms such as Prosper were emerging at the time we were starting the business, and the idea of crowdsourced funding was new at the time and has become so mainstream. Still, there’s a challenge in funding organisations, funding start-ups and you have things like Backstage Capital , which is run by a black woman called Arla Hamilton, and she has really been calling out the industry for the lack of support for the minority and diverse people and their ideas. For me, that was just the fascinating power of crowdsourcing and it's not a new thought, a new idea, but it was at the time revolutionary for us, and it really made a difference. 



Yeah, absolutely. Bit ahead of its time, as well, I would say. 



Yeah and I think that’s the thing to be entrepreneurial, and we’ve talked about that the way through the season, how to, just solve problems in a perhaps, more entrepreneurial way. 

 2. In the scale up episode, and we talked about, well, keep calm and actually plan for the future.  I look back at that and it seems a bit prophetic, I’ll just repeat, I said prophetic not pathetic. It’s thinking about where you are going or where you might invest or where you might cut or change and how to spend that wisely. And looking back now, having that future-centric lens to your business, you’re told it, and you’re supposed to do it but how many people actually do? And so, for me, it was just a fascinating ‘ah ha!’ that this became true in a short space of time and in such a visceral way, such a disruptive way. Third one, I would say…



Oh, Sam. Just before you get onto the third one, I think, the other thing that struck me there was when we were talking about planning for that future is around sort of imagining where your future is as well, I think that sort of, the point about different types of metrics was really, really valuable.



The part I’ll call out here was a different take and different lens on metrics. As they changed the culture of the organisation and put everyone on the same salary, they started seeing different results, for example, there was, maybe before the changes, two babies born a year and that jumped significantly to forty babies being had. It shifted the number of people that were able to afford their own home, to invest in their pensions and so, as they measured the impact of the cultural shifts in the organisation, it wasn’t just about the dollars and the top and bottom line, it was really about the impact on people and their lives. Which I thought was so heart-warming and so great and so valuable.



Yeah, definitely. Definitely. It was also fascinating to return back to Dan Price a little bit later on in the season when we’re all in lockdown from Covid19 and just sort of see how that company was responding, and it was responding absolutely fantastically. It was a community, wasn’t it? It was one for all and all for one which was just great to see.  



Yeah, yeah. And then during the Covid environment and the challenges we’re all facing, what happened was that the best idea that came from the organisation was how to thrive was to do an anonymous response in terms of who could take wage and pay cuts. What they saw was some people took a small pay cut, voluntarily, and other people said they could go without their entire salary for a period of time, because they could afford to do so. 

So, when you have everyone in it together, and doing everything they can collectively, it's amazing how powerful that is and how much change that has.

3. Humans are feeling creatures that think and not vice versa. A few years ago, when I would share that, it may sound controversial, but I think now more than ever we really can appreciate what that means and how that manifests. It’s the idea that seventy five/eighty percent of our decisions are really subconscious and through our memories and our past experiences and only twenty percent of what we do is through our conscious brain. And that means that our decision making, our thought processes and the way we engage with each other, the way we engage with brands and companies and go through our lives is all wired into us. That shifts how we should think about life, people and how we work together and how we communicate and how we sell and how we market to each other. 



Yeah, it does. I like that one. What’s your next one, Sam? 



4.From episode 34, about modern marketers leading with compassion and strength, and it’s that idea of leading with compassion and strength. In that show we started off with the ‘ah ha’, the realisation that a lot of the leaders that are really helping us thrive and succeed, like Jacinda Ardern from New Zealand, are leading with this compassion and strength and that should be the DNA to every marketer, and those are the capabilities and the competencies that marketers should have. We went into a lot of depth of how that manifests and what does that mean in being a modern marketer and how to make that the priority and make that the shift.



Some of the things that came out there was the need to remain creative and collaborate and foster the best marketing, that all comes from that compassion and that strength that we get from that, I think - that collaborative nature. Which, quite frankly, wasn’t what it used to be ten years ago, so, definitely a change where I think we’re in the middle of it rather than sort of come out of the other side of it, I think.



Yeah, absolutely. And some of the things we talked about in that episode is really how to show up and how to operate as a leader, being more patient, focusing on self-care, flexibility, that compassion perspective, focus on, really, the team, how you communicate with them and just the power of communication overall. So, those are some of the things. 

5. Episode 38, embracing your entrepreneurial side, and it’s the story of the Unilever sustainability plan. Really, the emphasis on the growth and the rise of B corporation, and the idea of doing good for the community, for the business but also for the world is now a balanced effect, a balanced approach where you have to do both and the commitments to doing that led to billions of euros of savings. They realised they weren’t changing consumers behaviour enough, in terms of helping the environment by using less water, they weren’t getting innovation to market quickly enough, they weren’t able to measure the impact of their changes. So, all of the things they weren’t doing well enough, so, what would you do normally? Well, in their case they doubled down. They made another commitment for the further ten years or so. And so, that for me was inspiring where these brands, which include brands like Life Buoy and more recently Ben and Jerry’s and we know that Ben and Jerry’s has always stood up for social causes and other brands in their portfolio. So, it's great to see they’re really leaning in and seeing the benefits hit the marketplace, where they’re failing they’re just trying even harder. 



Yeah, nice. I like that. And I think one reflection on those, Sam. That was five wasn’t it?



I think I got to five. I might have snuck a sixth in there.

The Proper Shift


Yeah, I do. Yeah, probably. 

But look, one reflection and you said it earlier on, this isn’t all sort of tree hugging and slightly airy fairy, I think, although, we have talked a lot about purpose and that nature and that acting with compassion and sort of talking on more sort of an ethical, this is a proper shift. This is a shift that has to happen and we’re seeing it everywhere, from the small entrepreneurs to the large enterprises. This doesn’t look like it is going to be lip service, this looks like it's going to be a shift that will be here for the future. Which is fantastic. It’s really encouraging, but I think it’s important because you can look at this with a perspective you might have thought about it from a few years ago, where you just kind of think well, it’s just feel-good and it’s so much more than that. It has to be much more than that.


Yeah, absolutely. It’s baked into the DNA of the brand and the business; it allows you to take it seriously over the long term and not just a ‘one and done’ or just a superficial approach.



1.One of my big takeouts I think was that we started off talking about growth and scaling up businesses, and how tricky that can be, how difficult that can be and how cashflow was the number one killer of organisations and that you had to be really, really adaptable. And then, suddenly, we found the environment changing so absolutely fast, and in some cases for good, that you realise that the need to be able to turn around your business or adapt is a real critical thing that we’ve all got to get to grips with. 


The bottom line is, is that, we’ve seen that and the only thing that is constant is change. That’s a well-known phrase and I think the point there is that from a leadership perspective you have to be really prepared to adapt and change quicker than you were before. We saw some great examples from organisations large and small, whether enterprises or SaaS, businesses like Unbiased through to entrepreneurs through to serial investors. The ones that stood out for me, we talked about Lego pivoting to become one of the biggest companies in the world, certainly from a  toy perspective. We talked about right at the other end, Olio, a couple of weeks ago two female entrepreneurs, coming from their corporate roles to do some good, but also not being ashamed to try and make a profit from doing good at the same time. So, for me, that certainly stood out, that flexibility, that adaptability, because the environment that we’ve been working in over the last six months has probably changed faster than anything we’ve seen in a decade, if not longer. So, that was number one.



Yeah, and that kind of relies on being empathetic outside in. openness really of the philosophy of the organisation being open to new data and being based on that. 



2. Leadership in uncertain times. It's really a build but I think we cover a different point on a number of episodes. We looked at the importance of acting with purpose, and the absolute need to establish your personal brand. And for me, these two themes collided a bit, really. Don’t start on a journey unless you have an idea of where you want to get to. You have to be prepared for that journey not to go straight forward and be able to adapt, but actually, it's better to stand for something than not to stand for anything. Thinking around how that personal brand evolves and what you need to sort of consider, I thought was one of the strongest things we talked about, we talked about that blurring of the work and your personal life in your branding and we see that even more now. It’s been fascinating reflecting on that, where actually, literally the walls between your work life and homelife have disappeared and it has enhanced the personality of a lot of leaders and a lot of brands I think. And we see that coming through on marketing.  We talked about that, sort of inspiration from people that we worked with, Bruce Daisley, a friend of mine, ex VP at Twitter, now setting up on his own, a really successful book, really successful podcast and you just really saw a number of those different examples there. So, that I thought was an important one, as well.



Yeah. And I’d build on that and say that power of authenticity was something that we mentioned and wanted people to digest and really take home and really reflect on and stand for something versus nothing. But it may mean that you’re bringing your whole self and you’re reflecting all your values and your principles and you’re talking about them. Again, in the current climate, we’re seeing that this growth in authenticity but also empathy and really shifting and reflecting those values are now coming to the fore. So, people who perhaps were not so braggadocious and not so it’s all about me it's about the we are getting more positive sentiment but also seen as critical to really reflecting how brands should behave, act, speak and operate in the current climate. So, I think that authenticity piece was huge.  



Yeah, good, good. Glad you agree on that one. Scarcity of resources. Look, even in the most recent episode we looked at creating a sustainable marketing plan and the fact that an ethical investment plan requires an ethical marketing plan, but really early on, we looked very much around the need to bootstrap your brand and now, more than ever, that is crucial. I’ve seen countless companies achieve more with a hundred-thousand-pound budget, than those with a multimillion-pound budget. That lack of resources forces you to be creative and I think we called out a number of good examples of people that have been creative, used the power of community, that crowdfunding that you talked about, as well, Sam, comes into that as well. And something that I thought came back time and time again really, was, we were discussing the big reset, the future of work, and a few things come to mind here. If you haven’t started your digital transformation before, I assume you will have now, because everyone has to.



No. There are still some people, Chris, still saying, digital transformation – we’ll do it next year, we’ll do that, we have more important things to worry about, we’re fine as we are.



Well, I’m not entirely sure they’ll be around next year, if that is the case. And of course, that’s a sweeping statement and some people can survive without it, but I think we’ve all found ourselves in a situation where we’ve needed to adapt and think about how the digital future is going to affect our lives and our work and our customer base and our processes. So, I think it has been encouraging that we’ve seen more and more people get on the bandwagon, even if it is just as simple as going, you know what, these video conferences aren’t as bad as I thought they were, actually. Maybe I can let my teamwork from home one day a week. 



Maybe you can let them work from home as opposed to ‘yeah that’s the only way you can work and you need to suck it up’. Your old fashioned views and your perspective of ‘I only believe they’re working when I see them’ and all those types of things. Now, I’m so inspired by this shift, a more empathetic way of leading is having to manifest, as people have had to adjust, and all the nay-sayers that didn’t support it, now there’s proof that it actually does work, and that’s great for people in the world of work, now. 



Yeah, absolutely. And it's not just about the empathy skills, it's also about some of the harder, sort of the technical skills, as well. Understanding your limitations, we talked about the need for the CMO to be very close with the CIO and also, the importance of understanding SaaS businesses specifically and being able to roll your sleeves up and do as well as elevating your thinking and plan. So, for me, that dynamic of the businesses, the team and the environment you work in, I think has been absolutely fascinating and I think a lot of people will be better set than they were a couple of months ago. 

3. On the diversity of ideas and diversity of talent, and actually, you’ve been a big part of that for me, and I’ll come on to talk about that, but I think that is essential as part of the modern marketers DNA. It starts with purpose, it also is that outside in view, rather than looking sort of internally all of the time and bringing in diverse voices and being open to change and open to new talent and diverse talent at that. I talked about before, being very proud of being an ambassador for Bame 2020, and how I’ve sort of taken on mentoring young talent coming into the industry and looking at diverse backgrounds and trying to support that wherever I can. But even as we’ve gone through this series and as I reflect over the recent weeks, sort of the events happening over in the US, it’s really made me think that, quite frankly, I’m not doing enough. This isn’t a project with a tick box, this isn’t something you do and move on, it has to be part of your growth mindset, it has to be part of how you focus on acting with integrity, having your eyes open to bias. If you can change that mindset and you can focus on your bias then you can make a difference and make a difference consistently. So, I think I’ve learnt a lot from you, over this last sort of bank of episodes I think, because I think I’ve learnt that you can’t part mentalise this. For you, and this is something that you push against every day, or push up against, and that has been quite a fundamental moment for me, just understanding that this isn’t something you can talk about in one episode and not come back to , this is something that we all need to focus on.  


Is That a Soapbox?


Yeah, and it’s my philosophy building people ahead of the PNL, and really this idea of being human centric, people first. And I think now, it’s becoming easier to articulate that if you invest in empathy, coaching, feedback, really getting close to your customers, close to your people inside and helping them create strong relationships, having equity to training and development, investing that and making that a priority and saying look, I don’t get it or help me learn , as a leader, and the one I always say is a really sobering statement is that, the person closest to the data gets to make a decision. What you’ll realise is that, in a lot of these diversity and inclusion and bias pieces, there’s actually people in the organisation that are closer to the situation or have that insight or have the experience in that situation - they’re just not listened to. Because they’re a junior marketer, they’re lower down in the food chain. So, if there’s a stereotype in an ad and a junior marketer says, hey, this is not right, the CEO will still press ahead and go through with it because they are the big decision maker and so, that’s often where I found the challenge is where you raise your voice it’s not listened to.

I think we’re shifting now to really be aware of some of the challenges and what bias is all about and being open to listen and hear other people's perspectives and then act on them. When you start to do that, you’ll realise, oh my goodness, I didn’t understand it, this can be ethnicity, it could be race, it could be gender. I think we all accept the concept of ‘mansplaining’ things now, and we’ve seen some new cases in point and for me, when you see that leadership is not embracing compassion as well as strength. This compassion may be seen as soft and a female trait- no, it’s actually going to make us better leaders, not different leaders, better leaders. So, let’s take the best and be better and help ourselves grow and move forward. So, I’m really inspired by the fact you’ve got that in there and as I say, I kind of wear that badge twenty-four seven, on my side.

Thank you


Yeah, good, good, good. And the other thing we’ve tried to do with every episode, not just the last fourteen of them is to provide something practical and the key takeouts where whether you’re a junior manager or a CMO there’s something that you can do, and actually, I’ve really enjoyed applying that to our own brand, our own brand Across The Pond and our podcast, Sam. 

We always said that we couldn’t really judge where we were going until we got to at least episode 20, now, we’re at 38 or 39, and the feedback we’re getting is great. So, a big thank you to our listeners, it's really helped us craft what we do, given us confidence to carry on and focus on where we’re going to go next. It’s also reminded me that you have to engage your community consistently. So, we do need the help of our listeners, don’t we, Sam?  






Yeah, how can they help us? 



They could send money, send checks. They could start there. I think we could take a million dollars each, that’d help…

But in all seriousness, what we’re really finding valuable is the feedback and the comments and maybe the pushback or the challenge or the questions. And that is great insight. This is not about us. This is about the audience, and this is about contributing to elevate marketers to provoke existing markets who are going through their career to be better, to help solve business challenges, to help you move forward in your work. So, the feedback is something that we’re really excited to receive and would love more and more and more. And so, continue to reach out to us with your comments. 



Exactly, and where that would be incredibly valuable for us would be on iTunes or Spotify. As marketers we have to deal with sort of practicalities as well, this will be where new people will discover us and therefore, if you haven’t had a chance yet to rate the show, we would love you to go and do that. So, you know, press pause on the podcast here, we’ll play some incidental music, open up the app, go onto iTunes and say, you know, some nice things. Well, you can say what you want really, but nice things would be great. 



Well, no, tell us the truth, which is obviously going to be nice things. I mean, they may comment about you, but what could be better on the show with not one, but two British accents broadcasting live on a weekly basis? 

So, we’re doing this internationally, I think we’ve done the show together once. That’s another one of the challenges that we found, operating in different time zones and technology challenges. But the commitment we’ve made, to put up an episode each and every week, is something we’re really proud of, and as we look over the arc of this season and prior seasons we’re really proud of the work we’ve done, and also looking ahead to what comes next. 

Looking to the Future

So, Chris, if this is the recap of the past season, what’s going to happen next? Is that it? Are we done? Are we hanging up our headphones? 



No, we’re definitely not. So, we’ve planned for the next two seasons, actually. Not that we’ve recorded them yet, but the next season, season four, is going to be about getting back to some practicalities. ‘How to’ guides on marketing transformation and creating success. We’re going to look at some of the specific areas where a modern marketer is going to need to have their kit bag, and some examples of that, we’re going to be looking at the essential customer experience funnel and how you work through a conversion funnel, we’re going to look at behaviour economics and how that’s the new standard in marketing and what you need to do there. The interaction between product management and marketing and how to successfully navigate that, and the technology that you’re going to need to master in order to be successful, as well.

So, there’s a lot going on in season four, and season five we’re very much going to be bringing in some of the expert voices that we’ve talked about already, to give us some of their perspective. So, a lot to look forward to, Sam. 



Absolutely. And as we’ve shaped this season and looking ahead to next season, what we’ve learned is that there is a power in helping build interdependent content. So, as you listen to this show and look forward to the last show, there might be an opportunity to reflect on some of the things we’ve covered, and just to make sure that you’re aware, we aren’t writing these and setting these months in advance, because in the most recent season, there’s been a lot of twists and turns. We’ve had to adjust on the fly because as we started looking at starting up and scaling up, do companies still hold up one week, two weeks, three weeks later? And we’ve talked about purpose from the get-go and it’s great to see that it’s becoming more important. 

So, you’re going to hear ideas that maybe seem far off, you’re going to hear some things which may challenge your perspective today. But we encourage you just to roll around in them, do some research from what we share, because you might find that some of these are becoming the new fundamentals. We’re going to help you with some of the tips and steps and how to bring that to life and how to make that happen.



Yeah, good. And with that in mind we’re also going to give the website a new lick of paint, all our transcripts will be on there, as well, people have been asking whether we’re going to produce transcripts, and we’ve done that as well as some video content. So yeah, it’s going to be good. 


Today’s Three Key Takeaways (…by Chris!?)

But, Sam. Times getting on, so, you know what? I might break the tradition here, Sam, I’m gonna say three of the things that I want the listener to do, at this point in time. 

  1. If you haven’t already paused your podcast, please pause it now and leave your review, that’s going to be very, very good. 

  2. Please give us any feedback, any direction that you would like in terms of where we go next with the season. 

  3. Thank you for your continued ears, it really is appreciated. Sometimes you can feel that you’re talking into a black hole, and to hear the response come back, in terms of where it’s been valuable and how you’ve seen it apply to your job or your career or your change of career is great. So, thank you for your time everyone, and we look forward to coming back next week with a bit of a new season. 



Before we sign off, Chris, I’d like to just do a few things and the first thing is, I’d like to thank my wife, I’d like to thank my agent and I’d like to thank my religious leader. I think that’s what they usually do, in that order. I’ll thank all those people. 

I’d like to thank you, Chris, because we haven’t talked about the fact that this has been such a great experiment and the experiment keeps going, because we’re passionate, we’re engaged. It’s not easy, it’s not straightforward but we’re working hard to bring this to life, so I do appreciate you and the contributions that you make and making me better and putting this together. So, for me it’s been a pleasure, it’s been a joy, I’m so jazzed with doing it and I’m excited for the next season. 



Looking forward to it too, Sam. 


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