Every marketeer I speak to is fed up; they’ve had enough - Talk Marketing 070 - Abigail Dixon

Every marketeer I speak to is fed up; they’ve had enough – Talk Marketing 070 – Abigail Dixon

by | Sep 6, 2022 | General Marketing, Marketing Skills, Marketing Strategy, Talk Marketing

Click through to the good bits.

00:00 Introductions.

06:24 Is it exciting being a capability consultant?

12:28 Why do marketers need support to grow?

14:33 Are you concerned about the well being of marketers for the sake of their well being or to enable them to function more efficiently and drive more successful businesses?

17:41 How are you qualified to talk to us about providing marketers with more fulfilling careers?

19:38 How much of the stress experienced by sales and marketing people comes from the environment and how much is self inflicted?

25:09 Why businesses don’t appreciate marketing.

27:08 What causes marketeers to become stressed?

30:26 What are the issues between sales and marketing and how do we overcome it?

40:41 What is the issue with sales and marketing targets?

45:05 What’s the problem with business growth for business growth’s sake?

49:10 The benefit of situational analysis and resource planning.

52:58 Why people hate marketers and what we can do about it.

1:00:55 Who do you work with and how do you add value to their lives?

1:01:01 The alternative to being niche in marketing.

1:04:17 Why did you call your business Labyrinth Marketing and what does labyrinth mean?

1:06:03 What is your recommendation for people who want to be finding more fulfilment from their marketing career and their lives?

1:11:02 Are mental health issues more prevalent in sales and marketing roles?

1:13:01 What should marketers read?

1:14:39 Who might enjoy to be a part of the Talk Marketing series?

00:00 Introductions.

Martin Henley  0:17  

Hello there, my name is Martin Henley this is The Effective Marketing YouTube channel and if you’ve spent a second here, you will know that I am on a mission to give you everything you need to be successful in your business. As far as I know, and as far as I can help you the only way to be more successful in your business is to be more effective with your sales and marketing.


Martin Henley  0:35  

I am here giving you everything I know about sales and marketing, we’re bringing you the marketing news, we’re reacting to great marketing content and terrible marketing content that we find on the internet and I am dragging in anyone I can find with marketing experience to share with you – all with a view to supporting you to be more successful in your business. 


Martin Henley  0:54  

You could support us in this endeavour simply by watching the video through, simply by taking value from some of the things that come up, implementing those things in your business, and then sharing in the comments below how much happier you are and more successful you are for having seen this video. If you could like, comment and share that will help us enormously. 


Martin Henley  1:13  

Today’s guest has marketing experience going back to 2000 when she was with the British Council, since then she has been in marketing leadership roles with household names like Bosch power tools, Premier Foods Burger King, and Britvic PLC. She has also been a course director and capability consultant with the Chartered Institute of marketing for 15 and a half years. She founded her business, Labyrinth Marketing in 2015. She is the host of The Whole Marketer, Podcast and author of the book The Whole Marketer, which is about supporting marketers to have successful and fulfilling careers. What you won’t know about her, what she only discovered about herself in the last 18 months is that she is absolutely the queen at grabbing machines at amusement arcades. Today’s guest is Abigail Dixon, how are you doing?


Abigail Dixon  2:14  

I’m good. Thank you. How are you? Thanks for having me.


Martin Henley  2:17  

I am extraordinarily well. Thank you. I’m really excited to have this conversation today with you. So the first thing that we need to address is everyone knows that those you’re not supposed to win at those grabber machines. You’re not supposed to you’re not supposed to get the stuff out of them. So how did you discover that you are absolutely the queen and what is the secret to being absolutely the queen of those machines.


Abigail Dixon  2:38  

I have a 10 year old son and my 10 year old son likes to spend a lot of time at amusement arcades, which really can be quite boring, to be honest, as a parent, and you’re walking around, gathering all their tokens as they walk around. So I started to observe what was happening with those grabbing machines, and realised that there is a little bit of a knack to it, which is, to allow everybody else to be a queen of the grab machine is that when you press the down button, you need to give it a little bit of a quick forward backwards which gives a jolt and that jolt and that force means that you result in winning that soft toys. So for me, that is how I understood and became, acknowledging that I am actually quite the queen at those grabbing machines. That’s the one that everyone thinks that they will never get anything from but they do.


Martin Henley  3:34  

Well, most people don’t get anything from do they. So why are you gonna have to explain to us like what a bit of a jolt is. So you just don’t push it directly you push it and what is giving it a bit of a jolt. 


Abigail Dixon  3:46  

So you have a forward button and you have a side button in any of these any to any grabber machine that you have in front of you. So what most people do is they go forward, and then they pause, and then they wait, and then they pause. What you almost need to do is go forward, pause really quickly and that will almost create the little grabber to go down with a bit more force than it normally would which results in the grab.


Martin Henley  4:09  

Oh my God, that’s genius. I need to go, I’m gonna go immediately from here to the nearest amusement arcade and see if it’s true what you’re telling us. Because sometimes they wrap up like things with tenners and stuff like that. That’s how confident they are that people aren’t going to win those prizes. 


Abigail Dixon  4:26  

Yes,exactly it so I now collect all of those soft toys and hang them up in my wardrobe as a reminder of that extra talent that I have.


Martin Henley  4:36  

Wow, that’s certainly a talent to be proud of. Now, I don’t know why but I’ve just got images of I don’t know where I’ve seen one of these grabber machines, but I’m sure I’ve seen one of these grabber machines where one of the prizes is like a 200 pack of cigarettes with a 20 pound note wrapped around it.


Abigail Dixon  4:54  

I don’t have that memory, I have soft toys. I have seen money in those machines. Yeah, um cigarettes maybe in the 80s or 90s but not recently. Most of my wins have read my recent wins have been an among us toy. A Dumbo from the film, Disney, and one of the characters from Scooby Doo. They are amongst my recent wins.


Martin Henley  5:20  

Fantastic. And you’re actually excited to do this. I wonder if there’s probably a society of like, grabber getters wherever they’re called.


Abigail Dixon  5:29  

I’m sure there is but for me, it’s definitely made the time at amusement arcades with my son a bit more enjoyable.


Martin Henley  5:35  

Okay, fantastic. Good. Okay, good. Well, we’re not here to talk about grabbing machines. Actually, interestingly, we are here to talk about marketing type stuff and your specialist subject, which is, it’s really handy to use the keywords for marketing purposes, and I’m not entirely sure what the keywords are. So there’s three things, there’s three sets of keywords that I’m interested in. I don’t know what a capability consultant is. So that’s one of the things. I’m interested in marketers having successful careers and fulfilling careers. So maybe we can cover all three of those things today. So your specialist subject is somewhere around. I mean, maybe you can tell me what a capability consultant is. And then we can we can rule that out?

Is it exciting being a capability consultant?

Abigail Dixon 6:29
Oh, exciting. That’s an interesting word. I think, is it rewarding? Yes. Is it exciting, no. I’ll tell you what capability means to start off with and then I’ll tell you what happens in capability consultancy, and I’ll let you be the judge whether you believe that to be exciting or not. The word capability means what are the skills? There’s competencies, which are the skills marketers need to possess, and most organisations or larger organisations will have what they call a capability framework, which is basically an overview of all of those competencies, the skills that they want, and sometimes behaviours, that they want their marketers to possess and they would use it for things like building job descriptions, defining training courses, really setting those expectations as they move through their development within the business. It’s really about what skills at a capability capability level do our marketing function have and then that’s broken down into competencies, and those competencies can spread across the full spectrum of marketing, and there’ll be independent to that organisation. So whether they’re a marketing lead organisation, or a sales lead organisation, or there’s something maybe quite specialist about what they offer in their marketing function. So let’s just say maybe they’re working in more technical business or more digital business, that might be some specialist skills that sit there based on what those products and services that business is offering.

Abigail Dixon 8:02

So that’s what capability means, you know, the overview of the skills of this department needs to have how well are we at doing marketing, and then it’s broken down by the competencies. That’s what capability means to answer your question about as a capability consultant exciting, it depends on what you’re doing. For me, my work varies from working with larger organisations, it kind of CMO Director level to set that vision of what they want from their marketing teams and functions. That is very exciting and very enjoyable, because in that I am able to really stretch their thinking about the role that marketing can play in their organisation, the role that marketing can play in leading that long term commercial agenda in defining that strategy in delivering commercially effectively, as well as just comms, especially if their function has been quite focused on just kind of delivering campaigns or executions, or bringing products and services to market. There is also part of the role that’s, I wouldn’t say exciting, but necessary, which is once you’ve defined that vision, and you’ve defined those skills, you then have to write that, of what that means for every level within that function. That’s not that exciting. I get lots of people come to me and say, Oh, I’ve been working in marketing quite long time, I think I want to be a capability consultant, or work in capability and they almost assume that they’re going to be working with the marketeers and you know, doing a lot of cultural workshops. And that is, you know, that is part of the role. But a good part of the role is also once you’ve defined that vision, and you’ve defined what those competencies are writing that down into the every level of detail of what that would mean for every tear of marketee in that organisation, it can be repetitive and you have to get it right because that’s gonna affect every single marketer. So can be quite time consuming.

Martin Henley 10:03
Okay, cool. So is it like a kind of a skills gap analysis, a higher level? So the competencies are the skills are they? And the capabilities like, are we as an organisation capable of doing this thing? Okay, good. Okay, so it just highlights then how different your experience and my experience is. I managed to have a career in sales and marketing, I don’t know, for the last 25 years, and I had no idea that that even existed.

Abigail Dixon 10:38
I think it’s a really interesting point, actually, because it seems to appear in large organisations. I do work with smaller organisations that maybe have two or three marketers in their marketing team and they come to me because they want to be able to support those marketers in their organisation, and, you know, maybe want them to take up more of the commercial responsibility, but they don’t necessarily have that capability framework. I didn’t have that throughout my career, what it did give me when I did work for organisations that have it was real clarity. Real clarity on what the business expected me to do at what level and also allowed me to then map what skills I would need to demonstrate in order to progress in my career. I think a lot of marketers are lacking that clarity and that was one of the reasons that drove me to write the book.

Martin Henley 11:32
Good. Okay, cool. Right. So these things aren’t a million miles away from each other are they? People being successful is going to be about having clarity and about having the right competencies, it’s going to be about the business having the right vision, it’s going to be about all of those things. The other thing, then, is fulfilled careers. So I’m just trying to nail so I can tell you what the questions are, what your specialist subject is. So if I were to sidle up to you, whilst you were at the grabber machine and say, Hey, what is it that you do Abigail, what what would be the words that came out of your mouth?

Abigail Dixon 12:17
The words that would come out of my mouth would be – I help marketers grow.

Martin Henley 12:26

12:28 Why do marketers need support to grow?

Abigail Dixon  12:29  

My viewpoint is that by helping the marketers grow in their organisation, they will step change, they’ll have the skills to be able to step change the growth of their brands and businesses. If I think about how my career has evolved, I’ve been that kind of marketeer, client side and all these businesses that you’ve just described and now I went into consultancy, to help brands and businesses step change their growth. So writing the strategy to do that. The thing that was most important for me is that it’s one thing to write the strategy, it’s a whole nother thing in practice. If somebody put their hand up and said, I could really do some help to step change the growth of this brand or business, whether that’s because it’s in decline, or because a new management suite has come in, or just because they’ve got an internal ambition to do more with this brand or business. Once you’ve written that strategy, that’s still the same human being sat in that role and for me, it’s just as important to support the marketer to deliver that strategy in a way that yes, it’ a success for the brand, but that they enjoy doing it while they do it. And that’s for me with the success and the fulfilment lies. So in answer to your question, you know, they are, you’re right, the success is the technical skills, the fulfilment is the enjoyment, but for me, it’s really about supporting the marketeers behind the brand and business.


Martin Henley  13:57  

Okay, good. All right. So Michelle, suggested that we speak, bless her, so that’s good. Michelle is on what I would call a quite a liberal mission, which is to enable the marketing function to address some of the environmental issues that we’re facing in the world. 


Martin Henley  14:25  

Are you more concerned about the well being of these people as marketers, for the sake of their well being, or are you more concerned about their well being in terms of enabling them to function more efficiently and drive more successful businesses?

14:53 Are you concerned about the well being of marketers for the sake of their well being or to enable them to function more efficiently and drive more successful businesses?

Abigail Dixon  14:53  

Awww, that’s a great question. Personally, in my soul, I want them to feel fulfilled primarily. The reason The Whole Marketer was born was that I was just seeing, regardless of wether I was going in to business to train them, or to consult, to do capability or strategy; I was having this moment where I was just reflecting, I was actually on holiday in Cyprus, and I was sat there on the sun lounger and I was like, what is going on? Every every marketer that I speak to is fed up, they’re fed up, they’re overwhelmed, they’re frustrated, they’ve had enough and what could I do to help them, fall back in love with marketing’s probably a bit too strong, but reignite their love for it, and to have greater fulfilment in their career. Because if you’re happy at work, and you’re happy in life, you know, work in life, for me need to be working in harmony for you to feel balanced and there were so many that weren’t feeling like that. F


Abigail Dixon  16:00  

or me, the whole marketing was driven from more of a space of how can I put my arm around people to feel fulfilled again. I suppose coming from my own personal experience, there was a time when I lost lost my fulfilment in the profession and I got off that wheel, and I went and sought coaching and that was what sparked me to understand my own values, what drives me, and where the Labyrinth Marketing Consultancy originally was born, because I knew that what really brings me joy is helping others and growing and helping others to grow. What I was really good at was writing strategy and helping businesses deliver that. My passion since then has really evolved into ensuring those marketers feel fulfilled.


Martin Henley  16:48  

Okay, cool. All right. So let’s bring some order to this. So we need to let people know what the five questions are. I’m still not entirely clear on how I frame this. So question number one is, how are you qualified to talk to us about providing marketers with more fulfilling careers? Can we put it that way? 


Abigail Dixon  17:08  

Let’s completely put it that way. 


Martin Henley  17:09  

Let’s completely put it that way. Cool. The second question then is who do you work with, how do you add value to their lives? The third question is, what is your recommendation for anyone who’s feeling less fulfilled than they’d like to in their career and would like to address that? This is good, I’m doing really well. Fourth question really easy. Why should people read? Fifth question really easy? Who can you throw under the bus who might enjoy or at least endure to have a conversation like this with me?

17:41 How are you qualified to talk to us about providing marketers with more fulfilling careers?

Abigail Dixon  17:51  

So there’s the on paper, and I’m gonna do two things. I’m gonna do in paper, an in soul. On paper, I can sit here and say, I’m a Chartered Marketer and a Fellow. I’m a course director. I’m an accredited coach, and an associate level coach, I’m part of the ICF Federation, I can sit here and tell you all those things in paper. In practice and in soul, I am a marketer. I am a marketer who has cried in the toilets. I am a marketer who has had a period in her life where she wasn’t feeling fulfilled with the profession. It wasn’t giving her what she needed. I am a marketeer, who knows what it feels like to try and navigate through a complex organisation and who is struggling to find balance in her life as a whole and with her family. I’m also, as we mentioned earlier, my why, if we sat here to talk about my purpose is all about helping others grow. That’s the thing that I get the most fulfilment from, and is the thing that sets my soul on fire. For me, I could sit here and say to you, why am I qualified? Well, because of all of those reasons, I’m an award winning marketing, an award winning consultant. I think what’s more important is that I get what it feels like. There’s so many people that talk about things in theory, but never in practice. I suppose what I bring to the table, why I’m qualified is that I can relate. I can relate because I’ve been there. I’ve done that, and I’ve got my fulfilment back.


Martin Henley  19:28  

Excellent. Okay, cool. Okay, so I’m happy to let you know that I think you are adequately qualified to talk to us. 


Abigail Dixon  19:37  

Thank you. 

19:38 How much of the stress experienced by sales and marketing people comes from the environment and how much is self inflicted?

Martin Henley  19:38  

It’s always a relief when we get here. The thing is, that’s not all of it is it? What I’m wondering is … it’s really interesting in sales and marketing, I came from sales to marketing, and it’s really interesting because I think we are all positively motivated people. We want to do better, we want to have more, we want to deliver more value, we want to have more kudos, more money, more challenges, more … all of this stuff. Then, when we get into roles, it quite quickly becomes quite disheartening. What I’m interested to know is, how much of that is environmental? How much of that is about the way that we are treated? And how much of that is kind of personal or internal do you think? Then the next question is going to have to be out of we resolve those issues, but, but that one’s first.


Abigail Dixon  20:44  

So I think the first point is, it sounds like what you’re asking me is what’s in our control and what’s outside of our control. Now, as human beings, we are all programmed to want to be liked and loved. If you look at the deep rooted psychological reason of why people do what they do, they want that security, they want that psychological security they want, of course they want a roof over their head and, and money to pay the bills; they want to have that kind of altruistic, I am worth something, I am giving back something and I am liked and loved and accepted. 


Abigail Dixon  21:21  

That’s fundamentally what we’re looking for as human beings, I suppose that’s what separates us from the rest of the mammal species. What I often find is that we enter a profession whether that’s sales or marketing, and we take on that organisations, or our peers definition of success. We take on the next role that we want to go to, or what success looks like in that organisation. That might be a sales figure, or bonus that you hit, or a car that you drive or whatever those success markers are. What I find is that that gets the point where people have all of those things. So all those things that they’ve been working for and towards, that other people have defined a successful to them, around them in their environment, no longer serve them. 


Abigail Dixon  22:18  

So they go, Oh, hang on a minute. So I’ve got the job, family, I’ve got the car, I’ve got the children I’ve always wanted and that’s not the same for everybody, and I’m not saying that everyone gets to achieve everything that they want in their in their soul. But for those that are lucky enough, or able enough, I don’t always like to use the word luck, those that achieve that do often then look left and right and go is this it. Because what they’ve achieved is somebody else’s definition of success. They haven’t achieved what they believe, truly, is what they truly want for their lives. I think that’s sometimes where we move from driving to be successful to then driving to want fulfilment and wanting more from our lives and our careers. We want what we do to mean something greater than just us and the job title that we have, we start to think about the people that we can impact and the legacy we leave behind and what will I be known for and wanting to do things that truly fulfil us. I think often people have that feeling, but actually feel quite guilty that they have it. Why do I feel like this when I have everything that I should want? Or why do I feel like this when I have the director of the universe job title, as I like to call it. It’s because something’s missing, because they’re not doing things that play to their values, things that play to their core being or they’re chasing a goal that isn’t actually what they truly want and they don’t necessarily always have the time out, or give themselves the timeout to dream big about what they truly do want and go after that instead.


Martin Henley  24:02  

Okay, good. So that’s kind of all of the personal thing but there’s a big thing in there, which is you’re talking about people who have succeeded. People who’ve done everything they need to do in their role. I don’t know if everybody gets that, or even the majority of people get that, or even a sizable minority get that. It seems to me that so what I mean by environmental is … some of the stuff that consumes me, is the fact that nobody really understands what marketing is. I wanted to be the small businesses marketing champion at the beginning, and then I realised that they didn’t deserve one so I didn’t want to be that any more. 


Abigail Dixon  25:01  

Of course they do, they deserve a marketing champion. 


Abigail Dixon  25:03  

They really don’t, seriously, if you want to feel unfulfilled do that for five, six years.

25:09 Why businesses don’t appreciate marketing.

Abigail Dixon  25:09  

I think that’s because that comes back to your earlier point around lack of understanding, not understanding the benefit of marketing. In your point around environment I think there are many things at play. The first thing is the type of business you work for. That’s the first thing. So are they marketing orientated, do they actually see the benefit of developing products and services that meet consumers needs, that deliver more profitably than creating something that you then try and retrofit? Do they see that? 


Abigail Dixon  25:45  

If they see that, then they’re going to understand the benefit of marketeers, and they also understand the benefit, and the understanding that marketers also should and could have commercial acumen, which means that they could run the show, okay. I think a lot of frustration comes in the environment when they don’t see that and when there is a marketer who does, and they are pushing against a sales function or a business that is innovation, led, or R&D lead, or a small business where the business owner wants certain things, and they don’t see what could be done differently in the benefit of that. That becomes frustrating. 


Abigail Dixon  26:22  

It becomes beyond frustrating, actually, I think sometimes it becomes draining, soul draining. To be honest, when you’re trying to push and create change, and culture change of do you know that you can do things differently, and they could be better, and people can’t yet see them. I think that’s why it’s so important that marketing’s role is, yeah, delivering the long term commercial agenda, writing strategy and having commercial effectiveness. It’s also about being the visionary. And being the person that is able to inspire, and uses the skill of storytelling to really be able to land those messages internally, that people want to come on the journey with them or want to be part of it. But all of that takes energy, right? All of that takes energy. 

27:06 What causes marketeers to be stressed?

Abigail Dixon  27:06  

I was coaching someone yesterday, day actually. And, you know, you really have to focus on what you can control and what you can’t control as a marketer. We want to change the world many of us do and depending on where we work, the environment means that we have to really carve out the bits that we want to control first and focus on those otherwise it does become overwhelming. It also depends with the people that you work with, as well. So do you have that camaraderie of other people’s appreciation or frustration, or are you a solo marketer in the business trying to push that hard rock up the hill. Then I think there’s that internal peice around us and the pressure that we put on ourselves. I’m just trying to think about some of the things that some of the people I’ve been coaching or mentoring or speaking with this week, you know, the pressure that they put on themselves to demonstrate effectiveness, the pressure that they put on themselves to take every opportunity that they can to be able to demonstrate the benefit that marketing can play. They put that pressure on themselves to make sure every bit of work is perfect and all of these things are at play. Because we feel the pressure we’re putting on ourselves, we feel the pressure to make the change in the organisation and sometimes that can result in burnout, which is one of the things that I’m covering at the moment in my podcast.


Martin Henley  28:28  

Okay, cool. So I agree 100% with that, but I think that the lack of understanding, like even just knowing what marketing is and what the value of marketing is, I would say that that’s the prevalent belief or situation. Even in corporations, the corporations I’ve been involved in, they think that marketing is a nice to have, you know, we’ve all heard it said in a recession, the first thing that goes is the marketing. They typically think that salespeople are a necessary evil. What I’ve seen in organisations is, for me, sales and marketing is the function of a business. For me that the function of a business is to have customers profitably and you do that by having customers by selling to people, and you have the opportunity to sell to people because you do marketing. So these are probably the two most relevant or two most necessary components of a business but they are the most maligned components of the business. Then what happens is they turn against each other. Salespeople don’t like marketing, because they’re not delivering the quality and the quantity of the leads and marketing don’t like sales, because they’re not putting enough effort into closing all of these magnificent leads that they’re generating. They become like the two smallest kids in the playground, sniping at each other. Maybe this is too dark a picture, I don’t know. It kind of feels like that’s the situation. Exactly what you’re talking about where you go into overdrive, trying to do better, explain better, motivate better, do all of this stuff is because of that situation, because the people who employ you don’t really understand why they employed you. They don’t really understand what it is that they want from you and so whatever you deliver is never really gonna hit the spot in terms of fulfilling them.

30:27 What are the issues between sales and marketing and how do we overcome it?

Abigail Dixon  30:27  

There are those dark pictures where sales are frustrated with marketing. The example that you gave is actually not dissimilar to an organisation I’ve just been training actually. They are a B2B organisation and marketing’s role within that organisation is to generate awareness and leads, that’s what their role is. Then there’s this baton exchange at some point where the sales teams take those leads and try and convert them into customers that then buy, in this case, a piece of software. The marketeers are trying to communicate on the right channels, and reach the right customer, with the right level of insight but they don’t have the relationship with the customer in this organisation, the sales force do, but the sales force don’t want to give them the insight, and they don’t see why they want it. They are just saying generate leads and the cycles going back round is going to absolutely back round. That’s sometimes where you do need someone that’s going to come in and kind of call out what you’re seeing, you know, that exact behaviour. In this case, it was like, right, so if you need this information in order to generate better leads for them what is the language that is going to motivate them? The if they are targeted, in this case on the sales that they’re going to generate from those qualified leads? And how do you obtain the information out of them to do a better job to result in those qualified leads. If you don’t demonstrate your effectiveness, they’re not going to want to give you the information and this vicious cycle will continue. So in that case, we you know, we worked on kind of a different briefing form and different process where they work more collaboratively, they define the customer together, what they’re looking for. Have the ability to have the headspace to define what channels are best, as opposed to sales force, in this case and this organisation, we want some PR, we want some press, you know, they want things that they’ve done before, but they didn’t really understand why and marketing feeling I want to please them at the same time I don’t know if this is right, because they don’t know the customer, they’re the ones that speak to the customer, but they won’t tellme about them, they just want the leads. So those cycles need to be broken, otherwise, No one moves forward. 


Abigail Dixon  32:40  

I’ve also seen in other organisations where they’ve tried to let marketing lead. So they say okay, marketing, you can write the long term commercial strategy. And they go, okay, brilliant, thank you. So they write it and they say, this is how we’re going to grow. And they go to the sales force, and they do a sale sell in they, go somewhere off site somewhere glorious, everyone eats nice sandwiches and they do that kind of briefing and the sales force go great got it, I know I need to go and talk to my customers about, what I need to sell in. And thank you for giving me all of the comm support and whatever else is going to go on around that to help justify why I should get this product listed and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work in the first quarter and the business panics because they’re a sales lead organisation, they’ve gone from being sales lead to be market lead. They panic, and they’re going well we let marketing have a go and now a quarter later it’s not working. It’s not going to work in three months, because it’s the long and the short of it that allows this and then they panic They go back to the sales force and they go right, what can you do to remedy what marketing have just done, we need you to sell extra stock in to meet the quarter target, whatever may happen. What that comes down to is to your earlier point, the environment, they’re not really confident in marketing, creating that change, they’re not giving the space to create that change. And they’re still depending on sales to save the day. Which is going to create those arguments at those levels and is going to make the marketer feel despondent with what they’ve just done, because it’s not actualized and the sales force feel despondent because they have done what’s been asked of them, and now they’re having to do what they used to do. There’s a lot around the organisation the ability to allow the space for that change to happen for the benefits in the long term.


Martin Henley  34:36  

Cool, amazing 100%. The thing is because I don’t have to do it anymore, I can just create like the ideal scenarios in my head. For me, chronologically, it has to be marketing first, because what marketing do is they understand the market, or they see opportunities in the market and then they respond to the market. Then, like you say, they pass on the baton. They should have a hand in developing the product, because they understand what the market needs, and then they should be in a position to develop, the sales proposition or the value propositions, and the positioning, and the pricing and all those things. Eventually, all of that happens that they pass the baton then to the sales people, and the sales people actually go out and have one to one conversations with the market and then they feed back to marketing, and say, Okay, you thought this, it’s actually this, you know, we can evolve this in this way. It goes round and round and round, and up and up and up, until you’ve got perfection, because your market insight now is your salespeople talking to the actual market. But that’s not my experience of how it works like. If you’re having to teach sales and marketing it’s a relay. You shouldn’t have to teach them how to communicate with each other. It should be like that. 


Martin Henley  36:03  

I think this is a function of businesses not really understanding what sales and marketing departments are supposed to be doing. There was a question in that when I started, and then I said too much stuff and now I’ve got no idea what the question was. 


Martin Henley  36:16  

It seems to me so obvious that it should work like that. 


Martin Henley  36:20  

You should have a virtuous cycle where marketing look at the market, they see an opportunity, they develop a product, they put it together, they make it available, they give it to the salesperson salesperson talks to the market, the market digs that or doesn’t dig it, salespeople come back and say we need to change this or we need to change that or that really worked. Then the market start talking to the salespeople and say, we’ve also got this issue, and then they can go back to marketing. And you know, it should be a virtuous cycle. If there’s a question, then the question is, why isn’t it? Why is this so badly put together that businesses aren’t realising that opportunity? Is that a fair question?


Abigail Dixon  36:58  

I think one of the things at play and actually one of the things that I realised recently with a client that I’m working with, is that the finish line for marketing and for sales, in some organisations is different. The marketing team are, let’s just say targeted, or bonused, or renumerated for their success around growing the brand or business profitably, and  a level of growth. Then the sales team will also have a target, it might not always be the same commercial number. So it’s almost like they want to sell things without necessarily making the right choices that are right for that brand, or for that customer. So one is focused on the customer and one is focused on the consumer, as opposed to using those customers to get to the consumer if you’re b2c, or working collaboratively to build a better understanding of that customer and having a joint target. So in that case, that earlier organisation, one is being targeted on how much awareness are you generating or effectiveness and one’s been generated on the sales target. Actually, if everyone shared the same goal, and was renumerated on the same goal, and bonused on the same goal, I think a little bit more focused would come in from the individuals.


Martin Henley  38:26  

Yeah, 100%, I spoke to a guy called Shane Preston recently. He’s a business growth, accelerated growth specialist. When I pushed him what is the one thing he said the one thing is that everyone has to be focused on one metric. Everyone should be, it should be the profitability of the business, or it should be one thing anyway. 


Abigail Dixon  38:46  

It should be the profit of the business, for sure. 


Martin Henley  38:49  

Yeah. The marketing department might be targeted on the number of leads they generate. And then the salespeople are targeted on the number of deals they close. So there’s no measure, then of the quality of the leads that sales are providing, so there’s no responsibility for them to provide quality leads and they’re not getting any feedback anyway. So it just becomes a numbers game we gave you 5000 leads, why didn’t you close them? The leads are weak is the quote, isn’t it? The leads are weak. 


Martin Henley  39:19  

There’s another thing, which is, is it a thing here or not? Is it a thing? So I came from sales, but I called my business, The Effective Marketing Company, because I thought all the time I’d been selling that the the marketing team had none of the target and all of the budget and we the sales team had all of the target and none of the budget. So I thought better be in marketing rather than in sales, and it kind of didn’t pan out like that and that’s okay. Very often people would say to me, Martin, we’re either going to engage you to help us generate leads, or we’re going to get some salespeople. What I would say to people always is leads are the work of salespeople. So if you’ve got too many leads, you need salespeople but in every other instance, you need more marketing. Not necessarily more marketing people but more marketing work. People didn’t really seem to understand that, I don’t think. If you don’t have enough leads, then what you end up doing is like the least efficient kind of marketing which is canvassing. Knocking on one door at a time, or phoning one person at a time, or emailing one person at a time, which is what salespeople end up doing. I don’t know why that’s sort of in here. But because you were talking about the target. 

40:41 What is the issue with sales and marketing targets?

Martin Henley  40:41  

I think there’s a problem with sales and marketing targets. I think there’s a problem with arbitrary targets, like targets that somebody’s just pulled out of the air. Like it’d be really nice if we did this and then they become codified and that’s the target that doesn’t help sales and marketing people.


Abigail Dixon  40:55  

It doesn’t especially if it’s unrealistic. I was reviewing a business plan yesterday for a client and I was like, so that’s, I said, that’s punchy, you want to deliver a quarter of a million sales, incremental sales, in the next four years and they’re like yeah. I was thinking, I don’t think that’s realistic. You’ve just told me all the things that are happening in  your marketplace that are affecting why you can’t grow, and the legislation changes, and the lack of supply, and the problems that we’re having recruiting people into the profession, and your customers and their lack of understanding, and the level of education, I could go on and on. Yet you’re still going to go after an extra quarter of a million pounds? Okay. Yeah, punchy, not realistic, setting SMART objectives. Objectives are so bloody important. It’s just so bloody important. You can’t set KPIs and effectiveness measures or efficiency measures unless you’re clear on the level of movement that you want to create and that level of movement that you want to create is realistic in a specific time period, and is clear on that task in hand that everyone can align against. I just see too many briefs or too many projects, or too many tasks, just saying, I want to increase footfall, I want to increase awareness, I want to increase consideration, with no commercial benefit for doing any of those things, and no clarity of movement of what you’re expecting, and each of those things and how they’re interlinked into the wider goal. Until that shift happens, in marketers, and in sales, the benefit of what we do and why we do it is never going to be understood.


Martin Henley  42:42  

Okay, good. You see, I think there’s two things. So you’re talking about, what are you saying about movement, there’s something about movement?


Abigail Dixon  42:50  

Movement. What I liken it to is … if you’re gonna set out to run a marathon. Now, let’s just put my hand up, I don’t run anywhere, okay, I don’t run anywhere unless I’m in danger. So this is just purely an analogy. All right. If you’re going to set out to run a marathon, and someone says to you, right, Martin, I want you to run, the first question you’re going to ask is how long you want me to run for? How long am I having to run? How far am I having to run? Is there a certain timeframe in which you need me to run? Is there a certain speed in which you need me to run like, you need clarity, right, no one’s just gonna go, no one’s gonna Forrest Gump and run, you know, no, one’s good. So if you really want to motivate people, you have to say, right, the definition of success is, by the end of 2023, we are going to have delivered, let’s just say, an incremental million and the way in which we’re going to get there is by recruiting new customers in and to hit the extra million we’re gonna need to recruit this type of customer, with this level of value,  talking in the business to business world, this type of industry, this type of revenue, for example and in order to do that, what do we need to do, and we plan all the activities, and we measure the activities. So many businesses don’t do that. They just like we need to get more customers into doing to generate, they don’t think about how they don’t think about the choices available to them. They don’t look at the measures that they’re going to track. They don’t always they set at the beginning of year, but they don’t measure them throughout the year. And I think it’s all of that, you know, as I was saying, you’d never say to no one’s going to want to run a race if they don’t know when the finish line is.


Martin Henley  44:30  

No. But that’s the race that marketing and sales people are running all day, every day.


Abigail Dixon  44:35  

For a lot of businesses, yeah, for a lot of businesses, or a lot of businesses. Are they clear when the finish line is, but they don’t know whether they’ve run that race very well. And they don’t know the speed in which they’re running is going to get them to the finish line on time. Yeah, and without that tracking, all of those things that we discussed earlier, go into overdrive.


Martin Henley  44:55  

Wow. For someone who doesn’t do any running, you really know how to work a running analogy.


Abigail Dixon  45:00  



Martin Henley  45:02  

So what’s the thing that? 

45:05 What’s the problem with business growth for business growth’s sake?

Martin Henley  45:05  

So there’s this thing that, I think is also an issue, which leads into the last reason I think that that marketing people might be unfulfilled is growth for growth’s sake. The business world would be a much healthier place, it’d be a much healthier place, if they just sat down and said, not what do we want but what do we need? What do we have to do for everything to be really cool and then just aimed for that. Then maybe the next year, they could come back and say, what do we have to do for things to be a bit cooler. This growth for growth’s sake, I think is really, really damaging, to everybody involved. Because that’s the race that you don’t know where the end is, how hard, and how fast can we run, and for how long?  I think that’s stressful, I think that’s really stressful.


Abigail Dixon  46:09  

If we’re going to stick with the running analogy, I think what often what if what often happens is that they will get to that race, and they’ll hit the finish line, and no one celebrates it. No one celebrates it. So then you’ve basically conditioned those people to say that if you work really, really hard, and you get to the end, there is nothing in it for you.


Martin Henley  46:29  



Abigail Dixon  46:30  

They they do feel demotivated, we need that dopamine hit, we need to tell our brains that when we work hard at something, it is a positive thing. Otherwise, it becomes a negative thing. I also think back to your constant growth, I think too many organisations chase the growth, but forget about hanging on and protecting their existing business. 


Martin Henley  46:54  



Abigail Dixon  46:55  

So I see a lot of strategies being written that say we’re gonna grow by getting these new customers in or getting these new users into the brand, or getting writers and users to buy us more frequently, or we’re going to enter into this market. You say to them, okay, so what are you going to do about the existing 100 million business that you’ve currently got, to protect that, to maintain that, to retain that to keep those customers happy, to make sure that you’re still delivering the best experience that you can deliver, to make sure they still want to choose you, and all of those things that go along with it? 


Abigail Dixon  47:25  

That often gets forgotten, and then the leaky bucket happens. I’m all for growth, as long as the growth is done, when you have a stable base. So if we’re using that running analogy, again, sometimes you need a year off marathon training, sometimes you need a year to get stronger, to consolidate yourself, to take things a bit easier. So you can come back stronger and harder. I don’t think enough businesses do that.


Abigail Dixon  47:57  

I think that’s comes back to how they’re owned, whether they are privately owned, or they are, whether they float, whether they are owned by shareholders, or investors, you know, does this money need to generate money? I suppose what I’m thinking I’m hearing from you is actually what do we need to do to do greater good? And what do we need the money to do, to do that? That comes back to businesses that have true purpose, like the Patagonia’s of the world that are how do we generate more to make more profit to donate small charities, and that’s their, their core being of everything that they do. So I think it would sit better with more of us if the benefit of that additional profit benefits society as a whole.


Martin Henley  48:45  

Okay, and I don’t know if it is the case anymore. I don’t know if it is the case, but I think previously, people would want to go into business because they would want to deliver value. Whereas now, I feel like, I don’t know if this is true, but people are running businesses because they want to take value. They want to take more, more and more and more money, I think is what’s going on. But I don’t know, you don’t have to comment on that. 

49:10 The benefit of situational analysis and resource planning.

Martin Henley  49:10  

The other thing I want to say is, I think for me, like knowing where you are, and where you want to go to, is almost 90% of it. Once you’ve got those two things nailed down, then the rest is just really quite obvious. You know how you do it is quite obvious. So I used to do a presentation about marketing strategy and I’d say that the objective of every business is to get to Rio for the carnival. Clearly, you’ve got a much better chance of getting to Rio for the carnival iuf you’re already in Buenos Aires, rather than in Clapham. So it’s about that thing that you were saying about the required movement, how far do we have to travel to actually get to that thing?


Martin Henley  50:04  

From Clapham to Rio is a long way, from Buenos Aires to Rio much less of a way. So really, where you are, is probably the biggest determinant of where you’re going to get to of anything. If someone’s lost, they are coming to your house and they’re lost, you say to them, what can you see? Where are you because that dictates everything that you say after that, you can’t just start giving them directions without knowing where they are. So I think that’s really important, I think it’s very often overlooked and it all contributes, I think, to making sales and marketing, stressful and unfulfilling.


Abigail Dixon  50:39  

I think it does. Also going back to, you know, where are we now, I think is where are we now so we know that we have what we have in our armoury, if we use that analogy, and what can you use on that journey to Rio? What are we what are we strong at? Are we good at swimming? Should we swim there? 


Martin Henley  50:56  



Abigail Dixon  50:56  

Do we have good resources and flights. I also think it’s about making our strategic choices, because there are many ways you can get to Rio, whether that’s from Clapham or from Buenos Aires. But I don’t think enough businesses take enough time. And so they start just doing the tactical things, you know, let’s create a boat that we can, you know, we’ll stick some oars, and off we go. As opposed to actually, what do we have in our armoury? What are we really good at? Where do we where are we strong, you know, which countries can we stop a? We know we’re going to, you know, have a have a really good resource uplift from as an example. I don’t think people enough people take the time mapping that route, and really thinking about what’s that best way to do that journey for us based on what we’re really strong at, or our limitations, or what’s the best way to get there, based on the opportunities that are going to be in those countries as we travel through. And they just quickly jumped to the tactics of Let’s go on a boat, let’s get on a plane without mapping that through and that’s where money gets spent not invested.


Martin Henley  52:02  

Yeah, 100%. And I think what goes on is that businesses are flailing. They’re just hoping that marketing gets lucky. and sales gets lucky because there’s not enough investment gone into it for it to be anything other than that. Then you’re there as a salesperson or as a marketing person, and you’re not going to feel fulfilled, because everyone around you is just got their fingers crossed. Then at the same time, they’re not giving you the authority and the budget to actually do it properly. That’s what I think. 


Martin Henley  52:28  

Okay. Are you ready for a heavier question? Because I think there’s a deeper reason that sales and marketing people feel unfulfilled, and it comes back to Michelle. So, Michelle tells us that marketers have contributed to this untrammelled consumption that is damaging the planet. 


Martin Henley  52:52  

Bill Hicks? Did you ever see Bill Hicks, the comedian? 


Abigail Dixon  52:57  

No, I haven’t. 

52:58 Why people hate marketers and what we can do about it.

Martin Henley  52:58  

Oh, my God, he’s got this bit, its basically, like this was back in the 80s, or the early 90s. He had this bit and it was like, basically, if you’re a marketer, kill yourself. Just kill yourself. I’m serious, kill yourself. It’s basically six, seven minutes of him, it’s an assault on marketers. So do we feel that? The fact that we are contributing to … I feel that we’ve got to a really weird place in our evolution, where everyone kind of knows, a lot of the things we buy, we only buy because , like, I know, if I’m in a mood, I will start looking at things I can buy, you know, I mean, and then, but then I’ll buy them and I won’t be fulfilled by having bought them, and then I’ll be less happy and then I want to buy more stuff. 


Martin Henley  53:49  

It feels to me like the machine has learned that unhappy people buy more stuff and to the extent that marketers are because quite often brands are…. Take cosmetics, for example, you don’t know anything about running, but you are quite happy to wax lyrical about running. I don’t know anything about cosmetics. What I feel is that any woman who feels happy, and confident, and comfortable in themselves, will have less demand for cosmetics. It feels like part of the cosmetic industry, or part of the marketing, is about women feeling less good about themselves, by putting stunning models on the covers of magazines and then photoshopping them and then creating these unattainable lives around these people. So this is the question, there is some heavy stuff going on in our culture, we know that people are less happy. We know that unhappy people buy more stuff. So this is my question, we’re contributing to this situation as marketers, or are we? Is that something that also contributes to this feeling of unfulfillment?


Abigail Dixon  55:17  

So I suppose it depends on who you work for, doesn’t it? You know, if you feel that you are working for,


Martin Henley  55:23  

Can I interject for a second? Because I was introduced by Michelle, it raised my eyebrows when I saw that you were employed by Burger King. Burger King, for example, is a brand, they’re not the worst, necessarily, but they’re not lauded for their contribution to the health and wellbeing of the population of the world. 


Abigail Dixon  55:44  

Okay, great example. And I was gonna go there, so. So, yeah, I did what used to work for Burger King, I don’t know how many years ago now 11 years ago now, 12 years ago. Personally, I love a Burger King. If you think about what my role was, when I was there, it was to get more users back into the Burger King brand, it had kind of lost its way a little bit at the time. They were focusing on a very male, young audience and had forgotten about their core users, classic leaky bucket. 


Martin Henley  56:19  



Abigail Dixon  56:21  

Now, you know, you could be cynical and say Abby, you’re getting out of bed every morning to fuel obesity. Or you get out of bed every morning to get people to eat foods when there’s better choices for them. I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of that, because I think everything within limitatation,  whatever the expression is, everything within moderation. That’s the expression, everything within moderation. Actually a whopper is actually not that bad. So I’m not going to go down the product route. But you know, all that jazz. 


Abigail Dixon  57:00  

However, it’s not just Burger King that I’ve worked for, and I do remember an old colleague, who has unfortunately passed due to cancer and he used to say this to me, when we used to get stressed. He used to say, Abby, it’s only bloody power tools and it’s true. We get so caught up in, as you were saying earlier, the sales targets and you know, hitting that and trying to make sure that we are the ones that are chosen and trying to make sure that sales force know what we’re selling and why we’re better than Black and Decker or whoever else it was at the time. 


Abigail Dixon  57:42  

Now, I suppose it all comes down to is there a need? And what does that need truly satisfy? So, back to the power tools, you know, if you’re allowing that power tool to allow someone to build something, they feel bloody fulfilled as a result of it because in that case, I was working on DIY products, there is enjoyment in that. If you note that businesses manufacturing that in the most cleanest, ethical way, you can sleep better at night. In the case of any German engineering business, if you’ve ever walked around any of their factories, I mean, they are just incredible. They reuse everything, every little bit of plastic or metal that comes off the line gets rebuilt and put into something and you know, and this is all before what we know about plastic, this is moons and moons ago. 


Abigail Dixon  58:33  

But if you’re working for an organisation that is doing something that is damaging to the environment, or is just, you know, like cosmetics, or confectionery, or you know, any of those other things that don’t feel that they are good for you yeah, that can definitely add to the lack of fulfilment, because you’re thinking what am I going to getting out of bed for every morning to make people eat food that’s not healthy or to get people to put makeup on their face to cover up their true feelings of not feeling very satisfied in themselves. You could look at those things, but I think it’s all about the perspective and ensuring that you choose organisations that you are passionate about what they do, do believe in what they do, that they are sticking to their values, if they’re saying to the case of Michelle and Gemma’s work, you know, and Julie’s work that and I’m friends with all three. So I can say that you know, sticking to making sure that they are developing these products and services sustainably, and they are truly delivering that as sustainably as they can in their organisation as a whole and they’re sticking to their values and not just doing things to be greenwashing then I think that sits in a much better place in most people’s tummies, marketeers or not, than somebody that is working for an organisation that is greenwashing and not doing the right thing and creating a product or service that doesn’t enhance someone’s life in some way. 


Martin Henley  1:00:00  

Yeah, I think 100%. In this instance, it’s like, tobacco, cigarettes. It’s almost like the perfect marketing, because I think smoking is a form of self harm. People do it because they feel bad about themselves, they want to hurt themselves, they do it, they feel worse about themselves. They want to do it again. So the warnings that they put on those hideous pictures that they put on, I think actually contribute to the consumption of those products as well, I think. And I think in terms of fast food, KFC for me is the is the one where you eat it, and then you just immediately like, you really want it and then you eat it and then you immediately think, why did I just do to myself? So I think that’s interesting. So I think the product and the role that marketing plays in the world is also a factor. 


Martin Henley  1:00:50  

Okay, good. So we’re only on question number two, but it’s alright, we get through the last four really quickly. It’s okay.


Martin Henley  1:00:55  

So question number two, who do you work with? How do you add value to their lives?

1:01:01 The alternative to being niche in marketing.

Abigail Dixon  1:01:00  

So I work with everybody from large organisations, like Britvic and working for bodies like the CIM, to the individual who wants some help and clarity on their career and their path.


Martin Henley  1:01:16  

Okay. So that’s not very niche.


Abigail Dixon  1:01:20  

No and as a consultancy, the Labyrinth Marketing Consultancy, we don’t focus on a specific industry either. Because back to your earlier point, marketing and sales principles are the same. It’s just about how you apply them to that industry, to that sector, with that different customer, and what that brand offers. I think too many organisations don’t see the benefit or consultancy should I say, of working across multiple brands, and multiple sectors, in multiple industries, with multiple different orientations, because then you can bring those learnings to your clients that are working with similar problems, and certainly with similar life stages.


Martin Henley  1:01:58  

Okay, but you’re not supposed to do that. You’re supposed to be niche.


Abigail Dixon  1:02:01  

Yeah, I’m supposed to be niche, I’m supposed to focus. Naturally, I get a lot of B2C or consumer brands, because a lot of my personal work has been in consumer brands, as has a lot of my team. In reality, that shouldn’t be a limiting factor, why someone should be able to help, of course, they can bring experience from that category or that sector. For me, it’s about bringing fresh eyes and those external perspectives and doing things differently, and maybe doing things differently from an industry that has done something better or headed in the way that they want to head. So you can draw on that experience.


Martin Henley  1:02:40  

Okay. 100%. Okay, good. No, I also think that, I never niched either. I think it keeps it interesting, I think it really keeps it interesting.


Abigail Dixon  1:02:49  

It does. I love the fact that I can be working with a data provider, an engineering company one day, a soft drink brand the next day, it stretches my mind that stretches everyone’s mind in my team.


Martin Henley  1:03:03  

Yeah, super cool. What do you find yourself doing for these businesses? 


Abigail Dixon  1:03:09  

It varies. It can be anything from writing a long term strategy; whether that’s writing it for smaller businesses that want that kind of external view, because they’re at that place where they want to accelerate, and maybe get some external investment; whether that’s working with larger organisations and their brand teams and training and guiding them through that process; whether that’s helping bring some of those workstreams to life, maybe that’s innovation or finding the right agency partner, or campaigns and activations; or whether that’s working with capability functions, or teams, or owners, or business owners to make sure that their marketing teams have the right skills, competencies and have the right capabilities to deliver what they want to deliver in marketing. What we offer is varied. I suppose it’s the arm around the shoulder, that is the bit that we do differently. So we’re not just going to write a plan and bugger off. We’re going to stick with you for as long as you want us to. Whether that’s coaching, mentoring, training, extra resource, roll our sleeves up, get in get stuck in with you to make these things happen. So you don’t just get left hanging.

1:04:17 Why did you call your business Labyrinth Marketing and what does labyrinth mean?

Martin Henley  1:04:17  

Super cool. Good. Why did you call your business Labyrinth Marketing? What does labyrinth mean?


Abigail Dixon  1:04:24  

Because I think that marketing sometimes feels like a maze. Because you don’t know where the end goal is back to your Rio analogy earlier. 


Abigail Dixon  1:04:32  



Abigail Dixon  1:04:33  

Sometimes you’re walking around a little bit aimlessly trying to get to that centre which is a Labyrinth cyrcle. I wanted to kind of pick give people guidance and how can they can get to their centre and get back out again in a positive way.


Martin Henley  1:04:46  

Cool. Okay, good. I 100% agree with that. It upsets me that there’s this whole, like people want to talk about the secrets of marketing and people If people talk about oh, I went and saw a talk and I got one nugget, so that’s okay. So this idea that the marketing knowledge that you need will be delivered to you in nuggets if you go and see enough arbitrary talks and things. Like this all upsets me a little bit because what I know is there’s not really any mystery, like, the only mystery for inbound marketing for me is like, just do some marketing, and then just pay attention, and then your marketing will get better. You know, it’s like, it’s not more mysterious than that. Okay? No. And I really think that as well, it really annoys me, it really upsets me. 


Martin Henley  1:05:38  

I kind of position myself as the Toto in marketing, you remember toto in The Wizard of Oz, where he just goes and pulls down the curtain and you see, it’s just the guy turning the wheel. So I see that as my role. I feel like everything everyone thinks about marketing is wrong. If they just turned 180 degrees and did the other thing, they’d be absolutely fine. That’s kind of the way I see it. What else did I want to ask? Okay, question number three.

1:06:03 What is your recommendation for people who want to be finding more fulfilment from their marketing career and their lives?

Martin Henley  1:06:03  

What is your recommendation then for people who want to be finding more fulfilment? Okay, so fulfilment from their marketing and fulfilment in their lives? Yes.


Abigail Dixon  1:06:20  

I think it’s, it’s marketing. The reason my book is called the whole marketer is because it’s about the whole person. So it’s not just about the marketer, everything’s got to be working in harmony; what you’re doing in your life, what you’re doing outside of your life, for you to feel fulfilled. 


Abigail Dixon  1:06:36  

The key things to finding fulfilment, to give you an overview of the books, the book, talks about the technical skills that you need, those competencies that we discussed earlier, to grow brands and businesses of today, to have the skills today to grow the brand’s message tomorrow, because marketing has changed massively over the last 20 years. It’s about the soft skills that we need, because as humans, what we need to do to get alignment to get the wider cross functional teams working together, working with sales, working with other stakeholders, to leading the business and leading our teams has changed. 


Abigail Dixon  1:07:11  

The most important bit for me in that book is the unit three, the last bit, which is the bit that helps you get the fulfilment. That comes from personal understanding, that comes from understanding who you are, and what you bring to this world, what you’re good at, what your strengths are, and looking at what you value deep in your soul, and making sure that you’re choosing organisations and roles and putting your hand up for projects that play to those values. But you’re also mindful of what you’re doing outside of work that if not all of those things are being met in work in this very moment that you can do those things to fill your cup up. 


Abigail Dixon  1:07:44  

Also that you have the toolkit to be able to keep going, to face into those limiting beliefs that are holding you back, or those drivers that are becoming something that is a negative in your working day and in your life as a whole and the way in which you think and your mindset is structured as a way that you can continue to grow. For me, that’s the bit that gives you fulfilment, getting real clarity on what you want out of work, what you want in your life as a whole and starting to work towards that.


Martin Henley  1:08:18  

Yeah, and it’s almost not very different for a business. You know, if businesses understood that as well, they’d also be more fulfilling and the business owners will be more fulfilled. I think it’s kind of interesting. Is it Mental Health Awareness Week this week?


Abigail Dixon  1:08:36  

It was last week and you know, what’s really funny about it is that I almost missed it off the radar until I started to see it on LinkedIn. What I have actually done in my podcast The Whole Marketer is that I’ve just started which  went live this Tuesday, was the first episode of burnout. I was actually going to do a series of burnout, which seems to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. The reason I was doing the burnout episodes is because people were emailing me and asking for them saying, I’m an avid listener of your podcast, I actually think I’m burnt out. Would you do a podcast on this episode I’m sure it would help me and help others? 


Abigail Dixon  1:09:19  

This goes back to what we were saying about the frustrations that marketers have, but anyone could have been in work and life as a whole and reach out when you feel that you are feeling overwhelmed or unfulfilled to prevent that burnout. I don’t think enough of us are aware of it and I don’t think enough of us are putting things in place to keep our mental health where it needs to be to be able to thrive, not just survive.


Martin Henley  1:09:51  

Yeah. And I think it’s interesting about where we’ve got to as a society with mental health, and how we got here and what we’re allowed to say what we’re not allowed to say, and the pressures that we put ourselves under, we put other people under, and the way we treat each other. We’ve got ourselves in a proper pickle, I think. It just blows my mind,  the thing that we’re not allowed to say now, which is like, pull yourself together back up, I still think is the best advice, because it’s like that, you’re gonna, you need to take responsibility for it, and you need to work away from it but we’re not allowed to say that, but we don’t know how effective that was and there’s a pandemic going on around mental health. It’s, it’s quite a scary time. I don’t know how that’s relevant but I really do think that.


Martin Henley  1:10:39  

I was on a call the other day with someone who’s providing a service to one of my customers, and he just came out and told me, I’m having mental health issues, I’m having to have counselling. I had no idea why he’s telling me that, like, that wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago. Do you know, I mean, it’s like, it seems so endemic this this issue? Do we think that’s more prevalent in sales marketing type of roles?

1:11:02 Are mental health issues more prevalent in sales and marketing roles?

Abigail Dixon  1:11:02  

I think it is more prevalent in marketing and sales type roles, because we are the ones with the accountability to deliver, we are the ones with the added pressure, we are the ones who are putting added pressure on ourselves. We do have greater workforce. If I think back to the roles of marketers and how they’re changing, you know, we’ve gone from being predominantly teams focus profession, and taking products and service that was created elsewhere and promoting it into the marketplace to our customers, to one that is leading the commercial agenda and developing the products and services and, you know, developing the insight, and, and, and, and our breadth of roles have expanded. b ut not always the headcount to go with it. I think that’s why we are actually overwhelmed as well.


Martin Henley  1:11:57  

Yeah, 100%.


Abigail Dixon  1:12:00  

It’s also emotionally draining, if I may add, to go around and trying to constantly get alignment and buy in from other people to make things happen. That always comes with emotional energy, trying to get someone to buy into the idea that you have created multiple times is emotionally draining as well.


Martin Henley  1:12:19  

Yeah, 100%. It goes back to what we were saying before, we never know where the end of the racist there is no end of the race. I in my trainings, I talk to people about Sisyphus, you know, Sisyphus, in Greek mythology. He was damned by the gods to push a rock up a mountain for eternity and that’s what it feels like to be in sales and marketing. You get to the last day of the month, and you come in the next day and you start afresh. The gods put the rock at the bottom of the mountain again, and you start again in the same on the first of January and the same with every financial year. I think it’s really difficult. I think it’s really difficult. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all, if mental health issues are more prevalent in marketing and sales type roles. 

1:13:01 What should marketers read?

Martin Henley  1:13:01  

Question number four, what should people read? 


Abigail Dixon  1:13:06  

Well, apart from The Whole Marketer?


Abigail Dixon  1:13:09  

 Clearly they should read The Whole marketer first.


Abigail Dixon  1:13:13  

Clearly. Two of my favourite books that I feel that have made an impact on me, so one was called The Big Leap by Gay Hex and it talks about what we do to keep us safe. To stop us from achieving what we want, and I thought was fascinating. Another favourite book is a book called The path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. It’s full of kind of inspirational quotes and stories around those who have taken the time out to think about what they do truly want.


Martin Henley  1:13:41  

Cool, and that’s kind of become the theme of this conversation hasn’t it is about what you truly want. It’s about   really what it is that you need to achieve. Fantastic. I’ve not read either of those, and I’m gonna get it on a mission to do that. I’m definitely gonna get on a mission to do that. Okay, cool. 


Martin Henley  1:14:04  

So question number five. Well, I should ask you first, how has this experience been for you? Have you enjoyed or have you enjoyed this conversation?


Abigail Dixon  1:14:17  

I’ve enjoyed. I’ve enjoyed, I think we’ve gone around the houses, from fulfilment to strategy, to bring sales and marketing and the true challenges and I think eyes need to be open to those two challenges.


Martin Henley  1:14:29  

100% That’s what I think 100% Okay, good. So you should have no problem then in throwing a couple of people under the bus who might also enjoy to have a conversation like this with me.

1:14:39 Who might enjoy to be a part of the Talk Marketing series?

Martin Henley  1:14:39  

Do you have people that you can introduce me to that might enjoy to have this conversation?


Abigail Dixon  1:14:47  

I think because your podcast is about marketing effectiveness, I think it’d be good to have Kat from The House of Performance on the podcast. I recently had them on my podcast and you know, marketing is in area that is rising in popularity because effectiveness of it. She is very down to earth and opens, I think she’d make a great guest for you.


Martin Henley  1:15:08  

Oh, 100%. That sounds great. Cool. And are you able to give me an email or a LinkedIn kind of introduction? Is that something you could do? 


Martin Henley  1:15:21  

Yeah, definitely. 


Martin Henley  1:15:22  

Okay, cool. You’re a star, you’re freezing a little bit now, which is freaking me out a little bit, because you were quite animated before but now you’re not. We got to all the way to this is there anyone else, lots of people can throw two people under the bus?


Abigail Dixon  1:15:45  

I don’t ever want to throw him into the person that is an absolute legend and of marketing cycle marking amo boots. And he gives so much back to the profession. He is an incredible marketer. He’s driven change in every organisation that he has been in but he’s also one of the nicest human beings and give so much of his time to help others. So I would say Pete Markey.


Martin Henley  1:16:14  

Pete Markey. Fantastic, excellent. Thank you so much. You know, that would be cool and if you are able to give me something in the way of introduction, then I will pick up the ball and run from there. Okay, this is annoying that we did so well for so long and just in the last two minutes, like the video seems to be letting us down a little bit. 


Martin Henley  1:16:36  

What we’ll do is we’ll say the pretend goodbye now for anyone who’s still listening, and then I’ll stop recording and then we’ll say goodbye, like normal human beings. I have thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. Thank you so much. It’s kind of interesting to me, that actually the issues that I’ve experienced with small businesses aren’t so very different from the issues that people are achieving or encountering. In larger organisations, you know, it seems like this, this marketing issue does go across the board. So I think it’s really, really good that you’ve been here to talk to us about it, I think.


Abigail Dixon  1:17:18  

Thank you. Thank you for having me.


Martin Henley  1:17:20  

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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