Identify four or five things you do better than anyone else, that's a great place to start your marketing - Talk Marketing 015 - Jo Weatherall

Identify four or five things you do better than anyone else, that’s a great place to start your marketing. – Talk Marketing 015 – Jo Weatherall

Martin 0:04
Good afternoon, Jo.

Jo 0:06
Hi, Martin, how are you doing?

Martin 0:08
I’m so good. Thank you. How are you?

Jo 0:10
Yeah, good actually having survived pandemic year, although it’s not over yet. We’re kind of getting through it. So it’s quite ….

Martin 0:16
You are kind of get through it. I can’t thank you enough for agreeing to do this. The thing is, we’ve been talking for five minutes already, you just proved everything I know about you. I was just telling you how I was always impressed by your pragmatism when it comes to marketing and how, yes, so I don’t want to get into that. But thank you, thank you, thank you for agreeing to have this conversation with me, because I think this is about the most interesting people I’ve met in marketing, and I almost think of the people that I’ve met that have influenced me the most in marketing, you’re certainly there or there abouts.

Jo 0:52
Well thank you very much.

Martin 0:54
It’s true. It’s absolutely true. So hopefully, in the next hour, we’re going to get some of this out of you and it is going to go some way to influence other people to be more successful. So shall we give some people the context, because this is a conversation we’re just having, I reached out to you, I’m like, will you do this thing for me and you were like, your first response, so this is a great example of your pragmatism was – what’s the point? Why are you doing this?

Jo 1:21
What’s your point? Not what is the point? you think way is more like, what’s the point of you doing it, what’s what are you trying to get from me? That was my thinking.

Martin 1:30
Yes. But that is a perfect example of your pragmatism, because everyone else has been yeah, sure, let’s just talk about marketing for an hour. Not Jo Weatheral, Jo Weatheral is like there has to be a point to this, and if I sit with my marketing hat on then you should be thinking about it in this way, in that way, and the other way, and you’ve challenged me again, in a way that nobody else has ever challenged me in terms of, my marketing and what I do. I want to talk about this, because it feels like anyone can do this, and anyone is interested and qualified to do this now, but this is the way I understand you, this is the way I get you … is that it’s always pragmatic, there always has to be a point, there always has to be some value. That’s what I’m interested in. So the first question I ask everyone is, how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing? I know that you are enormously qualified to talk to us about marketing.

Jo 2:22
That’s a kind of interesting question because I have absolutely no qualifications in the traditional sense for marketing, I came from, just an ordinary background but I think what really gives us some credibility is the fact that I have been doing this for 35 years, and we’re still going, we still have a business, we are still talking to clients. We’ve had a number of clients for, you know, in this business for about 12 to 14 years, some come and ago and that’s absolutely fine. We also have some that have been with us a long time. I would say their businesses are better because of the contribution we’ve made. I’m not saying we are the sole reason they’re better, but we are certainly part of the team that creates better businesses. I think it’s mainly about experience, it’s also about – I absolutely love communication, the nuance of communication, I love the fact that, the thing that fascinates me the most, for example is translation. When you translate something, if you just translate your words, that doesn’t actually mean anything, but if you translate the meaning and the nuance, it starts becoming something quite beautiful. If you take something like translating poetry, that’d be an example of what I mean by that. So I was lucky enough to find a job, my first job was, someone needed some help picking up some phones in a publishing company in central London. I went aloing for a few weeks because I had just finished my levels and asked, I don’t know what I’m gonna do, I don’t want to go to university, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I literally sat in this office and I just fell in love with the whole media thing. That sounds kind of ridiculous but I was literally that kid that went, this is where I want to be. I love the whole thing of putting stuff together that communicates with people. My marketing comes not from the desire to flog people something or sell people something they don’t want, but actually about building communications between people. Talking to audiences, talking to your employees, talking to your staff, your members, whoever it is, I just love the way that communication works. That’s what I find really fascinating about it and that’s why I think I bring to all my clients. I don’t necessarily go in and say, okay, we need to sell this, this and this, what I look at is talk to me about your business, about what you’re trying to achieve, why it matters and that results in a very open and honest relationship because I make them be quite honest with me about what they’re good at. I say to them a lot of people say they do what you do, but actually you’re the only person who can do it the way you do it. What I’m really interested in is how we tell people about that bit. A million people produce glasses or produce mugs or whatever, what’s special about your mugs. I loathe terms like USP because I think they suggest there’s some magic formula you have, our USP is x, actually, the magic formula is bigger than just a sentence. It’s the whole approach to your business that makes your business attractive and engaging with other people in my view life.

Martin 2:32
Wow.

Jo 2:35
Does that sort of explain it?

Martin 5:21
It explains it, it absolutely does. What’s interesting is you were telling me how nervous you were about this and then we start talking and you’re just off communicating, it’s beautiful. So what people need to understand then is, when you talk about we, who is the we.

Jo 5:37
We’ve always been quite a small company, small in terms of number of employees. At the moment, there’s two of us that are permanent. We work with about five or six designers, four or five content writers, copywriters, we work with people who do our social media, if we put it out. So effectively, we’re a small team and we always have been. When we originally started the company, which is company, Frank, which is the kind of sister company we had the three of us, I bought the other two out. Rather, they gave up working with me. What we wanted to do was, at that time, act more like a virtual company, a remote company but that was very, very early on, we’re talking about dial up modems and PDFs taking half an hour to come through. So it was a little bit too early to actually do what we wanted to do, because we didn’t want a big office, we didn’t want the kind of trimmings of other marketing agencies, partly because we had spent time in bigger agencies as the crack new business team. What we felt was that we weren’t really able to then didn’t deliver to our clients the promises we had made to them, that just didn’t feel right. Which is part of the reason why we called ourselves Frank because what we tried to be was honest and transparent from the very beginning. So the we now is myself and my colleague Ben, who’s absolutely a little hero, he not little, he’s over six foot, but he’s, he’s a really great guy and we work really, really well together. We’ve got very, the sort of skills that work very well together, I’m noisy, he tends to be quiet, he’s a real thinker. I tend to be more kind of creative, going woohoo let’s do this, you know, I move towards the shiny things, and he pulls me back and says, Okay, this is what we can actually do. He’s a real detail, man and he does a lot of our SEO for our clients. He will just go through a website with a fine tooth comb, and just make sure that is optimized, you know, all the way through. So, yeah, so it’s just basically the two of us. Sorry, my phone’s going mad. So the we is a bunch of really, really top end, in my view, designers, writers, just the people we need, we bring them in as and when we need them. So none of our clients are paying for those people all the time, but because we’ve got really good relationships with them, I look after our suppliers. They send me an invoice and I pay it. I’ve done that all the way through when I can afford it. Obviously, if the business hasn’t got a lot of money in it, then I’ll be upfront about that and say I’m waiting for some to come through. I’ve tried to build up those very, very good relationships and the feedback from that, or the way it rewards itself, is I’ve actually worked with people who are my suppliers, we’ve then started working on projects that they bought to me, together. So I know you are going to ask me about new business and a lot of it is actually a sort of revolving door I’ll go to one of my designers and say can you work with us on the design for this and they’ll come back and say can you help us build the website? Can you help to combine them or whatever else? So that’s been an amazing experience one I feel very lucky to have but I think it’s because we all treat each other with absolute respect. We respect each other.

Martin 8:45
Okay, and you’ve done this, as long as I’ve known you. I have known you since … was it 2006/2007? You bought me in, or you brought Effective Marketing in to work on the Fringe? The Finge Guide?

Jo 8:56
Yes, fantastic.

Martin 8:58
Thanks for that.

Jo 9:00
That was a long time ago, wasn’t it?

Martin 9:03
It was actually quite a lot of fun but it was also a lot of hard work.

Jo 9:07
A lot of hard work. One of the things I would say in most of my career, what I think is there are not many shortcuts. I think that’s one of the things has actually stood me in good stead because when I do find something I can do a little bit quicker or better than other people, it’s great, but I genuinely believe nothing replaces hard work, diligence, checking things out, making sure it’s right.

Martin 9:28
Yes, and this is what we have in common, we have a lot in common. So I don’t know is the business just called Frank now. For people who don’t know about you, Frank, you are based just outside of Brighton, you are an SEO agency, marketing agency, PR is that still stuff that you do?

Jo 9:50
No, we’ve never really done PR To be fair, because I think PR is a really, really top end skill. I think a lot of people say they can do PR, but in my view, what they mean is they can get feature in a local paper and I don’t think that’s PR. I think PR is something way, it’s the skill set you need to do it well is really, really top end. So no, we have so we have Frank, which essentially is more our branding, and marketing, and strategy side of the business. And then we have Build One For Me, which is more about building websites, and SEO, and digital marketing. So Build One For Me, was set up really because we wanted to, because people kept saying, Oh, do you do websites? Can you do one for me? It was literally that basic. So we were like, yeah, we can do that. Then we realized that a lot of money is being spent constantly on digital in a way that perhaps isn’t being spent on people’s branding and things. They’ll often come, people often come to us, and they’ll say we want a website website and when we start talking, what we find is, because our backgrounds marketing, we don’t just create a website and say here’s your website, we’ll people see you later. We actually give them a huge push, you talked earlier about value and I think one of the things we’re really good at is giving absolute value to people come and see us. I will say to people, I don’t think you need a new website, I think you need to re-energize yourself about your business, because that is so often … I cannot tell you how many people sat in my office saying I need a new website. My first question is, you know, in the words of I think Seth Godin is starting with why. So I ask why. And they say well, because this, this, this. What they want is to feel good about their business again and sometimes that is all we do. Sometimes we have clients in, they may come for a couple of meetings, two to three meetings. Actually, at the end of it we say now you’re feeling better about your business, we can now start looking at making it work better getting things working harder and that’s what we do.

Martin 11:45
Well, and I absolutely think that’s true, maybe not in that framing, I think in the other way. I think marketing is, what do I think? I think marketing is necessary, you don’t have a successful business if you’re not in the business of finding, winning and keeping customers profitably. I think marketing is definitely the one thing that goes on in your business that gives you the opportunity to feel better about yourself because you’ve got some freedom in the way you present yourself, you’ve got some freedom in the products or services that you provide even, right in the very essence of it. There is some freedom, there is some choice aand the trouble for a lot of people I think is when a business is up and running, then it’s a freight train, and you are serving it rather than it serving you. Absolutely 100% agree with that. And I don’t doubt for a second that you tell them no, you don’t need a website, this is the pragmatism that I’ve always associated with you.

Jo 12:45
Also if someone thinks that the answer to their question is a website, you’ve really got to ask what the question is. There’s so many … for example we had a guy locally come in and he wanted a new website, he was ringing various companies up saying I want a new website and then he rang me and said I don’t understand Jo, because I’ve had quotes between 10,000 pounds and 1,000 pounds, why am I getting that? I said, because you haven’t even given them up a brief, and you haven’t given us proper brief. I said, this is one of the reasons why I haven’t come back to you with our quote, because actually, I don’t know what you want and I don’t understand your business enough, and you don’t know what you want. You just want someone to say, Hey, here’s loads of pretty pictures and when we literally won’t do that for people in the end, I think when you say that you really shock people because they can’t quite believe you that they’re offering you money, but I mean, what are they buying? It’s just, it’s just crazy. So I try to make sure people understand what they’re buying from us before they spend the money with us.

Martin 13:47
Okay, and this is perfect, because this might be the way that you’ve actually influenced me the most. At one point, I know your your website is Frankontheweb.com. Is it still?

Martin 13:59
Yeah, Frankontheweb and build one for me.com.

Martin 14:03
Okay, so I will make sure those are linked when I transcribe that. Okay, you could have actually placed that logo a little bit better unless you’re going for subtlety? So you were called Frank Communications and you’ve always been very frank, this is the pragmatism that I’m talking about. It seems to me that so much of marketing is just mired in bullshit, which is why I’m doing my What The marketing jargon busting series. I think if you can get through that with people, then you’re empowering them essentially, to be more successful if they know. So many people when I deliver for the Digital Marketing Institute, so many people are on that five day course, because they’re like our supplies are talking junk to us. We have no idea what they’re talking about. So if you can tell us what they’re talking about, then that would be value enough. So this, I think, is where you’ve influenced me the most with this idea that actually, there’s too much BS in marketing and if you can remove the BS, then you can be more successful.

Jo 15:08
Yeah, but I think it takes a certain sort of client to accept that. I know that I don’t mean, you know, so we’re not right for everybody, we have people who want us to, you know, they want us to find the bullshit. They want to kind of find a way, I want to want to compete with this company here and you go, how could you possibly? You don’t do the same thing. You don’t have the same capacity, all these kind of things. What we try and do is we try and explain, we do try and enable people and empower people that can, from my own experience, that can be can end up not being great for the business because you empower people, and then they start believing the way you’re empowering them. It can mean they sort of think Oh, yes, I now know all the answers, and they want to go off and do it, we’ve had that as well. I’m kind of okay with that because I think there’s a time and a place for working with companies like ours. Luckily, some people, not luckily, but some of those people we’ve grown with, and they have grown with and it’s been a really, really good relationship. Some people, passer bys and the passer throughs. Some of it is because they become so empowered and enabled, but they just don’t think they need us, and once that happens, it’s very unlikely they’ll come back. And we’ve learned that, we’ve learned that through experience. I’m absolutely fine, because my view is I can take you so far but I cannot make you into a marketeer if it’s not in your bones. We can’t make your company something it’s not all we can actually do is be … you know, what we used to say, slightly arrogantly, or slightly bullishly, I suppose, but we say we only deal in truth. Actually, that’s kind of, that is kind of true, what we try and do is find the truth about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it and then let other people know about it and let other people make informed decisions about whether they want to work with our clients, and whether they want to buy from our clients.

Martin 16:59
Yes, good. I love this. This is like the last one of these I did with Nikolai, we were talking about the difference in the way you can present value now with digital marketing because you have data. So you can do that. The conversation I was delivering for the Digital Marketing Institute this week, I was talking to them about the data and the reports that they should put together and the fact that those should be numbers, because there’s truth in numbers because the risk is if you’re not running your business, objectively, the risk is always that your your business gets run, your marketing gets run subjectively. So people take what I’m saying to you too far, which is, you know, marketing is the opportunity to have fun with your business, you get to make choices here and they’re like, well, I can have whatever I want, you know what I mean? Whereas actually for me, it’s always about meeting the needs of the market. That’s how you get to be successful, that’s really good marketing. So the frustration for me was always someone would see me speak, they’d invite me into their business. Yeah, everyone would get stupidly excited. The first hour you spend with me is definitely the best hour you’re ever going to spend with me.

Jo 18:11
Yeah, you are like a drug, I totally agree.

Martin 18:13
I should have charged 10,000 pounds for that and then not even left my telephone number.

Jo 18:17
Haha, just walked out.

Martin 18:21
Yeah, so they would be stupidly excited when I leave.

Jo 18:25
Yeah.

Martin 18:25
And then by the time I go back for a second meeting, they know it all, and they just want what they want. Again, that was always the frustration for me and …

Jo 18:34
Yeah, I mean, I totally get that Martin, I think you and I sat in a meeting with a potential client and we experienced that together, I remember it. What we actually do now is we put together a workshop, which we call the fit workshop, and fit is forming intelligent territory. That’s all about working with our client with new potential clients and they pay for the workshop. It’s a basically a half day, can be six hours, but normally it’s about three or four. We want in that workshop the key people in the business, that doesn’t mean all the, it actually means we want, you know, the people from like, it can be the person who answers the telephone, it can be the person that does the packaging. We want a mix of people in the business and we just talk about what the business is, what it’s delivering, how it’s delivering it. We only really answer four or five questions in that but it’s really insightful because we write down every single thing that business does. A lot of businesses learn to say I do this right? Now the point is, millions of people do this, but what they don’t necessarily do is all the things behind that. For example, in one of our FIT workshops, we found one of the companies, one of the reasons people really liked them was because they had a really efficient accounts department and that sounds ridiculous. Actually talking about the fact that we pay our bills on time we do this we do that means that you become a company that people want to work with. What we’ve always tried to do is run these workshops which get everybody on board who then go back and deliver the outcomes of the workshop that we put together, some proposition code about the whole essence of your business, if you like. That has really, really helped us A) it enables us to get to know a lot about business very quickly and B) it gets us to kind of explain to the business themselves, they start looking and they go, Ah, okay, this is what we’re about. We think we’re about that and that’s what we’ve been talking about but actually, we have all this stuff going on which makes us incredibly good at all of those things. One of the questions that they answer is what are we exceptionally good and nobody really asks companies what they’re exceptionally good at. By the time we ask that question they’ve gone through absolutely everything they do from, deliveries of whatever it is they do and so they’re used to talking in that way, when you say, so what is the thing that you’ll really brilliant at, they identify four or five things that they do, and they know they do better than anyone else and that’s just a great place to start your marketing from basically.

Martin 21:06
Five or six things is an amazing place. I mean, I spoke to … in another one of these I spoke to, I can’t even remember his name. He was talking about like, unique, he was talking about developing unique selling points.

Jo 21:26
Yeah.

Martin 21:27
He was almost suggesting that you have to come up with unique selling points for these businesses.

Jo 21:33
Yeah.

Martin 21:34
That, for me, is part of the problem. I’m also fascinated by this levels of communication thing. Because what happens, like what happens in marketing is there’s too much jargon, we’re talking jargon, people don’t want to buy from us. It happens in every business because clearly, if you are inside the business producing something, you are going to develop a shortcut language for talking about that. It’s completely inappropriate always that you use that language when you talk to your customers. They don’t like it, they specifically don’t like it. That’s why they need agency. That’s why they can’t do it themselves. That’s why they need people like us who can tell them, like from the outside, this is the way it looks.

Jo 22:14
Yeah.

Martin 22:14
But five or six things is amazing.

Jo 22:16
Maybe Martin, it maybe something, as I said, like, we have a really good, this. It may be something you may not consider to be something worth marketing, may not even be a saleable thing, but what it is is an essence of their business that I find so fascinating.

Martin 22:33
Yes and I think what it has to be is it has to be a truth. So don’t be don’t bring in a marketer who’s gonna write bullshit taglines about this swizzy thing, that swizzy thing. Because the truth is so much more believable, and it’s so much more durable, because the truth carries on, do you know what I mean?

Martin 23:02
So part of the issue, I think, with the loss of businesses is that if they are marketing themselves falsely, when people become their customers, and they see those discrepancies, or they see those misalignments, that’s where the trust goes, do you know what I mean? It’s like, well, we weren’t expecting this.

Jo 23:19
No and I think I think the other thing that’s that we don’t do now, which which we did initially, we don’t spend months and months, well, we don’t spend huge amounts of time putting together very glossy presentations for new clients. What we do is we meet them, we talk to them and if they want that glossy, you know, I’m going to come in here, I’m going to impress the socks off you with this, this and this. I’m not saying by the way that we don’t do a nice presentation, because we do, but what I won’t do is try and tell them all about me and why you know why you should really use Frank because it’s not about us. If they don’t get that it’s not about us, that it’s about them and their business, then that just is just not right for us. I’m not again, I’m not being sort of, you know, I’m just saying we know, I know I’ve spent 30 years understanding who we appeal to, I understand the type of age group we appeal to because generally, you know, if people want to work digital, they think you’ve got to be really young. The thing I can do is I can explain how digital works to people in my own age who are ofthen managing directors or owner managers, whatever and they go OK I get it, I understand that now. Exactly like you said, they’ve had four agencies going in, they’re fantastic young people, but they just don’t have the same set of language and they haven’t learned the language of these people. So it’s, in my view, just finding appropriate businesses, that’s what I think it’s about for us anyway.

Martin 24:42
Yes and it’s genius what you’re saying because actually being in business, or winning customers and keeping customers is never about you. It’s always about the customer.

Jo 24:52
Absolutely.

Martin 24:52
And and that is why, exactly the inverse happens, why people are like, well, I’m spending the money, I should decide exactly what my marketing looks like and it be driven by ego. That is maybe why marketing fails is because it can’t be about you. It has to be about the value that you deliver to your customers and your customers needing that value and wanting that value.

Jo 25:18
You know, it does make sense. Well, you said something earlier, you were talking about numbers, you were talking about data. We do have access to unbelievable amounts of data now and it’s just amazing. The crazy stuff is that an awful lot of it is free. I mean, Google Analytics, we use that as well, it’s just a phenomenal resource.

Martin 25:37
Yeah.

Jo 25:37
But the thing I think’s interesting is, it’s not about that resource it’s about how you interpret what you learn from that and that’s the difference. I would say, we’re able to interpret things in a way, because our background is the way it is, and because it’s based on experience, we can look and go, Okay, we’re seeing this so what we’re going to do is we’re gonna make this little change, let’s then look at the response to that. So we’re not just going and saying, haha, we got 9 million people to your website, what we’re doing is seeing we got five, but you know what, they’re all exactly the right people. Yeah, it’s just good targeting. I’m a believer that just because you can, you don’t have to. So you can send out a mailing very cheaply to 200,000 people, it costs the same amount as sending out a mailing to 50,000 people, it’s the same sort of price; but my view is to just look after those people and talk properly to the ones who, you know, want to work with you. I’ve always had that attitude, which is, so we use the numbers to gain intelligence in order to talk to people better.

Martin 26:40
Yes.

Jo 26:42
Rather than just to say, hey, look at these numbers.

Martin 26:45
Yes and I think that’s ideal. The way I talk about it is like, what you really need for every marketing initiative is a dashboard. So you need like your top eight or 10 KPIs, and then you know everything is going in the right direction.

Jo 26:58
Absolutely.

Martin 26:58
But the the last numbers on the on the right hand column are going to be the numbers that really count the number of inquiries, the number of sales, the value of those sales. And that’s what matters, rather than the front end, which is X number of 1000s of people came to the website, well, it doesn’t matter if they come to the website, it’s only costing you in bandwidth if they’re not actually converting.

Jo 27:21
Yes, yes. But it’s, I think, also, one of the things we try and look at is just making sure, you know, using using the right techniques, it’s just making sure those people are coming, and then that they get what they expect when they get to a site. So whether it’s a product, wherever it is, so we’re just constantly trying to make sure that our clients are offering value to their customer bases, and that when the audiences are coming through, we want to make sure that, you know, if you’re putting information about product on there, you’ve got to relay that to the person who’s buying that product. What do they need to know? Sometimes you’re, especially using something like some setup structure, you won’t be telling them that key thing they want to know, which may be not the obvious, but if you understand your audiences, then you understand what those people need to know in order to make that purchasing decision. I still think people don’t always buy the cheapest online, there is a view that they do. I certainly know that I will look around for a company that tells me things I need to know and unless they’re prohibitively more expensive, I will nearly always buy direct from them, because I think they have an invested interest in serving me. Whereas I don’t believe that at all these big online retailers have a vested interest all they are trying to do is sell me something cheaply and that’s having an effect on every reselling person.

Martin 28:35
Well, I think that’s interesting, because the next WTF that I’m going to do is pricing. I don’t think people care about, when they’re buying, I don’t think they care about price at all, not for a second. What they care about is value. Now, you might say to me, but the first question is always how much they cost but the only reason they’re asking that question is because they want to know if it’s available to them. Is it something they can afford? Once they know that they can afford it, then it’s literally about value. It’s always about value. Or else we would all be driving Robin Reliant’s wouldn’t we? Rolls Royces and Bentley’s wouldn’t exist, you know. So I think …

Jo 29:17
That’s another interesting thing actually. Occasionally we get asked to go for a project and they don’t give you a budget, they say I’m not going to tell you the budget. I say look, if you don’t give us a budget, then I can’t deliver the best value for the budget. I said, I can tell you what would be the ideal scenario but you’re not giving us any parameters. If you tell me you’ve got 10,000 pounds then I will tell you the best way that we think you can spend that 10,000 pounds, and we try to have that on there. What we don’t try and do is see how much money can we make and therefore, what do we think you can get out of them. What we try and look at is absolutely how we can deliver the best value. So if someone wants a website, and they won’t tell us how much money they’ve got, it’s impossible, you can’t possibly give them the right solution because, you may be going actually what you need is a Shopify site, you know data about this, this, this, that will do the job you want and all of a sudden you’re into 10s of 1000s of pounds and they have a 6000 pound budget. So we always try and understand what the budget is because generally we can deliver something within that budget, but we tell them what they can’t, what they’re not getting from it. This is the best way to spend your money and longer term that helps us develop long term relationships, because people learn to trust us, they learn that we’re not just their to yake things away. It is natural for them, because they naturally don’t want to tell me how much money they’ve got when they come into the shop.

Martin 30:06
Yes, because they think you’re just going to take all their money, because that’s the way so many marketing agencies actually function.

Jo 30:53
Yeah.

Martin 30:54
And I think, what’s the thing, I think, if I’m right, I tell marketing people that sales and marketing is about finding, winning and keeping customers profitably. So the job of any sales or marketing agency is literally to deliver more cost effective, higher value customers, to deliver more value, which is the job of anyone who’s selling anything is to deliver value. But the world is so far gone, almost, that that’s forgotten.

Martin 31:26
I think also, I think people get very insecure, I think that’s the thing that people kind of think well if we reduce our price, someone will buy, that they won’t buy it higher price. There are innumerable things that the prove the opposite, but actually, I think it’s a fear, I think it’s kind of like, you know, what’s your day rate? How are you structuring those prices? My thing is, I look at people’s business and one of the great questions I will have is, where do you make most of your money? Now, again, people have to trust me before, they’ll tell me that, but there’s often a thing they do that makes more money than other things they do. You know that in your own business, if you do X, Y, and Z really influences how money you make. So I ask the client and the client, will, if I have built up that trust, and I’ve got the relationship, they’ll say, well, actually, this is where we make our money. So I go, Okay, that’s the thing we need to constantly be looking at and talking about and bringing to the fore, you know, so that we make sure …

Martin 32:25
That’s marketing.

Jo 32:27
Yeah, well marketing absolutely. But also, never forgetting that you could spend an awful lot of money, trying to sell a very low cost, low margin product, for example.

Martin 32:38
Yeah.

Jo 32:39
And that can be tough. I mean, it can be very tough when you’re doing SEO, if you actually identify how much it costs to get a very low margin product, top of search engines, it can be crazy, it doesn’t make sense. And again, we try and look at that, we try and understand that and say, so in this instance, it’s not about how many pens, you know, we’ll get, we’ll do it right but actually, you really make your money here, so let’s concentrate on that. By doing your site completely brilliantly, it all comes up anyway, it all moves up the rankings, because it’s all performing as it should, we’re finding that again. You have to have, if you imagine in your business, you have to have a lot of trust in your marketing company, really, to tell them that. If you don’t have that trust, the marketing companies sort of slightly scrambling around in the mud, you have to have an honest, open relationship, and it has to be equally considered by both parties. I don’t think a marketing company should be trying to hide things from the client and I don’t want the marketing company to hide things from their client. If you have that, that’s difficult, that’s a tough way to learn.

Martin 33:50
Yes. So and here’s the thing, then. So why are so many marketing agencies … Do you know that the average lifespan of a digital marketing customer in London is three months?

Jo 34:03
That’s mad isn’t it?

Martin 34:07
So there’s a few things in what you’re saying. If you are looking to engage a marketing agency, and you don’t understand that, that the core function of that marketing agency is to affect the amount of money you make and for them to be able to do that they need to know how much money it is. You need to think about why you’re in business in the first place. If you don’t trust it … so there’s two things; people invest in marketing and they don’t know this is about how much money they’re making. That’s ridiculous, insane. The second thing is, you have to have so much faith in your marketing agency, and marketing agencies are so untrustworthy, are so slippery. I know you’re doing really well in SEO for people and in the last conversation with Nikolai, we were talking about how that’s the hardest thing to sell, because you have to wait a period of time to see the results. You have to keep the customer invested for that period of time. And I know because I know, you know, I can look at a website and the people I taught the course to this week know, if they are looking at a website for 30 seconds, whether it’s been optimized or not. It’s as transparent as that. But literally, SEO agencies are taking people’s money, and not doing the work because they’re telling you this is all just too dark and mysterious for you to even be able to understand, you know?

Jo 35:26
It’s kind of interesting. So where again, the way we talk about SEO, when we first start talking to people, we actually have a sort of infographic that talks about it. We always say the first thing we’ll get right is your architecture and there are things that we know with most sites we can do that are what we call quick fixes. Those are basically when you’re just going through doing housekeeping, and you’re do it really well. You do you a deep clean and that will have a fairly instant effect on some things, some elements of SEO. That becomes our trust point. We say to people, these are quick fixes, don’t expect that every fix we do from then on, will do what this will do for you. What it will do is it’ll show you we know what we’re talking about. That again, that’s really been useful for us to understand how to tell people about what we do. One of my colleagues, I’ve worked with quite a lot, he has a view that basically, SEO, if you’re selling SEO, the best, easiest people to sell it to are the people who’ve tried it and done it themselves unsuccessfully, because they understand how hard it is to do it right. When you understand how hard it is to do it, right, you understand it’s a skill you have to pay for. We have actually, because we have quite a lot of small clients, because we’re very locally based and community focused and all that lovely stuff, we developed something called DIY SEO. It basically means that a small client, a small client, it might be a one man band, running his own website, he can actually tie up with us, we do a day a month for him, that’s all we do. He’ll come to us on a ride, or she’ll come over and come to us and we’ll say Okay, this month, we’re going to do it or you’re going to do this and we tell them how to do it within their platforms; WordPress, Magento or whatever it is, and then they go away and do that, and we look at the results. Okay, so this month, you need to go and do this. We’ve had incredible success with that, in one of our we’ve got a local beauty that we’ve been working with and that’s what he does, he but he spends the time on it. So basically, we’re giving the information, and he’s spending the time. Again, that takes a certain type of relationship for that to work really well because if the guy doesn’t do the work, if the owner of the site doesn’t do the work, it isn’t going to happen. But pretty much you can gauge that quite quickly.

Martin 37:48
Yes.

Jo 37:49
Because you can just you can literally see when they’ve done it or not. We have had real success in that, you know, we’ve kind of gone through and said, Okay, this is your business, let’s think about the terms that you can potentially move up for, and the ones you can’t, because sometimes are so competitive, that we sort of say, let’s actually look at the hot ones. That’s why, again, understanding the whole of the business allows you to be a little bit cannier about the way you do it. Certainly, we’ve had clients they actually can’t believe they’re doing it because they can literally see their own analytics going up and up and up. It will get to a level where it won’t, because it will be the level at which they should be operating.

Martin 37:50
Yes. And I think that’s right, I think that’s perfect. I mean, you don’t have to spend very long trying to build links to your website before you realise it’s a much better idea to find someone who can do it for you.

Jo 38:44
Actually, we don’t do much link building that. We’re not so good on because it’s done so badly by so many people.

Martin 38:52
Yes.

Jo 38:53
It has become something that Google has really, really knocked clients back on. So what we try and do instead is create situations where people want to link. We create content that people will want to link to rather than go, we’re going to link to 50 or 60 people. It is really important but it is also something that again, you know, if done badly, will actually have such a negative effect on site that you’ve really got to be really careful.

Martin 39:19
Yes. Absolutely. So the the underlying theme here is kind of, if I’m right, is being selective about who your customers are because, I never was, I never said no to anyone, and I took on everyone and it was torture.

Jo 39:42
I would say that that is something we only really done last couple of years. If I’m really honest. I think that’s partly one of the reasons why we are now two people full time employed was because when we grew and got bigger, we had to do that we had to take on any bit of business that came our way because you can’t turn anything down, because you need to pay the salaries and stuff. That becomes a problem, it certainly became a problem for us. What you do is you end up servicing clients that don’t really want to be with you, you don’t really want to be with them and it is not a great place to be. So that that learning has taken me a surprisingly, an embarrassingly, long time to come up with; but it’s totally where we’re at now.

Martin 40:24
Yes, yes. The embarrassing thing for me is I’ve always told people this, and then I didn’t do it.

Jo 40:32
Totally. It’s because you know, we all get embroiled in it. Also I think it’s about understanding growth, it’s understanding what your idea of growth is, and what your ideas of success is. All of those things are tied up in your business as they are in other people’s. Sometimes I’ll see people when they have a business, that makes them enough money to do stuff they want to do, they have everything in place but they feel they should be doing something different. Sometimes it’s just about really looking at business and seeing, you know, people say what is your exit strategy, it is about understanding the business needs of the marketing, as well as long term and short term growth. What are you actually looking for? Do you want to be the biggest whatever it is?

Martin 41:13
Yes. So this is something also that I’m interested in? Is it Greta Thonberg, the environmental activist, and what did she call it? This childish belief in growth, perpetual growth? So I think that’s interesting. Do you know Ed Carr?

Jo 41:35
Yes, yes.

Martin 41:37
Ed was the first person I spoke to and we’ve agreed we’re going to have a conversation about the morality of marketing. I think there’s levels to morality in marketing, especially when you get into SEO, Google are laying down this morality. One of the moralities is around consumption, at what point is it enough? Do you know what I mean? Businesses are schooled to believe that if they are not continuously growing, then they are not being successful?

Jo 42:08
Yeah, absolutely. I think the morality of marketing is very interesting, because I, still get people say, oh marketing, you’re just sending people things they don’t want. I absolutely disagree with that. I say no, what I’m doing is helping to give you the information that allows you to make a that’s right for you. That might sound a bit sanctimonious, but that’s how I see it. I don’t feel like I’m selling tosh to people who don’t need it. I feel like I’m giving people the opportunity to make a better decision.

Martin 42:43
Yes. Okay. So that’s interesting, because my thing, and this might be only my thing, but I think it’s a thing. So I don’t want to project onto you whatever my insecurities are. So here’s my position. Absolutely, every business owner wants to be successful. The only way that you can be successful, as far as I’m concerned, is through sales and marketing. It’s about the way you find, win and keep customers. That’s about delivering value for your customers as well. People don’t want to do it, they really don’t want to do it. If I think about the reasons why that is, I’m developing a list. One of them is the jargon, people don’t know what marketing people are talking about. Another one is that people don’t trust marketing agencies. Another one is the reputation that marketing has in the world. I was talking to the people on this course this week about spam emails. How on earth did it happen that spam emails became deserving of the worldwide ire. As far as I’m aware, nobody was ever injured by a spam email. They might have been defrauded, but they could be defrauded by any other channel equally as well, because that was only ever a link. For some reason, spam email is like the worst thing you can do. Like the worst thing you can do when you’re driving your car is be on the phone. It’s like however people respond is perfectly appropriate, because being on the phone when you’re driving the car is the worst thing. Like being a marketer and sending spam email is the worst thing you could possibly do. Another is that they’re scared of the response that they’re going to get. So I’ve been doing some really inelegant, clumsy, spammy marketing, because I just feel after seven years of not investing in Effective Marketing’s marketing at all, I feel like I should be doing something. So I’m doing what I can with the limited amount of energy and the no money that I’ve got. I’m spending two or three hours a day and stuff is starting to happen and for me that’s positive because something is happening. Now I can I can make it shine as I go forward. But some of the responses I’ve had have been obscene. There’s only three, that have really been really nasty. One guy was like, Don’t send me messages pal, on LinkedIn.

Jo 45:09
Yeah.

Martin 45:10
Like, pal is aggressive, isn’t it? So I’m like, you’re right. Like, don’t patronize me. And I’m like, No, wait, wait, wait, wait, because there’s nothing I’ve done to elicit this response from you, so this is … I don’t know. So what I’m doing is I’m doing a bit, and I’m pushing back, because I’m on this mission to get people motivated to do something about their marketing. So if I speak to three people that engage with me badly and say, Look, you don’t need to do that, then that’s reasonable. But these are the reasons that people don’t engage in marketing. That’s kind of what I’m saying to you. What do you think about that?

Jo 45:45
Yeah, I think that’s quite interesting point. I mean, there’s a couple of things to think about number one is, when did you get to a point where every time your phone goes, or every time, and it’s an unknown number, you don’t pick it up? Because you know, you know, it’s not your mom or your dad or your friends, you know, that’s a salesperson.

Martin 46:00
Yes.

Jo 46:01
And that can get aggressive, and it feels very, just feels, you feel like just go away, I don’t want to speak to you kind of thing. I think that is quite a sad state where your home phone line goes and we never pick it up, because we don’t want to talk to someone trying to sell us something. And, and so often it’s associated with fraud. So I think the problem is spam as he gets associated with fraud, it’s not the same thing, but it’s very, very hard to disengage. You know, you sort of go, oh, I’ve got this from the NHS, well, it’s not from the NHS, it’s called spam, but actually, it’s fraudulent. I think that may be where that’s coming from and I think we’ve also got very precious about our time, because, and I think this comes back to, if I go online, and I will just unsubscribe to stuff now. I never used to do it and then I would realize I’d come in normally I’d get 15 emails coming through and it was just stuff that I hadn’t said I didn’t want, so I’ve just started unsubscribing. It’s been quite an interesting experience because A) some people pay absolutely no attention to it at all or they send it to you under another name or whatever. I feel that if someone says to me and reaches out and says, Hey, listen, we’re doing this, if I don’t want to hear I will not be rude or like, just go back to like, No, I’m like, just keep it really low key, because that’s because my human interaction will come in at that point. I think the question you had is, do you think people are scared of spamming? I think they are but I think it’s because the association Spam is more around fraud. So I think what you need to do is be very, you know, very clear about that delineation, when you’re talking to people and say, No, we’re talking about talking to a lot of people, that’s something you do in a way that hopefully, is fun, it’s engaging, it’s entertainment. I do feel that people have got very wary and it’s partly because everyone thinks they know everything now. A few years ago you used to get something through the post, I remember getting what they call it, The Innovations Catalog, I don’t know if you remember years and years and years ago, but this catalog would arrive normally in your Sunday papers and you would go through it, and you’d look at that was just basically a spam email, but it was coming through in a different way; but because it was kind of telling you stuff, you know, you felt informed and you felt, you know, that’s something had been given to you. Whereas I think now with spam email, we kind of, we don’t see any value in it, and people don’t bother to try and put value in it. If you actually start getting value in those emails, so we’ve put together this, have a look at it, then I think all of a sudden that changes

Martin 48:32
I think that as well. I think you’re right, that everyone is an expert. So two of these other responses, and I’m not looking for counseling on this. No, it’s okay. I mean, we’re talking about the way I’m presenting this. Yeah, one of these responses was from somebody I know, basically saying you’re behaving like an Indian spammer.

Jo 48:57
Oooh, nice.

Martin 48:58
And he works in marketing.

Jo 48:59
Racist as well, excellent.

Martin 49:00
Little bit of unnecessary racism always goes down well, I think as well. So I kind of pushed back and I’m like, okay, I mean, I really did push back. He’s Australian, so he should be able to take it. The thing is about that is he he’s a hypocrite, he works in marketing. So essentially, he’s saying, you could have done this, you could have done that, or you could have done something else. But basically, you’re saying you’ve never you don’t do this, but you know better how to do it than I do. Another one was an Eastern Europe, an Eastern European cyber security guy, it wasn’t even unpleasant. But he was just saying, Oh, you know, your message is too long. And I’m like, Well, thanks very much. It’s actually doing quite well. And he’s like, Oh, yeah, but you could do better. It’s like, Yeah, thanks. I’m gonna go and ask an Eastern European. Not that the Eastern Europeans are any less of not more likely to be … let me say that with vowels, Martin vowels. Not that an Eastern European cyber security guy, isn’t allowed, to talk to me about, but I have been in sales and marketing 35 years like you have. Do you know what I mean, I have ….

Jo 50:09
What is interesting that this conversation that we’re now having is when we started off, you said, one of the things you like about me is I’ll always want to call you up on stuff. Now these people are calling you up on stuff.

Martin 50:18
Yeah.

Jo 50:18
That’s all they are actually doing. The point is, it’s all about the way that is done and that’s the point.

Martin 50:22
Yes.

Jo 50:23
And that’s, I suppose, where we sometimes don’t have the most appropriate language to deal with some people, we all, we all write emails, and looking after the fact you think god I shouldnt have said that or that could be reconstructed. So I think that I would always look at that feedback as good feedback. Again, that sounds really, yeah, of course you would. But actually, genuinely, I’d kind of go, Okay, that’s kind of interesting because that guy thinks my notifications is too long so I’m going to try one a bit shorter, I’m going to just see whether that works, I’m going to see. I think it’s what we always try to do when a client gets a negative review on Google, for example, it’s like how do we use that to learn from and to actually make ourselves better at stuff? You know, sometimes it’s just a bitter ex-colleague or something and that’s one thing, but actually, quite often people have a point, you know, it arrived late, it looked like shit, it didn’t do what I wanted. We think, is the photograph on the website right? Is the description, right? You know, because actually, you talk a lot about value, that’s where the value comes in and it’s fair enough, if someone thinks that you have over promised and under delivered. It’s kind of fine. I do think people get frightened, I think spamming is, you know, it has become the bad guy and actually, some of its really useful. I get some of the best information I get from someone spamming me about a conference or something.

Martin 51:48
Yes. Okay, good. So you’re calling me out again, which is great. So I’m glad that we’re 40 minutes into this conversation, and you are calling me out.

Jo 51:56
Again, yes.

Martin 51:58
And I’ve missed this, I’ve needed this in my life. The point is not so much I could do better, we could always do better. That’s why I call my business Effective Marketing is because it’s you can always turn the screw that little bit harder, get that little bit more value, you absolutely can, you should take the feedback. I think you’re right, though people have suffered in the last 30 years, a tsunami of spam. It hasn’t just come as emails, it’s come through the letterbox, they’ve been calling us on the phone, they’ve been doing all of this stuff. So then if that’s right, and people are scared of this, then there’s another issue, which is maybe it should be, oh man, I don’t want to say it should be regulated but it’s like ….

Jo 52:02
I think you should regulate it yourself though. I think you should, you know, so I so one of the questions you have is, your last question what recommendations do you have for people in the current climate?

Martin 52:55
Yeah, but don’t spoil the game.

Jo 52:57
Oh, sorry, sorry. What I was gonna say is that when I was thinking about that, it is about understanding that people have all been through a very horrendous time. It doesn’t matter whether you did, okay, or whether you did badly, whatever, what matters is, it’s been an incredibly difficult time for the majority of people. So when you’re talking to people, you have to kind of go in knowing that, and you have to use that well, and understand that that’s the toughest thing. I mean, I have clients that, you know, their businesses went down, I just completely support them the whole way through. They owe us a lot of money, but I’m going it’s fine, we’ll just sort it when you’re back on your feet. By being kind, and just being generous and understanding where they’re sitting, which is in a really, really shit place, I feel that we’ve been really able to cement, you know, good relationships, and really positive ones. I’m not saying that ian a sort of smug, you know, I’m just saying everyone is at a point where they’re they’re elastic, and they’re stretched to their limits, literally worldwide. So what we’ve got to do in my view, is just be kind and allow everyone to reset, to remember why they do what they do when they’re in a job when it is and just go back. That is about being really sensitive in a world where you don’t feel like you always want to be sensitive. Or as I say explained to people, I get slightly fed up of being grateful, because that has what COVID has done is its made me be very grateful every day and I don’t feel grateful every day. That’s my kind of message about the way we’ve got to reset all this stuff now. If people think you’re spamming you just go hands up me. Okay, like I’m terribly sorry, you know that would be approach.

Martin 54:40
Okay, so I’m 100% with you. Did you write down all of the questions? Which questions have we missed that I wanted answers to?

Jo 54:46
We’ve, we’ve talked about, no, no, we’re done.

Martin 54:50
We’re done are we you are dismissing me now?

Jo 54:51
So qualified to talk about marketing, how do you feel about marketing … we talked about the fact that a lot of people feel really negative about but actually I see is it as enabling people, theres nothing else really, what you do, we talked about that. Yeah, I’ve written it all down here, we’ve done it all.

Martin 55:08
We’ve covered them all. So we could talk about this one, because we’re not done with this last question. Like, how long did it take you to respond to the COVID situation?

Jo 55:21
So what do you mean by respond?

Martin 55:26
What I mean, is I absolutely, I’m only working with two or three customers. Yeah, I was only working with two customers. One of them went into overdrive and the other one, as soon as there was an opportunity to kind of send everyone home and get them paid 80% took that option.

Jo 55:44
Yeah.

Martin 55:46
I didn’t have a clue. I did not have a clue what I should be saying. I knew what I should be saying to my customers, but I didn’t know what I should be saying on behalf of my customers. And that went on, I think, do you know Jim Cunliffe at Face Media Group?

Jo 56:05
Yep

Martin 56:05
You do yes? He had the best response of anyone I know, because his response was kind of like yours and it was immediate. It was like within three days, because that’s how quickly it happened he was putting out emails saying, Okay, now we’re all stuck at home, we’re stuck at our desks, it’s gonna be uncomfortable, it’s gonna be horrible, just know that I’m here all day, every day. He had a 24 hour zoom running, that people could drop in on and they did. It was genius because he was talking throughout, like, within three days of this thing, starting he was talking to his market, he was the second third fourth person that I did one of these chats with. He was engaging with his market still. I saw that happen, I still didn’t know what the appropriate response was, like it felt at that time, when, at the darkest time, that a lot, I’m not saying that a lot of people haven’t died, but it felt like. I still don’t know anyone who has died of COVID, for example, but it felt like it was going to be hugely impactful. It felt like it was entirely inappropriate to be marketing or selling if we’re at a point where bodies were about to start piling up, that’s how dark it felt in at that time. So what I’m interested to know from you is how long did it take you to actually get yourself together and get a response out there?

Jo 57:27
Firstly, I want to say, I don’t know Jim well, personally at all, I met him at a couple of events, but I think he’s extraordinary in the way he deals with a lot of stuff. I think he genuinely is. You know, he loves his business, he’s really good at what he does and he’s a really good communicator. So I’m not so surprised that you say that he did what he did, because he’s just an incredible bloke. I just get his emails and I never think of them spam, I think he’s a really good man, top bloke, got a lot going for him. So the answer to your question is when I realised … what happened with us is we have an office, which is in a council building and they announced we’re shutting the building. I was like, you can’t I’ve got all my stuff there. So I literally came down, picked up, I’d already, we’d already worked out that Ben was going to work from home. I literally came down that day, picked up a computer screen, picked up the computers, and went home and into the garden, March last year in the UK was really warm, it was a fantastic time of the year, it was just amazing. So the the thing that I did is I started calling my clients and said, we need to let people know what you’re doing, I know that’s really hard, but over this period, and I have to say that wasn’t every single client because it kind of depended on how they respond to us as well. Most of them I rang them up and say, during this period, we will put online, you know, we will update with COVID information and all this stuff for free, just so you can let your clients know where you’re at because we think that’s really important. We did that probably for 50% or 60% of our clients. We also had a client for that we were doing a new project for and their business just went away they ran groups and stuff and it just overnight disappeared. So we have the same conversation and over time. I just sort of said, look, we we will not, we will, just as long as we can pay our bills that’s all we’re going to worry about for the next … and if we can do anything to help anybody along the way we will do. It was quite extraordinary how, you know, just by talking to them, so that first few weeks, days, whatever it was really what kept me alive was being able to talk to my clients because they’re a good group people. And we had a couple of projects that weren’t affected, which I know sounds crazy, but they literally weren’t affected. So we were really lucky because we were still earning money and we were able to spend, you know, three days a week doing stuff and we were paid for two days a week doing stuff that we weren’t paid for, but just to try and make everyone’s business a little bit better. So, you know, whether they’re a nursery or hairdressers, or you know, whatever they were, we were just helping them to tell people what they would do. That’s kind of where we started. I think for me COVID, the worst time was probably about a month and a half ago when we started opening up again, because it felt really scary. I’m naturally, I love being with people, I love that whole thing, but I’d been on my own I don’t know, not on my own literally because i’ve got my family but I felt very lonely as a business person. I found that opening up has been quite, I’ve had to take each day at a time and learn how to have those face to face meetings again. There’s things I’ve loved about this, that I’ve loved. I’ve not missed going up to London, commuting, and spending a day to do a meeting of an hour and a half then you’re done, it’s tiring, all that sort of stuff. I am, my main thing, my main sense, as we were going through this was how can I help? I think that’s kind of the personality of our business is, how can we help? What can we do to make your life better when your life is far shitter than ours right now? That seem’s to sort of, you know, go down quite well. It’s paid dividends, it always pays dividends. That’s what I’m saying about be generous with people, because for us, it’s always worked. I mean, of course, you get the people who take the piss that’s but that’s kind of fine. I don’t mind that. Really. They’re not everybody, you live nd you learn. Does that answer your question, probably that’s an elongated way of answering your question, is it?

Martin 1:01:17
No, it does. And I thought, I mean, I just remember, you know, me, I’m not very often stuck for words. I think part of my issue was I wasn’t … in 2008, for example, when the financial crisis happened.

Jo 1:01:32
Yeah.

Martin 1:01:32
I was all over it. Like that night, I put together, like literally the night it happened I was up till three o’clock in the morning, I put the presentation together. This is how we respond, not just not me, the world, like anyone who’s in business. I was out doing presentations and rabble rousing and doing what I was doing at that time, and getting people motivated and excited, and I knew exactly. Probably because I’m not so immersed in it, nothing like as immersed in it, not even 1% immersed in it as I was then. When this landed, I literally was gobsmacked. I’m like, I have no idea. The truth is, I did what you did and I spoke to my clients and I’m like, Look, I understand if you can’t afford to pay what you’ve been paying, I will do whatever it takes to bring us through. And the response I got from one was, I mean, it went on for two or three months but they were basically, I think the trouble is if you give the British people 80% of their income and tell them to just stay at home, they think they’re winning at life. So I think that was a very tempting situation. The other one just went ballistic. They’re like, you know, we can be involved in the solution for this and so we’re going to.

Jo 1:02:42
Yeah.

Martin 1:02:43
But I was I was gobsmacked. I was stuck for words, I didn’t know how to respond.

Martin 1:02:49
I think that’s a really human response. I think there are a lot of people were like that, and it and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think it’s a really, it’s a very human thing to realize that this is, it was everywhere, there wasn’t, every every time previously, when things blow up, there’s always been a place where it hasn’t been affecting, or affecting that area, that place whatever is. The problem with COVID is that it was kind of everyone on some level or another and that didn’t matter whether you were dealing with Hong Kong, Shanghai, India, you know, same thing. We were dealing with a company who does software development in India, and you know, the crisis there was just, again, completely like, came from sort of nowhere, and it just hit normal, incredibly hard. So I feel that that is about be the most human you can be which is, and I think there’s a natural thing in all of us to try and sort something out and solve things and of course, I can’t solve COVID with the load of bloody marketing but what I can do is help people to tell people what they’re doing and how and stuff. And that’s the best I can do.

Martin 1:03:50
And I think you’re right, I’ve got an issue with this generous and treat people kindly thing.

Jo 1:03:55
Yeah.

Martin 1:03:55
Because like, there’s a saying isn’t there? They say deliver value, deliver value, deliver value, then ask for the business.

Jo 1:04:05
Yeah.

Martin 1:04:08
Do you believe in that?

Jo 1:04:09
I believe that by being kind to people isn’t always about giving. Sometimes being kind is about not giving.

Martin 1:04:19
We’re talking about your pragmatism again.

Jo 1:04:21
Yeah, I’m talking about being generous as well, be generous with the things you are happy to be generous with. Don’t give away anything that you will regret in at any point because that’s not good for anybody. So I think that is how I would say it. So when I say be generous, I don’t mean just keep giving people stuff. I don’t mean just keep doing stuff for free. What I mean is just accept that the world is not the place it was and try and be sensitive to that be you know, and help people pragmatically in achieving what they want to do, be practical about it and give advice when you can. It doesn’t mean you have to give of your soul in order to nurture them. So I I totally get where you’re coming from, you can’t just, none of us can keep on giving, it just can’t happen forever and ever. But I had a philosophy during lockdown, which is if someone asks, I will help, if I can, and if it makes sense, and we do all sorts of people, you know, even charities, if a charity sent me a note and say could you help? Yeah, he’s, it’s fine. You know, because we were luckier than most people and we knew that. It kind of made me appreciate how lucky we were. And, and, again, with this, with this pandemic, it wasn’t about whether you ran a good business, it wasn’t about whether your model was wrong or right; it was just sheer and utter luck about what you do. I felt, you know, people were really suffering, and they sort of blamed themselves and you’re going, your business, you know, none of us have ever experienced or known anything like this before. Don’t think your a shit business just because times are tough during the pandemic, of course, they’re gonna be tough during the pandemic.

Martin 1:05:56
Yes. I think that’s right. And I’ve asked now so, you’re the 15th person I’ve spoken to in this series.

Jo 1:06:02
I can’t believe I was so far down that list Martin. I can’t believe I wasn’t number 1 quite frankly.

Martin 1:06:08
Well, to be frank, to communicate with you, frankly, on the web. You took a little bit of convincing, didn’t you? Anyway, because you weren’t clear on my motives, or that I had sufficient reason to be doing this. But I think the conclusion that I’ve come to is that actually, being an effective marketer, a good marketer, is being constantly engaged with your market, and being able to identify the opportunities that exist in that market to add value. So morally I’m square, you know. That’s all that you needed to do. That’s all you need to do ever, is be constantly engaged with your market, and be looking for opportunities to add value. I think you’re right, we can’t or give forever, and there are certainly people who can take forever, and those people will drag you down, if you are too generous has been my experience, you know.

Jo 1:07:04
Yeah and I think sadly, I think a lot of us have learned that in business, I think, you know, that’s my inclination. I think you were saying, you talked earlier about when you go into a meeting they’ve all got really fired up and then when you went back in … one of the things again, I think you taught me without realizing you taught me was that if you give them 80 to 90% of everything in the first meeting, what are you going to give them when they employ you, another 20%, thats not sustainable. So that’s partly how we develop some of our processes, because we realized that we needed to have a process that allowed us to learn and develop those relationships with people. I think it’s kind of interesting when you learn things, isn’t it and why you learn?

Martin 1:07:45
Yes.

Jo 1:07:46
Those things are really important if you want to carry on with your business. I’ve got clients who are coming back online, and they are so excited to be there. You know, and they’re just, it’s just fantastic to hear them getting excited about their businesses again, because that’s exciting. It makes my job eciting, it’s much more fun working for someone who gives a monkey’s about their business, rather than someone who’s just taking all the credit and all money and not really giving a shit.

Martin 1:08:09
This is what you were saying before we hit the record button. You said so much good stuff, you’ve said so much good stuff since, but we were saying before, why would you care if they don’t care? So what I was taught in my first job, post graduation, also in publishing, I went into like a media sales role and they told us look, enthusiasm sells, you know. If people aren’t enthusiastic about their business, then they are so much less marketable, they are so much less attractive, you know, they’re not going to be successful. I think what I’ve learnt from these chats is that, you know, to be a successful marketer, and to be a, a good like, morally good marketer, that’s what you need to be doing, is constantly engaging with your market, understanding what they need and want, and finding ways to deliver value. I think that’s what you’re good at.

Jo 1:09:04
I agree, but I think it’s also understanding what you are good at, that’s the key thing, because you can do what you’ve just talked about to anybody. Actually, if you really know the people you work well with, and they work well with you, you’re gonna be a much better marketer than when you try and do it for everybody. Because your skills, your talents, they don’t work with everyone. It’s just like your friendships, you know, some friendships are there for life, some pass through, it’s all good, all adds value. Actually, you know, if you if you aren’t in those places where you can be the best you can be and they can be the best you can be you shouldn’t be there. I mean you should be able to move away from that business. If I can’t make those businesses better, and they can’t make my business better, then what’s that all about? You know, I’m because I do think it’s two way thing. I don’t think I see ourselves as agency that come and go tadaah, bang, bang, bang, and walk away. You know, we genuinely want to get involved with the companies we work with to make them the company they want to be.

Martin 1:10:08
Yeah. I think that’s that’s the core message of this, I think, which is be selective about who you work with, because it’s 50% of it, at least isn’t it?

Jo 1:10:18
Yeah, and it’s not just about being selective, it’s also about them being selective. So when they have, if they have a proper recruitment, procurement process and procurement, so they take their time. If they understand what they’re looking for then when you go in and you shock them, by the things you say, that they come out and go, God, no one’s actually said that to us people. I think I’ve won it, because they’re the kind of people I want to work with. I don’t want to work with people where I go in, and I’m one of six people and they choose it based on you know, things I don’t value basically,

Martin 1:10:51
Yes. Good. Did we actually come to the end?

Jo 1:10:55
Ah, yes. We did.

Martin 1:11:02
Is there anything you wanted to say that you haven’t said so far?

Jo 1:11:05
Oh, my God no, I think I’ve said more today in the last hour and a half than I have said in the whole of COVID.

Martin 1:11:11
Good, a few people are saying that as well. It’s good to talk. I think it’s really good to talk. So Jo, thank you so much.

Jo 1:11:17
Thanks, Martin, for asking me along and cut out the bits where I’m doing too much rabitting won’t you?

Martin 1:11:23
No. I’m not cutting anything ,I told you before we started we’re not gonna watch all of this surely?

Martin 1:11:30
No, well, you’re right. Well, I’ve got an issue with this, Jo. I think, is it really our job as … So the best example is Joe Rogan, do you know Joe Rogan?

Jo 1:11:42
No.

Martin 1:11:43
Okay, so you’re the only person on the planet who doesn’t know Joe Rogan. So Joe Rogan is an enormously successful American podcaster. What he does is he sits down and he chats to people for like, three hours at a time.

Jo 1:11:57
Okay.

Martin 1:12:00
Spotify have bought, like, six, seven months ago, bought his podcast for $100 million. The thing about it is you can’t see it now, because he’s moved them all onto onto Spotify but they clip up these conversations. The thing about it is, is that the long form conversation might have 6 million views, the clip might have 800,000 views.

Jo 1:12:25
Yeah.

Martin 1:12:25
So what I take from that is that people are capable of following a conversation if the conversation is of interest, and I don’t want to contribute to any further degradation of people’s attention spans.

Jo 1:12:40
Okay, I totally get that and I think you’re absolutely right. I think that we actually need to understand that people want, you know, the indepth stuff, they don’t always just want this shallow thing and I totally get. I mean and I see a lot of stuff. It’s interesting that you’re talking about your website, and I’m going to put these ten and a half thousand words on or whatever. I will be going, my question to you would be why and then I’ll be looking at all of that stuff. I totally agree that we have gotten into this very narrow world and I think it’s a real problem with how we get our information now. I mean, I still buy books, because I like the indepthness of a book. I like the fact I can jump in and out of as and when I want. You know I’ve got a whole shelf of them here that I look at, I just kind of go, if I’m trying to think about something, or resonate or understand something, then often someone’s done it better than I’m ever going to do it. So I will look at all that. Okay, that’s interesting and then I use my own bit of spark or whatever and that then becomes the thing I do.

Jo 1:13:45
Yes.

Jo 1:13:46
And yeah, so no, I totally agree. I get it, I get it.

Martin 1:13:50
Yeah. And I might clip these, you know, I might take … the other thing, I think, is that I spoke to a guy two conversations ago and he was talking about nuggets.

Jo 1:14:04
Yeah.

Martin 1:14:05
Like, oh, I might take a nugget out of this, or I might attend a day’s training and I might take a nugget. I think sales and marketing is really important and I don’t think it should be communicated in nuggets. On the off chance that you find this nugget. Or me there is process and so and so people should, I would hope, it won’t happen immediately, but I would hope that in the fullness of time …. Where I am on my YouTube adventure, is I’m making about $20 a month, and I’m getting about 100 views a day. So I am, if these things are valuable, I’m helping four people an hour without even having to know about it or engage with it. You know what I mean, I’m doing the work, putting the work out there and that’s actually, that’s enough for me right now. You know, I would hope that more and more and more people will find these things. So the reason I’m planning to put 25,000 words a week on my website, is because that will give me a bite of the Google cherry, you know, essentially, and I’m getting a bite of the YouTube cherry. But really, I’m not expecting to be rich or retire from this. But I do want to help as many people as I possibly can.

Jo 1:15:29
Perhaps what you’re doing as well, as you’re showing people that there’s choice. You’re showing people that there’s not necessarily a one size fits all marketing agency, or printing or whoever it is, there’s actually a lot of decisions to be made. If you think that all agencies or individuals are the same, if they’re in a similar industry, then the key thing is they’re not. If you find the one that’s right for you, you will succeed, it will work really, really well. If you find something that’s not right, you will have a quite major impact on your business. I think that would be the thing that I think is one of most important things you’re doing, is you’re allowing the people who are behind the scenes, doing a lot of day to day, everyday marketing, talking to people communicating, if you can understand where they’re coming from, it enables you to make a better decision.

Martin 1:16:20
Absolutely. So where I am, is I’m thinking, if I’m at the point where I’m saying, Okay, I need to invest in the marketing of my business, how can it not be useful to hear an hour of what you have to say, when you have 35 years of experience, and you’ve done this for hundreds of customers? The other thing I’m wary of doing is deciding what the value is for people, you know, because when I clip this up, I’ll be like, Oh, that was a brilliant thing that Jo said, Oh, that was a brilliant thing that I said or I asked a great question or whatever. That might not be what they need. Do you know what I mean?

Jo 1:16:57
Yeah. I don’t think it is all about nuggets actually.

Martin 1:17:00
Yeah.

Jo 1:17:00
I think that that they’re just like, they’re the clickbait almost aren’t thay and I think that’s the way people have gone, we’ve got very used to seeing, you know, a headline and going Oh, yeah, that’s the thing I want to read and you go in, and I don’t know about you, but I probably go to say three things a week,a day, and it’s a bit disappointing, what’s actually in there, because the only thing was the nugget, nothing else was good, or useful, or relevant, or informative. And that can get really frustrating.

Martin 1:17:28
Yeah, so people talk about the secret of marketing, the secret of marketing is, understand it as well as you can, and do it as effectively as you possibly can, as cost effectively as you possibly can. That’s the secret, you know. And so, yeah, that is the point. What I’m communicating here is that I need your approval that I’m doing the right thing here, Jo, because, like, literally, if people want to understand about marketing, how can it not be valuable? to hear what you have to say, when you’ve done this for 35 years? When Ed was doing this from about the time I was born. How can it not be valuable to hear what those people have to say?

Jo 1:18:09
Yeah, no, I would endorse that, I would definitely say you’re right. I think there’s a huge value to it. I don’t quite know who your audience would be, but anyone who’s watching this, I would really love to know who you are, because actually, if you’ve got to here, that’s pretty impressive. Yeah, so I would say, and that’s the learning, isn’t it, but learning is, who are these people who want to spend time doing this? You know, and they’re people to engage with, in terms of, you know, giving, just actually wanting an indepth view of things. Again, like you say, I think so many people just want a little snippet of stuff all the time. Snippets don’t add up to a story, you know, they just don’t, you need to have a whole story, there’s a beginning, a middle and an end.

Martin 1:18:51
And this whole, this whole nugget thing contributes to this deepest, darkest secrets of marketing thing, which is like, basically, you’re going to have to be lucky enough to discover these nuggets if your business is going to be successful. It can’t be as tenuous as that, it can’t be because there are millions of businesses in the world. You know, it can’t be

Jo 1:19:12
If it was that simple, then everyone would do it wouldn’t they. That’s what we always say about SEO, people say, Oh, my son read this and it says, and we ok we. You know where that conversation is going, and it’s, you know, you know, okay, this is why we don’t do what you’re suggesting, you know, this is the thinking at the moment in the world that we live in. I think that, you know, we do owe it to ourselves actually, and to the people around us to talk them as though they are intelligent human beings and as though they actually have a thirst for knowledge not just a quick fix all the time. There are quick fixes to practically every part of our lives but quick fixes are exactly that you know, if you if you glue a poster to your wall, it will not last as long as if you screw it all properly and do it in the right job. It just won’t

Martin 1:20:00
You’re absolutely correct. Absolutely correct. Well, as long as I have your endorsement, which you said I do …

Jo 1:20:06
You do.

Martin 1:20:07
You are free to go and enjoy the rest of your afternoon.

Jo 1:20:10
Martin it’s been really good to catch up, and we’ll catch up offline sometime soon.

Martin 1:20:16
Let’s do that and maybe in 30 or 40 more episodes, I might come back and grill you some more.

Jo 1:20:22
30 or 40. I can’t believe I’m that far down the line again. Suddenly, I’ve fell to number 60 in your list of people.

Martin 1:20:29
Okay, well, do you want do this every week? We can.

Jo 1:20:35
That’d be great. All right. Take is easy thanks a lot for your your time.

Martin 1:20:38
Thank you so much for your time. Cheers, Jo.

Jo 1:20:40
Bye bye. Bye.

 

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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