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Episode 68
Season 5 Finale. Samuel Monnie & Chris Lawson. Across The Pond Marketing Transformed Playlist

That’s a wrap for the Marketing Transformed Playlist. This Season 5 Finale features Samuel Monnie & Chris Lawson as we reflect on the key themes and ahas from our interviews with a diverse representation of leaders,practitioners and entrepreneurs. We also discuss what stood out to us as breakthrough ideas to the world of work,the world of marketing and the world of leadership. 


Read the show notes and transcript at www.marketingtransformed.com. We’d love to hear your comments and questions - email us at marketingtransformedshow@gmail.com  and we’ll respond to as many as we can. Like this show? Then please take a moment to leave us a review on Apple. Follow us and Subscribe on Spotify, Google and all good podcasting platforms. You can find @SamuelMonnie and @ChrisLaws0n on Twitter.

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  • Key themes and aha’s from Season 5 interviews and AfterCast™ shows

  • Listen with empathy, act and communicate with compassion

  • Mastering the skill of asking questions  

  • Learn to listen before storytelling

  • People powered marketing

  • Our own founder stories at Moreno Marketing and Ci Squared

Transcript:

CHRIS:

Welcome to Across the Pond. This is Chris Lawson and I'm joined across the pond by Sam. Hello Sam. 

 

SAM:Hey Chris. Tis is the end of an era, right? This is the last of the season.

 

CHRIS:

It is indeed, yeah. It comes around quickly, doesn't it? 

 

SAM:

Time flies when you're having fun. 


 

A Recap of the Season

CHRIS:

Absolutely. Yeah, exactly. Season five was called ‘The Marketing Transformed Playlist’ and the reason why we set it out like that, is that, hopefully, you'll agree with us, we were joined by the greatest minds, on both sides of the pond. So definitely some changemakers there; impacting the culture of marketing and leaders who have ripped up a rule book and executed new rules focused on routine disruption. 

 

SAM:

Yeah. Just to be clear, the greatest minds weren't just the two of us, right. We're not so self-indulgent. We had guests this season. So if you're listening to this out of order, or if you're reflecting, we were really proud of bringing together this, what we call the marketing transformed playlist. You got an interview episode with a special guest. And then you had, what we call an AfterCast episode. I'm sure that phrase is now permeating the audio universe.

 

CHRIS:

I can see it already mate. 

 

SAM:

AfterCast is a thing now, that we've invented. As the proprietors of the concept of where you actually get a recap, a reflection, and you get our extended remix of the topics that we felt deserved more attention. There's nothing wrong with an interview, but we want it to actually take those topics and themes and really get into them, add some more perspectives and new perspectives, and then reflect on what we learned from our guests because what we loved about the season is it's made us think is pushed us harder and we've learned, we've had to relearn and unlearn things. Whether you're an entrepreneur or you're a rising star CMO looking for new ideas, we really feel that we brought you that this season and we appreciate your support.

 

CHRIS:

I don't think we could have anticipated some of the things that would have come out. And giving us some real points of interest and challenge  and I think help define how marketing is going forward. When we set out to do the podcast, we wanted this to demonstrate that marketing was transforming, but thankfully not in an elitist exclusive way, in a way where the founding principles of marketing are accessible to all and continue to be. That's the whole point about making it accessible, whether you're an entrepreneur rising star, as well as a CMO with a large scale budget, and those principles are about: know your audience, treat them with respect, have a two way conversation and tell them a great story as well as do something that has surprised them and challenged them. I think that equally applies to performance marketing, as it does to content marketing, for instance. So, what I think we were really, really pleased with was that we try to work on those same principles. [It’s] So reassuring to see some of those common threads come through all of our guests as well, and trying to create a playlist of diverse voices, find that commonality, which was really reassuring.

 

SAM:

What we felt, definitely reflecting back, there was this sense of gen Z or millennials against boomers in the world of work.  All the guests we had were really these unicorn leaders,  how they actually could see how (to connect with) Gen Zs and millennials again, using those horrible phrases to cluster a group of people.  But it's the fact that these leaders that we had on could really get it. You know, they really had empathy. They had a lot of compassion. They had a lot of perspective. And as I talked about mentoring people and we've helped, they're a great cluster of people to inspire the next generation and our leaders, that ultimately we'd all want to work for and the generations and the people coming through the industry we'd also want to work for. I'm saying all that, I'm going on a bit about that because there's a lot of data, more evidence showing that half of millennials and 75% of gen Z's have left jobs for mental health reasons such as anxiety, depression, and stress. 

 

Recently this year in 2021, we've seen Naomi Osaka withdraw from the French tennis open. There was a lot of backlash for her withdrawing because she said it was due to mental health reasons, and I think there's just a lot more empathy and compassion that was needed in how to respond to her and in her act of self-care. And as we think about the guests we've had on, we just felt these are the people that actually get it. And you'd be able to approach them with some of the challenges. As one of the guests talked about Minter Dial, he talked about leadership sucks. We have 70% of employees who are unengaged. We felt that the work that we've brought through the season has really helped address and find, just being inspiration and providing some passion, some inspiration, and some, some ways that people can thrive in the modern world of work as well.

 

CHRIS:

Absolutely. Yeah. Some of the highlights for me that came out time and time again and where I really felt that we learned was that you need to ask tough questions and start with those tough demanding questions of yourself. 

 


 

Luck VS Planning

SAM:

Yeah, I'll go back to the point you made. It's unsettling, don't be so certain that you're actually planning what you're doing. Realize that luck is also a huge driver in what you do. I think when you have guests, sometimes you call them experts and we call ourselves experts. And also remember that ‘Hey, are we actually really in charge of, is stuff happening to us that we can take advantage of where we happen to be in the right place at the right time.’ 

 

I told the story of me joining a seven-year-old startup. That happened because of my seat buddy, on a flight guy called John (Geraci), of CI squared. We teach communication through storytelling and I just happened to sit next to him. So yes, there was some design in me flying back on the plane, but not necessarily someone I was going to be a co-founder with.  And in my career, I can think of times when I followed my curiosity and I ended up working in Switzerland. And then in Germany, it's not that I had this grand plan. It was being open to being mobile. Then my boss says, “okay, there's a job for you in Switzerland.” I say, “wait, wait, wait. I said, I was mobile as in London, other parts of England, not actually leaving the country”, but being open to that opportunity and seeing that positively. 

 

And so I'll be candid. I think one of the last roles I had, I was in - leading the capability work at Campbell soup. turns out that the guy who had accepted the job actually backed out. So I was their second choice, but I'm not taking that personally. I just think that was a wonderful opportunity that came back to me. I had a great time and met some great leaders, including Yin Rani, who was an interview guest. And that was kind of more, more luck than design. I think the other thing that stood out to me is, again, you've mentioned, Chris is the storytelling part and the idea of really wrestling with what storytelling is. It's as much as what stories are you telling yourself and are they true? What's true about yourself? And then what's the story you're telling the world as well and how you bring that to life? And so be mindful of being articulate in doing that and communicating that, but also being flexible and actually really just, you know, being authentic in doing that. 

 

Then I think the other thing for me was learning how to listen and all of these leaders I can think of Yin Rani, I can think of Arjo; sharing conversations with his daughter, and Minter about leadership. It's learning how to listen and you'll be surprised how critical that is to leading effectively. And it's made me think of a recent example. One of the, I brands that I know that Chris you've, you've shared a few times as a role model for us to look at called BrewDog and James Watt, the CEO who's really had to respond to this culture of fear that's come out in a toxic attitude, that's within the organization and this open letter. And what's positive from my side is that he's actually shown an openness to listen and learn, to be responsive to the criticism and in a humble way. He's actually seeking to communicate in an empathetic way. So you may have stumbled, and made a mistake, but you're actually not defensive. You're open to listen and be, you know, be responsive. 

 

CHRIS:

Yeah. It's such a powerful brand and it's been a poster child for the beer industry. I would say over the last few years, they may really have ripped up the rule book and done things differently. And then, of course, you're confounded with these really strong critics about the culture. And of course, there's two things you can do there. You can hide and deny. Or you can face it front on. We talked about that a lot. I think in the episodes that we had about actually, you can't get everything right. All of the time, but what you have to be able to do is listen and learn and react responsibly and do that. So far so good, I think, but obviously, he's going to be on the watch list now of many people and has a lot to do.

 

SAM:

I think, again, for us, what's great is that we have different voices throughout the season who brought us different perspectives, but there was this common rally theme about the new modern world of work and the leaders and practitioners and entrepreneurs who were bringing what I believe is the best of us to the world of work and the world of marketing and the world of leadership.


 

The Greatness of our Guests

CHRIS:

We're going to look at some of the killer themes that came out in the episodes. Obviously, the first interview that we did this season was about the backstory of personal success. We focus on Arjo and he really took us through that journey from 1999. I think the interesting thing there was well, he really showed that he was anticipating where ‘search’ was going to go and where digital marketing was going to go. And clearly did that well, and good marketing is about judging the current mood and anticipating and leading the future. That has to be founded on good principles and foundations, which is where the conversation with Arjo really took us to that curious mind, disruptive and challenging in a good way, upbringing and outlook. I love the fact that he put his hand up in the (school) assembly and said, “I'm going to work for myself.” I mean, that's pretty challenging at that age to have that sort of up your sleeve in terms of what you want to do. 

 

And I love that he recognizes that there is a time to create space for new people coming into the environment and the arena as well. Moving aside to let people breathe. He talked really eloquently about turning down speaker engagements and asking whether there was a female or a younger person that potentially could act as a spokesperson for the industry instead, that could take his place. I think that shows great humility. 

 

The next thing that struck me in the second episode where we were talking to Yin was this concept about a lifetime career as a student of marketing. And thinking: what is still left to learn? How do you reinvent yourself? And I suppose, in a way, Sam, this is why we do what we do because we love to learn. And we also love the fact that other people can learn from us. It was a real eye-opener to me. When you look at the route these career paths or life stories take from each of our guests, in fact, I hate the word career. Yeah, there's so much pressure on it. And, and who knows whether the next move is going to be a good one for you or not?

 

 Let's face it, quite often they don't necessarily work out. Ultimately all you can do is your best work and be open to learning new things about marketing and about yourself. Out of all our guests that came out really, really strongly from the conversation we have with Yin and also with Minter. And for instance, in Moreno Marketing, I'm going right back to the basics at the moment around search engine optimization as so much has changed with the latest Google update. Really focusing on customer experience. I need to be able to understand that reset and rethink how that applies to a lot of the marketing principles that I adopted on a day-to-day basis. So still lots to learn Sam. 

 

SAM:

Throughout the episodes and the seasons, we kind of wove in different themes and different premises. One of the big ones was this idea of people-powered marketing and the power of people. Clearly, shone through the episodes of  Yin Rani and Adrian Walcott, and Amanda Fone. They really hit home on those themes. And I talked a bit earlier in this episode about luck versus planning, but there's also, you know, how we got our first break, the helping hand to actually get into the industry and a lot of things about mentorship and advocating and championing diversity, but also providing those opportunities and helping people to succeed in the marketing and the comms and PR spaces and some of the challenges people of color have, and the challenges that other groups have in actually succeeding. And it was interesting for Amanda to be sharing the stories of how she'd been really leading the way and championing all this years and years ago. Now people are sort of saying, "Hey, what do you do in terms of helping diversity candidates for recruiting" when she says, “well, actually yeah, those principals you're quoting were kind of mine. I wrote them in the first place.” 

 

So it was kind of ironic that her work was becoming so established that she wasn't even getting recognized as being the advocate of it. And, you know, that's a kind of backhanded compliment really, but it was great to see them partnering up and actually doing the work together. And really thinking through what it really means. Adrian (in the episode with him) talked about culture and really defined it as all the policies, programs, procedures bestowed on an organization that kind of drives all the behaviors. And that's really interesting to see how, especially in this world that we live in and you're listening to this. We're still in the midst of COVID and the return to work; the world of office work, and some companies mandating returns and others trying not to. 

 

And there's more and more data that if you survey people, 90% of people actually don't want to go back to that regular office world. And so how do you incorporate all of that and still drive the right behaviors and drive the right outcomes in marketing. And just recognizing that marketers are at the forefront of culture change. So marketers have to step up to that and they have to embrace that role within organizations as being the culture, shapers, and change agents to actually drive success in the future. 

 

CHRIS:

Yeah, absolutely. Those culture shapers, I think, are a really important point. You've got to work on that over a number of years. It doesn't happen overnight. These are also characteristics of people that have stuck to their cause and don't take no for an answer. That sort of comes up time and time again.

 

SAM:

Minter Dial was an interesting one. As we move on to that because he was wrestling with what leadership is and what leadership is about. And you know, this idea that “leadership sucks” and that most people aren't engaged and we know that to be true. We've seen the ramifications of COVID that people are quitting. People are changing careers, people are re-evaluating what's important to them. COVID just really shines a light on the challenges and then the more digital world and depending on the career path, right. Obviously, certain industries just became more remote-based, digital-based. And how do you show up to work? How are you authentic at work? How do you bring all of yourself to work and really knowing that you're doing that, you may be taking a risk, but I think people now are just more comfortable being themselves. It's so hard putting on that mask or that facade of being this persona in an office world and then trying to manage it at home and trying to manage it in other walks of life. I think people are just so tired, they are just going to be themselves. 

 

And so for me, it's just fascinating to see how that works out. And as I say, it's true. And the data shows that you know, the sales of sweat bottoms and baggy tracksuits. So people would be dressing more casually at home. Right? And so are we going to go back to doing, what we think we should do in the world of work, or are we actually going to be authentic and real? So that was the modern way of leading and the modern way of being your authentic self and throughout all of these different episodes, including the one with Minter. There's this key role of storytelling, the stories you tell yourself, the stories you tell others, how you bring that to life, and owning that in the world of work and being your true person. You know, for me it often involves humor and you know, something that is just bringing more of my passion personality, and in some cultures that was not necessary. Seen as a positive, but I think we are now realizing that you have got to own your personal brand, right? 

 

CHRIS:

Absolutely. And you know, you're still working on your humor after all these years of knowing you aren't you, Sam?

 

SAM:

Sorry, is there a tumbleweed sound effect? Is there a silent sound effect we can put in there?

 

CHRIS:

I thought it was good. 

 

Moving as swiftly on to the next one. So Nick was up next, Nick Bradley, and we talked about burning the boat. But what I've found fascinating, was that idea of no turning back the idea that actually you commit yourself to a path and you go in with both feet and you go fully onto that. But it was also, and still is the actual moniker BAME 2020 is actually using now to signal the fact that they term a commitment there, and the only way is forward. And I think that's really, really powerful when you look at a few of our guests. Whichever approach they've taken, when they seize on something, they really seize on it and they really take it forward. If we explore it a little bit further in terms of the approach that Nick was taking, you know, really did reinvent both his, persona in his way and his skill set in terms of what he was looking at and built on that. He's done exceptionally well creating a social media following. And a proven business model around it, which shows what you can achieve, requiring that level of focus and something we've talked long and hard about is not spreading yourself too thin. Isn't it? But, also with marketing, you get to know when you're going to commit. 


 

Routine Disruption

SAM:

Listening back to some of the stories you told about Nick and also Amanda, and Adrian's program - their ethos of a no turning back commitment to diversity. All of the guests throughout the season weren't shy and retiring, but equally, it wasn't as in a, “Hey I'm dogmatic and I'm right you’re wrong.” There was just a sense of passion, a sense of engagement, a sense of commitment. 

 

But also I just have to reflect on all of them as lifelong learners. All of them were open to reinventing themselves and that's something that I can certainly recall from the conversations with Yin Rani about, being a lifetime learner, but also Arjo.  Very early on his ability to ask these questions, which allowed him to unlock opportunities and reinvent industries and sell off his business and then come back and enter a new industry, that quest for knowledge, that quest for questioning. So you don't always have the answers. You actually ask them the questions to propel you forward. 

 

And Allen Adamson in his interview and the subsequent AfterCast we did, I loved those two episodes as well because he brought up the premise of balancing the theory of marketing with real-world practices and what actually works in the real world. Turning marketing theory into routine disruption. And that's what marketing is all about. He helped us really think through what a brand is. He said, “it’s what you want people to remember. It’s the story you want to remember”. Branding is how you get that story into people's heads. And it's just such an eloquent way of thinking about brand and branding and the challenges involved in that, and brand is so much more effective when the customer and the consumer is put first. Where the people it serves see themselves and feel themselves in the brand, and I just see so much bad marketing, where it's all about how awesome the brand is, how awesome they are. Their brand is not the hero, the customer, the consumer, the shopper, the user, that's what the brand should focus more on. 

 

So it's amazing to see brands still making missteps and he highlighted brands are doing that well, but it's the idea of balancing this theory and practice,  and do all the theory you want, learn as much read the books, read the latest principles, go back to understanding as long as you put it into practice. That's the thing that both of us love to do in terms of my marketing transformation work, where I'm actually consulting real companies in the tech industry or automotive industry, how to take their business challenges and how to build customer journeys, how to actually better connect with their customers and consumers. And this idea of transformation being ‘routine disruption’. It's the acceptance of this core fact. I'm going to repeat myself and it's not my quote from Tuli Kupferberg* (note: Samuel misspoke during the podcast and meant to attribute the quote to the Futurist Alvin Tofler* not the poet Tuli Kupferberg), but it's the idea of to learn, unlearn and relearn. And that for me is, is a great summation of all that we stand for in marketing transformed. Throughout this season you'll hear and see and realize that essentially all of the guests and all of the AfterCasts, we are constantly wrestling with this idea of learning, unlearning, and having to relearn for what's right and fit for the future. 

 

CHRIS:

Yeah, I think that's a thing that comes up time and time again, every single series in a way it's almost the essence of what we're about, but also the reality is both of us setting up our own businesses. Moreno Marketing, I think for me, it's interesting when you look at something so long from a corporate perspective, when I look at it from being a full-time CMO and now I look at it, actually working for myself, providing virtual CMOs service. But once you have a different angle on it, you do have to rethink everything and you have to make sure you're not taking a stereotypical look. And again, I think that's something that we both strive to get across in our everyday work. It was great to have that reinforced by all of our guests. I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of them for giving them their time. They were really quite something and we hope to have them back on.

 

SAM:

Absolutely. I think the humbling thing is you just rightly say that while we've worked at big companies, we are now working in more startup or entrepreneurial roles. And what it forces us to do is to, if you're working with a nonprofit versus a large automotive company, they spend over a billion dollars on marketing and advertising. [It’s a] very, very different solve, very different approach to how you can support their needs versus the let's say the nonprofits. So absolutely right. That throughout this season and throughout our guests. If you go back to the first four seasons, hopefully, you'll see that we really laid the platform for the essentials of marketing in season one, then went further via a deep dive in season two. Season three was all about the modern marketer in a post COVID world. And then season four was this agile marketing action plan, which has brought you the cornerstones, the mindsets and behaviors. And then season five really plays that role of bringing to life the marketing transformation playlist in such an eloquent, we hope a really impactful way.


 

Three Key Takeaways (or two…)

CHRIS:

So look, let's bring this episode in series to a close. So what three things should we be looking out for? 

 

SAM:

Okay, well, shameless plug in the first one, I'd say is: Hey audience, hey listeners. We really, really do value your listening. We really do value support, and we love you. Please pause and leave us a review, Please go on to Apple and then provide a review or follow us/subscribe on Spotify, Google, and all good podcasting platforms. Please, please do that because we really do appreciate that. We also appreciate the support and it helps us succeed, but also helps inspire us to bring you the next season. 

 

CHRIS:

Sounds like a good place to start. What else do we need? 

 

SAM:

If I'm going to ask for a review, I'd love feedback. So we thrive on feedback, comments, and any direction you'd like to see in terms of where we can go with the next season, and for all the responses.  Some of the reviews, some of the comments it helped really helped us shape season five, and obviously the guests that we brought. 

 

So we'd love to continue that dialogue. So just do keep reaching out:

 

We absolutely read every response. And we'll get back to you if we're a bit busy, we'll certainly follow up ASAP to get back to you.

 

CHRIS:

Yeah, absolutely. And thank you for your continued ears really. It's absolutely appreciated. Sometimes you can feel that you're talking into a black hole and to hear the responses coming back in terms of where it's been valuable and how you've seen it being applied to your job or your career or you change your careers is absolutely great. So thank you. Thank you for your time, everyone. And we look forward to coming back soon. 

 

SAM:

Absolutely. I can only echo what Chris says. Thanks so much for your support, your diligence, your love, and your passion. And as I always sign off, have a great week across the pond...