A marketing agency has no choice but to have their finger on the pulse - Talk Marketing 085 - Claire Daniels

A marketing agency has no choice but to have their finger on the pulse – Talk Marketing 085 – Claire Daniels

by | Dec 20, 2022 | Brand, Business Strategy, Digital Marketing, Digital Marketing Skills, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Marketing Agency, Marketing Skills, Marketing Strategy, Marketing System, Social Media Marketing, Talk Marketing

Click through to the good bits.

00:00 Introductions.

04:05 Why would you, if you’re looking to grow your business, decide that everyone should work less?

04:51 What are the benefits of a four day work week?

07:02 What is the four day work week model?

07:23 Does the business owner also get to work a four day week?

09:15 How is the team organised around the four day work week?

11:33 Is the four day work week scalable?

12:54 What is the motivation to move to a four day work week?

15:29 What is your specialist subject?

16:56 How are you qualified to talk to us about strategic marketing?

17:34 How long should you spend in a role if you are looking to have a successful career in marketing?

28:37 How should businesses work with marketing agencies?

32:19 Who do you work with and how do you add value to their lives?

35:41 How do you charge your customers for marketing services?

39:43 What role does your agency play in keeping up with the changes in the digital marketing industry?

42:27 How are the various social media platforms performing right now?

46:40 What is going wrong for the social media platforms?

48:33 Why do businesses need marketing agencies?

53:41 Why do people come to you for marketing strategy?

56:32 Why do businesses need a marketing strategy?

1:02:20 Is marketing just about getting lucky?

1:03:56 What is the secret to overnight success in marketing?

1:06:22 How to discover the nuggets in marketing.

1:09:59 The trouble with objectives in a marketing strategy.

1:13:21 How do you achieve 300% growth through marketing?

1:16:56 What is your recommendation either for people looking to get started with marketing strategy or looking to get better at marketing strategy in a minute or 2 minutes?

1:18:39 What should people read or what media should people consume?

1:25:38 Who can you throw under the bus who might enjoy to have a conversation like this with me?

00:14 Introductions.

Martin Henley: [00:00:14] Hello there. My name is Martin Henley. This is the effective marketing content extravaganza and if you’re new here, you won’t know that I’m on a mission to give you everything you need to be successful in your business, providing, of course, that what you need to be successful in your business is to know more about and to implement more effectively and enthusiastically your sales and marketing. So if you are new here, you won’t have subscribed yet, you won’t have shared, you won’t have commented, you won’t have done any of those good things but you should do that right now. So what happens here is we bring you the news every other week. We review the very best and the very worst of marketing content on the Internet and as often as I can, I bring in a guest with experience relevant if you are looking to be more successful in your business through your sales and marketing. So if all of that sounds interesting, you should like, you should share, you subscribe, you should do those really nice things. So today is talk marketing and we have a guest for you.

Martin Henley: [00:01:11] Today’s guest is a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University with a BA in Marketing Management. She has marketing experience going back to 2010 when she was a marketing exec with Moors Furniture, then marketing manager with CCTV Europe. She has held three head of marketing positions. She is currently co-host of the North Star Podcast and the Bobble Bobble Podcast. She is Conservation Circle Member of the Rainforest Trust UK, Trustee of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and CEO of Trio Media. She has a raft of awards, including most influential CEO of 2021, CEO of the Year in 2020, top three Website Designers in 2019, Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs in 2019, and Business Role Model of the Year of the Woman in IT Awards in 2017 and 2018. Today’s guest was introduced to us by Manpreet Singh, who tells us that she is one of his closest mates and is an untapped genius when it comes to marketing. Today’s guest is Claire Daniels. Good morning, Claire. That was a mouthful.

Claire Daniels: [00:02:47] I know. Well, you’ve made me sound quite good there. I’ve obviously got a lot to live up to today.

Martin Henley: [00:02:53] I think you have and you’ve clearly been very busy. Manpreet tells us that we’d be lucky to speak to you because you’re so busy.

Claire Daniels: [00:03:03] Yeah.

Martin Henley: [00:03:04] Would you like to comment on that?

Claire Daniels: [00:03:07] Yeah. I mean, that’s just the life of a business owner, I think, and CEO. I mean, we’ve accelerated things quite a lot over the past year and a lot of my business has come from just trying to rapidly grow the team, grow our client base and also we embarked on doing the four-day week trial in the UK. So managing that, we’ve had loads of great press come off the back of it. So there’s been a lot of features where I’ve been talking on the TV, talking on radio, talking to the press. So that’s all been added on top of my day job. So yeah, but it’s fine all in a day’s work. I’m not complaining.

Martin Henley: [00:03:45] Okay, It sounds like more than a day’s work to me. Shall we? Because this is we talk about marketing here, I’m really interested to know about the marketing you do. But clearly, this four-day workweek is an interesting thing, especially if you’re busy growing a business. It’s not many business owners, I don’t think, it’s counter-intuitive.

claire daniels

04:05 Why would you, if you’re looking to grow your business, decide that everyone should work less?

Martin Henley: [00:04:05] Why would you, if you’re looking to grow your business, decide that everyone should work less? That doesn’t make any sense.

Claire Daniels: [00:04:13] Yeah, and that’s what a lot of people, the question on everyone’s lips. Ultimately, when I was looking into the stats, the key thing for me was around productivity. So as a business owner, I’m looking at how we can be more productive, be more profitable, be more efficient and actually the stats around the four-day week suggested that you can benefit from those things when you cut down your hours. Because of the fact that people aren’t productive in the normal 9 to 5 five days a week model. So I was kind of open for the challenge and thought, Well, let’s have a look. It was all with the benefit of the business in mind.

Claire Daniels: [00:04:51] Actually, we’ve just had our financial year end where we did 42% better than last year. In two of the six months in the trial we’ve had record sales months, you know, far outstripping any other month that we’ve ever had. So the performance is at an all-time high stuff. Satisfaction is great. You know, recruitment, retention, all of that is brilliant as well. And people have a better work-life balance and it’s been great for us in the publicity as well.

Martin Henley: [00:05:25] Excellent. Okay, good. So it’s all based on a lie, isn’t it? It’s all based on a rather convenient lie that when we were hunter-gatherers, we would also spend 8 hours a day and so this is the natural order of things that we go to work from nine till five, from Monday till Friday.

Claire Daniels: [00:05:47] Yeah, but remember, we used to work seven days a week, then it went down to six, then it went down to five. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Do I think we should ever end up at three or two? I don’t know. I think the four three split provides a much better dynamic for the way people want to live and gives people work-life balance.

Claire Daniels: [00:06:07] My view was that people would be more stressed the four days they’re in work, they’re going to have to work longer hours but it’s just how it is, the benefit is that they’ll get an extra day off. What I’ve actually found is in the most part, people are more relaxed at work because they have a better work-life balance and they’re able to deal with their personal life admin and all of that. They’ve got the time to do that. So when they’re at work, they are so totally focused on work. We don’t run a really strict work environment. Everyone is great friends, We have a laugh, we do lots of fun things. That to me is productive work because we need that to bond as a team and to be able to get the best out of collaborative working together. But yeah, people function better when they have a better work-life balance.

Martin Henley: [00:06:57] Yeah, 100%. 100%.

Martin Henley: [00:07:02] So they’re working longer days on the four days that they work or they just work a regular day.

Claire Daniels: [00:07:07] Yeah, regular day. So that is the model of the proper kind of four-day week model is it’s based on a rule of 180, 100. So it’s 100% pay for 80% of the time for 100% of the output.

Martin Henley: [00:07:20] Fantastic. That takes care of things.

Martin Henley: [00:07:23] What about you? Because what I know is, that I haven’t won any awards. What I know about starting my business is that I haven’t been able to think about anything else since, that was in 2005. I don’t remember sitting down to enjoy a game of football, or a movie, or a play, or any of those things, because there’s always something going on in my mind that is to do with my business or something I should have done, or something I should have said, or somewhere I’ve got to go, or something that has to be produced. So are you able to also do a four day week?

Claire Daniels: [00:08:03] Not really. I do have a set day that is meant to be my day off. It’s rare that I take it. In my mind, my view with it anyway, was it would more be a day where I could work on the business rather than in the business. You know, if I kind of set that expectation, I’m not available on that day, then it can give me the time to do all the other things that I want to be able to do that struggle to get the time to do. But because actually my focus of working on the business at the moment is getting us to quite an ambitious sales target and is growing the business quite rapidly right now my dedication is that I do need to work that extra day as well. When we go through peaks and troughs and it quietens down, I will absolutely take a day to go relax and walk my dog and stuff like that. But yeah, it is difficult at times for me to do it.

Martin Henley: [00:08:58] Okay, so it’s the dog that’s suffering in all of this, the dog that’s missing out on walks.

Claire Daniels: [00:09:04] Yeah, there.

Martin Henley: [00:09:05] Had to be a downside.

Claire Daniels: [00:09:06] I thought you were calling me the dog for a moment when you’re like, Oh, this is the dog. I was like, Yeah, I’ve realised.

Martin Henley: [00:09:15] Well, I try and tend to do is not call people dogs, you know, I’m quite focused on that. Okay, cool.

Martin Henley: [00:09:24] So the only other question then is, is it everyone doing the same days? Is it everyone’s in Monday to Thursday and then they have a three day weekend or is there somebody….

Claire Daniels: [00:09:37] We split it. It was really important for me that we remained a five-day a week business. The other side is I wanted to make sure there was definitely days where we would have everybody in together and also get the benefit of having a three-day weekend. So the team is split into two. Half do Monday to Thursday and half do Tuesday to Friday. One of the big benefits we found from that is actually the people that work on the Monday or the Friday that has become their favourite day at work because there are half the people in, it’s a lot quieter so they get double the amount of work done on that day. So it’s a super productive day for them, which helps with that cut down of the day they’re not working.

Martin Henley: [00:10:16] Wow. And the business gets two of those days every week on a Monday and a Friday.

Martin Henley: [00:10:21] Okay. And how long have you been doing this?

Claire Daniels: [00:10:24] So that’s since June. So the trial is meant to end in December. I have officially now told the team I will continue it for another six months. I think it needs a full year. We need to go through different patterns as a business to know it’s going to work in all different shapes and forms, recruiting people, them coming on board, making sure people have the same mindset about it. But yeah, we are continuing it for another six months now.

Martin Henley: [00:10:50] Okay. I’ve just found a flaw in your plan. How many bank holidays are there? Is there eight bank holidays or ten bank holidays?.

Claire Daniels: [00:11:00] With a bank holiday? That’s the one time it changes because basically, the aim is to work four days. So if there’s a bank holiday, that’s your day off for everyone you work four days.

Martin Henley: [00:11:11] In the week.

Claire Daniels: [00:11:12] Yeah, we have thought of everything. Don’t worry.

Martin Henley: [00:11:18] Okay, good. So productivity is up, Sales are up. Yeah, retention staff retention is out. It sounds like a winner.

Martin Henley: [00:11:28] How many of you are there in the team and is it scalable? That’s what I’m interested to know.

Claire Daniels: [00:11:33] I think so. So there are 14 of us. We’ve just taken on two new people and our model with new starters is they will work five days in their probation period so that we know what their output is at five days before them going down to four. I think if that works and we go through that, that’s the greatest test as to whether it’s scalable and we can keep implementing that same structure and model as new people come in. Time will tell. You know, I don’t claim to have all the answers and let’s see, I’m happy to be the test child for whether it works. You know there are 73 other companies doing it in the UK. So let’s see I’m all about being forward-thinking, trying to be as innovative as possible, be an amazing place to work. So I’m just open-minded to where it could take us.

Martin Henley: [00:12:23] Excellent. That’s really cool. You sound now like you’ve been saying this on the TV and radio quite a lot.

Claire Daniels: [00:12:29] Yes, I have. So we’ve been on national and global TV, radio and print media, digital media about this. It’s been amazing. Honestly, one of the untold things that could have come from it that we could have never guessed, but the reach that it’s got us and putting our name out there on a national and global platform has been phenomenal.

Martin Henley: [00:12:54] This proves the principle, I think, that I really believe in that belief. Acting out of complete, unbiased, unchecked self-interest will get you the very best result all the way around. You were just looking to have a more productive business, happier staff, better sales, all of those things and doing this completely counterintuitive thing has delivered that for you.

Claire Daniels: [00:13:22] Yeah, and I really like that and how you put it. I think it’s totally true. One of my concerns was always, people will think I’m doing it because I want a lifestyle business and I just want to work four days and we’re very much just about the good times and that’s so not me. You know, I have always been a really hard worker, very driven and ambitious and focused on success. I’m not in it for the easy ride. That was one of my concerns, that people thought it was maybe a selfish decision of just wanting a more relaxed way of life, actually, it’s quite the opposite really, in the results that I expected from it. Whilst it wasn’t a decision made for the people, it was made for the business. The fact that it has such a great reward for the people in the business as well is, you know, just, just makes it so meaningful to us.

Martin Henley: [00:14:18] Yeah. You need to refer these people who think you’re out for an easy life to your many, many awards.

Claire Daniels: [00:14:26] Yeah. I mean, it’s just an imposter thing because no-one’s ever said that to me, but that was just a concern I had. Oh, I hope people don’t see it that way, but I’ve not actually had anyone that does.

Martin Henley: [00:14:40] Excellent. Okay, brilliant. Okay, cool. Well, all power to you. It sounds like you’re doing an amazing thing. I hope it continues to work. I think a four day week makes eminent sense. Know, it’s like people have got stuff to do, you know? It used to be that one person was at work and the other person was at home getting all those things done and it’s not like that anymore. So I think it needs to be fixed and it sounds like you’re fixing it well done you?

Claire Daniels: [00:15:06] Thank you.

Martin Henley: [00:15:08] Okay, good. Let’s get to marketing. I’m wondering now if that might be quite good to have a little clip talking about the four-day week, somebody smashing it like that.

Martin Henley: [00:15:18] We’re here to talk about marketing, but we haven’t established what your specialist subject is. It sounds like there might be a few. What would you say your specialist subject is?

15:29 What is your specialist subject?

Claire Daniels: [00:15:29] I would say strategic marketing. That’s where I’ve spent most of my career, in marketing strategy, and that’s very much what has helped to shape Treo into the business that it is, being very strategic. I’ve sat with boards for many years looking at how to grow revenue through marketing and the impact marketing can have on a business for various objectives. Now, when a client comes to us, I take that approach of I’m going to think like I’m your Marketing Director, your Head of Marketing and think about what’s best for your business and so we’re really able to dive into their objectives, what it is that they’re trying to achieve and always recommend the best outcome for them that is underpinned with results.

Martin Henley: [00:16:15] Okay, excellent. I think you might have just broken through the matrix and answered question one before I asked it.

Claire Daniels: [00:16:21] Okay, go on, ask.

Martin Henley: [00:16:24] You know there are only five questions. The first question is how are you qualified to talk to us then about strategic marketing? Question number two is who do you work with, how do you add value to their lives? Question number three What is your recommendation for people who want to get better at strategic marketing? Question number four, what should people read? Question number five, Who can you throw under the bus? Who might enjoy or maybe just endure having a conversation like this with me?

16:56 How are you qualified to talk to us about strategic marketing?

Claire Daniels: [00:16:56] Yeah, absolutely. So. Well, I can add to your question one, I mean, I know I’ve said that, but, you know, you said at the start, it’s funny hearing people talk about your degree because, you know, it’s very much just a step on the ladder to get started in your career. I do also think it’s quite rare that people study what they then go on to work in. So I’ve been committed to marketing since the age of 18, you know, choosing to study that at university, going into roles in marketing and it’s just through commitment, determination.

Claire Daniels: [00:17:34] I did actually move around a lot and it was very much seen at the time as a black mark against my name because I’d stay in one job for a year and move on. They say you shouldn’t do that, but actually, that helped me gain a really broad range of skills in marketing. Helped me understand different businesses, industries, different business owners, the way people work, what makes people tick and it gave me a really broad understanding of the marketing space that when I went on into more senior roles, you then start putting that into practice and realising I do know quite a lot.

Claire Daniels: [00:18:11] Actually, these skills are transferable across different industries.

Claire Daniels: [00:18:15] A lot of my background is in tech, but the clients we work with now at Treo could be anything. We do work with a lot of tech clients because of my background, but they could be in construction, finance and e-commerce, in health care. It really doesn’t matter. The core underpinnings of what makes a good strategy and how you should think with a performance mindset, with objectives first and then you look at what’s going to work for someone’s target audience, what are the routes to market for them? What channels are going to work? That theory and methodology apply to any business or industry? So yeah, I’d say that’s something that I did get very good at in my most pivotal role before going on to be now running Treo. Spending three years at a tech company and helping them go through a management buyout, gain investment, looking at how marketing can be used not just to drive revenue but to drive shareholder value, brand value, all these things that kind of make a company look more attractive to a sale.

Claire Daniels: [00:19:21] Investors along with their clients, along with their partners, you know, working on the partner marketing piece as well and managed an international team there, a team out in the US as well as in the UK. I would say that was kind of my real pivotal role. Part of that I would also say was having people who believed in me because I think that makes all the difference. Once you know your stuff and then you have someone believe in you knowing your stuff, from there, I think the sky is really the limit in where you can go kind of building your own self-belief into, I do know this, I am qualified to be having these conversations. With Treo alone I mean that’s a bit of an interesting path because I didn’t set up the company myself. I came in and helped out. It was my sister-in-law’s company originally, I said, I’ll come do some consulting and then ended up buying her and the other founder out and taking it on myself because I saw I can see where I can really take this.

Martin Henley: [00:20:24] Cool. Excellent. There were three things that struck me when I was looking at your work experience. The first one was, I did wonder if I should list all of those positions. What was interesting about it was the consistency. You spent something like a year and seven months in the first role and then a year and nine months in the second and third. Then I wasn’t paying attention by the time I got to the fourth but I think there is something to be said about that, 18 months is about the amount of time you should spend in a job.

Claire Daniels: [00:21:08] I don’t know what people say about that, I’ll be honest. Obviously you’ve looked at LinkedIn. What is conveniently left out of LinkedIn is there was also a few two-month jobs in there. I went and very quickly for me this is not for me, I’m going to leave, this can just be erased from my history and I think that’s okay to do as long as you’ve got enough other experience to back it up. I think, you know when something is right for you, you know, when it’s time to move on. My first role that I went into after uni, there was a marketing exec at that Moz furniture group that you mentioned. The Marketing Manager had been there for ten years and there was someone else who’d been there ten years. She was waiting for the marketing manager to leave to get the marketing manager job. That very quickly, I think that really influenced me, I cannot be that person, I cannot sit around waiting for someone else’s job. It influenced me to think, if you want something, you’re going to have to go out and get it and you’re going have to fight for it and prove your worth instead of just waiting for something to fall in your lap after ten years.

Claire Daniels: [00:22:21] That really drove me to think about things. I definitely had recruiters at the time saying, Look, this is starting to look really bad on your CV but ultimately, it paid off for me through my determination to get in front of the right people and find the roles that were right for me. Don’t get me wrong, do I now judge a CV if someone has jumped around a lot? Probably, but if it was less than a year at roles would be probably my threshold if they’ve not done a year anywhere yet I’d be worried. Moving around, I think, as long as you can get in front of someone and explain your reasoning behind doing that and let them see your skills and your ambition, I think then the rest of that goes out the window a little bit.

Martin Henley: [00:23:09] I think it goes out the window a little bit. I think you’re right, 18 months. If they didn’t want you, you wouldn’t have been there for 18 months. Do you know what I mean? So it’s definitely happening on your terms. I think there’s something kind of neglectedly powerful about making decisions for yourselves. I think that people who are employed think I’d better stay in this job, but there’s something much more powerful and useful about saying, okay, this isn’t right for me. I’m going to do something else, you know?

Claire Daniels: [00:23:39] Yeah. And you know, they weren’t roles that there was the opportunity to progress within. Whereas if I was in a workplace that could have gone for, for a promotion, a new role, a different step, then maybe I would have done that. But ultimately they weren’t, you know, but one of the gaps that I’ve kind of erased from my CV was actually in my first role. I was working with an agency and expressed to them at the time how it was my end goal to run an agency of my own. We got on so well that after a few years they approached me and said, will you set up an office for us in Leeds and run that as your own agency because we were really impressed by you. Very naively I was just like, yes, you know, you listened, that’s my ambition, you’ve given me that opportunity and I just quit a job and jumped into it. So it’s kind of happy at a role at the time it was approached to do that and then very quickly realised being in an office of one, on your own, when there’s a whole team, another office somewhere else who are all helping each other out, where you’re having to fight for them to hear you. I just realised that that was just an upward battle that I think at the age of, I think I was like 23, 24 I was not ready for. But all of those experiences have definitely combined into who I am today.

Martin Henley: [00:24:58] Yes. Yeah, I think that’s interesting. I think it was Brad Sugars Do you know Brad Sugars? Brad Sugars, the huge business consultancy franchise thing in the UKM. An Australian guy. He’s brilliant. The franchise isn’t so great. He said working for other people is where you learn how to run a business and I think it might be especially true in marketing. If you are in a few marketing environments, then you really start to get a sense of how things are marketed rather than just how one thing might be marketed.

Claire Daniels: [00:25:37] Yeah, I think it’s true of marketing. I think it’s also true of leadership because that’s what I attribute, what I’d like to think is my great leadership skills now, but is actually in the how not to do it in most cases. I’ve had more bad bosses than I’ve had good bosses. That made me think about how I don’t want to do it. That’s shaped me into the kind of leader I want to be. So yeah, I think the same can be said in any situation. You, see something being done and it’s either good and you learn it that way or it’s bad and you think about the way you would do it differently.

Martin Henley: [00:26:14] Yeah, 100%. Because I learned that a couple of years after having started my business and I was gutted when I heard that because I had no idea how to run a business when I started running my business.

Claire Daniels: [00:26:26] Does anyone have an idea until you start it and then you go, Oh, am I okay at doing this or not?

Martin Henley: [00:26:33] It really is like stepping through the looking glass, isn’t it? Or through the back of the wardrobe. It really is completely different. But I only ever worked for idiots, they must have been idiots, they employed me, so that’s how I felt about it. So that’s interesting. What else? There was something else. No, I think that was it. Do you want the good news?

Claire Daniels: [00:26:55] Yeah, go for it.

Martin Henley: [00:26:57] I think you are eminently qualified to talk to us about strategic marketing.

Claire Daniels: [00:27:01] Oh, well, thank you. I appreciate it.

Martin Henley: [00:27:03] It’s always a relief when we get to this part.

Claire Daniels: [00:27:04] Yeah, well, what do you do if someone says, This is my expertise and you go, I’m not sure it is.

Martin Henley: [00:27:11] I’ve never got there. So far I’ve only been referred to amazing people so far. So we’re good. It’s going to be a dark day when I have to say to somebody, no you’re talking rubbish, I’m going to end it here and then I have to decide if I post it or not. Okay, good.

Martin Henley: [00:27:28] So that brings us then to question number two, which is who do you work with and how do you add value to their lives? I’ve remembered the other thing that I wanted to say, which was you talk about somewhere on your profile about having experience of used marketing agencies.

Claire Daniels: [00:27:51] Yes.

Martin Henley: [00:27:52] And when I was running my business proper, that’s the only time that I got it to work. I don’t know how many years we were in, but I realised if you could be selling to marketing managers, they know exactly what they want to achieve. It’s just typically a question of getting these things done. So anything that you can add is really good value for them and then it just kind of renews every year. Maybe this rolls into question number two in terms of who you work with. But I found that was the only time it worked for the first four, five, six years I wanted to be the small businesses marketing champion, and it took me that long to work out that they don’t actually deserve one. So that’s how I feel about that.

28:37 How should businesses work with marketing agencies?

Claire Daniels: [00:28:37] Yeah, I mean, it’s an interesting point you raise, because I do think that there is a natural fit for internal marketing teams and agencies. Definitely. Most of the roles I’ve worked in being an in-house marketer, we’ve always used agencies. The one thing I actually said to someone the other day who in their relationship, one of them works in an agency and one of them works in-house in marketing, and I was like, Having done both is quite an unusual position. Now, running an agency where actually the majority of my experience is from in-house marketing. When I was in in-house marketing, I thought I knew everything. You know, I was like and people made me feel like I knew everything as well and to that business, I knew everything. It was a very condensed view of knowing everything that that business needed me to know and coming into an agency and this is not to cause any offense to in-house marketeers, but you realise how much you didn’t know. I’ve learned double what I knew before, the capacity of my brain has expanded, this isn’t a brag, but it’s just insane how much more you have to know being in an agency, knowing how to do all these things from building a website to doing SEO and actually technically knowing how to do something on a website and, you know, knowing all the rules of Google’s algorithms and Met `a and Tik Tok and learning the like an agency, you have no choice but to have your finger on the pulse of what is going on because, obviously, that’s what you’re selling to other people.

Claire Daniels: [00:30:21] Whereas in-house marketers do have a bit more of a choice because if what you were doing so far works, you don’t necessarily need to rock that boat or do anything else. Whereas I think for agencies and certainly in our space, because we are in digital, so it is very fast-moving, you have to stay ahead of the game. So in terms of what we provide to our clients, I mean, I made reference to it earlier that like that this cross-section of industries we work in is huge, so we don’t really have any particular niches. We do have a lot of tech clients, as I mentioned because I’ve got a lot of experience in that industry. What we provide to them is additional knowledge and resource that they don’t have in-house. Often people can look and make comparison of the fee they pay an agency versus hiring someone to do that. For that same fee you couldn’t hire a team with the range of knowledge and skill set that you get through your retainer at an agency. So that’s really what we’re there to do, we’re there to add to their existing marketing resource with technical, creative, strategic knowledge that they might not have, be able to afford or just wouldn’t be able to get in-house. We tend to be working, at the moment, in the small to medium business space. For some of these people there will be marketing teams and we are working as an extension of their team adding extra value, but some might not even have marketing.

Claire Daniels: [00:31:55] We are dealing with a business owner or a sales director, someone who’s been given the responsibility of marketing, but they’re not a marketer and so at that point they’re just looking at us to go, What should we be doing? Because we know we need marketing, but we don’t know what, how, where, when. So that’s our job to really kind of lift the hood on their business and go, Well, what is it that you’re providing to people? Who is it for?

Claire Daniels: [00:32:19] You know, in some instances we have to start right at the beginning with how this is even positioned in the market. Is the messaging right for the people they’re trying to target? I have a saying that I say a lot, there’s a difference between what you want to say and what your customers want to hear. A lot of businesses get very bogged down in what they want to project outwards about themselves and what they want to talk about themselves. That might be completely meaningless to their customer and actually all their customer wants to know is, is it going to solve this problem? And you’ve spent no time talking about that. So it’s looking at every piece of the puzzle from how you position it, to your branding to then what are your routes to market, Do you need a website? How are you going to drive website traffic? Are people searching on search engines. Do they come to you via social media? You know, all these then different routes to generate traffic back to your website and to achieve your goals?

Claire Daniels: [00:33:13] As I mentioned earlier it’s about looking at the company’s objectives. So a lot of people might come to us specifically saying, I need help with social media or I need help with SEO, and we backtrack them a few steps and go, What is it that you’re trying to achieve that makes you think you need help in that area. Say, for example, if it is SEO, they come to us saying they need help with and they go, Well, we want more leads, and we go, okay, well, SEO isn’t going to get you more leads straight away. So you are very quickly going to become dissatisfied with an SEO strategy if what you want is leads, whereas if you are currently nowhere to be found in the first few pages of Google, that’s going to take 6 to 12 months to probably get you on to page one dependent on the industry. So we then go but if it’s search where your customers are, I mean, again, we would look at, is it search or is it somewhere else? If it’s a search strategy and you want leads, what you actually need is PPC. So we need to be looking at ads because we can get you to the top of people’s search engines much quicker. So we always, always take a strategic view to it and we’ll try and educate people on what it actually is that they need to know versus what they think it is that they need.

Martin Henley: [00:34:27] Okay, cool. Okay. So a few things. It was only after I started running my agency properly that I realised, and I might have been doing it wrong, so I’m open to that idea. I realised the idiocy of what I’d been trying to do. So essentially, I was winning customers and we were putting them on retainers, but it was typically around what do they want? We took like an integrated approach, so it would be some social, some emails, some SEO, some PPC, whatever, and it would kind of add up to four or five or six days or something. It’s only when I stopped running the agency that I realised that we were competing, very often outcompeting people who had full-time teams. So we might have four days on the job and we’re competing with people, if they had two people, they’ve got 40 days on the job. So there was that thing. Is that how you’re putting people on retainers? But is it based on outcomes or is it based on the amount of work that needs to be done? How do you navigate that?

Claire Daniels: [00:35:41] Yes. So we don’t charge based on time unless it’s a project task and that’s the easiest way to do it. With retainers, it is based on outcome and it’s based on the value. Ultimately, you’re going to work with us because of the results we can deliver, and if we’re not delivering results, we’re not going to stop that month and go, Well, you’ve had your time that you paid for, so we’re not doing anything else. We’re always going to be looking at the best way to deliver the results that the client wants. So it’s that age-old thing of you don’t pay for the 10 minutes it takes to do the job you pay for the ten years experience someone got knowing how to do it in 10 minutes and not saying anything that we do takes as little as 10 minutes, but it is that you pay for the knowledge and skill that you just don’t get inhouse. We’re not looking to replace in-house teams. We’re not looking to be there instead of, we’re there to complement you. One of the things I often say to people is like, We’re here to make you look good. We don’t need the credit, your board don’t need to know it’s Trio Media or whatever. Ultimately, a report goes to your board about how marketing is performing. If we’re part of that and we’re delivering performance for you, great. That is ultimately people are going to stay with us because of the results that we deliver for them. So it’s as simple as that. That’s what we’ve got to do.

Martin Henley: [00:36:58] Excellent. Is it actually based on performance, they pay so much per lead generated or per sale or those kinds of things, or it is this amount of money for this kind of general outcome?

Claire Daniels: [00:37:11] Yeah, it’s the latter. So we’ve got varying levels; with our SEO packages and we’ve got entry-level prices versus very enterprise level that’s going to include a lot more work at that point. It’s relative really to the size of the business, the size of the budget, and how much effort needs to go in to get their desired outcomes. It’s not based on you pay for an amount of leads or amount of traffic or anything else, but it’s going to be ultimately you pay to have a team who are supporting you on that specific endeavour, whether it be SEO, PPC, social, and you’re only going to keep paying us if you’re happy with the results that we deliver for you.

Martin Henley: [00:37:57] Excellent. Okay. Go. Because that leads in beautifully to my second question, which is this idea of specialism, a one person in-house marketing team I don’t think can possibly hope to have their finger on the pulse of all of these different platforms all of the time. I teach, is how I make money, and I teach digital marketing and I’m that idiot that will put the tool up in front of the group. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to say, I’m sorry it didn’t look like this yesterday. We’re going to have to work this out together. Because I’m only doing it whenever I run the course. So the thing is, it changes so regularly and so universally, so ubiquitously. Like one geek at Google decides they’re going to change something and it’s gone for the whole world, or it’s come for the whole world or whatever. So it seems to me that businesses need agencies now. You can’t do this with one person. You almost can’t do this. When I was running my agency, I was saying, this is just common sense. We just do the most practical, common-sense thing. But now you have to be much more specialised than that, I think, to win with these tools because the way I see it is definitely the marketer versus these corporations. Facebook doesn’t care, Google doesn’t care if you go out of business as long as they’ve had their money. In fact, let’s not get started on what I think, but it’s you versus and you have to be extraordinarily canny if you are going to get value out of those corporations because it’s not like it was in 2005, 2006 where you just turn the tap on and the stream runs. It’s changed.


39:43 What role does your marketing agency play in keeping up with the changes in the digital marketing industry?

Claire Daniels: [00:39:43] Yeah, I totally, yeah, totally agree. It’s interesting how we’re seeing briefs come through now actually identifying that point. People are saying we need an agency, as you know, as part of everything else they’re asking for, we need an agency to keep us up to date on what is going on in this industry because they can’t keep up fast enough. There’s a whole thing in digital marketing at the moment. The move from universal analytics on Google Analytics to GA4 and in-house marketers, you know, because they are small teams often and resource is limited. For them to go right, we need to spend a lot of time to just learn this one thing and look into it. That’s resource moved off something else that that business could be doing. Whereas we have to do that because we’re not just doing it for your business, but we’re doing it for the 40 other clients we’ve got. So it then becomes a lot more detrimental on us if we’ve not learned how to stay ahead. It’s so true of the industry that things change so quickly. And yeah, you’re right. You know, again, the amount of people who come to us going on, well, Facebook’s done this, Facebook’s done that. I can’t do this on Facebook anymore, it’s shocking and we have to take the brunt of it, actually. When these advertising platforms like Meta and Google are changing the rules all the time on a service that you’re charging people, you know to deliver to them. But that’s that’s the role we take in the process. So that’s fine. The internal marketing teams, well, they just know they’ve got an agency who are going to handle that for them.

Martin Henley: [00:41:25] Yes. The thing is, it’s not doing the platform’s any good. They’re all in trouble. Facebook’s in trouble, Google’s in trouble, Twitter’s in trouble. You know they’re all in trouble. I think for a number of reasons. I think because they don’t listen, they’ve got no idea what’s going on with their customers. The other thing, they never cut us in on the deal. Yeah. You know what? If it had been like an advertising agency was previously, I started in publishing, if I sold a magazine, if I sold an ad to an agency, they got a 10% discount and they would invoice their customer 100%. So they were getting 10%. So if Facebook had done that or Google had done that and actually incorporated all of those millions of agencies and actually opened a channel so they could hear what was going on, I think it would be a different situation entirely.

Claire Daniels: [00:42:27] We’ve pulled spend off Facebook because we can’t demonstrate the return that we used to be able to because the reporting is just gone out the window, you know, to how it used to be with the iOS updates and everything like that. It’s just changed that platform so much. We’re not going to keep spending our client’s money on those platforms. So yeah, it’s only their own detriment, these changes that they make. We’re pushing a lot more people on TikTok because at the moment for a marketer, TikTok is a dream. The amount of creative tools it’s got available, the amount of freedom over the ads and how you position them and the content and everything like that. So we’re pushing people now onto these new platforms. It’s quite interesting actually, because I’ve got a couple of meetings over the next few days with some big brands who have come to us with social challenges. The first thing I’m doing now is looking if they’ve got TikTok because they say our growth really stagnated on other channels and then they haven’t got TikTok yet or they’ve not got on board with it. I’m thinking, well, the thing you can no longer do what was working for you two years ago. You’ve got to change it. I had a big conversation with a hotel brand around that. They said over the past two years, our Facebook and Instagram growth is really stunted. You know, what can we do about this? They’re still posting images organically with a little bit of text and hoping to get the same result, sorry the algorithm has moved on. It needs to be we need to be, thinking of a video first strategy, thinking of different ways of getting in front of people. If you’re going to do video, let’s also get on TikTok you’ve not even opened that door yet. The landscape is completely changed. Google, an update comes out, you could be riding high with your search results, an algorithm change comes that you had no idea was coming and then your results plummet. You know, you have to be able to jump on that straightaway and understand the changes and know what needs to be done to remedy it. Whereas is, yeah, these in-house teams two years later are going, okay, we think this is now a problem because we’ve waited two years to see that this has just been a slow negative decline. So now we need to do something about it.

Martin Henley: [00:44:45] Yeah, 100%. And that having a broad experience of what’s going on in the market all the time and how it’s affecting different markets is hugely, hugely valuable.

Claire Daniels: [00:45:00] Yeah, and these.

Martin Henley: [00:45:02] Platforms.

Claire Daniels: [00:45:03] Say that to us, they say the value of working with you is you don’t just know our business, you know, lots of other businesses as well. So we want you to know and see what’s working, see what’s going on in the market and for that to influence what you recommend to us. So that is the benefit of why we work with an agency as well as having our own team in-house.

Martin Henley: [00:45:24] 100%. And I think that’s necessary. I don’t think if you’re a serious business, you can avoid that anymore.

Martin Henley: [00:45:32] I wonder if these platforms are actually, or have actually, benefited the world. They were lauded up until I think maybe up until The Social Dilemma and everyone realised. We used to teach, it was that triumvirate, the platform needs us, we need the platform, it gives us this value, the advertiser gives them that and that just went way out of sync.

Claire Daniels: [00:45:58] Yeah, well, the thing I used to say, my role at Smooth Wall, they were Internet safety company and I used to do talks on Internet safety and sharing your data and stuff like that. We always used to say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, if you’re getting something for free, you are the product, it’s people realizing that. If I have free access to a social media channel, someone’s paying somewhere. The person paying are the brands, the advertisers, they’re the customer, so if you’re getting it for free you’re the product that is being sold, and it’s your data that’s being shared and people have to kind of shift their mindset to understand that.

Martin Henley: [00:46:40] Yeah and for the longest time, I think there was balance. I think they did give their users value, they did give their advertisers value and they were clearly getting huge value themselves. They should have taken care of the agencies. Also, they should have stopped messing around with it. Facebook especially, they had the nectar, literally. A friend of mine calls it the great 20th-century, 21st-century publishing swindle. They had 2 billion contributors, they weren’t paying a penny to any of them. It was everyone I cared about, talking about the things that I cared about, which was what was going on in their lives. When they decided that they know better than I do what I’m interested in, that’s when they lost me. I think that’s when they lost lots and lots of people.

Claire Daniels: [00:47:31] That’s what we’ve seen happen on Instagram as well. Instagram has seen the rise of TikTok and thought that’s what we need to follow. They’re alienating their audience a lot quicker and driving them to TikTok by changing the things that were good about Instagram. You can no longer see the things that people are interested in. Actually your feed a lot of the time is now things that they think you might be interested in rather than the people that you’ve already chosen to follow. They don’t listen to the users and this will be why new social media companies will be able to keep popping up. They’ll take the monopoly off the last one because they got too big for the boots, they thought they could run the show and then it stopped having the same meaning to their customers as it once had and people go elsewhere.

Martin Henley: [00:48:25] Yeah, 100%. We are probably coming to that as well.

48:33 Why do businesses need marketing agencies?

Martin Henley: [00:48:33] This idea of agency, the way you put it, is that the thing you want to say isn’t necessarily what your customer wants to hear. My experience is it’s never what the customer wants to hear. Like people have a real or maybe it’s just impossible to do it. Maybe it is just impossible, or it’s certainly really difficult to put yourself in your market’s shoes, or your customers shoes and really understand the value that you deliver. When you sit down, with a business owner especially, they’ll be most proud of the thing that was hardest for them to achieve or they wanted to achieve for the longest time. Their customers don’t care about that at all, the customers care about what’s in it for them. I think, that is also why we need agency businesses need somebody to come in and say, actually we understand markets and we understand what’s working and this is how you should be positioning yourself. Left to their own devices, business owners especially, and small businesses, because they infect everyone in the business, they can’t do this for themselves.

Claire Daniels: [00:49:41] No, no. Because, you know, especially for a small business owner, they might think, well, I’ve got Facebook, so I know how to do Facebook. My mates made a website for me. I know about my product or service, so I’ll tell them that. But that positioning piece and the messaging is huge, that could be the difference between your marketing being successful or not, even if you’re doing exactly the same as the person next door who seems really successful, if you’ve not got that messaging right, then you can fail. It’s one of the reasons why as well, when someone comes to us, we take a lot of pride in being complete kind of full service on the digital and strategy side. If someone comes to us with a project and it is SEO or PPC, for example, we’re still going to go back to the drawing board and go, okay, so if you want more traffic to get more sales, let’s have a look at your website because is this website going to convert people based on what it says and based on the layout? This experience we have that someone else couldn’t possibly have or know, because they’ve not built 200 websites to know what layout works best for driving conversions. As an in-house marketer, you’ve managed the build of one website once, whereas we’ve done this so many times we know where to put the form on the page to get the most conversions, we know where to put the buttons on the page, to get the most conversions. We know the way you should talk about yourselves and how you should do it, whereas that experience you just don’t have if you don’t have someone telling you it, you know? So we’ve got a lot of exercises that we do where we help dive into this, asking people, actually we want to hear from your salespeople what the reasons were that you won your deal, because those reasons will be very different to what your USP’s are on your website that you’ve got your little icons for.

Claire Daniels: [00:51:36] We’ve been in business for over 50 years and we’ve won X amount of awards and we’ve done X, Y, and Z that people like to brag about. They had nothing to do with why you were winning business. So let’s talk about the things that are winning you the business instead, and then we look at the reasons you’re losing business. Are those challenges or objections that could have been overcome. So do we need to do a piece of work on messaging around the objections and the challenges. People could land on your website and go, oh, this this company doesn’t cater to me. So if you’re a clothing website, you may go up to size 18 but if you’re only showing models that are size six or eight, you’re going to alienate a part of your target audience if you want to sell 16 to 18 size clothes. Whereas if you show inclusivity through your images, so it’s not just in written text, this can just be visual, I can see I’m in the right place, my objection has been answered, I will move on to the next step. All these things that go into that to shape getting the best experience for your customer and generating the most results for your business.

Martin Henley: [00:52:41] 100%. That brings me to what I really want to talk about, which is this idea of marketing strategy, because I only ever wanted to be involved in the marketing strategy. We positioned ourselves as a marketing strategy company for a period of time. What I came to learn is that nobody, and especially small businesses, want to sit around talking about strategy with marketing people. They really don’t want to do it. Manpreet also said this. Our solution was the same as Manpreet’s, we had to present as the tactics, email, SEO, whatever it was, and then bundle in the strategy because it has to happen it’s where all the power is. So that’s how we resolved it.

Martin Henley: [00:53:35] Are people coming to you looking for marketing strategy?

Claire Daniels: [00:53:38] Yeah. So we don’t have that problem.

Claire Daniels: [00:53:41] We have people paying us just for strategy, whether that comes through our demonstrable experience in that space. We have quite a few high-value projects that is just strategy. We say you will pay for the strategy because there’s so much work we can put into it, so much knowledge that we can put into that only once we have a strategy depending on where the business is at in their journey. Only once we have that can we recommend what you need to do next. If they come to us saying, Oh, I need help with an other marketing channel, they don’t know what that channel is yet, I need help marketing my business and then you ask a few questions and you understand they don’t know what the proposition is. They might not know who their target audience are. In some cases with businesses, they’ve not started, they go, Who should my target? I’ve got an idea who’s the target audience for this? How should I price it? Where should I position it? What are the markets I can sell this into? So we would then sell that as a strategic piece of work and say once the strategy is delivered, we would deliver a follow-up proposal with how we can support you in those other areas, but we’re not going to give you a proposal of how we can do all these things.

Claire Daniels: [00:54:54] If you’ve got all these question marks, because how do we get our, you know, the proposal of the marketing piece off the ground if there is no strategy underpinning it? So it doesn’t happen all the time because people will be at different stages, they might have a clear marketing strategy, but if they don’t, then yes, actually people will invest with us in building one because they know after a conversation with us that, you know, we’ve got the tools and the experience to put something together for them that will far out last any agency relationship. We’ve helped, we’ve put strategies together for people that they’re then going to take to investors and they’ve secured millions of pounds off the back. The vital piece that they needed was, this is the strategy for my startup about how we’re going to launch it. So it really depends on where that business is at, we don’t struggle to sell it when there’s a clear need for it.

Martin Henley: [00:55:45] Okay, I’m trying to think. We also sold marketing strategies, but we invoiced 1000 different businesses in just under ten years. It’s too many. It really wasn’t a happy experience. I would say it was probably clearly required in 90% of those cases. We might have sold four or five in the nine years out of 1000 clients because their situation is what we’re trying to, whatever we’re trying to do, because we’re saying use an agency because we know what’s going on. So they come along and they’re like, Well, you’re a marketing agency, you should know.

56:32 Why do businesses need a marketing strategy?

Claire Daniels: [00:56:32] Yeah, but you know what? You don’t know what you don’t know. I mean, up until recently. If someone came to us and said, Oh, this is my product I’m selling gym wear and we would assume who their audience was just as much as they have probably assumed as well. Your audience is kind of between 18 to 35, you know, interest in fitness, you know, they might do male and female clothing, they might just do one or the other. So we’ve all assumed to a degree who their audience is, and we’ve based a kind of strategic approach around that of how we’re going to deliver their social ads or whatever it may be. There were some people who don’t know that and who we can’t assume it for, and we’ve now got lots more tools at our availability to be able to really nail down on who those target audiences are.

Claire Daniels: [00:57:31] So just on Monday, you know, it’s now Wednesday, I was doing a workshop all day with a motor racing team and it was a while, it took me a while to get my head around, because they came to me, someone that I know he came to me who runs this motor racing team, and he said, I need help getting sponsors for the car.

Claire Daniels: [00:57:53] I’m thinking, I don’t know how to help with that. I don’t have experience in sponsorship. It took quite a while for me to get my head around that. One of then going, actually this is someone is no different. This person has a need to generate income for their business and their target audience happen to be other brands and what they’re selling is sponsorship. Actually, they’ve been quite a fun one because for us to demonstrate the value to their sponsors, we need to also then find out, well, who’s the audience of the motor racing? So these weekend races, it’s shown on ITV. So what’s the viewership on ITV? How many people turn out to the race days? To start building up value and to be able to go to brands and say this is the demographic of the people who see our cars, who are coming to events or watching it. Therefore, we’ve come to you because you’re trying to target the same audience. Then this starts making sense as to why you should be a sponsor of our team. So, you know, the more insights you know, the easier those conversations become. Whereas at first it was that I need sponsors, I’m thinking, where do we start with finding new sponsors. Well, we start with the audience of who this is going to be, and we work back from there.

Claire Daniels: [00:59:13] But we’re, you know, I do get approached quite a lot around tech companies. I’m quite flattered really, that from every role I’ve had, I’ve either then gone on at Trio to work with a competitor of theirs, someone that used to work at that company. A lot of people come back to me because of the results I’ve delivered before. So I’ve got a lot of tech clients that we do a strategy for because they’ve seen my results in other businesses. We’ve got about six strategy pieces just at the moment that we are delivering for people. That does sit slightly outside of the day-to-day work of the business and most of the strategy stuff looks sits with me. It’s how we start spreading that out into the wider business because everyone else is doing more of the day-to-day stuff of what we offer at Treo, which is the digital marketing side. So building websites, doing SEO, PPC, social media and so on.

Martin Henley: [01:00:16] I absolutely agree with that. The thing is, there is an idea that persists that with marketing you just really need to be a bit lucky with it. Like even being in business, you have to be a bit lucky. I tell people all the time that marketing is really just about firstly, having the right product, don’t have an idea,an idea is one thing, but if you can have a really good sense of what people want to buy, that’s a much better strategy. So you have the right product, identify the right market, and then it’s just about landing the right message at the right time. Understanding that value proposition, all of that work. So there are only those four things, but you can go so deep into those things and the deeper into those things you go, the luckier you’re going to be if you want to call it luckier, or maybe we’ll just call it more successful.

Claire Daniels: [01:01:10] Yeah.

Martin Henley: [01:01:11] If for as was my mind, like all of the power, all of the power is not even in like the whole marketing strategy for me, 80% of it is in like the situation. Bit like who are your market? Let’s say 80% is in the situation, really understanding your situation and then the positioning like so once you really understand your market and where you are in it and your competitors and all those things and you’ve got the right product at the right price with the right messages that’s when marketing really works and people just think people are just hoping they’re going to get lucky.

Claire Daniels: [01:01:53] Yeah, I mean, I think the issue is you can get lucky. So there are people that have success through luck, but I don’t think it is luck that creates success. So, you know, the most guaranteed way to get success is to do all those things, is to really have a proper approach to it, is to strategise, to plan, to execute, to deliver. So that’s that’s the way to guarantee it.

Claire Daniels: [01:02:20] But yes, you can get lucky. We’ve seen brands local to here, the brand started up but they were best friends with a footballer, so they got the footballer on their Instagram and they did a post and that blew up. Probably a bit of tactical work around there, but that’s that’s maybe a bit of a luck. I don’t think anyone should ever rely on luck, I don’t think that’s the way to do it. I hate the term lucky or anything happened for luck, but maybe that’s my personality type. I just really believe you get what you put out and you get what you work for. I would hate for anyone to ever think I was lucky because I’ve got everything because I worked for it. It’s a it’s a risky game to play for anyone who decides to rely on luckk to get them where they want to be.

Martin Henley: [01:03:15] Okay. But it is the game that most people play. The thing is so few businesses are actually successful, really successful, that it must be luck or else more people would be doing it.

Martin Henley: [01:03:27] The other thing I think is that it’s harder in the UK because in the UK it’s really not cool to be seen to be trying. Nobody’s allowed to really know that you’re working hard. In America, if you’ve got business, you climb on the roof and start shouting about it. If you did that in the UK, people would drag you away.

Claire Daniels: [01:03:50] Do you think?

Martin Henley: [01:03:53] I do think. I really think that.

Claire Daniels: [01:03:56] Yeah. I think it seems to be part and parcel now, everyone is in the act of self-promotion, that’s what you see all over LinkedIn now, everyone just bragging. I think the issue is, I do think this part of what you’re saying that rings true, you know, the concern I see, especially in the younger generation coming into the workforce is everyone believes you can be an overnight success because everyone’s promoting themselves, but they’re not talking about how hard it was to get to where they are. So that’s the problem that I think there is, is that people don’t talk about what it takes or the hard times. That’s why I try to do things like this. I hope I never paint a picture of anything being easy because actually it just takes determination solidly, and working hard, to get to where you want to be. In my opinion you don’t have a break. There are no days off if you have a goal that you’re ambitious about achieving, you’re always thinking about your next step to get there. Currently there’s just a trend of so many people who’ve made a name out of themselves through just being really good at personal branding and they use a platform to make it look like it was really easy and to self-promote as much as possible. Now everyone thinks that’s the way to work Linkedin, especially, is to self-promote and just make yourself look bigger, better, more successful than you actually are. I’m not a huge fan of that.

Martin Henley: [01:05:34] No, that’s my biggest frustration. That’s why I’m here also is because when people start talking about the secret of marketing, the secret is just do the work. Just find out how to do it and then do it. That’s the secret. The other thing that really upsets me is this idea. People go on courses or they go and see a talk and they’re like, Oh yeah, I took away one nugget and it feeds back into the luck thing. This is so unimportant that if you miss the nuggets, that will be okay as well. Or it’s so unimportant that it’s delivered in nuggets. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, it’s like that really annoys me.

Claire Daniels: [01:06:22] When I go to things like that it’s very rarely what the person talks about that I learn. It’s an idea that sparks. So I come away, I’ll have made notes but if someone read the notes and they couldn’t have been seeing the same thing, they’ll go, What did you listen to? But my notes are kind of unrelated because they’ve sparked my own ideas and inspiration to do something else rather than just straight up I’ve learned that kind of one takeaway that they were trying to deliver.

Martin Henley: [01:06:49] Yes. Just nuggets. Come on.

Claire Daniels: [01:06:55] It’s ridiculous.

Martin Henley: [01:06:57] It’s preposterous. Now, that’s a much, much more healthy thing is just to sit there and allow yourself to be triggered. Your synapses to be triggered. So you come up with something. I think that’s a much more useful idea.

Claire Daniels: [01:07:09] Definitely. Isn’t your next question about what to recommend to other people.

Martin Henley: [01:07:17] Because I feel like, yeah, it is, but you’re not allowed to break this like that.

Claire Daniels: [01:07:22] And then because you’ve.

Martin Henley: [01:07:25] Already broken it like this once, we’re almost there. There’s one thing I want to say. I just want to say anyone who ever says to me ever again, I was really good, I got a couple of really useful nuggets. I know about those people is they never implement those nuggets. They never do that.

Claire Daniels: [01:07:41] It’s understanding what’s meaningful to you. I mean, this is daft, but I’ll say it because at the time I did it. I created a list of words that I thought would sound good if I used them more because I’d hear someone else say it. It does sound really good when you say that word. And I had in my notepad a little list of words, you know, but because I was constantly thinking about, you know, it is daft but also I quite liked that, that’s the way I work. Like constantly thinking of like, how can I improve and become a better person? I’m not just going to go to a talk and expect to learn something. If I listen to a podcast, if I’m in a meeting with someone and all of that shapes you. As soon as you start understanding everything around you has an influence on what you learn and who you can be, you become a lot more receptive to it. Rather than just thinking, Oh, I’ll go to a talk and learn some nuggets there and I’ll come away and I’ve kind of done my bit, I’ve got a notepad of stuff. It’s like all the time thinking, how can I better myself? How can I add to what I know?

Martin Henley: [01:08:53] Okay. You’re going to have to give us three words that you thought would really encourage people.

Claire Daniels: [01:08:59] It was a lot of time ago. Oh, can I remember any of them? I don’t know. They probably do. You know what? I would probably have used them now because it’s just, but I can’t remember.

Martin Henley: [01:09:14] What sort of words were they?

Claire Daniels: [01:09:17] Just words that I thought sounded fancy, like, Oh, I think I will try, think and I’ll come back to you and maybe at the end I can leave some of my keywords. But yeah, honestly, just like, Oh, that sounds good. I’ll write that down and I’ll try and find ways to use it, because I think it would sound good if I use that. But in a genuine way, I’m not going to start throwing in random words, but the person I want to become uses this language. So I’m going to start using that language, and it’s always about forward thinking and working towards who you want to be.

1:09:59 The trouble with objectives in a marketing strategy.

Martin Henley: [01:09:59] Yes. I just want to say one last thing about marketing strategy, which is about objectives. I think the world would be a much better place if everyone just knew what it was they wanted to achieve in their business and just did that. You know, this idea of there being no ceiling or no limit or no party because you never get to a goal I think is devastating for businesses. I sound like Greta Thunberg, but this fantasy of perpetual growth.

Claire Daniels: [01:10:32] Yeah,

Martin Henley: [01:10:32] It’s really not healthy in a business. It’s much better if you know exactly what you need and then exactly what you want just outside of that and then just do that because otherwise, people are just flailing around for no good reason.

Claire Daniels: [01:10:46] Yeah, I agree. I mean, we see it. I’ve got a couple of clients that to me, having been in that situation, it’s blatantly obvious that actually their goal is to go to an exit and go to a sale. They don’t talk about that. They’re not going to tell their employees that. They’re not going to tell their suppliers that. So they’re not talking about it. So instead we’re talking about the numbers they want to hit, but we could aid them much better if they were clear to us. If actually what we want to do is we want to deliver on an exit strategy and we go, okay, well, outside of what marketing can deliver to hit the numbers, there’s also a piece we should be doing around driving shareholder value, in PR to drive the value of your business up. But people don’t talk about that.

[01:11:32] On another aspect, we’ve got a client who told me what their target is and it’s like a 5 million increase on what they’re doing this year for next year. I’m like, okay, so have we got the breakdown of where that money came from this year, where you expect that money to come from next year so I can come to you with a plan of how we fill that deficit and get from A to B? And also, are you prepared that that is going to mean additional budgets? If you want to bring in an additional 5 million, how much more are you prepared to spend to make that happen? And actually, a lot of people don’t make that connect.

Claire Daniels: [01:12:08] I’ve just made this number that I want to achieve. Whereas I will always go and work back from that and go, okay, so how many more leads do you need based on lead-to-up conversion, based on your average order value, your close rate, we need to work back from that to see how many more leads we need to drive into the funnel for you to generate that additional revenue. We start there. A lot of people aren’t then prepared to do what needs to be done to generate those extra leads. You’re just paying lip service to a target that your just kind of hoping or you might get lucky to achieve if there’s not a plan in place of how you are going to successfully drive your business from where it is now to where you want it to be.

Martin Henley: [01:12:52] Yeah, but you know why that is? It’s because they went to a talk and one of the nuggets they picked up was some idiot telling them to have a stupid target. You know, think big, aim for the moon and you might miss. It’s exactly like that. I think it’s exactly like that. It’s like, Oh, well, our objective is like 300% growth. It’s like, well, a point something of a per cent of businesses are achieving that. Exactly how do you imagine that’s going to happen or can that even physically happen?

Claire Daniels: [01:13:21] Obviously there are ways that you can grow quicker than how much you have to invest. So, you know, it’s quite a it’s just a basic model, I’m saying, of like you’re going to have to. So if you want to get 300% growth, for example, you might have to have a conversation with someone about spending 300% more budget. Obviously, that’s unlikely to happen, but they’re probably going to have to spend more than what they spending. Actually, people get very uncomfortable with that conversation. You know, I kind of clearly said this to a client. He said, right, this is where I want to be. I said, are you comfortable with me coming back with a plan on how much more budget you’re going to need to spend to get there? And there hadn’t really been a consideration about the more budget part, you know, your strategy is going to fall down very quickly without having that proper plan in place of what you need to spend to get you where you want to go.

Martin Henley: [01:14:15] Yes. And this is this should be in your marketing strategy, is resource planning, what do we actually have to investigate this result? Not just money, but time and energy and all of those things? I wish I had known that much earlier that actually if you’ve got some money, you don’t have to spend so much time or energy. I wish I’d known that.

Claire Daniels: [01:14:36] Yeah, well, it’s funny because a strategy that we did recently a couple of months ago for a tech client, you know, part of that that we looked at was, yeah, their number they wanted to get to what they needed to get there, but also their internal resource. You’re going to need to hire someone else because they, this person cannot deliver on everything that we’ve just told you you need to do in the strategy. So, you know, they want to get there, but they think someone else is just going to have the capability to double their capacity when they can’t. So have you considered the internal resource you’re going to need to be able to deliver on this along with any external budget, you might need to spend.

Martin Henley: [01:15:14] 100%. I shouldn’t laugh, but I can because I’m not in it anymore. They will say that they want 300% growth in sales and don’t think for a second how they’re going to deliver 300% more product or service or whatever it is. People are weird.

Claire Daniels: [01:15:31] I know. I think it’s very easy for us to say because we know it or we’ve seen it. So it’s now easy to reflect on and it sounds so simple, but actually, this is the way most businesses operate is to just kind of make up the numbers and everyone else to figure out how they’re going to get there without making available any additional budget or resource to do it. That’s why most businesses maybe don’t get that natural level of growth that they want because they’ve not been strategic about what they’re going to do.

Martin Henley: [01:16:09] Okay, good. Well, this is something that I like to do here is make up statistics. So I’m happy to tell you that it’s 93 and one half percent of businesses are in cloud cuckoo land when it comes to what they think they can achieve and deliver.

Claire Daniels: [01:16:23] Okay, I’ll take your word for it.

Martin Henley: [01:16:25] It’s 93 and a half percent. I just made it up right now. Yeah. Okay, cool. So that brings us then to question number three. We’ve only got 6 minutes. If we run over by a couple of minutes, is that going to be okay? Yeah. Okay, cool. So question number three. And if you can keep this really brief, because we’ll chop this up and put it on TikTok eventually.

Martin Henley: [01:16:45] What is your recommendation either for people looking to get started with marketing strategy or looking to get better at marketing strategy in a minute or 2 minutes?

1:16:56 What is your recommendation either for people looking to get started with marketing strategy or looking to get better at marketing strategy in a minute or 2 minutes?

Claire Daniels: [01:16:56] Just learn as much as you can from everywhere. Everything is an opportunity to learn. Speaking to employees in different departments, in businesses, understanding about their perception of the business, the customers, everything is a learning opportunity. It always comes down to understanding your audience so that is the key place to start. If you can understand your audience and you can build a picture around them and what you need to do for them, that allows you to actually get very strategic very quickly. If you don’t understand your audience, what they need, how you should speak to them the whole strategy is flawed. So you could build something saying, we are going to do this, that, that and the other. If it’s not underpinned by the needs of a customer, it won’t deliver what you want it to. So the target audience is the key thing to start to understand. Learn, learn from everywhere. Every interaction with anyone, anywhere is an opportunity to learn. And that will build your own knowledge set that you can take into building out a marketing strategy.

Martin Henley: [01:18:01] 100% like no, your customer has to be the first thing people don’t. They think some hoodoos gone on. If people are buying from them and they don’t understand that those people are carrying the secret of the value they deliver. The other thing I think that you said earlier that was really important was replicate your successes. That’s not rocket science. Just do that. Work out what works and do that more.

Claire Daniels: [01:18:27] Yeah.

Martin Henley: [01:18:28] Excellent. That brings us to question number four. What should people read? Or if you prefer, what media should they consume?

Claire Daniels: [01:18:39] Yeah, good question. Given what things are like these days. So I do like listening to a podcast, although I have been so busy that I’ve not had a chance to listen to any podcasts recently. I think it’s up to you. It’s not up to me to say you should listen to podcasts. Actually, if you prefer reading a book, go read a book. If you prefer listening to it audio, listen to an audiobook or you might prefer going to talks. People have these different learning styles. People will learn in different ways. So that’s up to you how you take on information. The main thing for me, the best book in business that I have read isn’t directly marketing, but it’s one that I think everyone should read is called Rebel Ideas, The Power of Diverse Thinking. And it’s by Matthew Syed. I don’t even know if it’s meant to be a business book, but as a leader, to understand why you need diversity in a business; and we’re not just talking about racial or gender diversity, but diverse thinking, diverse minds and how that can help you achieve desired outcomes. So if I hire people that are all just like me, we’re going to have a very sheltered view of the world because the only experience the same things. Whereas the more people, the more experiences you can pull from the more diverse range of resources you have available to you, the bigger your view and picture becomes.

Claire Daniels: [01:20:12] So you and I Martin right now, if you asked me to explain what I could see right now, I’m starting in our studio, I would explain completely different things that I could see versus if you were asked what you could see now, because you’re sat somewhere different when you know, I don’t even know where you are. You don’t know where I am. We you know, we could be anywhere. We’ve got different views of the world. We’ve got complete different life experiences. So together we could come up with some quite different diverse and creative ideas because of our experiences. So it’s about using that in business to your advantage. So that has been the most influential book I have ever read and I definitely recommend everyone to read it as well. But yeah, you know, I do read marketing books, I do listen to podcasts. I have a terrible memory. So I remember the things I’ve learned, but not necessarily the name of the book or the name of the podcast. So I’ve got too much else to share on that except, you know, clearly people should be listening to this podcast. Martin Shouldn’t they.

Martin Henley: [01:21:13] 100% and one of your two podcasts, No.

Claire Daniels: [01:21:16] Yes, absolutely.

Martin Henley: [01:21:18] Okay, Fantastic. Excellent. Good. What do I want to say about that? So you can’t think of any where where you found a lot of nuggets.

Claire Daniels: [01:21:28] Not really. I mean, to be fair, I have a Kindle and when I was really in a reading stage, because what’s good about a Kindle is you can highlight stuff. So I would highlight things that I’d learn and I would go back to it and read it. But I’ve got pages and pages of stuff, nuggets that I’ve highlighted and actually have I revisited any of that? Not, not really. So it’s kind of meaningful at the time, then I move on and and I think that’s one of the things for me, my learning has been quite fluid. I wouldn’t attribute one person, one talk, one book to anywhere where I specifically gained knowledge, but it’s being open to that constantly. Like I said, that the advice I gave was looking for anywhere you can learn. So it doesn’t just come down to me of like, Oh, it’s these three books or whatever else. Because ultimately I studied marketing for three years, gone and worked in six or seven different businesses. I now work with multiple different businesses on a daily basis, have been to talks, exhibitions, I’ve read books, I’ve listened to podcasts. All of that has contributed to my knowledge and to who I am today. But I don’t have one specific thing that I would pick out of. Like that’s that’s the one, you know? And I think the biggest thing is about that open mindedness and willingness to learn.

Martin Henley: [01:22:55] Cool, brilliant. I also think that something’s got my attention just now in the last couple of days. They call it a second brain. Have you heard of this? No, it’s about, Oh, my God. It’s about all of these note-taking apps that capture things so you can just while you’re browsing the net, you can highlight a thing and say, okay, that and drop it in. And the idea is you can just stop remembering stuff and just keep storing it in these things and then you organize it in such a way that it’s like super searchable, blah blah. I can see that taking up a lot of my time.

Claire Daniels: [01:23:27] Yeah, I could see that that lends itself to the way I consume information because as I say I can’t remember the name of a book or the name of a talk or something that I’ve seen. But actually the notes section in my phone is full. I will see things all the time. I’ll make a note, I’ll make a note, come back to that. They might mention it in a meeting if it was relevant, or it will influence a piece of work that I’m going to do just constantly open and aware of the data that I can consume and I will take note of it constantly.

Martin Henley: [01:23:58] Yes. Later in your career, when you become like a lecturer and those things and you’re doing lots of talks that be really useful to have that huge repository of all that stuff that you can just search and say. Martin said something interesting in 2022. I mean, I didn’t, but, you know, you could search it. Okay, cool. So I just need to check in now to see how you’ve enjoyed your experience of appearing on the Talk Marketing Show.

Claire Daniels: [01:24:22] Yeah, it’s been great. Excellent host. I think it’s always good, I think a really key trait to have as you get older and more successful in business is self-awareness. So I think it’s good to be able to reflect back on things and you need to be able to understand yourself how you’ve got to where you are. Because if anyone thinks of themselves as an overnight success and think they just got there, they probably are mistaken. So it’s always nice to talk through the journey and reflect on those moments along the way that have shaped you into who you are.

Martin Henley: [01:24:59] Fantastic. Excellent. Sometimes this descends into counselling, like I end up counselling people or they end up counselling me because I’m just a bag of issues. But I don’t think we got there this time.

Claire Daniels: [01:25:10] Do you want counselling?

Martin Henley: [01:25:13] Oh, I am just a bag of issues you wouldn’t imagine. But you know what? It’s pretty much getting addressed through these conversations. It’s good. Okay, cool. The reason I check in, of course, is it’s a loaded question because if you’ve had a good time, you won’t have such a terrible time throwing a couple of people under the bus. So do you have a couple of people in mind for us who you think might endure or maybe even enjoy that conversation like this?

Claire Daniels: [01:25:38] For sure. I definitely think you should talk to Mike Saraswat, who runs agency called Ecstasy. They’re based in London and actually throughout my career, I first of all, used their agency then I was lucky enough to bring them on as a client at Trio and then we’ve since collaborated on a few projects as well, so I know that he would definitely be a good person to talk to. I have been struggling for another one. You know, there’s some people that I think would be great to talk about, but they’re not necessarily specific to marketing. So it depends how broad the conversations for your listeners go.

Martin Henley: [01:26:23] I think quite broad. If it’s business, if it’s being successful in business, that’s interesting. How broad would it need to be? Maybe that’s the better question.

Claire Daniels: [01:26:33] Way to go. Yeah. So I would recommend Pete Mills, who is the co-host to my podcast, The North Star. Pete used to run a dev agency. They used to build websites and design solutions for their customers. He has gone on and founded other companies, he’s a non-exec director of several companies very involved in the tech space. Although he would probably come to me if he wanted some specific marketing support, he definitely does have a lot of experience in the space and, you know, around customer experience, and tech, and dev, and business strategy. He’s your guy.

Martin Henley: [01:27:18] Excellent. Fantastic. And if you could sort out like a little LinkedIn kind of intro thing like Manpreet did for us, then that would be really cool.

Claire Daniels: [01:27:29] Yeah, I will do.

Martin Henley: [01:27:31] You’re an absolute legend. Okay, so we got to the end. What we’ll do now is we’ll say goodbye for the sake of anyone who’s still listening. Then I’ll stop recording and we’ll say goodbye like normal human beings. This has been a fantastic conversation. I’ve really, really enjoyed it and it’s really got me thinking about things again. It’s really got me kind of excited about maybe I should be more effective. Like we still call ourselves The Effective Marketing Company. Maybe I should be working as hard. Maybe that’s the inspiration that you’ve given me. But this has been a fantastic conversation and I understand how busy you are, So I really, really appreciate you spending this time with us.

Claire Daniels: [01:28:09] You’re welcome and thank you so much for inviting me on I really enjoyed it.

Martin Henley: [01:28:13] You are very welcome.

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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