Who's going to kill my idea and how can I mitigate that?- Talk Marketing 017 - Melanie Farmer

Who’s going to kill my idea and how can I mitigate that? – Talk Marketing 017 – Melanie Farmer

Melanie Farmer 0:13

You can hear me okay?

Martin Henley 0:15

I can hear you perfectly okay.

Melanie Farmer 0:17

Fabulous! Class! Excellent! The Australian internet is going to be fully tested today, folks.

Martin Henley 0:24

Good. Good afternoon, Melanie.

Melanie Farmer 0:26

Good afternoon.

Martin Henley 0:28

How are you doing?

Melanie Farmer 0:29

I’m fantastic. All things considered.

Martin Henley 0:33

All things considered. There are a lot of things to consider, it might be what?

Melanie Farmer 0:39

It might be the drugs. Yeah.

Martin Henley 0:41

It might be the drugs. Okay. Let’s hope the drugs hold out for the next hour and 15 minutes. Thank you, thank you, thank you for agreeing to do this. This is really cool. I had no idea how interesting this might be until we started talking 10 minutes ago. It turns out, you know quite a lot about the current situation. You’re involved with a whole lot of academics. I know you from being involved with tech startups, etc, you’ve got this master’s degree in marketing. So I think this is going to be a really cool chat. I’m really excited about this.

Melanie Farmer 1:10

Yeah, thank you. Me too.

Martin Henley 1:12

Excellent. Cool. Sorry?

Melanie Farmer 1:16

I’m quite jealous that you’re in Bali. I feel like that’s, I loved my travels there and I’m missing my travel with the lockdowns and the border.

Martin Henley 1:27

Yes. Yes. Well, I am stuck here in Bali. It’s absolute torture. You know, we only have 32 degree temperatures every day. Sunshine every day. Surf, three days out of four. You know, it’s a real struggle. But we are struggling on here. We will come through this together in Bali.

Melanie Farmer 1:47

Good, man. Keep it together.

Martin Henley 1:50

We will try and keep it together. Cool. And where are you? You are in?

Melanie Farmer 1:56

I’m in Sydney.

Martin Henley 1:57

You’re in Sydney?

Melanie Farmer 1:59

Yes, I’m in Sydney, so actually, the weather’s pretty good here. It’s not bad. It is winter. But the Australian winter is nothing to be worried about. I think it’s like 15 degrees. That was a moment. You know, we’re all coping fine.

Martin Henley 2:19

Okay, great. That’s really good news. Excellent. Okay, cool. So we are here today to talk about marketing. And so I only have like four or five questions, the four or five questions as you know are, how you’re qualified to talk to us about marketing? What it is that you do? Who it is that you do it for? How you do it, how you deliver success for your customers? How you feel about marketing, and what your recommendations are for people in the current situation. So maybe we should get started at the beginning and you can tell us all how you are qualified to talk to us about marketing.

Melanie Farmer 2:52

I got into marketing via sales and I discovered that sales and marketing, it should be no revelation to anyone that they should be far more connected than they are. I started my own company, I did the sales, I did the marketing and I had previously worked with organisations as the sales person. It used to frustrate me in sales, that the marketing folk would send out these messages that the sales folk had to translate to the customer, and they weren’t always on message so there was a disconnect. I guess from there, you know, continuing to work in sales, I really started to want to have that influence in marketing. I then did a master’s degree in marketing. To my mind, there was two types of marketing, there was marketing for big organisations who have already got strong brands, and really what they’re doing is protecting their brand, and looking normal and all that. And then there is marketing for innovation. So if you’re a startup or you’re a disruptive brand, you have a very different set of challenges because nobody knows who you are. There’s no trust you have a completely different set of issues. My interest was not in how do you market Coca Cola or Nike, whatever. It was much more What if you were developing a set of sports shoes and no one has heard of you? What do you have to do? And so through that I did a bit of research and really the findings from that is what makes, I suppose I might give me some credentials around marketing. It is really getting endorsed by the right endorser, win awards, if you can. It doesn’t really matter what category that is in; it could be best, fastest growing, nice place to work, environmental policy, just win something and look normal.

Martin Henley 6:01

Good. This is interesting. This is really interesting, because I’ve never even considered it in these terms, the truth is I should have done before. Of course, depending where you are, although maybe I have because this is kind of what I tell people, depending where you are, will dictate entirely what it is that you need to do with your sales and marketing.

Melanie Farmer 6:24


Martin Henley 6:25

Good. Okay. When I first knew you, you were working with SINC, which is the Sussex…

Melanie Farmer 6:34


Martin Henley 6:34

Innovation Center?

Melanie Farmer 6:38


Martin Henley 6:39

So the “N” didn’t stand for anything. They just didn’t want to call it SIC?

Melanie Farmer 6:43

Well SINC isn’t really much better. Is it?

Martin Henley 6:47

Not really much better? No.

Melanie Farmer 6:48

Yes, working with startup companies for 10 years in the UK, setting up investment networks and all of that. A lot of work across the ecosystem for startups. So if you’re going to ask someone, how does a startup do marketing, that was me, because I was a virtual board member for many of those 500 companies. At any given time, we had about 500 clients, they’re still going very strongly, they’ve won many awards, including UK business incubator of the year. I was in there setting up a lot of the programs and so on and had the privilege of working with many of them to get their first customer, which is often the big thing. So sales and marketing really come together for that.

Martin Henley 7:33

Yes, they really do. Okay, and I agree with what you’re saying. I also came to marketing from sales. Before I started The Effective Marketing Company I had been in sales for like 10 years. The reason I started a marketing company is because I’d seen the marketing people lauding it up with all of the budget and none of the target while the salespeople had all of the target and none of the budget. Then I realised that marketing were in as bad shape as the salespeople, but they were both at loggerheads, so I get that entirely. Okay, so I’m interested in this innovation. I’m interested in how you get your first sale. I’m interested in that. Maybe we should also understand what it is that you do now. So we’ve got that kind of overview and then we can go back through the other things if that’s cool.

Melanie Farmer 8:15

Yeah, well, now I work for an organisation called Crazy Might Work. It’s an innovation consultancy firm. I guess our point of difference is that we really are focused on the experience of innovation, the journey towards impact with innovation. So we use a lot of different methodologies to arrive at the innovation. That could be design thinking, systems thinking, appreciative inquiry, and so on, neuroscience. So drawing from all of these multiple methodologies, we bake a cake, which is driving innovation, and then our focus is on impact. We feel the best way to do that is through the experience you have on that journey of innovation, and the people you get in the room, which is from across the system; it’s really much harder to affect, really a change, if you’re on your own.

Much more simple if you bring the whole system together and then try to shift something in a particular direction. We have seen the COVID pandemic do that. We have worked with New South Wales Health in Australia, and the team we worked with there went on to develop the tracing and tracking program for the virus that they wouldn’t have done had they not gone through our program, and they will tell you that. So we’re really proud of that. The impact of course, is that now in Australia, we have a 21 day guarantee that we can trace and track everyone from a case. So the case happens, within 21 days, we can have traced, tracked and isolated everyone involved with the case. Before that it was something like three to six months and because we’re doing it quicker, we can more quickly lock down, open up and be normal again. That is through the methodologies that we worked through with that team. So that’s what I’m doing now. Part of that is packaging that offering, which is a bit complex to talk through as a professional service to our clients who range from corporate to government, to startups.

Martin Henley 10:43

Okay, I really want to talk about this, because it strikes me that there is a global marketing initiative in effect, to get people to believe in the vaccine and to want to take the vaccine, and I’m hearing in Australia that there is quite a lot of resistance to taking the vaccine. So what’s interesting to me about that, is that, that it is a marketing campaign, that it is a marketing effort. So I’m kind of interested to talk about that as well. There’s so much I want to talk to you about.

Melanie Farmer 11:14

Yeah, yeah, look, I mean, it’s really interesting that the challenge over the last, really, since the 50s, 1950s is trust. So with marketing and things like vaccines, trust is critical. If they don’t trust the messenger, then it doesn’t really matter what the message is. So what we’re seeing in Australia, is actually pretty good trust in the government. It’s funny, because different parts of government have different levels of trust.

I was working with Western Sydney University for the last four years before joining the Crazy Might Work machine. One of the studies that our university did was around building trust as a government agency and Sydney Water was one of those agencies. What they did was, the academics with the research that they did around trust, through the Institute for Culture and Society was that they said, Sydney Water of all the agencies seems to be the most trusted. Why is that? So they’re really codifying what it is that Sydney Water did that made people trust them the most. Now Sydney Water are more interested in those that don’t trust them, you know, those who are going around with bottled water, how can we stop that and get them to move out of plastic into drinking from the tap. They discovered that it was recent immigrants, the recent immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers who were the ones buying the bottles. Through interviews, they discovered, the reason they didn’t trust Sydney Water was because they had never drank water out of the tap. They come from Iran, Rwanda, places where you don’t drink water out of the tap. When they discovered they could, it was safe, there was a lot of emotional scenes where they would cry, that they’re now rich, because to their minds, it’s only the the wealthy who can drink water out of the tap. So this whole journey to discover what it is about trust, and really it was engagement and one to one communication in that in that case that changed the those resistant to trust.

If you looked at the rest of Sydney, we trust water more than we trust transport. We trust water more than we trust, you know, several other bodies including New South Wales Health, who have many, many channels and methods for putting information across. One of the things that they’ve done, where trust is the result, is the way they’ve worked with the tribal leaders. So you’ll know trust, Seth Godin is working with tribes and that, they work with tribal leaders of the groups who they want to interact with, they trust the tribal leader. So in this example, with health, it was diabetes and the Samoan community. The Samoan community, don’t go to the doctor, but they do go to church and they will listen to what the priest says even when they won’t listen to their own mother or a doctor. And so what happened? We took eight churches and all of priests we gave them the principles around diabetes reduction, exercise, diet and time. This was the way the academics at Western Sydney University, where I was before. The whole point of this story is about trust, which is to find the people who our audience trust the most. Over 12 months, we saw in the cohort, an 8% weight loss. How that was achieved was that these 12 principles were were given to the priests to say, do you want your congregation to become healthy? Yes. Here are some principles to reduce the diabetes epidemic and its your community that are most affected, which is why we started there.

By doing it that way, it wasn’t an academic coming in, or a government agency coming in and saying, here’s what you need to do. It was the priests themselves saying, this is what our community need to do, we need to all come together and do this. Through that journey, they formed new habits and so now we’re seeing that roll out across, I  think it’s 800 churches, not just the Samoan but approaching different things that are happening in different communities. For example, we know that the Indian community more likely to embrace physical change, doing yoga, and less likely to change their diet. Arabic community are more likely to change their diet, less likely to try yoga. So each community has had their own variables  in embracing these principles. It’s very personalised. I guess the way that, that messaging, that trust has been built, has been finding the right, clear set of principles, giving that to the right audience. So if I was selling a product, I would be thinking, what is the right endorser for this product? Who is credible? Because it’s not me if no one’s heard of me. So I need to think about who do I need to look at this and say, I love it and then their followers, and whatever, credible leader it is who I will believe then would go ahead and take that on. The long answer.

Martin Henley 17:08

That’s a long answer. It’s a great answer. I am really worried now that you’ve got so much to share with us, we need this really ordered, I’m overwhelmed already. So we need to bring some order to this if we can. Okay, so that may be brings us to the next, the next standard question, which is, you know, what is it that you do? Who is it that you do it for? How is it that you get to do it? So, I’m hearing already you’re working with universities, you’re working with New South Wales Water, or Health, or Sydney water, New South Wales Health? How do you get into the position where you are doing that kind of work? And how do they understand, like, how do they get to the point where they’re like, okay, we’re gonna bring Melanie in because also, the Crazy Might Work thing. I really like that. I really like that as I don’t know, like a message. I really like it. But anyway, we don’t have to talk that up.

Melanie Farmer 18:05

Yeah, so I guess a quick answer is that I now work, after doing many of these projects, I now work at Crazy Might Work, which is an innovation firm. We tend to get the big problems that are too hard, and so it has tended to be, in the last couple of years health, predominantly. We work in strategy, we are at conferences and summits talking about these sorts of things we do, futures thinking, and so on. So we will present at a law conference, for example, about that sort of thing, and then of course, someone in the audience will say, this is exactly what we’re not doing, can you come and run a thing with us? And so we will. So you know, we do sponsor some things right now we’re really interested in aged care, we’re doing whole thing in aged care as Crazy Might Work company. So we’ve brought together actors across the system in aged care, in response to what Australia has just gone through, which is the Royal Commission into aged care quality. With 148 recommendations. It’s overwhelming for the already very burdened health care sector. We sponsored the recent summit for that community, and ran a couple of free workshops along the way. Of course, through that we’ve gathered momentum and gotten more participants in our roundtable that we’re doing. I suppose that in those roundtables, that’s where we really get the most intense collaboration and from there, we usually find that we end up working individually with organisations so our client base grows in that way.

Martin Henley 19:49

Okay, and who are your clients exactly?

Melanie Farmer 19:52

Well, I say health but also, for example, police we do a leadership program at Nationally. In fact, there’s internationals that come for the AIPM, Australian Institute of Project Management. These are really executive level leadership programs for policing. And we work with pharmaceuticals and you know, big corporates, on various challenge areas, it’s usually about strategy or leadership. I guess, we are at the edge because we don’t get called Crazy Might Work and expect to get something normal from us. So we’re not like the big, been around for a long time consulting firms, we will overlay what we do with experience and newness, so it’s really fresh methodologies, or fresh uses or approaches to those methodologies. It’s also an insight. So I guess, a lot of word of mouth. The reason is, if you think about one of the recent projects we did with a health organisation, they were really challenged with, how do we train remote and rural clinicians? Because they lose the chance of working with mentors like you might find in the cities. We said, well, who is the best in the world at remote learning, and we thought about NASA; so we introduced them to the Chief Training Officer from NASA, he spent two hours with these coordinators of the health and training and recruitment of clinicians.

They got these really interesting insights from NASA, who we’ve done work with previously, and they were very happy, naturally collaborative, they were really happy to come and spend a couple of hours. NASA got something out of it, because they started to understand what it’s like to be a rural regional nurse in Australia. There are some similarities that are analogous to them as to their astronauts on the moon. One of the things was the heroism that you see from nurses and doctors, sometimes you are expecting a snake bite, I mean, we’re talking about Australia, you know, there are things that you have to deal with, that really require you to offer up some heroics. In space, if your colleague has a heart attack, you might be trained, but are you a hero? Are you really a health hero in space. So for NASA, it was a useful and interesting insight to think about their own program and what kind of person they’re going to send to space, and how to engender that idea that you are now a hero. Really, you have to be a doctor for your in space and the chips are down, and no one’s coming. You can’t ring 911, you’re just there and it’s you and you’ve got to save this person’s life. So there’s mutual benefit in those connections that we make. From that, of course, people tend to like these sorts of stories of course they are interesting. Then they’ll say, you got to work with these crazy people. Because you know, who would have thought?

Martin Henley 23:10

So they call you the crazy people?

Melanie Farmer 23:12

Yeah. In fact, in our proposals, we put your crazy team, and then we list the people who you’re going to get on project by project.

Martin Henley 23:22

Right? Okay, so forgive me, but this sounds like it shouldn’t work at all. It sounds preposterous. How do you happen to know the Chief Training Officer of NASA?

Melanie Farmer 23:38

So we happen to know them through a space biology project we did with the university, 2019 I think we did that. I was not working inside Crazy Might Work at that time. But Paul Hawkins, who’s our boss, he was, so he ran that project. Crazy Might Work as an organisation, they worked with a series of Australian space agencies, which is new, and a university looking at biology, human biology and space, waste treatment, and whatever. We thought, as Crazy Might Work, who’s good at space, NASA, we invited NASA and they’re very happy to collaborate. It turned out that NASA and the Australian Space Agency hadn’t really had a good collaboration, you know, they kind of knew of each other, but they hadn’t really been involved in a collaboration together. I mean, really, who are we here in Australia, but we have really different laws. There’s a lot of laws in America that are a bit unwieldy. Australia’s only just making laws about what we do in space. In America, you have to retain every image you take in perpetuity, so you can imagine the data. In Australia, we don’t require that, you can decide what you want to keep.

So that’s a significant difference in cost if you’re doing research in space from Australia versus America. So that’s something we wouldn’t have thought about when we were making our laws in Australia around our space. But because we know that, we can make these laws work for the user and say, yeah, let’s make a law that you don’t have to keep every image that you take in space. Now, your servers are not required to do that in perpetuity, or maybe for a period of time, but not forever. So there’s all sorts of things like that. That was when NASA got involved with Crazy Might Work and from there built this great relationship through the methodologies that we use. Of course, from there, a couple of times, we’ve reached out to NASA and said, do you deal with this issue that our clients’ having? And they have nothing to do with space, but they’re having this issue? And NASA will say, Yes, actually, you should talk to such and such, and that person will come on board and spend a couple of hours and all the insights start to happen, which is really exciting for us.

Martin Henley 26:05

It sounds tremendously exciting. So the question I have then is, all of the solutions that you provide all of the challenges that you provide, are they all kind of like messaging, marketing, communication type issues, because leadership is about, because I think kind of thing, everything is marketing, everything’s a pitch, you know, if you want someone to do something, you have to pitch them, you have to get them. Right, the more you can motivate them, the more you’re going to get from them. So is everything you do about that? And the other thing I want to know is like everything that you do seems to come from an academic kind of a place or a scientific kind of a place. So I’m interested in that. So it’s two things.

Melanie Farmer 26:47

Yeah, really evidence-based. So I’ll come back to that. So the first thing about we, sorry what was the first question?

Martin Henley 27:01

The first question is, is everything that you do kind of marketing in that it’s about messaging, influence, communication, is it all really just marketing? Or is there some other element, networking? Like, you’re obviously doing a lot of networking? So is it all really just marketing? That’s what I want to know. Yeah.

Melanie Farmer 27:21

So I think there’s an element because whatever it is, its influence. Actually, we are about driving innovation and for impact. Sometimes that’s marketing a product, to developing a product idea, prototyping, and then getting it out there. Getting it out there is the marketing element of that. We run a shark tank at the end of our process where we invite decision makers and you pitch your ideas, and they, the people who are going to take it forward. Our biggest moment for marketing is selling it to the sharks, if you like, those executive leaders who support it or are taking something forward. So within that, yeah, so I guess that we we do a lot of things which tackle wicked problems, usually social in some way, like the aged care or diabetes. That is sort of our wish, that we want to also make a social difference. It might be bushfire, it might be even economics and job creation. These are big, big problems, so innovation in those spaces, systems-lead thinkings and not just one part of the system, trying to change everything for everyone else. The marketing piece that we always do is influence because nothing will happen if you don’t convince others that this is a good idea. Many ideas are out there. No one cares. We’re all busy. So in order to get an idea adopted, we go through this sort of neuroscience, which is really the marketing piece.

And so one of the things we use is David Rock’s, scarf drivers, if you’ve heard of those. That is saying, if these are our key stakeholders, who are going to either kill my idea, or make my idea fly, what can I do to influence the chances that they’re going to embrace, support and endorse my idea. We use the scarf drivers, which is a whole other podcast, to bring a person on board, but if anyone wants to look it up, it’s David Rock. I think 2008, his model on scarf drivers, you could just Google and I guess but I the first S is for Status. So you know, I think Tesla really win on that they’ve designed their cars, to really ensure your friends will compliment you on your amazing Tesla car. There are other things around environmental credentials and so forth with Tesla, but if you look at that car, it’s a beautiful car. So they have thought about the status the car is going to afford their buyer. Then there are the other drivers each of the drivers we go through, we have examples and so on. All of those scarf drivers are really important if you’re going to sell or market anything. And so for us, the moment of influence, we really work with all of our projects, we bring in the scarf drivers and say, no one’s gonna support this, your ideas, your ideas going to die, your product will not be purchased, this is too new and weird, it’s not gonna happen unless you address these scarf drivers, so you need to know what it is. We go through this sort of Cluedo detective game, which helps you to think through who’s going to kill my idea and have an antidote.

Martin Henley 30:59

Who’s going to cure or who’s going to kill?

Melanie Farmer 31:01

Who’s going to kill idea my idea?

Martin Henley 31:03


Melanie Farmer 31:04

Yeah, who’s going to kill my idea and how can I mitigate the effect of that? So we create villains and heroes. There’s villains out there who are going to say this is not going to work, it’s unsafe. Now, why have they said that? There’s somewhere in these scarf drivers where their needs are not getting met. If they were they’d be going, Yeah, I’ll endorse this, this is fantastic, everyone should get one. So we actually look at the neuroscience behind resistance and that leads to influence. If we can get our responses right, to what is the resistance and make the people who we want to endorse it feel safe, then they’re much more likely to endorse it, and our idea doesn’t die. It gets Love, love and attention and support. So that in terms of, do we always do marketing, and yes, that’s kind of the journey that we go on into the influence. So it’s not just the message for our buyer it’s actually the stakeholders and policies of government that goes around our solution that can make or break the success of that product. Of course, don’t forget competitors, because they’re not wanting you to succeed. Unless they want you to succeed for a short time and then fail and everyone comes to them.

Martin Henley 32:32

Yes. Okay. Wow. What a cool conversation. So I don’t know what I want to know. I know, I want to know, like four or five more things. So government, do they see this when you work with government, when you work with the police, when you work with health organisations, if you work for, the water suppliers? Do they see this as marketing? Do they see what they provide as a product? And if they do, is it healthy to do that? Or a product or service? Or is it healthy? I don’t know. That’s kind of what I’m interested in?

Melanie Farmer 33:08

Yeah, look, I think they’re transformed. So if we were from government and think about a traditional corporate that we work with, who are really about profit, for the most part, great products selling in, the corporates amongst our clients, they are looking to be less unsuccessful as time goes on.

Martin Henley 33:31

To fail less.

Melanie Farmer 33:32

That’s it! much better!

Martin Henley 33:34


Melanie Farmer 33:35

Fail faster, as you know, but really less. And so ….

Martin Henley 33:40


Melanie Farmer 33:40

Success with our corporate clients is working with, having our people gone through our program and methodologies and are now independently able to think more fully about their ideas. I will particularly say that organisations that are reasonably cashed up, they can afford to fail more, but that doesn’t mean they want to or they should. So those organisations, I guess profitable clients, they are particularly saying it’s wasteful, that we should just throw money at ideas and then just see what succeeds, we should take a more evidence based approach. So coming back to why do we use these academic, you know, evidence based models and methodologies, we know they work they are tried and tested. I think it was Dan Pink who said, you know, why doesn’t business do what science knows? And there’s a frustration behind that. We know that with these things where there’s a lot of scientific evidence around neuroscience and all that stuff, how influencing this and then also there are rules about how you interview a client, and how you work, what is an insight, there’s a whole science about what is actually a customer insight and what is not a customer insight.

And so we use those evidence based tools and models, which are new to many organisations, we work with the people. So there’s impact, how can it impact if you do some cool thing, have a hackathon, everyone goes home, nothing happens. Much better to say let’s unite around an outcome then we use all the tools in the box to arrive at that outcome. So we, you know, there’s still a lot of flexibility. So if you’re an architect building a house, and you’re gonna have a tendency, but there’s always walls, but if you look at 2, buildings, the rules are different. They’ve all got walls, but every building is different, a church is different to a tent but both have walls. So there’s nothing wrong with structure and evidence based models, you can still be very flexible within those. But we know that a dwelling needs walls. So the structure is there. And that’s what we provide, a safe, trusted, evidence based structure by which you can innovate so that your innovation or product is going to work, and is also going to be adopted for the client that you’re building it for. So in one setting, your client wants a tent, and they don’t know yet, in another they want a church. So your solution will be very, very different but the way you arrive at that solution is going to be more successful if you do these ethnographic sort of work that we do. So that’s, I guess what we offer?

Martin Henley 36:53

Okay, so you’ve given one answer to the question, Why don’t corporations do what scientists know works? Which is they don’t know that it’s available to them? Okay. Why else don’t they do what science knows works?

Melanie Farmer 37:09

Yeah. So I think, you know, people are very busy and they might know it, but they might only know it in the innovation team, or I only know it in the finance team. So the finance team might be fantastic at doing cost benefit analysis but does that mean that the innovation team will sit in on their beanbags? I mean, being very kind of prejudice here, because that’s not how they all work, but do they know this? Do you know, so it’s okay,

Martin Henley 37:36

They all work on beanbags. Come on.

Melanie Farmer 37:39

So we like to kind of just put a spotlight on diversity, if you’ve probably got these, if you really thought about it, these skills might be available to you as a big corporate across your organisation, but are you connecting the dots, maybe not. It’s often the case that the sales team, the delivery team, the marketing team, the technical team, they don’t interface. So at Sussex, we really worked around that problem by creating this lifeboat model, which you may or may not have seen or recalled from there. That was to bring, you know, creative people, but from all different parts of an organisation into one room together out of the big ocean liner of a corporate. So we had these little rafts if you like, or lifeboats, and in there, you’d have one of everyone, you’d have a technical person, a marketing person, a customer service person, maybe a finance person. They work together for six months, on a particular challenge that the organisation was having, they had to come together as multidisciplinary teams, often multinational and they’d be able to create a solution that was not only going to be embraced by the customer, but that actually financially worked, technically worked and that the customer service person could explain and understand and felt that yes, that’s what the customer wants. So, you know, those skills are across our organisation.

So some of the things that we do when we’re working just with one client is that we will bring disciplines from across, not just the innovation team, in fact, that would be a disaster, to just work with the innovation team. We never ever do that. We always work with a diverse group. We want to say let’s bring in, we got someone and at different levels. We don’t just want to see you. We don’t just want the receptionist. We actually want people from all levels, from strategic to tactical, to operational, to come and get involved together, because they actually share and cross fertilise and it’s such a missing thing. We’re busy so it’s not our job. I’m not helping you because I’m working on my thing. And so by checking everybody out of the raft, the ocean liner into this lifeboat, it’s a way to say let’s think more quickly. Because you can you make fast decisions take a lot more risks in that setting. And let’s make sure we’ve represented all the skills we need. So they know well that lifeboats only got accountants. Alright, let’s mix it up. So how can your accountants get out? Let’s throw some marketing people in there. You think by mixing up those disciplines, you do get more, well, there’s a lot of evidence about that as well. Not just when retailers produce better innovation.

Martin Henley 40:41

Okay, I’d never thought, none of this had ever even occurred to me. Okay, good. So that works. What do I want to know about now, I want to know about, I want to do another chat. So we can do this whole scarf drivers stuff. And so that’d be cool. If we could do that in the future. I’m interested in the thing. I’m interested in science, because it seems to me right now that science is having a crisis of trust a little bit, because it’s being presented as untrustworthy, or it’s presenting itself as untrustworthy. So I don’t know if that’s too conspiratorial to have that conversation. But I’m kind of interested in how science fixes itself and becomes more trustworthy. And then the other thing I want to talk about today definitely is this first customer thing. So if you are in an innovative startup, then how do you get your first customer so maybe it makes sense that we do the science and the trust thing first. So for example, what I’m seeing because of my echo chamber, is I’m seeing the USA’s leading scientist Anthony Fauci lying, and then admitting that he’s lied. And he’s done this two or three times. And I think this is undermining what is a really important position, which is, you know, the world needs to get back to normality. And the person that the world’s leading economy has put in charge of this is admitting that he’s lying. So how do people have faith in that? When he’s admitting that he’s lying? So that’s what I’m interested to know. First?

Melanie Farmer 42:24

Yeah, look, I think science has had a roller coaster, in terms of its brand and trust, in the last year and a half. Because at the very beginning of the pandemic, a lot of radical trust was given to science. And then things started to unravel when it got distracted with politics. And so I think the more that I mean, the more that science gets intermingled with politics, the more risky it is for us to then try and build trust in that political setting. But if you take science out of politics, the places where that exists, science has had a good rap, and has been on the up. So we are more relying and wanting evidence and things. Certainly I’m seeing that in corporate Australia and APAC region that we, because things are moving so very fast, in fact, there was an academic setting a couple few weeks ago, a longitudinal study is four weeks now, it used to be 10 years. But of course, things are moving so fast, that we really could just do a study in four weeks, and then four weeks later, it’s a whole new world. So we’re gonna start again, just planning to imagine that’s how academics are now looking at longitudinal studies.

But I guess that the Yeah, the journey for science has been, we completely rely on you. You’re lying to us. And then back, I think it’s half, it depends where the science is being presented from. So in Australia, we’ve had the Chief Medical Officer and state level counterparts presenting and the trust in Australia is very, very good. So I do think it’s country by country. So in Australia, we’ve got a really good trust in our scientists, and some of those who get up are, of course, epidemiologist, from universities who are not working for the government. And so, they might seem to be a puppet, you know, you might say, because they’re presenting alongside government, but they in their own right are very independent and very vocal, and will not defend any attack on government. They just give backs and say this is the facts about hand washing this, what we know about this and what we know about that. So I think we’re doing a better job with our scientists in Australia, than some other countries in terms of giving them the independence that they need. So, yeah, I do think it’s where the message is delivered  from. In America is a whole other animal when it comes to science and our propensity to believe and follow science, it’s about the channel for where that message is coming from. I’m not sure if that answers your question.

Martin Henley 45:36

Well, it kind of does, because for me, everything is marketing. So it’s about, and marketing is about having this trust, and like you’re saying, it’s about influence and all of these things. But they’ve got themselves into such a mess where now, this, idea that clearly, not that clearly, this idea that this was science made, has now gone mainstream, it was unlike the Colbert Show, like two, three days ago. And I think you’re right, I think it’s not only about the state of the relationships and the influences in the country, but also the population of the country and the way they want to receive the message. So Australia, I think, is always a little more cynical, or more challenging of science, like you’ve seen this on climate change, you’ve seen this, and that there are vocal communities who are prepared to challenge these things. And I think that’s probably healthier. So I think that’s how you get a trustable situation, because scientists in Australia are used to being challenged, whereas maybe in the States, they are much less, and I don’t understand, like science will always be politicized. Because it’s like the leading authority in the world, you know, so it’s the control mechanism. And it’s all about how resources are distributed so it’s going to be politicized. I think sciences in kind of trouble. But you know more about this than I do. So, when I asked you about how we respond now, to the current situation, pandemic wise, you can or maybe now you can let me know, what do you think?

Melanie Farmer 47:09

Yeah, listen, I think that’s the magic word’s, how we respond. So I think it’s actually true that all scientists are criticized and attacked in America equally to Australia. How Australian science responds is very different to how American science response. So the response is, in some settings, silence or shutting down of the question. And the mistake that, that does, is it reduces transparency, and then you seem to have a secret. And then we get very suspicious. In Australia, when we get a question and we’re challenging and attacking, we tend to answer it much more transparently. So for example, when the cruise ships came to Sydney in February, I think it’s February-March, last year, that’s when we had our first moment when COVID really took off. And we had 20,000 cases. And it was it was certain to be, you know, a real threat thing. The prime minister was really attacked at a press conference and challenged about, you know, should the cruise ships be accountable for what’s happened to Australia. And he said, I think everyone has made mistakes, and we’re allowed to make mistakes. It’s the first pandemic we’ve had in our living experience.

And so we have to give people a bit of a minute, to be allowed to make mistakes. And he said, we will make more, we’ve made mistakes, we’re still making mistakes today. And we’re going to make more this is unprecedented if you remember that word being every second sentence. It’s unprecedented. So we’re going to make mistakes. So an admission that we were doing things wrong is a really you wouldn’t have heard that from from Trump, I think. That’s not, whatever happened, there’s a narrative about we’re right and everyone else, you know, we’re doing it right. Which I think really, as the general public, we don’t want to hear that there’s been no mistake, we prefer to hear there’s a mistake, because then we can get on with fixing it. And we can come from a place of compassion rather than judgment. And if you create an adversary, then we will step up and be the adversary to you. So actually, you know, if you look at also, Brene Browns, the other one I want to reference on trust because she’s done that great model on BRAVING, which is the acronym around how trust is greater. Then the first one is boundaries, B for boundaries. So I think, you know, she’s got some great sort of codified ways for how do you build trust.

Martin Henley 50:06

And who was that, what was that name?

Melanie Farmer 50:08

Brene brown.

Martin Henley 50:11

Brene brown.

Melanie Farmer 50:13

B-R-E-N-E. Brene Brown. She’s got I think it’s now the most watched TED Talk ever on vulnerability. She studied vulnerability in China and has done for more than 20 years. And but she’s got some fun, she’s got a podcast and all that, but her messaging around trust, which we have referenced in several of our work with clients as well. The first one is boundaries. So if you’re in a relationship, or you’re leading a team, or you’re mentoring, or whatever it is, the first thing you want is called trust. And with your brand you want trust. If you’re going to build a trusted brand. The first thing would be, what are your boundaries? Are you reliable? If you say, something’s gonna get delivered in three days, is it going to be delivered in three days? Otherwise, change your brand promise to five days. That way you’re delivering and you’re reliable. We’d rather know. And so on. So if you went through that acronym, and there’s vulnerability, sorry, there’s vault, secrets, keeping secrets, but keeping secrets for you, not from you.

Martin Henley 51:18


Melanie Farmer 51:19

Yeah. So there’s a whole lot of things in braving that are worth looking at, if you’re thinking about how do I build trust? How, as an organization, what are the first things that I need to do? So it’s what do I do? What not. How I, I think the thing about respond, how do I respond when attacked? That is the difference. That’s a critical point for any vendor. If you have sold a toy that’s flammable, your response to that better be transparent, and apologetic. I think actually, Volkswagen have done it pretty well, they quietly dealt with the fact that they lied about the emissions in their cars at during a period of two, three years of testing. And they apologized. And then they’ve done corrective action for all of the vehicle owners.

Martin Henley 52:18

Yes. Okay. So I’m with you. So I think that there are different flavors of science. So certainly like, and the three that I probably the one, the three that I’m most exposed to, might be Australia, well, probably the UK, the US and Australia. And I think that the particular flavor of science in USA, wants to be infallible, wants to be bulletproof. And the issue with that, like we know with brands is that if you get one crack in that, then the whole thing is broken, which it seems to me that it is. So okay, so that’s cool. And I think of science as a belief system, and as a brand. And so I think of these things in exactly the same way. So how they come back is going to be really interesting, I’ve not seen Brene Brown, and I’m going to go and check, I’ve not seen any of the stuff you’re talking about. So the thing that I’m also interested to hear from you is this first customer thing that you referenced right at the very beginning, because what I say to people is that, essentially, sales and marketing is the puzzle that you have to fix in your business. So it’s the riddle that you have to fix, like you have to work out how it is that you’re going to find, win and keep customers profitably. And it sounds to me, like because you were in those 500 start tech, startups all the way back 2006, 2007, that you have a methodology for fixing that riddle? Or is that? Or is the way I’m framing this different from the way that you think about it?

Melanie Farmer 53:58

You’re right, in fact, threaded 2013. So right through 2013, and through to 2016 in Australia, then. So working with startups, get your first customer. So I think, you know, you can have a great idea. And you can play around with it for as long as you like. But until you get it in front of people, you don’t know if it’s gonna work. And so, you know, there’s a lot of, I mean, I could talk for hours about, you know, really, you should talk to customers before you even begin to hear about a product. But let’s say you haven’t done that. Let’s say you have in your mind, come up with a great idea. And you’ve then gone on and built a product and now you want to sell it and imagine that you haven’t yet spoken to a customer and you’ve got to start somewhere. So if you did that, you’re less likely in my mind to succeed but you still could. So that’s product journey one is that I built something and then now I’m going to go and find a customer.

Martin Henley 55:02

But in that instance, you’re just gonna get lucky. Well, you know, it’s like, if you have the good luck to hit on something that actually there’s a market for completely in isolation, that is just luck.

Melanie Farmer 55:17

Yes. And then you can increase your luck by understanding truly what the benefits are of your product. So not your features, not your advantages, but your benefits. So then you look at your benefits of having your product and think who cares about that? So is it gonna make you look younger? Well there’a variant that already limits who’s going to be more interested in that? And who is less interested in that? So what are the actual benefits of your product, and who cares about that the most, and then you would reach out to them and one way to do that, let’s say it was the Aged Care Center would be to go to an aged care conference, or go and visit an aged care facility and say, we’ve developed this, what do you think more humility in that early stage that one comes with, the more likely that person will not only trial your product, but recommend it to someone else who might also you should talk to who could help you or control it or endorse it. And also to give you suggestions about how to make it more trustworthy as a product in the market, you know, you need to go and get it such and such certified. And then everyone will buy it. And an example of that recently, for me was talking to a state agency, government agency and saying, you know, we we do innovation services, and that agency, state agency said, you know, what, you just need to become a preferred supplier.

And these are the different categories that you should be preferred on, because that’s who I would go to if I was hiring you. And so for me, I know what I need to do now to become an easier option for them when they’re procuring a service I offer. But how would I know that had I unless, I would go and talk to them and say, here’s what we do, what do you think, different interviews, how would you go about? what are the steps that I need to do to become someone you’d use or product that you would use? So the other thing is really market intelligence, everything, understanding your customer, if you’ve got these benefits, I mean, what one of the things that I did was University enterprise working with academics in the University of Sussex. So they come to us with these inventions, they’d say, I think that this is for X, Y, Z market. And sometimes it was just the wrong market.

So one example was a really indestructible device that you can do ECG testing of a person. And they said, we think this is for home care market in aged care, you know, they can, because it’s mobile, the nurses can come and go and visit your home in this in this, if they drop it, it’s all good and good for mobile. And we sort of went, okay, well, that’s interesting, but actually indestructible ECG that feels to me more useful in a defense setting. Because those people are really passionate around if it falls off a tank and gets backed over can it’s still, they are like Yes, it’s indestructible. Might, yeah, that feels like it’s more important if you’re out in the desert, get running out in the tank than if you’re just, you know, quietly going from house to house. And so we shifted the market to defense who were much more interested in that solution than the health market were at that time. So it’s just thinking about the benefits of your product. And in that case, robustness was more important for a different marketing entirely than the one they had first thought of. So that can be avoided if you first talk to the customer who’d use that thing you designed. But if you haven’t done that, then you got to listen to the customer. And then switch markets. If you see them into this, this kind of challenges, finding your first customer, you are the designer with them. Or you listen to the customer and pivot, go to a different market.

Martin Henley 59:18

Cool. So in the latest episode of my what the series, I did product development, because I’ve got a thing, I got a million things. That’s why you know, I can talk to anyone about all this stuff because I’ve got a million issues that annoyed me upset me, but annoys me upsets me that products are invented in a silo that they don’t engage their marketing people who should understand the marketing. They don’t engage their sales people who should have relationships with their actual customers, like the boffins go away and produce this thing. And then they expect sales and marketing to kind of foist it on the marketing unless they have the good fortune to meet someone like you and say, wait a minute, you know, you need to understand something about the market before this happens. Good. So I agree with everything that you’re saying. And my whole shtick, I suppose my whole thing about sales and marketing is it’s centered on this cost of customer acquisition. So if you are proactively marketing, you’re in the business of buying customers, the more cost effectively, you can do that. And the higher the customer value that the average customer value, the more profitable you are. So I’ve kind of got this view of a perfect cycle, a virtuous cycle where you win the customer, you fix their issue, you talk to them about other issues, you develop solutions to those issues, and it goes on and on and on forever. So good. I just wanted to let you know, I’m really glad that you also think that.

Melanie Farmer 1:00:41

I’ll tell you something that I’m really getting into, like I’ve been since I was 10. But is storytelling.

Martin Henley 1:00:50


Melanie Farmer 1:00:50

So I really think for the first customer, you need to tell a really once upon a time story that is so beautiful, with an amazing happy ending, that the customer can’t help being drawn in. And that story needs to be short, and emotional, and unexpected. So I think unexpected and emotional, are often missing from the stories that you hear about new things. Because that it should be unexpected, because it’s new, but we sort of think oh, no, don’t make it too weird. So our stories are not as weird as they should actually be.

Martin Henley 1:01:34


Melanie Farmer 1:01:35

The companies that I’ve worked with, certainly in Sussex, there’s a hundreds and hundreds of companies, the ones that did really well, their stories were very humble, you know, but they were very personal, very emotional. You know, my mother had Alzheimer’s, and then I’ve developed this amazing thing. Or I ride bikes, but I just always wanted to feel like Lance Armstrong and I knew I’d never make it. So I’ve developed this little thing that I put on my bike. And it can tell me how I compare with Lance Armstrong’s performance.

Martin Henley 1:02:11

It’s an engine.

Melanie Farmer 1:02:13

Sadly, no rocket, no rocket. But you know that’s much more interesting. And I’ve done an app that tracks how I work how I do on my my bike run. Now I want an app that tells me how I compare with Lance Armstrong. So it’s more personal. And it’s more interesting. So it is also simple. It’s simple, unexpected, emotional. So I think that is the storytelling. And there’s a lot of really interesting podcasts in fact, I really recommend listening to children’s book writing podcasts. Because if you can tell a story to a 10 year old, then you’ve got a really good chance of hitting everyone else. And they are brutal audiences in a fantastic way. They will help you edit. So get your story right for that audience. You’re on your way. But I think there’s a lot of you know, stuff about, I’ll give you an example of how few words you actually need to tell a good story. So Ernest Hemingway, famously was in a bar with his other very famous writer friends, and they were arguing about who can tell the shortest story and still create all the things that you want from the story. And they were like, 10 words, I can do it in a page. I can do it. And then as Hemingway said, I can write a story in six words. And so he got a napkin. And they’re all laughing like you can’t do it. And he wrote on the napkin “For sale. Babies shoes. Never worn.

Martin Henley 1:03:58


Melanie Farmer 1:04:00

In itself, that’s an emotional story in six words. And so it’s possible to tell an amazing emotional moving story in much fewer words than we think. But you can see that he was telling a story like that. It doesn’t take much but it’s something I’m going to tell someone else.

Martin Henley 1:04:27


Melanie Farmer 1:04:28

That he has everything he needs. Its that we don’t do that.

Martin Henley 1:04:34


Melanie Farmer 1:04:35

It’s a great story is not my story. It’s such a

Martin Henley 1:04:39

Yeah, well is a terrible story really.

Melanie Farmer 1:04:41

Terrible story but an incredible lesson in the importance of emotion in a good story.

Martin Henley 1:04:48

Okay, I can I can bring some brevity to this situation. I can tell you about the shortest. The shortest joke. Do you know the shortest joke?

Melanie Farmer 1:04:55


Martin Henley 1:04:57

Two words. It’s two words I haven’t started telling you. Okay, the shortest joke is dwarf shortage.

Melanie Farmer 1:05:18

All right, that’s correct.

Martin Henley 1:05:23

Okay, good. So let’s because I think we’ve already gone for more than an hour. So are you able to tell us in like five or 10 minutes about your recommendation? Because I know you’ve got some insight because you’re connected to the scientific community about how people should be responding to the ever changing situation. So, you know, where we are now is it’s June 2021. So obviously, we’ve been dealing with the pandemic since March 2020. Various countries are looking at coming out of lockdowns, tourism isn’t happening, travel isn’t happening. There is the whole situation with the vaccine. The thing about the vaccine, passports is coming around again. So this is kind of what’s going on now in June 2021. So what is your recommendation? And for people who are looking to respond now?

Melanie Farmer 1:06:25

Well, I guess the good news is that many of the longest, most durable companies were founded in recessions and depressions. So if you started your company, in this period, you’re in very good company, it’s a great time to start a company, is in a recession, or depression or crisis, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, hundreds more. There’s many, many companies who started during a crisis time. And they are more and more longevity than companies that didn’t. So that’s the first thing if you’re a startup, good, excellent. Do it. The second I guess is collaborate. And I think that we now have these sorts of platforms, which everyone’s embraced. And there are so many ways to get to people who you are. I mean, I was talking to the Chief Health Officer for Qantas globally. Now who am I? Who am I? But he made an hour for me. And that is because companies like Qantas, and others around the world who might not have had time. Now, the crisis is so big, that they are making time.

Martin Henley 1:07:51

Okay, so that was the chief, who was that?

Melanie Farmer 1:07:53

Chief Health Officer for Qantas.

Martin Henley 1:07:56

Health Officer for Qantas.

Melanie Farmer 1:07:57

Globally, yea. Along with the Group Head of Health and Well Being. So both responsible for the well being of their staff globally. And so if you, I reckon, five years ago, they may not have given me time, because of what’s happening at the moment, people are more accessible. You know, they’re not having to travel. So it’s actually a really good time to collaborate, and reach out. So I can be ambitious, just be audacious about who you think you want to talk to. And more importantly, who you want to listen to, because we got some fantastic insights, talking to them around mental well being, you know, because that the airline industry is famously challenged in that area. So collaborate is my summary, collaborate, I think use evidence, there’s a lot of evidence out there that’s just ignored. Business evidence, market intelligence. Intuition is a big thing with, you know, innovation, but actually, there’s a lot of science that you can fast track your ways, rather than trying to work it out the hard way.

So I think it’s just really underestimated the power of data and science. Universities have access to an unbelievable amount of data. And they are, of course, government funded the world over. So there’s many places you can go and get that data in some way, shape or form by working collaborating with universities. And I guess the third thing is, practice telling stories in wherever you are in your day. There’s a story everywhere. And it’s really interesting when you start looking around and noticing all the bustle, you know, just making a coffee. Everything has a really quite interesting story. You can tell with a beginning, a middle and an end in throwing some emotion so I think just practicing storytelling is a really helpful skill because it’s really the beginning of influence and persuasion.

Martin Henley 1:10:02

Good. I think that’s really strong advice. Were you there in 2019, I presented at Brighton City College. I know my curd was there. But that was for me, I came up with this presentation, which was basically how to address that crisis at that time, the 2008 financial crisis. And I came up with this thing, which was get excited and kick ass because more millionaires are made during the recessions and all those things. Yeah, so that was my crowning glory, it would have been really cool if you’ve been there, but it’s not sound like you were. So but I think it’s right, this feels different. This feels very different.

Although it feels very different now, from the way it felt in March last year, in March last year, it felt like, bodies were going to start piling up, you know, it felt like, like 10s of millions of people could be dying from this, in which case, it felt entirely inappropriate to be marketing or selling anything. Except I think the reason that the better businesses are founded in really difficult times, is for two things, people have real issues that need to be addressed. So if you can identify what those issues are, and find solutions for them, then that makes sense that you will find markets. And the second thing is I think they have to be more resilient, because there is less, you know, what’s the saying hard times create hard men, hard men create soft times soft times create soft men, like that kind of situation? So I think that’s really good advice. I think that’s really good advice.

Melanie Farmer 1:11:48

If I say, confidence, when confidence wanes, then people are more open. So what we saw with 2020 is an increasing doubt. And so to have the Prime Minister say, of Australia, we have made some mistakes, we’re going to make some more. That’s not what you hear from a prime minister, that’s not allowed. So to hear that, on national news, we’re making mistakes, we gonna make more, that increases our sense that first of all, we’re going to make mistakes. If that’s true. Well, you know, we might as well make good ones.

Martin Henley 1:12:33

Yes, yes. Yes.

Melanie Farmer 1:12:34

It increases the feeling that we were vulnerable, we don’t know what we’re doing. So as a nation, we put with, and it facilitates echo a bit across the world. Like we’re all experimenting, we’re still in this experiment. However, there’s a lot of data, if you look at an epidemiologist and how they codify pandemics and say, yeah, then we’ll get the roaring 20s. This is not our first rodeo. It’s just our personal first time. But it’s not the first time the world has had this. It happened before. And here’s the pattern, and we’ve codified it, is anyone listening? So I really think it’s a case of turn to science and see what patterns are to predict what the markets gonna do. Although it’ll be shorter, as we’ve seen in product life cycles, everything’s happening quicker. But I think when you do get a crisis and things, doubt creeps in confidence wanes, that’s a great time to get in. Because there’s more openness, and more vulnerability.

Martin Henley 1:13:35

Yes, and because people are looking for leadership, and people are looking for a way out, you know, so, for me, I don’t think I have quite your faith in science. For me, it’s all just stories, which comes back to this storytelling thing. So if you can come up with a great story. And, you know, as I’m thinking about this little mission that I’m on, I mean, I’m on this mission, because I kind of feel like if I discharge all of everything I know about marketing in the next year or two, then I can fulfill my obligation to marketing, I could step away, and I’m bringing people like you in to get also what you know, just in case of what I don’t know, is very good. So, but it’s a good story. You know, I want people to be successful, I really do. I can’t help them all physically, but I can produce all of this content and I can cut through the BS, and I can put really bright people in front of you. Because for me, marketing is always like now we’re seeing as the example but it’s always about knowing, understanding markets and identifying the needs and wants those markets and fulfilling the needs and wants of those markets. So that is really what marketing is should be. But it gets lost. I think learning this was so much more interesting than even I could have hoped for.

Melanie Farmer 1:14:53

Fantastic Yeah, look, it’s it’s much more important than say what the most important thing is your audience. The least important thing is the idea.

Martin Henley 1:15:03


Melanie Farmer 1:15:04

Most important is your audience, you know. So if you worked out who your audience is, then that’s the thing so I mean yea, getting that message, the message can change depending on the audience. Bottom line, whatever you’re doing your best to just spend, your mission in life is to find the right audience first.

Martin Henley 1:15:24

Yes, yeah. Okay. And it’s true marketing center that that, for me is a market. You know, like, we used to talk about audiences now, in the last 20 years, this has become the thing, but it’s essentially your market. So it is your market for your product, or your information, or for your insights or for your leadership, it’s a market. I think that’s absolutely correct. Okay, then. So who would you recommend I speak to? Who should I reach out and speak to next on this little mission that I’m on?

Melanie Farmer 1:15:52

You know, if I was thinking about the sort of work we do at Crazy Might Work? I would highly recommend, including people who know nothing about marketing.

Martin Henley 1:16:05

Good. I like that. That’s crazy, it might work.

Melanie Farmer 1:16:08

Right? multidisciplinary. So for example, why wouldn’t you talk to someone who manages the lining closure at a zoo, you know, like someone completely out there. Or someone who has to deal with audiences like Hollywood, and talk about someone in Hollywood around storytelling. Pixar, we reference Pixar a lot in our work around storytelling. So I’d be looking at someone who really isn’t a marketing person, if you ask them. But could offer in some different disciplines around that. And the other people I think, can see that is actually an Accountant/Chief Finance Officer, someone, what I find working with startups, they have two weaknesses, it’s usually marketing, or finance. And they’re so interrelated, because the finance have to fund marketing, marketing has to put an outcome for the finance. And so they’re usually the two areas that are neglected or, you know, diminished, because there’s too much excitement about everything else, the idea.

Martin Henley 1:17:17


Melanie Farmer 1:17:18

So bringing, there’s a lot of courses out there possibly, you know, people to do finance courses for non-finance people. So why not bring? What does marketing look like to a finance person? And that would be a really interesting thing to hear. And what a storyteller think is important about telling a compelling narrative? How would they approach that? If it came to being a product, and someone who’s not done it, but does know storytelling. So there’s a kind of, I guess, some suggestions of where I’d get next.

Martin Henley 1:17:52

Okay, do you have individuals that you’d recommend or not necessarily?

Melanie Farmer 1:17:58

Probably a whole handful of people. Certainly in Sydney, there’s, it depends on what’s easiest for you. So there are some people who run like the Anthony Orman. He’s a professor at Western Sydney University, he is the director of the Institute for Writing and    Society. And so he lectures in writing, and storytelling.

Martin Henley 1:18:23


Melanie Farmer 1:18:23

He’s a guy that, a really interesting guy, lots of interesting things you could do, talk about.

Martin Henley 1:18:30

Cool, if you could give me an introduction, that would be really, really useful. Felt like I’m putting you under pressure now to disclose your Rolodex, but I’m not. I’m just really wanted. I really am interested to see where this goes, you know, who is it? I can talk to him? What is it that they can bring? And what are the insights and stuff? Melaniee, this has been so cool. Thank you so much.

Melanie Farmer 1:18:50

You’re welcome. Really interesting, and great to see you. I’m very jealous that you’re in Bali. And yeah, I’ll send you this recording.

Martin Henley 1:18:59

Okay, that would be fantastic. I really need you to do that. Because I don’t have it. And maybe you and I can sit down again in two or three months time and do a take two, I think we’ve opened some channels here that we haven’t closed quite and I think it’d be really interesting to understand more about those.

Melanie Farmer 1:19:14

Yeah, look, I’d love to talk about assessing your idea. Because that’s dark art. Is your idea a good idea or bad idea? Stuff like that.

Martin Henley 1:19:25

Okay, I’m gonna write this down. assessing your idea. Yeah, because.

Melanie Farmer 1:19:32

Marketing, it’s one thing, but should you? Is the question you want to ask. Is this actually a good idea?

Martin Henley 1:19:38

Yes. Yes.

Melanie Farmer 1:19:40

And there’s a really, really systematic way to do that.

Martin Henley 1:19:44

Okay, super cool. Well, we’ve got that and there were another couple of things that you’ve touched on. So we’ve definitely got something to talk about. And I think it will be two or three months when I come back to you. You are an absolute legend. Thank you so much.

Melanie Farmer 1:19:56

You’re welcome.

Martin Henley 1:19:56

And I will speak to you again soon.

Melanie Farmer 1:19:59

Let’s see if I can manage to save this recording. I’m sure.

Martin Henley 1:20:04

Well, you’ll just press.


Martin Henley

Martin Henley

Martin has built a reputation for having a no nonsense approach to sales and marketing and for motivating audiences with his wit, energy, enthusiasm and his own brand of audience participation. Martin’s original content is based on his very current experience of running effective marketing initiatives for his customers and the feedback from Effective Marketing’s successful and popular marketing workshops.



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